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
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