08 March 2010

Skiing in Obertauern

We found a great deal on a 4-night ski vacation to Obertauern, Austria, so we packed up our skis and off we went. Obertauern is another one of those fancy "must ski" resorts in Austria in the Salzburg region. 

Obertauern is somewhat similar to Kuhtai, where we skied earlier in the season. The town is in the center of a large basin, with ski runs in a 360 degree circle all around the town. There is even a route called the "Tauernrund" which you can ski in a circle all the way around the town and back through a series of connected lifts. Obertauern is much smaller than the Kitzbuhel ski area, where we were last month, but it's bigger than Kuhtai. Kuhtai was nice because it was a small town and it was easy to ski from one area to another. Obertauern has more lifts and runs, making it is a little more spread out. The concept of Obertauern is the same as Kuhtai, but Kuhtai feels a little more connected and easier to get around.

Holding a 6-pound camera/lens combo that's 10 inches long is not easy to take a self portrait with...especially with snow glaring in your face!

The classical Karen on skis pose.

For some reason I want to caption this picture, "Stay on target, stay on target" (in the voice of that Star Wars X-Wing Pilot that gets blown up while attacking the Death Star....weird I know).

Karen and Elora are in ski school. Elora is now good enough to go up on the mountain with "the big kids"-- Elora is by far the youngest and tiniest in her class. She gets a little extra support from the teacher, but she is able to ski and turn down the runs all by herself. 

She likes talking about the other kids and telling us how the other kids fall down and lose their skis. Elora fell once from what she was able to tell us, while she was on the tow bar and was supposed to be getting off early (before it ended). Unfortunately, she doesn't know how to get off a toe bar on her own, so she just fell off (when in doubt, fall over).

At lunch time, we had a two hour break, so we picked Elora up and brought her up the mountain to a Hutte for some Kaiserschmarren. She was very excited, but also completely exhausted. 

After finishing her food, she sat with Daddy to get warm and fell alseep in my arms within 2 minutes.

 This was very nice because we still had another 80 minutes before having to drop her back off at ski school.

So we made our way to the sun lounging chairs and cuddled up under a blanket in the nice -11 degree weather. Karen said she was cold, but I was warm with my Elora-sized heater on my lap. We were worried that waking Elora up to go back to ski school would cause problems, and it almost did, but we bribed her with chocolate and the promise of watching Blue's Clues when we got back home. That did the trick. When we picked her up, her teacher said she was fine, until about a half-hour before class ended, and she started crying from exhaustion. She just needed some hugs and snuggles from Mom and she was happy again -- her teacher seems nice, but didn't have enough gummy bears or seem very "motherly". We've noticed some teachers are like second parents to the kids, some are like stern drill sergeants, and this teacher seems like a girl who is here for the Apres Ski parties and needed a job to pay for the night-time fun. But she is still nice! Just not a mother-hen, which a sad, tired 3-year old needs to cheer her up. Let that be a lesson to would-be parents. A big hug, and an understanding voice, followed by a bunch of gummy bears will solve most problems.

Meanwhile, Ollie is going to the "Kinderland", but he did get to ski a little bit today. I (Chris) took him up on the cable car with me, and just before the cable car took off, I said, "Ready...Set..." and after a short delay Ollie shouted, "Goooooooo!" much to the delight of the other passengers, who looked like they were all grandmas and grandpas -- remember that, those of you who think you're too old to ski. When we skiied down the hill together he was very excited and said, "Weeeee!!!" and "Yaaaa!" but it was very cold. After a couple minutes of the icy wind on his face Ollie became rather stoic and almost seemed to have second thoughts about this skiing thing. Luckily, he has a short memory and was saying "Ollie ski! Ollie ski!" the rest of the day.

The vacation package we got was through the local discount-grocery store in Vienna (Hofer) and included breakfast and dinner in the restaurant. The dinner is a five-course dinner, which is great. And would probably be more fun if it didn't take an hour and a half to eat dinner with exhausted kids. 

Ollie's favorite course is the soup. He just slurps it right up and demands to eat everyone elses too. The breakfast is great too. We're super stoked (Karen's word) about great deal.

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