Our third day in Kitzbühel, and our fourth day on the trip, began much the same as the previous: we ate breakfast in the crowded hostel kitchen, kitted up in our warm, if damp, ski gear, collected some pastry items for lunch from the bakery, and our skis from the ski shop. Indy still wanted to stay home. We headed straight for the Hahnenkammbahn (A1) gondola up the mountain. For whatever reason, the day was much busier than the previous day, and also for whatever reason, my confidence on the slopes was drained.
The day was foggy, and Jacqueline suggested heading for the height of the Pengelstein, 1938m above sea level. To do this, we had to do a series of runs and lifts: Melkalm (37), Steinbergkogel (C1), Silberstube (28a), and Kasereck (D7). However, when it came to the wide but steep section of the Silberstube (28a), my lack of confidence hit a big low. My ski boots weren’t as tight as the could be, which made it hard to turn, and the experienced local skiers were using the run as a transition between the valley gondolas and the 3S-Bahn (D9), which connected the Pengelstein to the other ski runs across the valley. They were going very fast, very close to me, and all that I could muster was to side-ski my way to the lift at the bottom. Once off the run, I took a moment to regather my composure and attempt the hopefully quieter Kasereck (29a) run. A couple of turns later and I was back on top of things, and so we headed down the hopefully quieter Pengelstein II (30)/Schroll-Skirast (31) combo again. Here, I almost made a summit to valley run without crashing, but stacked it within sight of the gondola station. I was now fairly comfortable on most of the blue runs, and would ski them alone and send Jacqueline on some of the more difficult, steeper detours.
We took the Pengelstein I (D5) and Pengelstein II (D3) gondolas back up the mountain, and looked at the map to see if there were any blue runs we hadn’t yet done. There were a couple in the Pass Thurn valley, but to get there and back would require some red runs, which I wasn’t quite ready to commit to. But there were two blue runs on the Wurzhöhe, so we took the 3S-Bahn (D9) gondola between the two. This was the largest of all of the gondolas of the complex, seating around two dozen people instead of the 6 or 8 that most of the rest carried. It ran between two mountain peaks, giving excellent views over the valley, and forest, below. The blue runs here were probably a bit harder than the rest of them, but I still managed them without major issue, and by now was skiing mostly parallel and turning well. I was quite proud of my achievement. We did both runs, Jägerwurz (66) and Wurzhöhe-Sud (67) and both lifts, the Wagstättbahn (F1) and Talsen (F5) that we could on this part of the mountain, before heading back on the big 3S-Bahn (D9) gondola to the more familiar slopes on the Pengelstein.
Looking at the map, we had covered most of the accessible parts of the mountain by now. We had time for another two summit to valley runs. First, we did the Streiteck (16)/Brunn(27) combination, where I very nearly got lost and went down a black run. We went back up the mountain then transitioned via the Kasereck (29) and Streiteck (16) runs to do the Fleck (25) once more. My legs were starting to tire here, and was getting lazy with my skiing. It was also getting late, so we went home again via Asten (20).
Our skiing now complete, we returned our skis to the ski hire shop and went out to find Indy, who had been minding the luggage and exploring the town, and went out for an early dinner in a small restaurant in town. Finally, our train was soon to leave, so we made for the train station. The journey to Munich via Wörgl was dark, so there wasn’t much to see. We arrived into Munich Hauptbahnhof late, and transferred to our hotel for the night.
The next morning, it was time to leave. We had a few hours to spend in Munich before we left. Indy was still sick and wanted to stay in, but Jacqueline and I went out to explore a bit first. We went to climb the tower of Pfarrkirche Sankt Peter, a large cathedral in the centre of the city that gave views out to the country beyond. We also explored the markets below, that were just opening up for the day and selling all manner of sausages, fruit, vegetables, alcohol and cheeses. We couldn’t stay long, because we had to rendezvous with Indy to catch a train to the airport. Indy’s flight left a few hours before Jacqueline and mine’s, so we waved her off at the passport control and went to the viewing deck to watch it depart. It was over an hour late, needing to be de-iced by the airport’s only de-icer. After much waiting, we also made our way to our plane, which was also delayed for de-icing. After three exhausting days of skiing, we were finally back in Cambridge, ready for another trip to begin…