Get­ting away from it all

Aus­tria

Woman (UK) - - Contents -

WHY GO?

Be­cause my mother was a French ski cham­pion, I have been go­ing away on ski trips for as long as I can re­mem­ber. I know all too well the dis­ap­point­ment of ar­riv­ing some­where only to re­alise the snow hasn’t fallen yet, or even worse, it has al­ready com­pletely melted. But this is never a con­cern when vis­it­ing Ober­tauern. It’s the high­est ski area in Salzburg­er­land in Aus­tria, with el­e­va­tions up to 2,526 above sea level, and it can prom­ise you one very im­por­tant thing – great snow con­di­tions from the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber right up un­til the start of May. With Salzburg air­port only an hour’s drive away, once you ar­rive in Ober­tauern it­self you can en­joy your hol­i­day with­out hav­ing to re­sort to hir­ing a car, as ev­ery­thing you could pos­si­bly need, in­clud­ing those slopes, are within min­utes of walk­ing.

HERE COME THE SLOPES

Boast­ing 100 km of pistes, about 20 lifts and 31 km of cross-coun­try ski trails, you will not get bored ex­plor­ing Ober­tauern’s ski area (ober­tauern.com). The re­sort can ac­com­mo­date all lev­els, from be­gin­ners to ex­perts, with a ma­jor­ity of blue and red slopes, which make it ideal for a fam­ily trip. The Aus­trian ski school can also tailor teach­ing from be­gin­ners to more con­fi­dent skiers or snow­board­ers. Our ski guide Friedl, a 71-year-old Aus­trian, could fly down the slopes quicker than any of us, and helped us de­velop our tech­nique. What makes Ober­tauern spe­cial is the var­ied alpine land­scape. Each day you can head to­wards a new side of the val­ley, which will bring you dif­fer­ent moun­tain views and make for some great pic­tures.

TICKET TO RIDE

If you think you’re an ex­pert skier and want to chal­lenge your lim­its, take the lift to the im­pos­ing Gam­sleiten 2 piste. One of the steep­est runs in Eu­rope, this is the one for all of the adren­a­line lovers. My legs turned to jelly when we reached the top of the slope, but you will never be more proud of your­self once you look back at what you have achieved when you get to the bot­tom.

OB-LA-DI, OBER­TAUERN

The re­sort also hap­pens to be the place where part of the film Help! was made. This makes it a Bea­tles-fan dream come true, as the whole town pays trib­ute to the English band, and there’s even a statue of them on one of the slopes. Lo­cal ski in­struc­tors were picked to be stunt dou­bles and ap­pear in the film, and we were lucky enough to meet Ger­hard Krings, a lovely man who played gui­tarist George Har­ri­son.

ALL YOU NEED IS APRES SKI

The re­sort is packed with var­i­ous ski huts for any­one want­ing to re­lax with a tip­ple at the end of a busy day on the slopes, and some of them are right at the top of the moun­tains. For a more au­then­tic feel, head to the Lürzer Alm, which serves lo­cal beers on its huge out­door ter­race, and it even has a to­bog­gan to get down to the toi­lets on (very handy when you’re still in your ski boots!). If you fancy some­where a bit more mod­ern, check out the Cin­derella bar – with fur throws and big fire­places it’s the per­fect place for a cock­tail.

WHAT'S TO EAT?

If you’re look­ing for hearty dishes, try the wiener schnitzel (a veal esca­lope in bread­crumbs) or a plate of käs­espät­zle, the Aus­trian ver­sion of mac­a­roni cheese. For those with a sweet tooth, don’t for­get to or­der the kaiser­schmarrn, which takes its name from an em­peror: the fluffly pan­cakes are ripped into pieces, roasted in a pan and served with ap­ple or plum com­pote. It is def­i­nitely a royal treat.

I’M ONLY SLEEP­ING

The four-star Tauern­glockl Ho­tel is in the per­fect lo­ca­tion at the bot­tom of the slopes, so you can en­joy their de­li­cious break­fast buf­fet – with freshly baked bread, Aus­trian cheeses and cured meats – and then jump on your skis to be at the lift in a heart­beat. It’s also only a cou­ple of min­utes walk away from rest of the re­sort – a great ad­van­tage if you want to treat your­self to a nice chilled beer in the many après ski huts sur­round­ing. The ho­tel even has its own sauna, but do re­mem­ber that in Aus­trian cul­ture, saunas are nor­mally vis­ited in the nude.

GET ME THERE!

Crys­tal Ski Hol­i­days of­fers a week’s half board stay at the four-star Ho­tel Tauern­glockl in Ober­tauern, from £669 per per­son (based on two shar­ing) in­clud­ing flights from Gatwick to Salzburg and trans­fers (price given is for de­par­ture on 6 Jan­uary 2018). Di­rect flights to Salzburg are also avail­able from all ma­jor UK air­ports (crys­tal­ski.co.uk; 020 8610 3123).

Sun­shine and snow – what more could you ever need? Get down with the Fab Four on the lo­ca­tion for Help!.

Treat your­self to a plate of tasty kaiser­schmarrn Warm up with a tip­ple on the out­door ter­race at Lürzer Alm

Want a win­ter won­der­land? You’ll find white magic here

Ho­tel Tau­rn­glockl puts you at the heart of the ac­tion

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