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Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home [2]

A response was not long in coming,my advise to think twice before heading over had come too late, they were already over this side and by the nature of the day hadn’t gone far, they were headed down and we’d meet up by the station.

They told me about the Ahorn area, how easy it was to find the Cablecar and how close it was to the Penkenbahn sitting just behind the familiar brückenstadl bar. There was along run open all the way down into Mayrhofen, a black that went from the top to the bottom which sounded already a whole lot better than sticking where i was.  A run being open back down into the every greener Mayrhofen must have been taking some nursemaid, I’d seen something run like over there, from across the valley while heading up in the morning.  With the others recommending it as worth the visit, my own inclinations and the lack of a way to spend the time, other than some peaceful mountain sitting, over here, i headed off, back down to Mayrhofen.

Mayrhofen Ski ZillertalPenkenBahn PenkenBahn PenkenBahn Cliff View

Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal Mayrhofen Zillertal

As i wondered from the valley station a ski bus arrived with the word Ahorn across the top where the destination name was customarily found.  Perhaps its wasn’t the longest walk but none the less this seemed rather better and pleasantly convenient.

This was a full sized cable car and it was leaving just as i’d arrived, as untimely in its departure as the bus had been timely in its arrival.  Thirty minutes until the next one, the lift attendant told me, there was a bench over to the side, as the first to get here in time to watch the cable cars departure there was space upon it, i sat myself down and thought about time, likely arrivals, probable descent durations, estimated arrival times, impact on previous ski depositing intentions.. quite why is unclear, there were not the facts available upon which to base such contemplations but then there was the time to indulge in them, so swings and round abouts.

Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen Station  Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen Station Ahorn Bahn Mayrhofen

It was nicer up on the Ahorn, the skiing was limited to one side of a single mountain, so somewhat limited but no more so than the piste map would make abundantly clear to all who study it.  The cable car ended at the top, no further lifts were required so skiing could immediately recommence.. I took the most interesting looking route down, it was not it swiftly transpired the right way down, coming to a dead end at the base of a drag lift.

Ahorn Snowey Mountains Ahornbahn Snowey Mountains Ahorn Snowey Mountains  Ahorn Sunny Skiing Day Ahorn Sunny Skiing Day

After the rains of last night the weather had become all together too warm in the day, it was not that other ski resorts do not suffer so much from the sun, however the lack of altitude, the rain and now the warm, it didn’t bode well for those due to arrive today for the next weeks skiing, unless something changed starkly and shortly.

I headed down, about half way back to Mayrhofen and it was going no easier than it had earlier, no second wind had come as the day had gone on. There remained time to head back up again, from here two chair lifts would see me returned to the very top, so that it what i now did.. Once more up, once more down and that will be it for the Mayrhofen 2015 ski holiday.

16 Degrees - Temperature Sign

Once back at the top i went to the loo, there was one conveniently placed at the summit and allowed me to focus solely on the last run. Always a disappointing time, still on other holidays i had always thought upon another day, here i had for the first time had that extra time and in fairness my physical condition had limited my enjoyment of it. The lesson being either that i need to get into better shape, a lesson i had no need to learn only a need to do something about it or alternatively that six days will do… at the time i may have seen it as both, retrospectively i’m inclined to reconsider, seeing the lesson belongs more to the former.

Ahorn  Iglu bar

Ahorn skis and sticks
Last Run – Time To Put On The Skis & Head Down

The run down was notable for two things, the number of breaks i was taking and the number of times i was overtaken by the same whippet intent on underlining not only how i struggled today but how far i had to go in terms of skiing ability even on far better days. This was of course not there intention, a perfect stranger intent only in skiing their way down who’s only thought were they to have one might have been on quite what this familiar obstruction was attempting to achieve here today. The skushed down the run with the types of long sweeping super giant style approach that i would like to call my own, not all that unnecessary swishing about and making an unnecessarily fanciful deal of things, it was quick, controlled and worse than neat very very neat.. worse still they were only a smidge, a small person, a semi-smurf, whats a person meant to do with that.

After countless moments of taking pause, catching breath and trying to go again, i eventually arrived at the bottom.  To be clear its a good run, not overly taxing or rather it had no right to be taxing yet it had proven so and  its run, you get some good amount of skiing out of it.  Though it was shown as a black it wasn’t really and looking at older piste maps on the internet its clear that it used to be a red all the way down.

The only but significant downside being that, to tackle it one must be prepared to wait on the cable car, the only route back up and with that meaning a potential 30minute wait, you have to be dedicated to the cause or like me not thinking of skiing on from there.

Ahorn Run From Town

My skis came off.  As i sat on a semi step even my boots were dislodged and standard shoes went on.. Time for comfort and as a sort of weird plus one of the first times i was almost happy to see the back of skiing… only i wasn’t but i was… or to put it another way body happy along with the part of the brain that looks after such things while the rest just wished id been better placed to enjoy this last day.

I strapped up my boots and placed them over my shoulder along with the skis and headed off toward the hire shop were i would deposit them.  The thing about this point, its regularly a little embarrassing and here with these bright orange things they’d given me, the oddly considerable gashes that had somehow sliced away on sections of the skis (top side) were that bit more obvious.  This is customary for me, i know not how, I’d barely fallen all week and where i had they’d been moderate neat little sideways slips, no drama had occurred, no off pisteing had been attempted and yet once again there was the damage.  Embarrassing it would be again, also it offered support for one of my ongoing rationals for not buying my own pair of skis.

