Joined July 2017
  • Day10

    Rise and shine!

    January 26 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

    Since our bus left at 5am for the Munich airport we set the alarms for 330am! With coffee in hand we pried our eyes open and got ready for the trip home. The bus left at 5am sharp. It was a 2 and 3/4 hour drive. The hotel prepared a wonder breakfast box for each and we were on our way!

    We both enjoyed skiing in Austria. They have what I would call the leading edge of ski resort technology. 10 passenger gondolas that you board from town centre, along with 8 passenger chair lifts that have heated seats and retracting bubbles for colder days, give you access to 4 mountains and a host of dining choices. The whole area is covered with state of the art snow making equipment. You would think that it would be icy, but it is not as bad as you expect as they groom the mountains every night. If there is snowfall, the off piste runs are every bit as challenging as what we’ve found home in the Rockies. The value seems better too as a one day lift ticket costs about 80 Canadian dollars. Most runs are steeper than Dianne likes, but we figured out how to get down either by gondola or bus or both and still have some good terrain for her to ski as well.

    We went seamlessly from Munich to Frankfurt and home to Calgary in what was a long day.
    Now to deal with the jet lag.
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  • Day9

    Gala night!

    January 25 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

    First; drinks and conversation at Neil & Gayles; then down to the dining room to get the results of the race.

    Before the race results were announced, I learned that two of my colleagues, Jean and Mark missed the race. At race time, there was a lot f confusion about which group would start first, where to get your race number etc. They decided to go for a bite to eat and come back when it was all settled. When the two returned, the organizers were pulling out the gate poles. Both those guys are good skiers, so my chances of placing just went up. I told Dianne before I saw the results that I thought I came in forth. That turned out to be true. I finished fourth. What pisses me off is that my time was less than half a second faster than Neil’s, who claims to have not tried hard at all!

    As Tom came in fourth this year; he won no prize but he has set the bar for himself.

    The dinner was, as usual amazing. Too much food. Then we all decided to try the shooting range. As I have never held a gun before I got a few tips; lined my shot and hit the bullseye the first time!
    That was lucky, now it is off to bed! Tom takes his shot and hits the target! Good try Tom!
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  • Day9

    Last day!

    January 25 in Austria ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C

    Wow, last day. Tom went skiing and I stayed back to pack. I went to the gym (first time all week) to begin getting back into shape. Then Gayle and I went to meet the boys for lunch.

    Neil Potter and I spent the morning skiing some off piste runs that tired us out by noon. We met the girls for lunch and also happened to find some more friends we have made throughout the week. Michael and Lena from Sweden joined us for lunch. Dining in the Alps is much more pleasant than dining at a Canadian ski resort. Here there are waiters, menus, choices you don’t have in Canada, all at the same price you pay everywhere else in Austria. You don’t have to line up to get your food or drink. As a result, you spend more time dining and talking with friends. It does seem civilized.

    Neil, Michael and I skied down for our last run and returned skis. We had done 4200 metres vertical for the day, which was about average for the week. I was anxious to get the race results, not so for Neil. We didn’t compete in the same category as I skied in the over 60 group. Also Neil said he didn’t try hard, he just wanted to make all the gates.
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  • Day8

    Dianne’s lone adventure

    January 24 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 1 °C

    Today was race day! Tom signed up and caught a bus to ski to the site. I did not sign up; I went to watch.

    So I caught the ski bus to the Hochwurzen gondola. It was an interesting ride. Skiing here is so different than home. This bus stops at many stops; many of them allow you get on a lift or just start skiing on the hill. As long as you have a ski ticket the bus rides are included.

    I reach my destination, there is no sign of a gathering of Pilot ski racers! I head on up to the gondola for a ride to the top! Yikes, is this high! This is where we blindly started our sledge rides from, if we only knew! I took a few pictures, holding my breath; admired the view and headed down a few minutes later,

    Still no sight of the racers so I head back to bus and back to the hotel! Tom showed up about an hour later.

    Later in the day there was an apres ski! It was at the top of Planai Gondola at the Schalf Alm Hutte!
    Drinks and a cold buffet. We were a lively group each recounting their day’s adventures.

