A group of 24 Fund-Bank Ski Club members signed up for the Ischgl, Austria trip departing January 13th and returning on January 22nd, 2017. The trip sign-up was on first come first serve basis and we had two Club members that stayed at nearby hotels and shared dinner with the group at the Hotel Central.
We stayed in the Hotel Central, a modest hotel located in the center of town with access to all major facilities by foot, and more importantly 60 feet from the tunnel access to the lift. Breakfast buffet with an assortment of breads plus 5-course dinners provided a great platform for the group to socialize, relax and get ready for the next new day of skiing, not to mention the chance to gain some unnecessary weight. Acceptable speed wireless internet was available free of charge.
The Restaurants on the Slope
Alp Bella and Alp Trida restaurants provided great mid-day dining opportunities on the slopes but the hands-down favorite was Restaurant Pardorama at the peak of the Pardatschgrat with a large outdoor terrace, stunning views of the Swiss Alps, excellent cuisine and the best apfelstrudel in the area.
The most important decision we all had to make every day involved whether we skied in Austria or Switzerland, although the ‘rule’ stated that you ski Switzerland in the morning and Austria in the afternoon, following the sun’s path.
As we arrived on Saturday afternoon, 8 inches of fresh snow awaited us from the day before; Sunday and Monday provided excellent opportunities for off-piste powder skiing. Temperature-wise, the thermometer improved as the days went by from a low -5Fs to the mid -20s with plenty of sunshine.
Skiing opportunities was something that did not worry us as the entire Ischgl, Austria – Samnaun, Switzerland area provided us with about 150 miles of very well prepared pistes, accessible through 45 state-of-the-art cable cars and lifts, including a double-decker cable car which took us back from the town of Samnaun. The groomed pistes provided a wide range of options, from beginner’s terrain with wide ski pistes to challenging steep slopes.
We will always remember Route 80, also known as The Smuggler’s Run (name derived from the past contraband of goods such as coffee, rice, flour, tobacco, saccharin, spices, etc. smuggled across the border from Samnaun to Ischgl) which took us from the Austrian side of the border to the village of Samnaun in Switzerland, where we had the best hot chocolate in the area at the Schmuggleralm Restaurant and great shopping opportunities at the many duty free shops.
The 77th Hahnenkamm Downhill Race
What a treat we had on Saturday January 21 as we left Ischgl and stopped for the day in Kitzbuehel, on our way to Munich, to watch the best ski athletes in the world race The Streif, considered the most spectacular ski run in the world. The atmosphere of the crowd was breathtaking, with fans from all over the world cheering for their countrymen.