Bruck 'n' Stadl Bruck 'n' Stadl Penkenbahn Penkenbahn

Ski Day 7 – Mayrhofen .. Half a day then home

I’d woken up to find my gathering nasal issue had found a new height, with an overnight crusting that would be that much more explicable if i were in full cold mode.  It had all but sealed shut, other than that it was an unremarkable morning.

Good information, important note taking.

Mayrhofen Piste Map
Piste Map – Mayrhofen

Those who were going to ski on the last day (our coach was leaving at around 3 or 4) were going up to AHORN, we hadn’t been on that side yet. I opted to go up to the main Penkenbahn, you can loose quite a bit of time to the valley and up bit, the town being at a limited sort of altitude leaving the lifts with more to do in order to get us skiers up to the ski areas. I wanted to do as much of the area as possible once more including that one available black run.

I got up there quite early, there was no queues, then again up top only one lift seemed to be open and though i looked at it i dared not ski down the other side into the next valley, for all i was able to tell, there wasn’t anything much open and holes best not sunken into, least not deliberately. I skied back down to the top of the Penkenbahn, in order to more studiously study the piste map, it did not go well. This was a very simple red, not really a red at all, but it had been rained on last night, we’d been told it had rained up to around 2000meters and judging by the unpleasant state of the snow , sticky under foot, these anecdotal reports had not been wrong. In conjunction, every effort was being rigorously objected too by my legs, which continued their determined objection the overtime, the same overtime that other parts of my person had been quite please about but then i guess those parts weren’t the ones having to put in the effort here.

Red eleven, red one, red eleven .. it was not long before such limitation became quite tedious, the idea was that the area was closed due to winds but as yet there had been little to no sign of any winds. It was actually quite a nice day weather wise.

After a time some other lifts appeared to open up, there had been false dawns earlier with chairs starting to spin up and into life but to no avail. Skiing down the other side of the mountain was a more enjoyable experience, it was the shadowy side, where the snow was frozen up and it remained icy and hard, i hadn’t gotten any more spritely but on this surface thing were made quite a bit easier.

Mayrhofen Snow Mountains

Mayrhofen Snow Mountains

Up and round and down, ending up in another part of Mayrhofen that somehow had gone unskied up to now, it was on the sunny side a decent and long run that headed in the direction of Finkenberg. The breaks were becoming more regular as i continued to look forward to the part where i got to sit on a lift. Not the customary way of things.  Perhaps i was coming down with a cold, there were elements of that about my disposition, it was possible.

By the time i’d headed back, a very short period of time later the lift back up to Mayrhofen was closed again – the Knorren lift – leaving open only one lift out of the hole, the Nordhangbahn, the lift used to get to Finkenberg side earlier now the only option and it had developed a queue worthy of its new found status.

Though i was back up top, eventually, it wasn’t the the intended top and piste maps around here were possibly not the very best but then nor, quite probably, was my attention span.. It looked like there might be a route back, one which would avoid having to head all the way down to Finkenberg and find where that town kept its ski bus stops, a run worth trying to find. I didn’t care much for loitering over here, the snow was sloppy on the sun side and the only way back from the shadowy side was that one lift with its oh so mighty queue. Besides i had a specific time to be getting back for, a coach that i had little option but to be around to catch and though its departure was still many hours from now, at the rate and apparent randomness with which lifts were opening and shutting there seemed an inopportune level of unpredictability about where i might Wind-Up when the music stopped. I rather preferred to find myself with a seat at that time and for that seat to be in the vicinity of and closely connected to Mayrhofen, it was the most relaxed take on things but heading back seemed a pragmatic precaution to such events.

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Piste

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Skiing

Mayrhofen Finkenberg Snow
Route back – Finkenberg To Mayrhofen


Fortuitously it worked out, i was quite pleased to see myself back among familiar surrounds but for all that and having headed up once more, i didn’t really feel the need to ski those familiar morning reds so many times more.

Penkenbahn Mayrhofen Mountain Staion

Mayrhofen Ski Zillertal

So instead i sat.  I found a spot down by the bar which lay alongside the top station, the sun was out, the sky was blue and my enthusiasm for skiing was much dampened by the feeble efforts key parts of my person had shown themselves fit to be making, the condition of the snow and the limitation of the available pistes.  So instead I sat.  I thought about how it was Saturday and what a fine way, even sitting here among the snow and blue skies on a mountain side, this was to spend a Saturday in the late morning, a far better way than i would likely be spending one for some time.. How infinity preferable it, even more surely, would prove to the coming Monday, though still as i told myself these things and sat back to relax still i was niggled by the need to spend the time in some more productively, than to loiter quite so fecklessly and lazily without intent.

I texted my colleagues to see where their day had taken them so far and to suggest to them that were they not here then they should think twice before coming over.  Despite the limited size of the Ahorn area it might well represent more opportunity to ski than would now surely prove to be the case over here.

Ski Day 6 – Mayrhofen: Places To Go Out Dinner & Drinks & The Last Dinner

Going Out:

Apropos Bar – First Night: Too Smokey.. That was the major negative, very traditional and not too tourist pub.
Good for just hanging out, having a quiet but social sort thing going on. Has the darker grungier thing in its corner.

