March 17th, 2010

Caspian

Mountains

Standing on the lip, on the edge, on the peak of a slope is a little like the moment before flight. For one instant I am hanging in limbo and then... Sometimes skiing is the closest thing I know to weightlessness.
It was good: good snow, wide clear pistes, long mountain silences. Easy and regular and cheap buses and trains meant we could go on each day to somewhere new, somewhere different. We skiied Fieberbrunn and St Johan in Tyrol, Waidring-Winklmoos and St Ulrich, Kitzbuhel and Saalbach-Leogang. I have skiied those sections of the Hahnenkamn men's world cup downhill which are open to the casual skier (things you hear yourself saying and then wonder at 'I would rather do the world cup downhill than a rope drag lift')* and neither fallen nor struggled too much. I have survived another black at the same place (Kitzbuhel) that had a 1 in 2 slope and rather a lot of ice on it (and didn't fall on that, either, though language was uttered). I have eaten rather a lot of apfelstrudel (though I left the germknudel to the marquis). All the resorts were lovely, apart from Saalbach, which was a bit icey when we were there, and has slightly irritating connectively. Waidring and Kitz in particular are heavenly -- if you have a shot at one or two days skiing in the Austrian Tyrol, Waidring is the place to go (unless you're a beginner, it's too small for a week but for a day it's delightful -- a huge bowl with runs of all levels and fabulous views).
The castle was delightful and rather barking (it's Schlosshotel Rosenegg, for those who like castles).
*I stick to this view. I hate rope drags. A rope drag broke my rib once... Black runs are far less scary.**
** European black runs. Those single and double black diamond runs you have in Canada and the USA are another matter entirely.
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