Skiing · Travel

Ski Trip Day 3: The big slopes of Kitzbühel

Our second day in Kitzbühel began by attempting to get breakfast in the vastly overcrowded hostel kitchen. Everyone was making food to take up on the slopes for the day. We made our own breakfast before dressing up in our snow gear and heading for the slopes. Indy was feeling sick again and opted to stay in the hostel.

Once we had collected our skis and gotten a bit of lunch from the bakery, the first thing to do was to reattempt the small t-bar Rasmusleiten (A5) that we had done many times the previous day. I had been thinking about the dynamics overnight, and came out the first time with a much better run, only crashing once. Confident, I suggested to Jacqueline that we go up and try the real slopes up on the mountain. We went and bought our skipasses, putting the cards in our jacket pockets, and climbed into the gondola Hahnenkammbahn (A1), the main way up the mountain which lead to the top of the world cup ski slope. The resort was divided up into blue, red and black slopes, in increasing order of difficulty. Our first challenge was the much easier, blue, Asten (20) ski run, which lead from the top of the Hahnenkammbahn (A1) back down to the village. This was the only blue run down this side of the mountain, and so I figured if I couldn’t make it down this run, I wouldn’t be able to come down at the end of the day.

Still being early in the day, the Asten (20) was nice and quiet, and despite several crashes on the way down, I mostly made it okay, except for when we missed one of the corners. The run was mostly through the forest on the lower half, and zig-zagged with nice, easy hairpins. Overall, it was very similar to most alpine cycle descents. Down the bottom, there were a few road crossings, but in the end we made it back to the base. Keen to go again, we took the gondola back up the Hahnenkammbahn (A1). The mountain was now ours to explore.

Jacqueline insisted that I should get practice riding a chair lift, apparently this was something her mother failed to be able to do. The nearest, relatively quiet chairlift was the Walde (A3), which required a short run down the Streif-Familienabfahrt (21). There were gates in front of each of the chair lifts that regulated how many people could make it onto each one. When the gates opened, you had to ski forward onto a block of ice, and have the chair come from behind and scoop you up. Finally, there was a safety bar to pull down in front, but this seemed to be optional. The view was nice and the seats were heated, but getting off involved placing your feet back onto the ice and sliding forward and away faster than the chair. Safely disembarked, we skiied down the Hahnenkamm (36) back to the top of the main gondola.

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To get further up the mountain to some other, different slopes, we had to first go down the somewhat easier Melkalm (37) run, then up the Steinbergkogel (C1) lift. By this point, I was falling off less and less and even starting to parallel ski into my turns. There were as series of shorter runs in the valley below the Pengelstein, with wide ski paths that meant I could effectively zig-zag and turn down the mountian. I would still fall regularly, but my confidence was growing with ever run. We tried the Silberstube (28/28a), and Kasereck (29/29a) runs, all of which could be accessed from just two lifts. On one of the detours on the Kasereck (29a), I wiped out pretty badly on the first turn and basically rag-dolled down the entire mountain.

For the remainder of the afternoon, we went down some of the longer runs that reach down into some of the other valleys, and then caught the gondolas back up again. First up was the sequence of down the Pengelstein II (30) and the Schroll-Skirast (31), and back up the Pengelstein I (D5) and Pengelstein II (D3). Then we did the combined run of the Streiteck (16) and Kaser (26), and later the Fleck (25), both of which required coming back up the Fleckalmbahn (A4) gondoloa. This gondola was amusing because each of the cars had been decorated with a country’s flag, but had not been updated since at least the 1990’s, meaning that a number of the cars were outdated. By now, I was skiing well, but my legs were getting rather tired. The end of the day was approaching, so to get home again we made the sequence of the Hahnenkamm (36) and the Asten (20) back down into the village. The latter, which was a repeat of the first long run of the day, came when I was so exhausted, and didn’t really have the energy to make the turns, so on numerous occasions I wiped out into the banks of snow.

The day’s skiing over, we returned our skis and went back to the hostel for the great joy of removing our ski boots. We took our time to shower, before heading out to explore the town a little, opting to get dinner at an Italian restaurant in the old town. Indy came with us, still suffering in the cold. We had a nice pasta or pizza each.

Jacqueline and I had one final activity planned for the day. I had read online that there were public baths near the ski-lifts, so we went to check it out. Most of the instructions were in German, there was very little English spoken and it felt a lot like something the locals were doing, and not a tourist centre. We went in for a sauna and pool combo, spending some of our time in the hot saunas, while also going down into the pool and water slides. It was a very relaxing place, especially after a long day of skiing. We left around closing time, headed for a long earned rest ready for another day of skiing to come.


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