One week of great skiing, après ski and laughs in the Zillertal Arena of the Austrian Alps with the Rotterdam gang, reunion part 3.
Mit David (the boarder), Laura (Die Steiff Henne), Eefke (the knee skier), Bas (Mr Jaeger), Erik (Mr Loreal), Philipp (the lazy skier), Kathy (the new recruit)
All our compasses pointed towards the Austrian Alps for the middle of March, where we had a mini-college reunion with friends who lived in Rotterdam in 2004-05. Planes, trains and automobiles got us there – from all corners of Europe (Dublin, Vienna, Luxembourg, Zurich, Madrid, Amsterdam and Munich). Wow, only two of us are living in our home countries – I feel like I should move abroad again J
The Resort: Gerlos
After the crazy week we had in Mayrhofen two years ago (remember the Ski Huette 3000?), Austria was always top of the list. Gerlos is in the same ski area as Mayrhofen, the Zillertal Arena, and I’d never heard of it, probably because 90% of the tourists are Dutch. You don’t hear German on the slopes – you see Dutch cars everywhere and it’s like a mountainous colony of the Netherlands. On the other hand, it does mean the après ski is good, as the Dutch like to party!
The Skiing: Excellent
We had a great week of skiing overall, although we experienced everything from icy slopes to lots of fresh snow along the way. There are over 50 slopes spread across 4 mountains, giving us over 160km of slopes. Mostly red slopes, so suitable for people who can ski a bit, although the blacks are nice and there’s plenty of off-piste skiing. The best thing was how empty the slopes were – it made us all relax so less crashes! We tried everything from funpark jumps to the half pipe and slalom runs. We had a mix of weather all week – from warm sunny days sitting outside getting lunch (8-10C), temperatures dropped to -15C for a couple of days and visibility was horrible for one day.
Technology was great on the slopes too – there were 3 features I loved. First, free wifi at many of the lifts (even at 2,500m you can be connected to the web!). Second, your ski pass tracked your route each day (via www.skiline.cc) and let you know how far you’d skied each day, how many lifts you’d taken and how many vertical metres you’d descended. Pretty cool. Third, on the slalom courses there were timers but also personalised videos of our runs (the videos make us look like were going at a snail’s pace, but to me if felt like I was Alberto Tomba carving past those gates).
The Après Ski: Uitsteikend
Austrian après ski is the best – I love it, as they have a good mix of German après ski songs, mixed in with modern dance, chart music and some classic tunes. Gerlos had 2 main bars, as well as one bar up the mountain. We’d start at Seppi’s, which was on the slopes above Gerlos and had DJ Flex to get people moving with dance beats and house (plus they did the Harlem Shake). After we’d skied down to Gerlos, Cin Cin was the main place – well obligatory if you were Dutch anyway! Too much Dutch carnival music and tall, drunk, middle aged men for my liking.
Our favourite was Little London – “the best place to be for après ski” according to their jingle. This place was hopping from early afternoon – with everything from “Joost is anders geaard” to “La Macarena” to “Respect” to “Wir wollen die Eisbären sehen”. Top notch place to dance away (provided you’d changed out of your ski boots). Plus it had the obligatory pole for dancing around!
The Food: Hearty
Austrian food is great for skiing – portion sizes are great, the food is hearty and fills our appetite. Prices are really reasonable too. The specialties are things like Schnitzel (they have a Schnitzelhuette on the slopes with giant 500g schnitzels); Kaiserschmarrn (pieces of pancake with apple sauce); Kaiserspaetzle (dumplings); Apfelstrudel (yummy – with vanilla sauce). We also had great roast chicken on the slopes (let’s call the restaurant the Hendlhuette). The beer was good too – Zillertal Pils, plus lots of Jaeger to keep the body well oiled.
Joost is anders geaard
Wir wollen die Eisbären sehen
Sex met die kalde
So ein Schoner Tag