Austria, Europe

A Week on a Whim in Austria

Austria Europe

Those that know me personally know that I rarely do anything spontaneous, especially when it comes to travelling. I like to plan things, to be organised and to have an idea of what I’m doing. Which is why it came as a shock to some when I agreed to go on a week’s skiing holiday with a girl I work with at the end of January, five days before we were due to take off.

Prior to that week, neither of us had any experience and I had nothing to wear (thank goodness for online shopping and next day delivery!) Fast forward five days and we’d arrived in Austria, just outside of Kitzbuhel, surrounded by snow and temperatures of around minus two degrees. We spent the first day exploring, familiarizing ourselves with our surroundings and booking ski lessons for later on in the week. The view outside our hotel was breathtaking, I’d never seen anything like it and the area we stayed in was so peaceful and tranquil. We spent most of our time at the local ski school, where we had booked lessons in the coming days. I think I underestimated how difficult even the basics were while wearing skis, because I slid backwards and fell over within the first five minutes; I got used to falling over in that week.

Day one of ski lessons involved an instructor focusing on just the two of us, firstly showing us the basics and then teaching us alongside the five and six year olds. I was amazed at how well and how quickly the children were picking it up; I guess you have no fear at that age. I on the other hand, was losing count of how many times I’d fallen over. The idea with ski lessons was that you spent two hours learning in the morning and two in the afternoon, broken up by an hour lunch break. I’d used muscles I never even knew I had, so I was glad to sit down for a while and recharge. We continued after lunch, going further and further up the ski lift. My dad said straightway that I’d more than likely fall off the ski lift at some point and, sure enough, on my way up to the tallest point at the ski school, I lost my grip and tumbled backwards. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, I managed to roll into the little boy behind me, knocking him off the ski lift too. Looking back now it was funny, but at the time I was mortified! The instructor was at the top with his head in his hands and not only was I picking up my skis and ski poles, I was also helping the young boy I’d wiped out too (we were both fine by the way, but the ski instructor certainly had his work cut out with me!)

I skied down to the bottom from where I’d fallen off and tried again. This time I made it to the top and could see our hotel and the local village, and it just felt so peaceful and serene; it was lovely. The journey down from the top started with a slope surrounded by trees either side which then opened out into a huge open space over the other side of the ski school. You could see everything, I was in awe of how beautiful it was. Every building was covered in a blanket of snow and the snow-capped mountains were like nothing I’d ever seen before, but it wasn’t cold. I remember wondering how I could feel so warm while being surrounded by so much snow but my thermals and umpteen layers certainly helped with that! Once our first day of lessons had finished, I couldn’t wait to get back home and have a hot shower. We were both aching so much we stayed in and ordered pizza to our hotel and had an early night to prepare for the next day. I preferred the second day skiing as opposed to the first; I felt ten times more confident on the slopes and didn’t fall over quite as much. I used the ski lift with ease and skied back down just as confidently. Still not as daring as the six-year-olds though, they were fearless! While we weren’t skiing, we spent a couple of days exploring and we hopped on a bus to Kitzbuhel, about twenty minutes away. We bought a few souvenirs (couldn’t forget nan’s fridge magnet), visited a couple of museums in between lunch and dinner and returned back to our hotel that evening.

We spent our last full day going it alone and were let loose on the slopes one last time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and preferred it now that I had some experience behind me. We spent two hours skiing in the morning, took an hour out for lunch, and continued until the early evening.

I came home after that week and had already made up my mind that I wanted to return. It wasn’t a relaxing holiday like I’d prefer, but it was an adventure and one that I’d like to do all over again. It might not be on a whim like this one, but I would certainly go back.

Contributed by Nicole Miller