Welcome to Travel Saturday. This time last week I was riding in a ski gondola – with free wifi – posting pictures of the glorious Austrian Alps on my Facebook page. I have skied in France, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia but this was my first time in Austria.
So what is so great about skiing in Austria?
For a start they have the technology. I include the above photo because it is the only old-style chair lift in the Hochkonig ski region. All the other equipment has been built in the past decade. There are chairlifts with seat warmers; the access points work infallibly; everything is just so efficient and well-designed.
You can absolutely rely on the snow here in Austria – 90 per cent of the ski slopes in the Ski Amade region have snowmaking capability. So the ski season runs from the beginning of December until the end of April.
One of the things I love about skiing in Europe is the on-the-mountain hospitality. There is nothing quite so fabulous as skiing up to a gorgeous rustic-looking mountain hut and taking a break on the sun-terrace over a delicious meal, washed down with a local beverage.
The mountain huts in the Hochkonig ski region are for the most part independently run and the standard of service is the highest I have seen skiing anywhere. From the classic schnitzel to this amazing salad with smoked salmon, prawns and potato rosti, it was a pleasure to get fuelled up for the afternoon of ski runs.
A cup of Gluhwein (hot wine) is the perfect way to warm up and the traditional aperitif (or digestif) here is a sparkling shot of schnapse.
I tackled a part of the famous Konigstour – a 32-kilometre tour that takes you zigzagging up and down the pistes without skiing the same run or taking the same lift twice. If you are confident skiing (relatively friendly) red runs you can easily do this amazing ski tour – just follow the yellow or orange signs depending on direction.
But of course the most important part of a ski holiday for me is being up amongst the beautiful landscapes of the mountains. Here in Hochkonig, what constantly draws the eyes is the magnificent mountain range of the ‘High King’ – the jagged crown is a stunning backdrop for a ski holiday in Austria.
Happy ski travel dreams!
I stayed at the Hotel Bergheimat. Prices start at EUR 138 per person per night incl. half board at this mountain hotel up the hill from Muhlbach where the accent is on comfort. For stays from 4 nights or longer prices start at EUR 135 per person per night incl. half board.
If you want to stay in Muhlbach itself and go self-catering try the Haus Wasserbauer, a small pension run by an English couple that is just a couple of minutes bus-ride from the Muhlbach cable car station.