Trip to the Alps

To celebrate finishing our first semester a few of my fellow classmates and I took a trip to Austria to go skiing. The trip turned out great! Here is what we did, with a few pictures to check out. I stole the pics from facebook so thanks to Matt and Anastasia for them!

Our plan was to leave early Friday morning around 10am, but we didn’t finish our last exam until Thursday afternoon and many of us were out late that night. We didn’t end up leaving till around 1. It was quite a hungover trip, but I had a good time riding on the Autobahn. The Germans drive really fast…. they think nothing of going 190 kpm (120 mph). No wonder their cars are so nice.

We spent friday night in Prague at my friend Jan’s parents’ house. The have a great apartment with a really nice view of the city. Jan showed us around Prague a little bit and then took us to his favorite bar. It’s a cool place called (creatively) “The Pub”. Their gimmick is that they allow patrons to pour their own drat beer and the tables with the most beer poured are displayed on an electronic screen so you can keep score to see which table has drunk the most. I’m proud to say we finished the night in first!

Our plan was to wake up early to start the long drive from Prague to Austria, but once again, we got a late start. We also stopped for a long trip to the grocery store, where each member of the group had to buy the ingredients to make dinner one night. Since we were staying 6 nights, it worked out perfectly that way. After leaving the grocery store, we hit a bunch of traffic around Munich and the driving was slow through the mountains in to Austria. We didn’t reach our cabin until dark so we had to wait till morning to see the scenery. We were quite happy with the interior of the cabin, except for one thing: the shower was located directly in the main hallway! Not the best for privacy… Anastasia, the only female on our trip wasn’t too pleased, but we made do.

The first few days were snowy and wet and I found out just how out of ski shape I am! I hadn’t done any real serious skiing for a few years and you find out quick that there are a few muscles involved in skiing that you don’t often use. Skiing through heavy powder snow can be quite a chore. I didn’t have the best gear either (sunglasses instead of goggles, rental skis not built for powder) which made the conditions a little tough for me. By the end of the second day I was doing pretty well though… the terrain was really terrific!

I should mention, the town we stayed in was called Mayrhofen and there were a few gondolas that left from our village that took you to a ski area called Mayrhofen Hippach which had a lot of great terrain, but the passes we bought were good for the entire valley, called Zillertal. This map shows the area a little bit if you want to check it out. The second day of skiing we switched from Mayrhofen Hippach to Zillertal Arena which is a little bigger with some steeper more challenging slopes.

After finishing skiing the second day, we ran into a little trouble with one of our cars… we got stuck driving up the road to our cabin. Matt and I had to get out of the car to put snow chains on which neither of us had done before. It was not very fun reaching behind the wheel well in the dark trying to put those things on! We got home late and had a much deserved beer and a delicious bowl of soup!

It was all worth for the next day of skiing: the sun was out, there was six fresh inches of powder on the ground and the conditions were as close to perfect as can be. We tried to get an early start but got stuck in some long lines at the gonodola before finally making it up the mountain. It ended up being fine though as we had a long day of skiing powder, taking long runs from the top to the bottom. The scenery was amazing.

The next few days were more of the same but with less and less fresh powder as the week went on (as you’d expect). We didn’t get anymore snow, but I didn’t really mind as my legs were pretty tired. Overall the trip was a huge success and a great way to celebrate finishing our first semester!

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