Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Skiing in Austria


When I was younger I was a total ski bunny swooshing down the mountain without a care in the world and I thought I was pretty darn good shooting off piste slaloming through the trees. I even wanted to head in a helicopter to the top of a mountain and ski...total nutter I know and now I feel quite old. I do admit I have missed skiing it has been about 7 years and thats 7 years too long. University, life and my parents paying for everything went out the window along with skiing, oh and none of my friends seem to be that bothered! 

ski amade, maria alm
Anyway an exciting opportunity fell into my inbox in November to go skiing with the Austrian Tourist Board to hit the slopes in Maria Alm and I knew I had to go to get back into the swing of things. So in January I headed to Ski Amade, Hochkonig region in Austria.
travelling from the uk to austria
If you travel with Norwegian Airlines the average cost is only £29.90 one way which is a total bargain and the flight only lasts 1 hour and 55 minutes to Salzburg from Gatwick. The time flew by with free WIFI and in-flight entertainment via my i-Pad, I was in blogging heaven. 

Now usually to get up to a ski resort it takes hours and you end up feeling like you are about to die sick from all the dangerous, crazy turns up the mountain. This is NOT the case driving up to the Hochkonig region of Ski Amade as it only takes an hour from the airport. So in total it takes just under three hours which is crazy especially for skiing and proves you can just go for a short weekend as you will not loose precious skiing time to travelling. 
skiing in ski amade
Ski Amade as a brand has been around since 2001 and is made up of 28 ski areas making it one of the largest in Europe. The Hochkonig region is made up of three resorts: Maria Alm, Dienten and Muhlbach linking up 120km of pistes, 60 runs and 40km of cross country and 33 lifts which will defiantly keep you busy.

Most of our skiing was done on the Konigstour, a ski circuit with panorama pistes and fresh powder making every day skiing a dream. The route covered 32km and we were up 6700m in altitude. If you do some googling you will see that the route is counted amongst one of the most beautiful in the Alps which is pretty impressive for how many resorts there are. As you ski down the views are literally stunning with view points dotted around for a selfie or two.
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Whist swooshing around I also got to test the new Smart Ski Goggles that have an integrated Ski Amade guide programmed. You get a remote which is on your wrist so its easy to use even with gloves, the nifty technology helps you navigate the slopes with ease and they look pretty stylish as well. Not only can you navigate the slopes but you can even count your calories, find a ski hut for a cup of hot chocolate or find the nearest lift. There is no need for a paper map in Maria Alm! To buy these babies it would set you back between £500-£700 which is a pretty hefty price tag but to just rent them for a day its only 19 Euros and you can book them in advance from most of the ski rental shops. 
ski amade goggles
accommodation
Maria Alm is pretty as a picture with wooden huts dotted around, snow filled and open fires in every restaurant. I stayed at the stunning 4* Hotel Eder which was the perfect bit of party along with chill. I fell in love with every inch of the hotel with it's outdoor heated pool in the snow, a bar with fur swing chairs and a stunning spa. The spa has a wide range steam rooms and saunas even with a traditional icy cold bucket to cool you down when you have overheated!
hotel eder
austrian cuisine
The cuisine throughout Maria Alm is all very traditional making you feel warm and cosy inside after feeling like an icicle. Most ski huts and restaurants have regional specialties which of course I tried I cant remember the exact names but I had sausage filled with cheese, a potato dish with sausage which was delicious and my favourite is schnitzel which of course was available at every location. If you are vegan you are in luck as a number of the ski huts serve vegan specialties which is quite unusual when you are high up on the mountain top.

austrian cuisine

On our last day I was treated to limited edition wine created specifically for Ski Amade, 'Ski Amade Wine' we will call it. It's beautiful sipping white wine whilst looking out from the mountain top.You also can't leave Austria without having a good old Schnapps and Apres Ski was great it the little huts, there is the strangest game not sure how safe it is when tipsy but you basically have a hammer and try to hammer a nail with only one hand...surprisingly I was actually really good, I think the prosecco helped a great deal.
ski amade wine
winter landscape in style
There is a lot more to do then just hit the slopes with a pair of ski's, I highly recommend taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the resort to really appreciate the beautiful landscape, take some of those heat pads though as it is chilly. Another way to see the beautiful landscape, admittedly more of a blur is via a toboggan run down the valley. 
ski fashion
There is a dedicated post on 'What to pack for a skiing holiday' but my 9 key essentials are:

Goggles or the Ski Amade ones with an integrated map
Salopettes
Lip Salve
Thermals
skiing in austria
I hope this article has shown that it is possible to head to the slopes for a short weekend with friends and that you should never forget the activities you used to love. If you want more information on planning your next trip to Austria visit: www.austria.info you will not regret it.

snow covered treesskiing landscape
skiing queen
skiing in austria
Skiing in Austria
hotel eder pool
schnapps
hotel eder rooms
hotel eder
hotel eder spa
hotel eder spa
hotel eder restaurant
skiing in austria
food in austria
schnitzel austrian food
hotel eder bar
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