Scotland Yard – Couple of visits: Also smokey but a little less that Apropos Bar, due to having smoking and none smoking sections. It doesn’t have anything really going for it or anything against it, inoffensive, easy to get served most of the time and serving both food and cider, as well as the standard bar fair. Good for larger groups looking to relax.

ICE BAR – Shuts earlier. Its really the post skiing bar, in Mayrhofen. Loud, full and really only any good if you want beer. It is what it is, not a place for having conversations or chilling but if you have energy after a days skiing and dont have claustrophobic issues then … its the obvious choice

Brückenstadl – Seating, music, space & open until late. Probably best as a place to finish up in, everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time, the music selection was at best variable but its hard to pick too many faults with it.. perhaps a little large and industrial with no live music, causing it to be at risk of becoming a little repetitious.. but this is stretching matters a bit

Neue Post Mayhofen

On the last night on making it back to Mayrhofen from night skiing we went to the Neue Post, it had been recommended and generally came with the reputation of being a better establishment.
The food variety was decent and the standard was probably moderately above the average, perhaps.. but the service was unfriendly, notably so, to the point of being almost being just a little bit more than bizarre.
It was not an eventful evening after that.


Neue Post – [1.5/5]

Manni’s – Visited Twice . Decent for Pizza’s and more traditional options – [3/5]

Cafe Tirol – Smart, moderately average kitchen – [2/5]

Grill kuchl – Friendly Small, not largest portion sizes – [2.5/5]

Landhaus- Carla -Restaurant Tiroler Stuben – Probably the highest standard of food during the week, pleasant environment & the best place to go – [3.5/5]

Ski Day 6 – Return To Kaltenbach & A Spot Of Night Skiing [3]

I was keeping an eye out for the others, thinking that given the barrel which was the limited range of available pistes that a crossing of paths mights occur… At one point i did see them from a lift, least i think i did, familiar looking jackets, but at i headed back down it became clear that if it was them, they had been heading back toward bars and restaurants and not headed where i was.  Even the interesting little black I’d accidentally stumbled upon went from being open and reasonably engaging, to being closed and no right turns, over the course of what was really remarkably very little time.  I couldn’t fathom the rational but there was no denying the notable barriers that had been erected in my intended path. They were in a bar, the others, that that was the update i received after the remainder of the lifts made their last run up the mountain. Regathered we made our way down, the last run of the day was the run back to town and although there was an intention to stop of in any bars on the way down that didn’t quite work out.  The top of the run actually has a closing time along with a red and green traffic light to denote when your meant to go on through.. We only just made it to the top in time for that but thereafter the speed of the decent presented problems, it was quite rutted and this caused issues for the back markers.  It was this speed of decent issue that ultimately put pay to notions of stopping off.

Once down and having located Damon, the last to arrive over here who was waiting by the valley station, we went over to the kiosk to buy our evening passes.  They were old school, pieces of paper completed with the highly skinny elasticated threads that were once common place.  Damon was concerned by the piste, its a red run and he’d been on the blues for his lessons.  The piste was not in a good way, especially toward the end, very rutted in places, so while eager to encourage his participation and not see anyone head back to Mayrhofen, the questions deserved forthright responses.  Daud, whose approach to such matters is less than forthright but more considered,  opted then to head over and ask the people behind the counter about the piste basher and whether it would be doing customary flattening of the pistes pre-night skiing.  A much more sound idea, which faltered only upon a language barrier, i rummiged around for my German and managed to ascertain that they would indeed be doing the flattening.  So with everyone now in i separated off.

It had become clear that earlier intentions to eat at this time were no longer current, so i headed off on a solo mission having half suspected, half hoped, that one of the hut shaped lights in the distance was a Schnitzel burger stand of sorts… The hunger had come, oh yes it had and any further skiing might perhaps be aided by stomach aids. There were multiple bars but most of them had emptied out by the time i headed back to meet up with the others.  The bar they were in was similarly emptying out from a not entirely banging starting point.  So a migration occurred, a larger bar with big external TV screen flashing out called them hope.

I can’t with any level of accuracy state that any or all of the above were playing during our time in this bar but it was our last night of Apres-Ski and so if the soundtrack of this holiday is ever to be duly noted it seemed like this might be that point.. though they are not THE SKI songs … that remains with the only one true king of the ski tunes

The time spent night skiing was limited, the train did not run so very late and after that it was taxis, not everyone was in favor of this and so it was for the train we would head.  Oddly though despite the lack of things going on or probably the lack of energy with which to do them and the extensive amount of time we had to burn, we ended up leaving hurriedly to head back over to the now reopened lift.

By the time we’d gotten back up to the half way station, the top of the night skiing some things had taken hold, one of these was rain, a developing more than drizzle that just never belongs in a ski resort let alone at the top of a run, there is something very not right about that.

Kaltenbach night skiing Kaltenbach night skiing

The other thing that had happened is a total departure of the legs, this became evident not so very long after as i attempted to ski down.  At this point i found my legs had a far stronger memory than I, clearly remembering that all ski holidays were 6 days long ans this was overtime, or as they saw it retirement time though they didn’t seem in full agreement on where they wanted to be going with that time.

