For­get the bus­tle, it’s all calminAlm

You’re more likely to hear church bells than pop mu­sic in this tran­quil ski re­sort, Gran­tFeller re­ports

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

SKI RE­SORTS nor­mally re­sound to the con­stant hum of shut­tle buses, t h e e x c i t a b l e shouts of tourists rac­ing to be first to the lifts and the un­bear­able boom of Euro­trash pop echo­ing from a myr­iad of bars. But Maria Alm is dif­fer­ent. Morn­ing is gen­tly bro­ken by the peal of church bells and chil­dren gig­gling on their way to school, the pace of life — off the slopes, any­way — rarely revs up and the smiles of the lo­cals are never forced. It doesn’t mat­ter how good the snow is, how rav­ish­ing the scenery, this is vil­lage life at its most com­fort­ing and au­then­tic.

It’s one of the rea­sons Maria Alm, a small Aus­trian re­sort close to the bor­der with Ger­many, is of­ten re­ferred to as a “hid­den gem”. Yes, that’s an overused phrase but this mu­nic­i­pal­ity, nes­tled in the mid­dle of the Hochkoenig ski re­gion, is the per­fect ex­am­ple of the sleepy, small re­sort ski fans thought no longer ex­isted in Europe.

That’s not to say the skiing is sleepy. There’s 150km of piste in this area, stretch­ing up past Dien­ten to Muhlbach, and it’s only a short, free bus ride from Maria Alm be­fore you’re at the gate­way to per­fectly groomed runs for all abil­i­ties. In truth, the most ex­pe­ri­enced skiers may, af­ter the first three

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