Sunday, December 9, 2007


We enjoyed our time in Austria so much that we decided to come back the following weekend for a little skiing.

In search of good early season snow and an old-school Alpine village, we chose Ischgl, a major resort in Tyrol, as our destination. Though its international fame is perhaps limited by a nearly vowel-free name, Ischgl is quite well known in Austria and Germany as one of the best resorts in the eastern Alps.

Nature did not disappoint, offering a heavy snowfall the night we arrived with reasonably good weather for the rest of the weekend. The slopes were vast beyond the North American capacity for description. We simply don't have areas like this (60+ lifts, 250km of groomed trails, upload capacity of 80,000 skiers per hour.) Despite the massive ski infrastructure, and the fact that every hotel in town was full, we never had to wait in line for anything, and untracked powder remained easily accessible for days after the last snowfall.

The tableau was tempting enough to lure my mom out of a self-imposed, 12-year ski retirement. She joined me for the morning's skiing, then watched Miles for the afternoon so Lisa could join me on the slopes. (I know, this deal worked out pretty well for me.)

Although Ischgl lies in Austria, its slopes join with those of Samnaun in Switzerland for truly multinational ski experience. The last time Lisa and I skied across an international frontier (between France and Italy in 2003), it led to a proposal and an engagement ring. It was hard to top that experience, but we still enjoyed the cosmopolitan feeling of sailing past a customs booth and dropping off a ridge into a different country.


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