By the time Charlie and I were back down i was soaked, thankfully wearing waterproofs it was only the outer layer but it pulled of a far shinier look than normal, it was kinda really grim out, not the level of grim that would be anything remarkable or even noteworthy back in the UK but it didn’t belong here.  A few decades ago, winter holidays back in Switzerland at still lower altitudes, so very snow abundant was it that my family would regularly build me a little igloo/snow house in the garden.  A place to which i was a little irrationally drawn to dwell for cold defying periods of time, while the car needed quite the effort to be dug out.  Its really not so long ago in any scheme of things that isn’t viewed from the perspective of the may fly.

The way down had not been as flat as talk of piste bashers would suggest, certain sections had barley been dusted down at all with the basher seemingly edging up most narrow along one of the sides, leaving the rest largely as it had been earlier.  Wherever the others were, our second run began with us setting off in pursuit, we found them on route, Damon was taking it slow, studiously but somewhat stiffly heading down.

We stopped off on route, a place we had intended to pause at earlier as part of the skiing down crawl that wasn’t, time had not allowed for it then especially once Damon had arrived, it wouldn’t have done to stop off while other waited at the bottom for our fashionably late entrance.  It was a small, octagonal or round, the bar stood at its center.  From within we watched the rain descend and heard from the bar staff about how such troubles had been ever more in evidence in recent years.  To a tired mind and person who had perhaps come to the point of over familiarity with the generally welcome JaegerTee, this was all a little depressing stuff… by now the missing of the last train had been insured.  Besides Damon was of a mind to give it a second go, having made it down the once his personal objective of completing a red this week was behind him.  Now he was of a mind to see he couldnt maybe do it again, take what he’d done, what should now be more familiar and do it better.  A sort of admiral obstenance applied to a clear ends, there’s something to be said for that, certainly when its set to solid ends.

Kaltenbach Piste Bar
Piste Bar – Night Skiing

Once more back up and round… Once more into the piste side bar.. On leaving the bad, Milton pointed out the visible grass as we left, grass or rather turf that smeared out where snow had been not long past, when we’d headed in. Then down.

Piste Basher Night Skiing Lights
Piste Basher Lights In The Night Ski Rain

There was time for more, the skiing was open until after 9pm but among the group as a whole not the mind for it, dinner was probably coming back into mind. We found a taxi, they loitered most eagerly around the bars and the valley gondola station and headed back, big old people carriers, though surprisingly the price went up as the driver realised there was more of us, enough to all but fill the vehicle.. seemed odd to have some sort of unit price situation going on for a single journey but the difference was small and our options none existent.

Ski Day 6 – Return To Kaltenbach [Hochfuegen], Hoch Zillertal [2]

We’d been up and down over in Hochfuegen any number of times, there are a few runs over there but no more and there number had been reduced by the closure of further lifts, the chairlift we’d been on this morning was now also closed, only the far side of the valley remained open.  It seemed a little unnecessary, the weather was far from sever where we were, mind it hadn’t been great up there earlier when we’d come across … so perhaps that didn’t mean so much.  In any case it was past midday and there was no sign of things changing.

It was time for the unfortunate decision that i had been spending the morning trying to avoid, we would have to be bus bound and make our way gradually back in a manner not befitting of a ski holiday.

Inside A Coach

Graph Ski Pass Tracking
Ski Pass Tracking – It should be noted that the BMW site, went and got the dates confused somehow ..

When we found our ride, it conveniently left almost immediately and was far plusher than might be expected, it was too plush for people who were trudging about with ski sticks and boots… i felt a bit like i do when visiting my Aunts pristine flat, the place where nothing it out of place and no dust has ever dared to dwell, like an interloping marauder in land where my merest movement by bring unknown chaos upon it.  Something akin to an European frigate, arriving rat laden, at a newly discovered (European perspective wise) and unsuspecting pacific paradise.

It was not as quick or as short as all that, the journey but did eventually end up with us back at a train station and further down the valley than i’d had in mind.   Optimistic thinking and its perspective altering ways.

Fügen Train Station Sitting
Fügen Train Station Sitting

By the time we had re-arrived at Kaltenbach and were headed back up the mornings Gondola, news was that the others were settling back into restaurant life. Its really a wonder that some of them had any encounters with what remained of the snow at all, i passed through gathering up a snickers and visiting the loos, it was about that time.

As i headed off for a spot of skiing and the other dined, i found that over here to some of the lifts were shut .. still they all ran largely in parallel and while one was shut its neighbour was handily operational. After all that coach, train and gondola mobiles of elapsed time my legs revealed themselves to be quite seized up, skiing ability was all of sudden unfortunately back to the earlier parts of the week.
Still i recovered that somewhat as i headed up and down the gradually overly familiar pistes, the choice having been limited to a few runs down one side of the mountain. At the top is grew gradually greyer and more windy.

Grey Sky and Winds Kaltenbach

Grey Sky and Winds Kaltenbach

Ski Day 6 – Return To Kaltenbach , Hoch Zillertal

There is something about a last days skiing that ought to have been reduced down to a second last days skiing or something akin on this holiday, after all we had another half day lined up, a pre-departure last half day.. But there it remained the something about a last days skiing, even when it wasn’t.

