09 February 2010

Skiing in Kitzbühel

We're skiing in Kitzbühel right now. The ritzy (kitzy?) Austrian ski resort. Kitzbühel is a medieval-styled village, which actually dates back to 1300BC. The town has a lot of history, but also a lot of ski history. Kitzbühel is home to the most treacherous run in the ski world cup -- the Streif on the Hahnankamm. Racers have broken bones, gone into comas, etc. after crashing on this run. So we figured we'd give it a shot. Actually, the actual run the racers go on is chopped up after the world cup ends, so most skiers don't go on it. The deadly parts (seriously) are marked, "Expert only" and they mean it. I went down all of them, and it wasn't fun. Just near vertical drops, 100% ice and giant moguls. But I did feel pretty cool flying by the "tourists" who were just standing there peering over the edge to get a look.

Unfortunately, everyone else in Austria and Europe also knows about Kitzbühel. We went skiing to escape the congested city life. And here we are stuck in traffic on the slopes. One thing to say about Kitzbühel is you probably shouldn't come in February. Stick to the off season, like the second week in January.

But it is very beautiful and there are 150 kilometers of runs, with 54 different lifts in the area! Karen isn't taking ski school after the school told her she was too good for their group. But Elora is in a week-long class.

The good thing about not taking ski school? More money and more time in the Hutte! Here's Karen downing an Apfelgespritze while she waits for the Kasespatzle and Tiroler Grostl.

Once (if) you get away from the crowds, the skiing is quite nice. The only problem is, the entire town of Kitzbühel lines up in the morning to get up on the main mountain, and there is only one cable car to take you up. This means you wait in line to get on the lift. You wait in line as you ski down to the next section. And you wait in line at the next lift further back into the mountain range as everyone else is also trying to ski away from the pack.

Here we are on a crowded lift.

The skiing is great though, because Kitzbühel has a "ski safari" which allows you to ski forever from lift to lift across multiple mountains. This means you never get tired of the same place, because you're always skiing over to a new section of the mountain range.

As we got to the bottom of one run, there was a huge line at this slow 2 seater lift. We waited for 10 minutes then gave up and moved over to the next lift, which had no line. The lift dropped you off at the top of this black diamond. Wonder why the line was empty? So this was Karen's first complete run down a black. She wanted to pause next to the sign to show off. Luckily she made it all the way down to the bottom without falling!

We didn't even ski to the "end" of the mountain range, before having to turn around and ski back in the other direction. It was time to go pick up Oliver from the day care and Elora from the ski school.

Elora was having fun with her ski instructor. Everyone loves her and says she is very sweet, and so far each instructor has remarked on how much food she eats at lunch time. One instructor said she ate more than all the other kids combined. Oliver is no different because when we picked him up, his babysitter commented on how much he ate too! And we stuff these kids for breakfast and dinner!

But both Ollie and Elora never stop moving. So they need lots of calories. After skiing we took a little tour of the town.

The buildings are all very beautiful and the shops way too expensive. "Look at that coat, it's 50% and still costs 2000 euros..."

No walking-tour of a town would be complete without going inside an old church. Elora was excited to go inside. On a side-note, we took a different camera and lens on this trip and the lens is giving us troubles and actually doesn't focus on anything closer than "infinity". Which means no tasty food pictures, no closeups. Sad...

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