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A Winter Story

Austria winter 4I’m totally a “green” slope skier (think major beginner, even after several years).  I am very happy and content on the easy slopes and feel absolutely no need to extend myself beyond my comfort level.  I may ski one or two times a winter locally, with the possible addition to a trip up to Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont (great resort, by the way – very family oriented).  Anyway, several years ago we decided to head to Wildschonau, our favorite Austrian valley for a bit of a skiing adventure.  Normally we visit Austria during the summer, so this was to be a totally new experience.  Imagine it – snow covered chalets, horse drawn sleighs – straight out of the picture books!  Of course when we arrived they were having a record LOW snowfall, which meant that the easy ski slopes had almost no snow, certainly not enough for skiing.  Having made the overseas trek, we were determined to get the ski experience, which meant taking the lifts up up up to the higher (read “more difficult”) slopes.  Let me just say that slopes in Austria, at least where we were, are NOTHING like what I was used to skiing on in the states.austria winter 3 Groomed – no, making snow -no, sheer drops off the mountain with pretty much no barrier – yes.  You get my “drift”  (sorry for the snow pun – couldn’t resist!).  Well, I gave it my best shot.  Hubby and daughter were having a blast – we had all started skiing at about the same time – but they took to it naturally and were becoming quite adept – not so with lil’ ole me.  It took me HOURS to get down the mountain that day – for just one run.  At one point I even committed the major skiing faux pas of removing my skis and attempting to walk down, only to be severely reprimanded by some random German Fraulein – “YOU WILL PUT YOUR SKIS BACK ON AND SKI DOWN THIS MOUNTAIN!”  I meekly complied and somehow made it to the bottom.  I had a few choice words for hubby about how this was the worst vacation ever, I would never ski again etc. austria winter 2 He did the only thing a smart husband would do – plied me with really good hot chocolate, and then hired me my own private ski instructor for the remaining 2 days of the trip.  What a difference a day, (and a rather cute local farmer turned ski instructor)makes.  My next day of skiing was a blast – ski instructor was patient, kind, attentive (after all he only had me to take care of), and did a fantastic job building my confidence back up.  He was already booked for the following day, but not to worry – hubby had arranged for a charming gal from Amsterdam to work with me for the day.  Worst vacation ever had turned into the vacation of a lifetime!  While my family was off on their own ski adventure, I was tackling slopes and paths I would never have tried alone.  This picture pretty much says it all.sue ski austria

Needless to say – we did get some lovely snowfall on that trip which turned everything so picturesque.  Eating goulash soup outdoors up at the ski lodge on the mountain, watching skiers come down the slopes with torches on New Year’s eve, followed by the most beautiful fireworks across the valley – so many amazing wonderful memories.austria winter

**Photos (except for one of me!) borrowed from the  Wildschonau Facebook page – it really does look that amazing!

Happy Winter Everyone!

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