It’s finally Spring in Austria! Compared with our last 2 winters here, this one has been quite a change. It snowed at least once every week, with some storms lasting a few days. It once snowed for 4 days straight with almost a meter of snow. All this white stuff meant good skiing in the local mountains, and we finished the season with 18 ski days this year.
The weird thing for me is that unlike the US, nothing really changes or stops when it snows. Kids go to school – there are no snow days. I go to work, get groceries, and go out. They are much better about clearing the highways and everyone has snow tires, but otherwise everyone just goes about their daily lives as if the snow wasn’t there.
It has generally been a fun winter, but I’m really looking forward to some warmer, sunny days. Here’s a quick review of what we’ve been up to the last few cold, dark months.
We did a lot of skiing in the local mountains, but also enjoyed a few weekends away in Zell am See, Mayrhofen, and Sölden in Tirol. The weather, the conditions, and especially the après-ski were all great. The music they play usually consists of goofy party songs in German or old American songs from the 80s. Anywhere else they would be terrible, but on the mountain with a beer, it’s perfect.
Unfortunately, the really cold weather started too late in the year for many of the lakes to freeze, so we didn’t have as many opportunities to skate. Instead we spent some time exploring the Christmas markets in December in Nuremburg, Munich, and of course Villach. We did manage to visit the Weissensee for the first time this year. It’s an 11 km long lake with several skating tracks, where the Dutch speed skating team (and tons of their fans) come to train and race.
We also decided to enjoy some winter sports as spectators for a change and attended a world cup giant slalom race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. It´s only about a 30 minute drive and we got to cheer on Ted Ligety to a victory with a few other Americans in the crowd. We also went to a ski jumping event in Planica, Slovenia. Seeing the jump in person, I realized these guys are even crazier than I thought.
Here are a few photos of our Winter 2013…
At the Weissensee on one of several 6km long skating tracks.
The finish line at the Giant Slalom.
View of the ski jump at Planica.
Close up of one of the brave jumpers to give you some perspective on how big the hill is.
The beautiful Austrian Alps – ski heaven!
A photo opp at the top of the slope in Tirol.