    Race results are not available until tomorrow. We’ll see then how Tom did.
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  • Day7

    Exploring the hotel

    January 23 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 -1 °C

    SportHotel Royer is an interesting hotel. Built on many levels. For example from the reception to our room we go up two flights of stairs, walk a long winding corridor, down one flight of stairs and walk another long corridor before we arrive at our door. Lots of interesting paintings along the way and beautiful old chests litter the hallways.

    For entertainment there is 9 pin bowling alley’s, shooting range, fitness room, sauna, tanning booths, laundry facility, swimming pools with an awesome water slide, tennis courts, and table tennis( which we did not locate)

    Every morning and evening we ate in one of the huge dining room’s. The meals have been amazing. Great breakfast buffet and 5 course served meals!
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  • Day7

    A walk around Schladming!

    January 23 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

    Tom and I finished skiing early and decided to take our cameras for a walk. We head to downtown Schladming. It is a quaint place and the area surrounds the ski area. The stores are mainly selling ski wear and accessories and souvenirs.

    Here are a few pictures we took.
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  • Day7

    Smashup & Strudel

    January 23 in Austria ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    Today we decided that I would ski in the area I liked and Tom would ski with his buddies on tougher terrain. We would all meet at noon for lunch. Good plan.

    It is another beautiful day here, not a cloud in the sky and just a few degrees below zero. I am skiing the less challenging stuff but still out of my comfort zone. But I am skiing in Austria! Things are going along well until someone comes from behind me and takes me down. Skies, poles and legs go flying. Now on the ground I do the check to see if everything still worked. It did. Now to collect myself and equipment. One of my poles had landed in the middle of the ski path and I needed it to be out of the way so there would not be another wipeout! I half crawled and used my other poles drag it out of the way. I managed to get my ski on, get righted, poles in hand and went on my way still shaking. The women who sent me flying had waited to make sure I was ok and apologized for the accident. I, of course reassured her I was A-ok.

    I continued skiing but was extremely cautious of the skiers around me as the hill was quite busy today.

    Tom surprises me with an early meet. We go up the lift again but I am done skiing we pick up our skis and head up to the spot to meet the others. I(we) decide to walk, mostly up hill. In a perfect world Tom would have preferred to take another chair to the top and ski down; it would have taken less time and less sweat on his part but I wouldn’t hear of it. I had been to the top and had seen it all! So we walked, not our best moment. Our reward was a plate of delicious apple strudel with vanilla. It was warm, comforting and delicious. Perfect end of day.

    I took the ride down in the gondola and Tom skied down we arrived within a few minutes of each other.

    At dinner we met up with friends and talked over our days adventures! I talked about the strudel!
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  • Day6

    Dinner out, bring your helmet.

    January 22 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 -3 °C

    Dianne and I skied Hauser Kaibling again today. She has a good spot that works for her and is near a restaurant, and I have a couple of nice steep, soft snow, off piste places I like. Fun for everyone.

    Tonight, a dinner out is planned, with the caveat; bring your helmet. It was posted as a sledge ride after dinner, which we thought was something like horses pulling a sleigh. No, that is not it. It is us riding down the mountain on a rented two seat sledge. Two runners underneath us and feet for steering. The course is 7 km long and 2500 feet vertical.

    Three busses are arranged to take us from the hotel to the bottom of Hochwurzen Gondola. Sledges are rented at the bottom and we bring them up in the gondola to restaurant at the top. Dinner is excellent, and our corner of the restaurant has a dozen of us seated together. We are Canadians mostly, with a couple from Sweden and Henrik from Denmark.

    After dinner the fun begins. Nobody knows how to steer these things, assuming they can be steered at all. We take photos at the start in case we expire before the end. The course is mostly illuminated, and steep in places. To slow down, you drag your feet, which kicks up snow into your face and up your pant legs. Corners are sharp and littered with others who failed to negotiate them. Dianne and I are on one sledge, Neil and Gayle Potter on another. It is a friendly rivalry. Dianne keeps dragging her legs and yelling slow down while I attempt to steer. We pass some hapless schmucks along the way and that pleases me. Dianne is still complaining, but I’m sure she likes passing people because her feet don’t drag as much now. Potters are now in sight so I start yelling “pick up your feet” to Dianne. We pass them on a corner but have to slow later for more riders in front. Potters go by us. Snow is still flying in my face as I attempt to slow down for corners, I am wearing glasses, and that helps a little. There are some bumps on the course that get us lifted from our seats. With each bump Dianne yells louder “slow down”, but Potters are in sight again so that is not in the cards. We go by them for the last time, only to see what looks like an accident scene with multiple sledges overturned on the side. The people are standing, and as we pass by they throw snow at us at face level. The course goes through a tunnel under a road and it appears that the end is in sight. We stop at the bottom, and meet up with all the others we dined with, and exchange stories. Everyone in still intact and walking. The bus ride back to the hotel seems boring now.
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  • Day5

