Tuesday, January 7, 2003

New Year in Austria
It was quite an effort to pack all our stuff into Kai's Audi 100. Ayway, around one o' clock in the night we left his home and hit the road. The autobahn was as empty as expected, therefore it was quite foggy. Our goal was to be at our bed&breakfast at 9 in the morning and we almost Snowboarding Jolle in Soelden, Austria (&copy 2003 by Johannes Beck)succeeded. The guesthouse was located in Laengenfeld, 10 to 15 km from the big ski town Soelden, in the middle of the Tyrolean valley Oetztal.

We had two medium twin rooms including breakfast for around 450 Euro (for both rooms) which is quite cheap for this location and for the most popular skiing week in the year. We also had luck that we had chosen Soelden for our winter location as Austria was hit by warm weather and snow was rare almost everywhere except our nice Soelden ski area, which sports two glaciers and ski pistes in over 3000 m altitude. It snowed for the first 3 or 4 days during the sun was just rarely be seen. But therefore we had the very best powder snow you can imagine.

That was the reason I changed my skies into a new snowboard on the third day. I learned fast and could ride it by the afternoon, waglling down the black pistes or carving on the edges when it was less steep. Snowboarding isn't difficult at all if you have a good sense of balance and not too much fear of speed. I also learned that it makes much more sense to try it on your own at the beginning rather than taking courses. They are not just expensive (50 Euro for the first day) but the result is minor to the well tried learing by doing. From time to time I spied out other snowboarders for their technique and found out that it is quite easy if you just try it out. My second insight was that the more speed you have the more easier and the less shakier you stand on your board. There's nothing more difficult to stay on the board on a flat hill on low speed. And this is where the snowboard school starts. Well, to be honest, I tried out snowboarding already before, but this were just some hours in an Korean ski resort, that's all.

The best day of the week was New Years Day. An empty ski resort (people where still recovering from the New Year's eve), a blue sky, sunshine, beautifull vistas and powder snow. Just wonderful. It was worth getting up at 8 and having had just two hours of sleep.

After four days I returned my board to the rental station. Originally I just wanted to try it out for a day, but I liked it more than expected. Also the board was much better than the one from Korea. I had a brandnew Burton with Salomon shoes and the easy step-in binding. Anyway, the ski pistes got harder during the week and there was less powder snow to ride. In this conditions I still clearly prefer skiing. It's not that funny with a snowboard on an icy piste.

You could get the intention that we've just been skiing, no party, no aprés-ski etc. - Well, that's true. - No, not really. But we were normally skiing from 10 to 4:30, so that we first went home, took a shower and cooked something, before taking any further action. On New Year's eve we partied outside in Soelden til half past midnight, then went into a nice discothèque. For the name of the place and the names of their female guests you better ask Kai than me. I'll forward any inquiries to him :)

The photos are uploaded to my pixum photoalbum. Click on the picture above or here. There ain't that many this time, I was to lazy to carry my camera everywhere.

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