Daud was staying in Mayrhofen and would join the rest of us in Kalenbach later in the afternoon.  We had a quite deliberate reason for skiing in Kaltenbach today, a Friday.  Friday was night skiing day in Kaltenbach, as far as we understood things the only resort to offer night skiing in the valley.

Panorama Mayrhofen Train Station
Mayrhofen Train Station

We walked to the Gondola station, headed up.  There was even talk of fine weather from some as sun cream was dug out and applied.  The night skiing was on this side of the valley, on the home run that followed the Gondola down.  With that in mind the preference was to head up and over to the other valley earlier, home of the best black run we’d encountered so far, so that we could then return back over here in time for the afternoon, the arrival of others and then, some fair bit later, night skiing.

It was not warm at the top, there was no sign of any need for sun cream, the wind was going and it was throwing shards of ice and snow at our faces. This was not quite matters as they had been expected, we tried to study the piste map as the cold whipped about us, twas not a comfortable time, it appeared to be suggesting that the black run was shut. Uncertainty descended, as going the intended direction became more questionable and meant contradicting the wind with its super abundance of mini missiles which it was happily whipping up and launching about the place. Charlie skied down a little, not far but far enough to require walking back up the way and any sort of walking up the way was always viewed most dimly, especially while wearing sliding down the hill planks, which tend to be notably less of an aid for walking back up it. He was looking back up at us as we stood, less warm than once we had been and might choose to be again, with a shrug that may or may not have happened we took of our breaks and set to follow suit.
The shards needled my face, more of them, more momentum, thwacking in micro comments attempting to pull of extinction events for any and micro orangism that might be attempting to eek out an existence upon my person, i know not if they are there, if they ought to be there and i care not too know about such matters… i know about the beasties that live in the beds and sleeping places of man and i have to say such knowledge benefits me in few to ways that i can think of and has been placed firmly in the drawer marked things not to ponder upon overly, with a possible additional sub-headed, cant do much about it and well just a little bit minging. Besides biology and related matters was never an area or interest or strength in the before times when learning was more freely attempted or for that matter imposed.

Either way the grey, the wind, the cold cold wind and it shards – very nice and very much flying in the contrary direction to the one we were attempting to travel. We didnt have far to travel to where the black run split away to the left, a 90 degree turn of the side of this initial gentle slope, as we got there the wind was already slightly less than it had been moments before, at the top. There was a closed sign and the customary netting but both had been placed to the side of the piste, the sign stood to the side and the netting was rolled and bundled up, leaving the pistes entrance open and utterly unimpeded. This was confusing, a most unclosed sort of look for a piste to be wearing so with a pause and a looking about ourselves in moderate reticence and uncertainty we headed down. It wasn’t the day for loitering, best to opt in or out and go with it, so down the black we went. Turning sideways to the mountain the wind and its missiles were hugely diminished, the sky and world remained grey and quiet but things were much comfier, eyes could be kept open at all times, hands and arms were no longer required to be held aloft to grant the shelter to the face and the piste was actually in a condition far easier to ski than it had been those few days ago. Flatter and generally more uniform under foot, though with more occasional balding or rather notably thinning patches, where white was no longer the resounding colour it was leading with.

restaurant photo beetle ski rack
Restaurant photo – The VW Beetle and the Ski Rack – Older times

After skiing about, only a couple of runs worth we headed to the Gondola base station, it was closed, it had a sign suggesting the bus and train as the alternative route back over to the other side..the side from where we’d come.  For us it wasnt time to head back yet at any rate, there was the other Gondola, the one to the furthest point rather than back the way.  Arriving at the top I took the opportunity to locate one of the attendance, for the purpose of querying the status of the missing link lift, he wasn’t certain on this topic though that was primary a matter of the weather, it depended on the weather, the wind, if it desisted the lift would probably re-open, it was more information than we had before while changing pretty much nothing.

We paused in the restaurant at the top of the lift.  It took a while but i suddenly noticed they had WIFI, the first real connection with a world beyond our holiday.   eMails, replies to some messages id sent for Christmas and New Year… broad spectrum seasonal spamming to the once familiar and past work colleagues, not friends or even frequent familiars such as those here with me.  Little else.. I was already aware of the real events of the week, Charlie Hebdo, Daud was never long disconnected and had made us loosely aware of that news, though probably not yet in any detail.  The world is full of so many unnecessary evils that we do unto each other, oddly it often one unworthy degrading and monstrous act that will be used as the rational for another.  Its astonishing at times how we rush to solace and safety in the darkness to escape the dark and how difficult civilisation if not individuals find it to hold true to it wiser and better judgements.  An endless battle against the degrading gravity of our more base, cheap and small instincts, its always there it seems, waiting to take every stronger hold whenever troubles set in, whenever the better intentions would be most tested and of most value they loose their footing, gravity wins and down the snake we go.  That’s not exactly the optimism of the moment, these are the reflections of after about a topic barley considered back then.

On that day i was on a mountain with low hanging clouds in the company of people who, like myself might struggle to do world improving things but no more than that, things were quiet, relaxed and i had an email from a most amusing and interesting person to digest, a person I’d actually only met the once and briefly.   Supplier & work meetings, some time ago – not customarily the place for encountering people at their most interesting or multifaceted, the real life equivalent to the social media of linkedin status updates.

