Going into this trip, the last time I went downhill skiing was about 15 years ago and the last time Peter went skiing was about five years ago. Peter’s friend said that downhill skiing is just like riding a bike – you never forget how to ski. I only partially believed this statement but quickly found that it was true.
I learned to ski when I was young and fearless on big hills in Minnesota. I’d never skied on a real mountain until St. Anton am Arlberg and ironically, I wasn’t nervous until we walked out of the gondola and prepared for our first run and even at that point I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. There was really only one option and that was to descend the mountain. On skis. But not descend as quickly and fearlessly as the four-year-olds who were whizzing by us.
Our first run sloped like a roller coaster. There was a short descent, then a flat area, then another short descent, then a flat area, etc.
Peter and I descended and within five seconds I knew I had a problem – I was unable to turn right. I mean, I could physically turn but it felt like I was going to fall over. I told myself that I needed to get over this fear because ONLY turning left was going to get me nowhere aside from off the side of the mountain. I met up with Peter in the first flat area and told him about my problem and he said, “I have that problem too”!
By the second short descent, I had overcome my fear of right turns and was schussing down the mountain. Peter and I met up again at the next flat area and chatted about our achievement and burning thighs and then I started to ski again and my right boot came loose from my ski and I fell.
To this day, I don’t know how this occurred but it was nowhere near the wipe-out level of Peter’s first fall which was at the bottom of the first run in front of the chair lift queue. During this fall, Peter popped his shoulder out of its socket. He’s very manly though and popped it back into place and hopped on the chairlift.
We skied for two hours before we found ourselves relaxing and eating goulash at a restaurant on top of the mountain in St. Christoph am Arlberg, a small village near St. Anton.
Lunch concluded and we skied for a couple more hours before hitting up St. Anton’s number one après ski bar, Mooserwirt. Since the Mooserwirt is located on the mountain, we kept the drinking to a minimum because we weren’t sure how much further we had to ski to get back to the village (for those wondering, it was literally a 10-second descent).
Our second day of skiing brought much of the same with the exception that the runs were very icy due to a lot of sunshine the day before and no new snow. Due to the icy conditions, we decided to stop skiing after lunch and focus our efforts on après ski.
Our third and final day of skiing was spent being pelted with snow and ice while trying to ski in low visibility conditions. I actually skipped skiing the morning because I did not sleep well the night before. In fact, I didn’t sleep well in St. Anton any of the nights. It’s the story of my life – not sleeping while on holiday. It totally blows.
St. Anton am Arlberg was a great resort and it was a successful ski trip.
- The food was good, not great, just good.
- The drinks were good and expensive.
- The service was as to be expected in Europe.
- The people were friendly and outgoing.
I mentioned in my previous post that there are relaxed smoking bans in Austria. The restaurants and bars in St. Anton were all non-smoking with the exception of two which had separate smoking “rooms” that were actually fully enclosed rooms and the smoke never leaked into the main space.