GM Blog: More Austria

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Our time in Austria has been amazing.  Only twice did I ride the same lift more than once.  Otherwise, it is a new lift for every run.  The only thing better than the lifts is the amazing views, the good company and food!

THURSDAY - ISCHGL - lift access brings you to Austria or Switzerland…your choice.  Highest peak about 2700m or 8858 feet.  44 lifts.


We don’t need no stinking mazes!  Not a maze in sight and it all works out okay.

Orange bubble chair

The orange bubble chair was pretty cool but we all agreed that orange probably is not a color the USFS approves of.  The bubbles were luxurious, especially when it’s cold.  We skied in sunny conditions so we did not use them much.  The down side is wind and vandalism/graffiti.

Chair Storage

Pictured above – underground storage – amazing!  Because bubble chairs can get damaged in high winds, they are parked in storage every night.  Most of the storage was underground, so it’s unapparent – but don’t be fooled, it is there.

Sledding  (called rodeln)

After the ski area closes the grooming machines hit the hill and groom out a 7 km “ski back” to the village trail.  At 7 pm the lift opens back up and brings you from the base of the village at 1400 m to about 1500 m (almost 5000 ft.)

Here you pick up a sled and start your journey down.  You pretty much steer and brake with your feet and reach some impressive speeds.  If you miss a turn you are in the dark and probably in the woods or off the side of the mountain.  I did a lot of feet dragging so I didn’t go too fast but fast enough for a thrill and to know that I want to do it again!  I can’t imagine we could offer this in the US – too much litigation.  But our friends from Le Massif took a lot of notes so we may have to make a visit to Canada.

FRIDAY – SOLDEN -  34 lifts.  Our goal at Solden was to ski the Big 3.  Three peaks, each over 10,000 ft include Schwarze Schneide, Tiefenbachkogl and Gaislachkogl.  We were able to get 2 out of 3.  Highlights for me were skiing the glacier and through the tunnel trail.  

Who carves a tunnel through a mountain at 10,000 ft to get to the other side?  The Austrian’s do!

This gondola transports 3,600 ppl/hr from the village of Solden. Notice the cabin storage is on top and it is fully automated.  Brand new this year.

Also new this year is the 3SGaislachkogl - its cabins fit about 24ppl.  The top terminal is built on permafrost and can be moved.  Another engineering feat that blows my mind!

Ready for the 1st run of the day –Italian Dolomites in background.  Buon giorno Don!!

Peak 3 viewing platform – good cure for my fear of heights!

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