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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 […]

Winter tourism up 4.8%

Winter tourism up 4.8%

The winter season 2011/12 saw a sharp rise in Austrian tourism, both native and from abroad, according to a recent survey of Statistik Austria. The total number went up by 4.8% to 16.4 million arrivals, despite falling figures for December 2011 and March 2012 due to weather conditions. At the same time, the number of […]

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 […]

Adopted by Altenmarkt

At its best, people say, Austrian hospitality is luxurious yet also familiar and with a friendliness that seems instinctive rather than trained. Our stay at the Hotel Schartner in Altenmarkt near Salzburg wasn’t a holiday, exactly – it was an adoption: We were the ones adopted. Eldest son Bernhard greeted us with a smile at […]

Mud, Sweat and Tires

It’s far too early on Sunday morning – the morning of my first cyclocross race – the RC Schnecke Wintercup Finale in Vienna. The rain, blown by a howling wind, is rattling against the bedroom windows as I wake up. I look out the window; it’s dark and gloomy and clumps of hardened snow are […]

Grugger Crashes in Kitzbühel

Austrian ski champion Hans Grugger was brutally injured Jan. 20 in a fall on the infamous “Mouse Trap” section on the Streif at Kitzbühel during the training day for the World Cup Ski Competition. Grugger landed on his side, hitting his head on the hard-packed surface of the course and was flown directly to the […]

Gods that Failed

There were great Austrian success stories at the Vancouver Olympics, including glorious team golds for the ski jumpers. But, for many Austrians, the relative failure of the men’s Alpine ski team has been a dominant theme of these Games. After all, Austria is the self-proclaimed  “Number 1” ski nation, and for much of the past […]

Call of The Wild

For snow lovers the call of the wild is getting ever louder as more and more of us seek respite from the madding crowds. During the upcoming high season of the Austrian ski winter, congestion on the groomed ski pistes can sometimes resemble rush hour in Tokyo. That’s not what we have been sold on […]

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