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Nassfeld: Frontier Fantasies

Nassfeld: Frontier Fantasies

I flung open the window to the balcony of my room in the Gartnerkofel hotel, breathed in the icy air, and peered out over a vast forest of heavily snow-laden trees. It was like waking up in Narnia. The hotel is built at an altitude of 1500 m, so for the first time on a […]

Saalbach’s Romantic Mountain Retreat

Saalbach’s Romantic Mountain Retreat

I kicked the new snow off our boots and laid the skis against the dark wood of the Pfefferalm hut. Inside an open fire was crackling in the corner. Some of the wood smoke had escaped the chimney and was spreading a pungent mist across the room. Through the haze I could just make out […]

Winter is coming

The local ski industry breathed a sigh of relief after the heavy late-November snowfall in the Austrian Alps. White slopes before Christmas are a guarantee of winter tourism and skiing has remained, without a doubt, the number one sport in the Alpine Republic. Traditionally, Austrian ski resorts are nestled between wooden chalet villages and tree-lined […]

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 […]

Taming the Slopes of Kitzbühel

Taming the Slopes of Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is a place of dreams for skiers. This small town in the Tyrolean Alps is home to the Streif Piste – surely the most iconic 2.6km of snow on the planet. Since 1931, the brutally steep racecourse with its 80m jumps, tight corners and ferocious compressions, has hosted the Hahnenkamm classic, the world’s most […]

Film on Skis: the Freeride Festival

Film on Skis: the Freeride Festival

Careening down the mountains without rules, goals or even a set course: Extreme snowboarding, also known as freeriding, isn’t for the faint-hearted. The Freeride Film Festival, from 14-15 November, enables those with a passion for snow to indulge it in the safety of WUK, far away from plunging mountain ravines. The festival is on tour […]

Acceptable Risk?

Acceptable Risk?

When Dutch Prince Johan Friso was hit by an avalanche, while skiing off-piste near the Alpine village of Lech am Arlberg on 17 February, high-mountain safety leaped to the top of the news agenda. Buried beneath the snow, the 41-year-old prince’s oxygen supply was cut off for 15 to 20 minutes, leaving him with brain […]

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 […]

The Ski Bummers Blues

It’s little more than a huddle of farmhouses – a satellite village of a glitzy Alpine ski resort. You’ll find the ski bums at night if you go through the low door into the village’s only significant drinking hole – a cavernous cellar bar which profits from the lack of better alternatives. The bums are […]

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