To start, a couple of nice panorama photos from our first, and only, nice-weather day of skiing a few days earlier. The top one was taken while riding the lift, the bottom one taken on the trail down from that lift. The views were spectacular.
It was our last day in Obertauern, and the bus/train schedule didn't have us heading back to Vienna until 2pm, so we kept Elora in ski school for a half day. Thursday was the race day, and Karen's ski school teacher (Ski Schule Koch) invited her to come ski in the race with her group too, even though she had ended her paid lessons the day before.
Karen started before Elora, so we don't have any pictures, but she was the fastest in her group! After feeling aprehensive about the downhill, she says it was actually quite fun. She got first place anda gold medal!
Elora was the second racer in her group. The rest of the kids spoke German and the teacher explained it to them. Then she told Elora to go around the gates "Red, Blue, Red, Blue" and had her start. For a 3year old, that's probably not enough instruction to understand how she is supposed to ski a Giant Slalom course...It would have been better if the teacher practiced the course a few times with the kids I think. Elora, being just the kind of kid she is, disregarded the "Red Blue, Red" instruction and skied straight down the mountain, making only a couple of turns, much to the cheers, laughs, and smiles, of all the ski school instructors. She probably had the shortest time, but since she didn't exactly follow the rules she didn't win a bronze, silver, or gold medal. But she did get a medal for racing, which she is very excited about.
It's ok though, because Lindsey Vonn, the gold medal downhill skier in the Olympics, did poorly in the technical events and but won a gold for going straight down the mountain. Maybe Elora is just following in
The last day was also Oliver's favorite day. He got to ski with Daddy while everyone else was out racing. We skied several runs, rode on chair lifts, cable cars, and towbars. He was nothing but smiles and everytime he sees a picture on the computer or walks by the skis in the apartment he starts jabbering excitedly about skiing.
It was quite a workout to hold Ollie the entire time while trying to ski in control down the mountain. Skiing the whole week I was fine, but my legs were sore (and still are) after skiing for an hour with Oliver.
Before getting ready to head to the bus stop we took one last picture in front of Ollie's favorite cable car with the girls and their medals. Elora shares her medal with Ollie and also decorates her teddy with it.
It took about 6 hours to get back home via public transport. The transfers went like this... Bus, train, train, train, bus, home. What fun. Although Ollie still got excited to see the train coming even at the last transfer, so at least we know he won't ever get sick of public transit. We were on the long train for about 4 hours, and it had this kids car, which was empty most of the time so Oliver and Elora could run around and watch non-stop episodes of Blue's Clues. It was so fun for the kids to have a big space to run around in, and nice for us to have lots of empty seats to stretch out and nap on. At one point a class field trip or something got on the train and all the other cars were full so we had 20 teenage kids crammed in here with us. Elora and Ollie thought it was pretty cool... too bad we didn't get a picture.
We arrived home around 8pm, and ended our awesome winter where we spent 23 days on the mountain skiing. When we checked the mail, we found a letter for Elora from Kitzbuhel. Her ski school (Element 3) mailed her a Gold Medal for "Best Style" since she didn't get to race the last day in Kitzbuhel because there were no other kids. We emailed the school and told them Elora was disappointed at not getting a medal from the last trip so they mailed her one! Great! That was very nice of them. Now she has a nice collection of ski medals and she's only 3. She'll think she's pretty cool in a few years...