Ski Ischgl, Austria

Written by Hank Martin in W. Europe

In the dark and falling snow I can hear the grumbling of the gondola and see the egg shaped containers whisk people up the mountain for night skiing and sledding. I arrived here yesterday with a group of eight people, and awoke this morning to several feet of fresh powder blanketing the mountain. This is the kind of ski trip you always hope you'll have, but can never fully predict.

Today we started up the mountain together, huddled in a single egg, bouncing and swaying from our excitement as we got closer and closer to the top.

If you're looking for a way to compensate for missing grandma's New Year's dinner, or need to work off grandma's dinner, go to Ischgl
We passed sharp rock outcroppings on the way up, covered by huge drifts of snow. Directly below us a single, groomed trail hugged the mountain side as it spiraled down to Ischgl, Austria.

All day we laid first tracks through mounds of fresh powder and huge bowls. When we needed a change of pace we took the duty free groomer into Switzerland. Ischgl borders Switzerland, and you can actually go up from the Austrian side of the Alps and drop down into the Swiss alps on the other side.

While you should ski into Switzerland this story is all about Ischgl, the small village on the western side of Austria that gained notoriety for its end of the season festival, titled top of the mountain concert and featuring international performers. In the past people such as Jon Bon Jovi, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, and Elton John have performed live and helped end the ski season with a bang. In addition, Iscghl has an annual Krampus run that will be going in to its twelfth year this year on December 5th (see our feature on Krampus for what this is all about).

If you're looking for a way to compensate for missing grandma's New Year's dinner, or need to work off grandma's dinner, go to Ischgl. During the holidays you'll encounter crowds, but you'll also get to experience five separate firework sites around the mountain and live music. Ischgl is an apres ski and celebrity haven, so if you like to work as hard on your skies as you do in the bar at night, then Ischgl is the place for you.

Come with a group, if it's big enough you'll probably all be separated after the first run, and meet again at the end of the day, or with just a friend or two. But, either way, be prepared to ski a lot. With over 140 miles of pistes this award winning ski area will leave you continually searching for more. The problem is not that skiing here leaves much to be desired, but rather, once you hit that first line down the mountain, or finish your first day in one of the many restaurants or bars at the base of the mountain, you'll be salivating like a dog for more. This mountain conditions you like Pavlov did, it makes you yearn for just one more run, then one more, then one more. Eventually, and always too soon, your day is over and then your trip. So enjoy for as long and as often as you can, for there are few places like Ischgl, Austria during ski season.


Hank Martin

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Traveling for a world education and writing about the life lessons learned.

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