    Off Piste

    January 21 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 2 °C

    Our plan today is for Dianne and I split up and ski with other skiers closer to our respective abilities. As we parted company this morning I am convinced I will not see her again all day.
    The local ringer, Deiter, is going to guide what turns out to a big group of folks who consider themselves expert enough to keep up to him. I think I qualify.

    Our initial hoard consists of 8 pretty good skiers, and we do a couple of fast runs from the top to warm up before we rendezvous with Deiter and some others at 9:30. When we all get together, we number around 12. Jim Egglestone, John Wilkes and I are the oldest, and everyone else is about 10 to 30 years younger. Deiter takes us off piste from the start, which means we have to ski over the 18 inch wall that develops from the grooming machines making the groomed trails I have previously complained about. One down now as Scott breaks a pole getting over the wall.

    This new terrain isn’t as steep as some I’ve skied but the snow is deep and not skied out. There are some good turns to be had here. Trees are widely spaced and it seems that nobody skis here because there are not too many tracks. There are some steep pitches and by the time we make it down to the lift I’m breathing hard. Deiter is kind enough to wait for the group at various spots along the way and I stick close so as to not get lost. We go up the lift again with the group intact.
    When we get to the top, I see Dianne getting off the chair lift with some other girls. I did not expect that. She looks a little rattled as she is afraid of heights, but still game. We speak briefly and I say I have to go because this group doesn’t wait for me. We are on our way to a new mountain. I don’t think I’ll see her again until I get to the hotel.

    The route to Hauser Kaibling is mostly off piste and there are some moguls on the way. They are the friendly kind of moguls, nicely spaced, not too tall, and soft. I really enjoyed them. The group is thinning out now. “Attrition”Jim calls it, but he and John are still there. We take 5 different lifts to get to Hauser Kaibling and what turns out to be the holy grail of what I like to ski. It is a shaded stretch of nicely spaced trees on varying terrain in soft deep snow. Everyone left in the group, about six of us can ski powder, only some faster than others. When we get to the bottom, Deiter tells those of us left that there is an assortment of groomers around if we are interesting. Jim says to me “ it looks like he’s saying goodbye”. When we get to the top of the lift Deiter is gone. On the way up though we connect with Sandra, Heather and another female first officer who’s name I forgot. They were guided by Deiter to this mountain yesterday, so the six of us continue to ski this most excellent pitch until lunch. When we stop for lunch, and are looking for a table, Sandra says to me “I just saw Dianne, that’s your wife right”? I can hardly believe it, but it’s true Dianne is here. She is sipping a coke with the girls she was skiing with. I’m so amazed and tired from the mornings activities I decide I’m skiing the rest of the day with her.
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  • Day4

    Let’s go skiing

    January 20 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ -5 °C

    Dianne and I spent the day skiing and found some challenges. For Dianne the mountain was generally steeper than she likes, and for me generally not steep enough. Even so, there is a host of restaurants and other dining options available all over the four mountain area that our ski pass gives us access to. We took advantage of that while we planned where to go next.

    I have heard about skiing in Europe, and how people enjoy the food, refreshments and long runs. All of that is true. What I miss is the steep 50 degree slopes that I’m used to at home. Moguls are almost non existent, although I did find some small ones at the top of one mountain. They won’t last long because they groom the whole place every night. My friend and fellow pilot Neil Potter was spending some time today with a local who is a good skier so maybe he’ll be able to show me the goods tomorrow.

    Tomorrow we also need to find Dianne a way down off the mountain. She has found some nice runs up top but finds the way down a bit challenging at the end of the day.
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