 Hochzillertal Hochfügen

Ski Day 5 – Mayrhofen .. Zell am Ziller -> Gerlos -> Zell Am Ziller [3]

The timing of things all worked out surprisingly well, especially as the lift we were on to get back wasn’t quite the lift we thought it was and it wasn’t quite going to where i thought it would do. Not that we were massively out, just enough out to render us a little uncertain, suddenly there was more than one gondola each with its own version of a top. Daud’s meeting place so clear when viewed from other angles now seemed to have options but as we reached the top of our next connection it was just in time to receive his inquiring phone call, unnecessary as we could see his bright and familiar jacket through our gondola window. Also through the window i’d glanced something more interesting and less familiar, another little race course but this one was one of those were you actually go down together and race your friends.

I forgot what that was called but remembered for the apparently hazardous mania it had brought to the winter Olympics .. transpired to be one of the most interesting parts of those games, but not all together the safest. While it wasn’t clear that this was angled all that well for the beginning of the intended route home it had shone out and called to me, i just want to go down these things, in much the same way when as a child i’d been unable to leave the mountain streams and rivers of Switzerland alone and none to professionally dammed.

There was only room for four in the line up, Charlie was not so inclined but the others indulged my fervent and clear enthusiasm. As i approached a thought occurred that i would rather not have any need to overtake or conflict for space, it wasn’t really about racing but i might have felt the need, better to get clear of any clustering earlier, let the others race. So i went for the furthest start box with the closest line , the first flag. It didn’t disappoint while the track was again overly undemanding, well it would probably all to risky on a more vigorous gradient, the efforts of the group made up for it and was available after the fact as a video download. Milton was a tidy back marker while Cirrus and Daud actively races, coming quite close at times and equally very far away at others, as Daud opted to play down the role of the flags in these proceedings and take a more direct route. It did all right by him as he ended this little bought ahead, if somewhat contestedly so.

This time we made our first few connections back and were reassured by the timings displayed on the lifts as their closing time. The temperature was dropping and in early Jan a little bit of sun disappearance goes a long way, the wind got up, on a very long char lift with an unusual L shaped kink in it. We were not warm.

Gerlos Ski Chair Lift
Chair Lift

Mountain Top View Snow Skiing Zell Am Ziller

Up on high above Zell am Ziller the mood for stopping took over the group once more, Cirrus seemingly having gone ahead was in this way cut off from the rest of us. A hot chocolate perhaps, there’s something very suited to ski accompanying about hot chocolate. We hadn’t quite completed our lolling about when someone came wondering over, it was hard to determine what this was about, though it sounded like a question on the first couple of times, it wasn’t a question, it was something to do with the mountain patrol people and they were offering the now not unfamiliar advisory notice about Gondolas shutting.
Time then to head down, as the ski patrol people mounted their snow-mobile and also headed off a sort of very loose herding.

Dusk Light Mountain Skiing
Evening Skiing – Sun Descends

I’ve never seen Milton move so fast, a veritable bullet down as the idea of the closing Gondola perturbed him no end. Daud on the other hand was struggling, what effort he had in him, having rolled himself out of his hotel, was done. The Gondola was happily running, we headed down.. In the morning i’d spotted a little app kiosk for the http://www.skiline.cc thing … there were people using it but having not seen any of my tracking info, videos or photos it seemed worth a look.

I was quite chuffed when the loiterers behind who were peering at the device and wondering when i might not be between them and their turn, commented “oh, you go far” and seemed impressed, going on to note the lack of a lunch break… they had a keen eye, these additional screen inspectors .. i didn’t indulge to much in reviewing the days, feeling my blocker status so watched a video, printed a couple of days out on something akin to uber-sized receipt roles.

Graph Ski Tracker BMW Mountain
https://www.bmw-mountains.com/en/BMW-Mountains Ski Tracker

In the end as it transpired this was the longest days skiing of the holiday, after all we had managed to migrate fully from one end to the other – we’d completed all that we really could, somehow in spite of or oddly due to  my preparation for the day, i’d finally gotten to grips with skiing again, we’d had a comedy race which had been successfully recorded (courtesy of skiline) for posterity and been among the last to head down on the gondola, a pretty good day.

Ski Day 5 – Mayrhofen .. Zell am Ziller -> Gerlos -> Zell Am Ziller [2]

The world can be so odd – retrospectively predictable in its contrary ways – i was in a mental fog for sure, the world sort of quiet, a little remote & detached almost serene.. All week Id struggled to ski properly, I’d been relatively diligent and careful to underplay the après ski and too get a decent level of sleep & each day my skis had failed to obey me to the anticipated extent..

I couldn’t quite believe it at first, presumed it was the fog impeding my judgement perhaps but as the runs went on there seemed less and less doubt somehow in my detached malaise, not hung over, not drunk but still not quite in touch with things I’d found my skiing. It shouldn’t be – it was day 5 the legs should probably at any rate be feeling it, the toe was glowing and any notable thoughts seemed highly improbable … Yet it was going better than I could recall it going, not only this holiday but for many many efforts before that.

Gerlos Power Line Snow Mountain
Power Lines In The Snow
Automatic Photo Point Elephany Zell Am Ziller
Scan Your Pass & Take A Photo
Ski Gerlos - Zell am Ziller - Mountain and Lift
Ski Gerlos – Zell am Ziller – The Far End

By the time we were closing in on the far side of the resort Daud had emerged from his hibernation, made his way back into the world and been in contact. He had some way to come to get over to us, we suggested a meeting point that was on the cusp of the way back while we’d then headed on to the further end of the piste map.

