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Ischgl: A Smuggler’s Paradise

Ischgl: A Smuggler’s Paradise

Spring skiing can be the finest of the year. When the sun’s growing warmth turns the hardened early morning snow into softened meadows of glistening corn crystals, you can effortlessly swish down the mountain before lingering over lunch on the wooden terraces of the mountain huts. After the long months of thermal underwear, it’s now […]

Discovering the Kingdoms in the Clouds

Discovering the Kingdoms in the Clouds

In these austere times, it’s refreshing to realise that sometimes the most valuable European travel experiences are also the cheapest – such as trekking across the Alps and staying in mountain refuges. These huts stretch in a long chain from Slovenia and Austria in the east to the Maritime Alps of France in the west. […]

’This is Not Heidi Land’

’This is Not Heidi Land’

“Everything that made the mountains charismatic has been largely taken away from us by people from the city,” says Reinhold Messner, as he glares at me from behind an enviably thick fringe of hair, as if I was responsible for this alleged outrage. Messner is known to be an uncomfortable interviewee and today, as he […]

Alpine Motorcycle Diaries

Alpine Motorcycle Diaries

O.K., so it wasn’t a motorcycle, we were on a Vespa. But let’s not begin by splitting hairs. Zigzagging through the Alps on two wheels is a humbling experience, whether on a Ducati or a small motorbike, what the Germans call a Zwiebacksäge a “Zwieback Saw”, for apparent reasons. I was sceptical when my husband […]

High-Altitude Euphoria

“Four hours,” a German colleague had said. A strapping, beer belly-free 30-something, he clarified: “You’ll need about four hours to reach the Pühringerhütte,” a hikers’ hut nestling above a clear lake at 1,638 metres. Well, it took us over six hours and some copious sweating in the July heat, what with iron ladders to be […]

Sölden: The Las Vegas of Ski Resorts

However often you go skiing in Austria, there is always a yet-to-be-had thrill. For me, in Sölden, a giant ski area in the Ötztal of western Tyrol, it was my first taste of night skiing. At 17:30 on Wednesdays, the state-of-the-art Gaislachkogl lift reopens after an army of snowcats groom the long run down to […]

On the Mountain

On the Mountain

I find myself at over 2,500 meters, surrounded by nothing but sky, in one of East Tirol’s most beautiful mountain ranges.  It is at this point, here, in the midst of the Karnischen Alps boardering Eastern Austria and Northern Italy that I find peace. It is the first time in the nine years since I […]

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