My experience on Ski Ride Vorarlberg was a rollercoaster; it started with a survival strategy, and ended feeling so sad that it was over. What a turn around!
My survival strategy was due to the fact that I felt totally outside of my comfort zone with the level of off-piste skiing we were doing. I didn’t want to be the person that holds everyone back. I was worried they would be annoyed they had someone on their group who wasn’t skiing at the same level, and I was upset that person was me. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised! I had fantastic time because everyone in our group was super supportive and we had a great adventure!
The aim of the week was to ski five different regions of Vorarlberg in Austria (on and off piste), and ski tour between them. Each night we stayed in a different village and skied in a different valley. This way, we had the chance to experience it all.
I can’t remember a time when I skied and laughed so hard!
From the friendly and welcoming towns that seem to encapsulate you and make you want to stay forever, to the sunrise ski tour in Ober Lech, the family run hotels that have been passed down through generations, the relaxing spas that soothed our tired bodies after a long day skiing, the incredible mountain restaurants we dined at every day for lunch and the endless, powder runs that I learnt to ski. I feel like this was a chance to experience Austria’s winter wonderland in all its glory. Needless to say, I loved it.
Ski Ride Vorarlberg was a press trip with journalists from Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, and me representing the UK.
Our first day involved avalanche training, doing a little ski tour in heavy snowfall (putting skins on the bottom of our skis and hiking up hill) and eating pancakes for lunch! Quite acceptable in Austria apparently.
The first two nights we stayed at the delightful Chesa Valisa. This family run hotel provides a symbiosis of spiritual awareness and healthy indulgence. All the food and wine is 100% organic and they have an ayurvedic menu. My favourite aspect of our stay there, apart from the hospitality of the family who run it, was the gorgeous spa. It has an outdoor heated pool, a range of different saunas and a relaxation room overlooking the mountains. Sadly I could only stay for an hour in the spa as I had to file my tax return!
The next few days were a whirlwind of skiing everyday until we could ski no more, under the expert guidance of Heli. Pushing myself to the limit skiing through trees and deep powder, touring to untouched parts of the Austrian Alps, and eating traditional dishes in cosy mountain villages.
If you know Austria, you may recognize the places we skied: Kleinwalsertal, Bregenzerwald, Lech Zürs am Arlberg, Klostertal (Sonnenkopf, Muttjöchle) and finally, Montafon.
The final day was the best day as it felt super adventurous. We ski toured and hiked up to the top of this peak in Montafon. It was a little nerve-racking climbing in ski boots with a substantial drop, but we all made it up and down with no issues. It felt like being on top of the world! After skiing down, I decided I was done for the day. Skiing off piste is a really good workout and my body was tired after five days of it. Plus we had the evening surprise to look forward to!
Andreas, our tour guide, met us outside our hotel on the last evening with toboggans! I have only tobogganed once in my life before, in Austria, and it was so much fun. We hiked up through the mountains for 40 minutes to this tiny, very remote, village. We ate a very traditional and delicious dinner, with the obligatory Kaiserschmarrn pancakes, and then we all raced back down to the car on our toboggans. There were a few crashes but it's all part of the adventure!
I couldn’t imagine a more magical and memorable way to end a fantastic week. The next day I flew back to London, with tons of skiing mileage under my belt, new friends and a heart full of memories. Couldn't ask for more!