Ski Sign Gerlos
Ski Sign

There was a short but decent run over that side – the black 86 above – it ended with a drag lift, not everyone’s favourite but you can have too much comfort and the T bars – and there’s something missing when they’re not about.  Not too many of them mind, least not on the longer runs … don’t want to be over doing matters – may as well just strap on those skinny Langlauf skies, decide this exhausting, speed and all round general entertainment depleted stuff is nowhere near the desired levels of tedious and/or exhausting and set about climbing up the mountain.

In summary then its good to have some T-Bar drag lifts and they did.

While the others lunched i skied my way back toward the valley where the connection back was located, it seemed like something to do.  I then headed back up, realising only once i was on the way back down that i couldn’t entirely remember exactly at the bottom of which piste i’d left the others…they were down there somewhere & according to the text update ending their lunch about now.  This dawning notion that i might need to think about where i was going came at a timely juncture allowing for a pause and a course alteration, arriving back at the chairlift just as the others, skies reapplied, were shuffling along toward it.

There are not so very many runs over that side of the region and despite the short juncture of our visit, it seemed we were missing out on little by heading back the way.

Ski Day 5 – MORNING Mayrhofen .. Zell am Ziller -> Gerlos -> Zell Am Ziller [Return]

I woke to a most unbuzzing feeling – the stomach in moderate objection and the head floating and drifting about me.  A little bit frazzled and unfocused i followed what i knew to be true, from past days rituals and undemanding thought, it was time to get up, get dressed and head down for breakfast… It wasn’t the fasted and most efficient of such efforts and when i got down to the breakfast room there was a stumbling block, i was none too hungry.  Difficult to prescribe whether it was potato off last night still occupying all my digestive energies or some other gift still loitering from the evening before but i couldn’t really face too much of this. Cereal and some drinking, aside from that i made rolls of ham and cheese from the morning portions (as i did every morning..only today i had more left overs to play with) and meandered my way back to the room.

Collect things and out to the station for a return to Zell Am Ziller, the most rounded, interested and seemingly expansive of the ski areas around here.  This is what had been agreed – i cant say i recall much of what filled the time between breakfast and arriving at Zell but i can say we were all there aside from Daud.  Daud was not here, he would not be joining us this morning.  My left foots little toe was now not its customary size, shape and colour,quite the uncomfortable fellow traveler looking back at me as i sought to achieve something through inspecting it.

The story went that Cirrus had heard someone outside his room, walking past in the morning and offering a “What the …. has happened here?!?” He’d taken little notice but when they had gotten up they’d seen the toppled sideboard, the lone glove, the dishevelled de-pegged rugs (the floor in their hotel was covered by long rugs that were stapled/pinned to the floor – only no more).. His fellow inhabitants among our group had a theory, it went along these lines … Daud had come back last night or rather this morning at an unknown juncture, having made it all the way back to the hotel he’d gotten up some stairs, then either presumed he was all the way back or had run out of steam and set about nesting in the corridor, lying down, mistaking the rug for his bed sheets he’s grabbed hold and tugged them free to cover himself… it made for a distantly possible theory and a brilliantly amusing mental picture.

The bus  connection confused even those who had conducted themselves in a more sensible manner the night before.  At first i thought it was just me but there was nothing familiar about the route it took, same little red ski though – while i may not have paid much attention to landmarks last time, through the mental fog i couldn’t escape the sense that something was quite different.  When eventually i got round to mentioning my thoughts about the route i was not alone, Charlie had also been left wondering on the same matter.  We were correct, that was a bonus, the bus arrived at the desired destination only from the opposite direction that it did last ti

Zell Am Ziller Piste Map Skiing
Piste Map – Zell Am Ziller

Having approached from the opposite direction the bus pulled into the Rosenalmbahn I,instead of its close neighbour, the Wiesenalmbahn.. Everyone on the bus was getting out, so we all gathered up our things and did what we had been doing and followed the direction of majority travel – diligent compliance to the wisdom of the crowd, that can never go wrong..  Well not quite everyone had opted to make it off the bus, something we noticed as the doors closed, the bus drove off and Milton looked out at us.  He knew we were getting off, he’d been stood right with us on the bus.. we just looked at each other Cirrus, Charlie and Me, stupified, amused, bemused and just a little bit disbelieving… to be fair this wasn’t quite a first instance of such things for Milton but it was the first on this trip .. there was something horribly brilliant about it, it might even mean a lot of waiting around for his return but for the moment it seemed a little worth it.

There was the hope that the bus would stop again at the Wiesenalmbahn and that he might be able to make his way from there, either way there was little we could do here and headed up where the crowds seemed to flow, up the escalators, where sure enough we found the ski lift waiting.

Things were to work out almost ideally again with a call from Milton to explain that he was indeed let out by the other lift and would swap over lifts where they intersect at the middle stations.. What doesn’t make a lot of sense it that somehow as we pulled into the middle station he had arrived and was waiting to get into a gondola, he rejoined us.  Quite how he had arrived here before us and not just before but sufficiently before such that he was able to get off his lift, walked across to our lifts middle station and all before we’d arrived – seemed improbable, Milton is not the worlds fastest moving man and yet here he was… improbable but really exceedingly handy.

