Kitzbühel Holiday 19th – 26th January 2019
Reporter: Tony Keats
Hello folks — this is Shaun the Sheep reporting. Tony has dragged me out of my hard-earned retirement to write this report on the Kitzbühel holiday.
Having travelled down to Manchester Airport the day before, Tony had a nice lie-in and a relaxed breakfast before a very leisurely check-in. Having checked in, he then ran a one-man “Meet and Greet” operation as more members turned up — a chance to renew acquaintances with friends he had not seen for 12 months, which is always great. Passage through security went remarkably smoothly and before long our members were scattered among the bars, shops and cafes “airside”. The flight was uneventful and we even managed to get all of us on the right bus!
On the bus journey, it soon became apparent just how much snow had fallen in Austria during the previous week — a change from worrying in the weeks before the holiday that there would not be enough snow. On arrival at the Hotel Jagerwirt, a typical Tyrolean hotel, distribution of room keys also went very smoothly, apart from one or two which refused to work and had to be changed. Due to the relatively late arrival at the hotel, it was not long before it was time to sit down for dinner, during which lift passes and ski hire vouchers were handed out. Throughout the week, all the meals were buffet-style, with 7 courses, apart from the last night when we had a “Gala Dinner” that was entirely a sit-down affair. The food on the whole was very good, albeit with a few “interesting” Tyrolean touches, and the only drawback was that there was no complimentary wine, all drinks having to be paid for, but this was compensated for in part by us not having to go out for a meal on one night as on some previous holidays. The staff were excellent and the ladies looked particularly attractive in their traditional Dirndl dresses. There was a Sports Bar attached to the hotel but it was very smoky, and in the evenings most people retired instead to the comfort and quiet of the hotel lounge bar. Throughout the week, the building excitement to the Men’s Downhill race was tangible.
Over breakfast “Team Tony” (aka “Team Kermit” due to the green jacket) was reformed and we set off to collect our hire skis. Having done this, we then managed to miss the bus stop nearest the hotel, not just once but twice, which meant we were quite late actually starting to ski.
Day 1 was spent exploring the Hahnenkamn area and the blue and red slopes beyond it – Tony being under strict instructions from Dot (at home) not to get on to a black run on the first run of the day!
On Day 2 we went to the Kitzbüheler Horn area in the morning, followed by more on the Hahnenkamn area after lunch. The long blue run down to the bottom of the Hornbahn was interesting, involving crossing 3 roads and an area at the bottom more reminiscent of an itinerary route rather than a piste.
Day 3 was to be our big day – we would get as far over to the west of the piste map as possible, before returning. This we achieved and enjoyed some fantastic skiing on quiet runs through trees amid beautiful winter scenery. However, the ski back took longer than we anticipated and we only made the crucial 3S link lift with about 20 minutes to spare. We still had a long way to go so had to throw caution to the wind and ski like mad to make the final lift down on the Hahnenkamn cable car, the blue run down being closed due to a fallen tree. This was not made easier by the travellator up the final slope being shut and we only made the last lift down by about 10 minutes! We were the last group to arrive back at the hotel.
Days 4 and 5 were great skiing days, although very cold at times, the team on Day 6 being somewhat depleted as some members decided to watch the Downhill race.
Day 6 provided our most challenging skiing, as falling snow and drifting fog banks made visibility difficult, but we all made it back safely to round off a superb week of skiing.
Due to snow and traffic problems, the journey home was delayed, resulting in Tony missing the last train back to Northallerton and having to spend a night in an airport hotel, before travelling home on Sunday. To make matters worse, while running to catch the train, he strained his Achilles tendon.
A big “thankyou” to the club members who offered Tony overnight accommodation, but he decided that by the time he had limped all the way back to Terminal 2 they would probably have left to go home. However he refuses to let this spoil the memories of what was a really enjoyable ski holiday and is looking forward to 2020.