Skiing In The Alps: Alpbach, Austria
Despite growing up mere hours from mountains in a part of the country that is blanketed in snow for much of the winter, neither of us picked up skiing or snowboarding. Britt went a handful of times when she was younger and Rico had literally never stepped foot into a binding. Over the last few years we’ve seen friends take ski trips to the Alps and something about that idea really appealed to us. We joked for a while that we should go to the mountains for a winter long weekend and learn how to ski, and at some point, that joke turned into a serious idea! We committed to giving it a try, asking our family for ski jackets, snow pants, gloves, and other gear for Christmas and booking a 4-day weekend in January.
We wanted to learn somewhere low-key, so Britt looked online to sift through the hundreds of Alpine ski resort, eventually stumbling on the picturesque Austrian town of Alpbach. Alpbach is located in the middle of the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau resort, a small-to-mid-sized area known for its low-key vibe and beginner-friendly slopes. Having already been to (and fallen in love with) Austria, it seemed a no-brainer! We booked our stay at Hotel Böglerhof and rentals and a lesson at SkiCheck. Then we nervously awaited D-day (or should we say ski-day?)!
The hotel was everything we could have imagined, with friendly service, cozy rooms, a great restaurant, beautiful views, a heated pool, and large spa area. After dealing with some confusion around where we were supposed to meet the instructor for our lesson, we got our skis on and hit the bunny hill! Within an hour we were able to glide down a shallow slope and control our speed and direction. By the end of the lesson we were exhausted and ready for a hearty meal, over which we gushed about our success and looked forward to a day of being on our own. We were on a high and confident that skiing was something we would stick with.
Our second full day saw us tackle the slope next to our hotel, which was somewhere between a bunny hill and a blue (Austria doesn’t use the green slope designation). After riding the button lift, we readied ourselves at the top of the hill and felt pits in our stomachs as we stared down what seemed like an endlessly steep hill. We hadn’t done anything like this in our lesson! But we mustered the courage and pushed off. We spent 4 or 5 hours on the hill, getting more and more comfortable with every run. Britt picked up on things very quickly; Rico took some hard falls (and lost his ability to properly turn…) but was making the best of it!
Our ski weekend came to an end so quickly and we felt like we had unfinished business to deal with. Plus, it was just so nice being in the fresh mountain air! On his first day back to work after the trip, Rico decided we couldn’t let the ski season end without hitting the slopes once more and surprised Britt that night with tickets to go back in March! We were out of our minds excited.
We did the exact same thing for our March weekend—Friday to Monday, same hotel, and same rentals. Except this time we hit the big hill right away! It took a couple of hours to get back to where we left off in January, but from there we only got better! Rico remembered how to turn and Britt was looking less and less like a beginner. By the end of the weekend we were racing each other (Britt usually won) and setting challenges to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and sharpen our technique. We still didn’t get on the runs higher up in the mountains, but we know that will come next time.
Speaking of next time, we already have plans for next season: 5 days over Christmas and then a proper, full-fledged week in February! We knew from our first day that we’d be sticking with skiing, and that feeling has only strengthened. We look forward to the adventures skiing will bring over the next few years, and now we’re wondering what else we should push ourselves to learn in adulthood!