Ski Day 4 – Mayrhofen – ICE BAR (3)

At some point on day two or there about, i had opted to remove the visor from my ski goggles – an act that would normally render them somewhat less than useful, however mine were camera goggles and while the goggles had proven since their first outing to be off questionable quality the video remained quite the handy way to keep a record of the days.  The visor by this, only the third or forth time of use, was so blotchy as to present quite a vision obstructing challenge, so while the visorless goggles provided no practical assistance nor did they inflict any additional impediments.

On the penkenbahn there were two Scottish chaps sharing the lift down with us, they started talking too us on the back of apparently recognising me and my visorless goggles from earlier in the day.  I have no such recognition but they were not the first to notice, not even the first to bring it up… i think someone had even advised me about the clearly less than subtly missing element ..

By now the sun was gone and Mayrhofen appeared beneath, yellow lights shining up in the dark, it was the first time we’d seen Mayrhofen from above, having skied in other areas since the general cloudy fogs of the first day.

At the base of the Penkenbahn there remained the ICE bar, there were only three of us on this occasion so the act of negotiating a mutually acceptable social forum was that bit simpler, all voting parties were socially  lubricated if only most moderately so & it was just so damnably conveniently just right there..  So we headed in … No Cider here … hmmmm .. Once more unto the Jaeger Tee it would need to be .. once more

Mayrhofen ICE bar
Mayrhofen ICE bar By Penkenbahn

After being in there for a bit Damon came to the realisation that a fair chunk of his ski school were also in there, near the back and he wanted to go and meet up with them.  Along with the Irish contingent from the ski school & their friends, there was also the instructor, a man who went by the mantle Wolfie.   He in turn had given the mantle ‘Speedy’ to Damon, which he explained was due to a lack of a natural propensity for turning.

Between investing time in alcohol and the girls of his group Wolfie shared some other stories, though the clarity of his speech was by now on the decline, he had been a world cup down hill skier, this i knew from Damon.  He’d gone 130/140 or something close to that down the “Harakiri” (Austria’s steepest marked run, the 78 per cent), had been bricking it and taken three turns to come to a stop, all most impressive stuff – he was also Stephan Eberharter’s room mate from a time on the world cup circuit.

A day without fluids or much in the way of sustenance – along with it being among the longer days skiing seemed to have an impact, offering efficacy enhancing qualities to the chemical reaction occurring within my system.  Id slowed my intake of alcohol anyhow, the sweetness of the Jaeger Tee’s on which i was stuck, quickly proving too much having already had two up upon the mountain.

It was quite the oddest thing one side of my brain seemed largely to operate unimpeded – remembering with an unusual level of efficiency .. one of the worlds great mislayer of things and forgetor of desirable next steps – it had a most full and clear notion of the things needed to be sure were in place – jacket, phone, boots (these having been removed around the time we’d entered), it had decided that this now was all quite enough .. what it wasn’t able to do was in act all it wanted to efficiency through the other half, the half responsible for implementing such thoughts.  The most telling evidence of this came after i had successfully retrieved my jacket from the mass of clothing upon the floor, Damon asked for his, my crouched self turned back and rummaged some more… then upon getting confirmation of having located it, i sought to lean in and drag it forth… my tired crouching legs wobbled, i failed to respond and instead of re-balancing they quaked, gave way and i rolled backward like a partially upturned tortoise – impressive stuff.  Seldom to never can i remember my head being so peculiarly segmented, one side so well aware and able to spectate upon the spluttering chuntering seized up efforts of the other …  The phone was the central concern – a work phone – I’ve lost a work blackberry before now, Ischgl some years ago, on the last day and found that moderately embarrassing, eager not to repeat… found it, mislaid it without moving it, found it again .. arguably not the finest of thinking times but very pleased with how it all worked out..

Damon and I headed back to our hotel leaving a still happily absorbed Daud  to some more life in the ICE bar.  Damon had a locker, so no stuff to hoick about, i had no locker, it would have served me poorly, what with the moving around and skiing different days in different ski areas.  It was not early, it probably hadn’t been early for a while now &  as such the hotel locker room was locked, leaving the smuggling to room maneuver the only available option.  Damon suggested a quick turn around and a heading off for dinner, it was clear this was a most solid idea.

Back in town we returned to yesterdays restaurant of choice, i’m not sure why, i heavily suspect it wasn’t my call and was simply happy to be making strides toward the end goal of eating stuff.. (http://www.sporthotel-manni.com/en/restaurant.html) We filled up, targeting some hefty stuff, for the first time i went for a starter , Goulash soup – with Damon suggesting bread as an accompaniment – it went down well, then potato, a form of hefty old Rösti, with egg, metal platter or greasy … not the meal of choice on most days but it was different and the eyes had fixed their not yet clear gaze upon tomorrow.

Back at our hotel Damon found his phone (doubling up into the role of alarm clocks) was not with him, he was a little perturbed by this and having rifled about confirmed its absence… we should go back, check the restaurant, why not, its only a small town, no more than 10-12 minute walk – no harm… Back out we went..

Today really was quite a good day – a few self created bumps but Damon emerged with his phone, found by the seats where we’d been sitting … and for all that interesting..