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St Christoph Trip 2020

Reporter: Shaun the Sheep (AKA Tony Keats)

Hello folks — this is Shaun the Sheep reporting on the club holiday to St Christoph — Tony has dragged me out of retirement yet again! Ah well, no rest for the wicked!

This was a holiday with a difference — instead of Tony going on his own, when a last-minute vacancy came up, Dot decided she would like to go as well, but not to ski. The cancellation came with an Active Senior lift pass, which meant she would be able to use buses and ride the cable cars. She said she would be happy walking around and watching wealthy ladies in fur coats and boots, with dogs in matching fur coats and boots, promenading and “being seen” in Lech, and as the chalet had a pool and sauna, she would enjoy that as well. In the end she had a really enjoyable holiday.

The check in, and outward flight from Manchester, and the coach transfer to St Christoph all went very smoothly, and after the usual chaos collecting room keys at the hotel and getting the luggage upstairs in a very small lift, we were soon settled in. The quality of the meals varied from day to day, but most enjoyed the cakes and tea/coffee at Happy Hour and the canapes and complimentary glasses of Prosecco prior to the meals. The complimentary wines served with the meals were of reasonable quality and numerous bottles of both red and white were consumed over the week!

Sunday and Monday were cold and with variable cloud and light snow showers, but after reforming “Team Tony”, aka “Team Kermit”, due to Tony’s green jacket, Tony, Pat Chipping, Christine Fildes, Whitney Formby, Nigel Taylor and David Wilkinson, supplemented by David Colman, set off to have a couple of days in the St Christoph/Galzig/Stuben/St Anton areas, with several runs down the long Steissbachtal piste, aka “Happy Valley”. Despite the variable weather they had two good skiing days, marred only by Tony having a fall on Monday afternoon, which resulted in a sore knee for the rest of the week.

Tuesday was the first of what would turn out to be four days of glorious sunshine and the team, minus Pat who had decided to join Dot in walking, but with the addition of Roy Dearden, caught the bus to Lech and Roy led them on a very enjoyable exploration of the Lech and Oberlech areas before skiing back to St Christoph. It was the longest day’s ski distance (17 miles) of the week. However they did have a couple of setbacks during the day. Firstly, one of Christine’s poles got caught in a lift gate and broke. She then had to ski all the way from Oberlech down to Lech with only one pole — a very impressive performance! Once at the bottom she purchased some new poles and could go back to skiing normally. Later that afternoon Christine misunderstood Tony’s instructions and missed the crucial return route to St Anton, heading instead towards Stuben, leaving her with only limited time to catch the lift back up. Fortunately she managed to link up with two very friendly Germans who got her back with five minutes to spare. The rest of the team were extremely happy when she turned up to join them in a very well earned beer in the little bar opposite the hotel.

Wednesday was another glorious day and the team, minus Roy, spent the morning in the Rendl area, including runs down the timed speed piste, which David Colman declared to be “exhilarating!” After lunch they spent a while on the Gampen and Kapall areas above St Anton before returning to St Christoph and more beers in the same bar.

On Thursday the team joined the “away day” to Sonnenkopf, an area which cannot be reached by skiing, which was organised by the Ingham reps. The area, which was quiet and wooded with mainly blue and red runs, had a sort of retro 90s skiing ambiance, not to mention four T-bars! The guides led them on a fast and enjoyable trip, during which they skied every run except for the only black, which they were told was the second steepest black in the Arlberg area.

On Friday, the last day of the holiday, Tony decided to take the team up to the Valluga, the highest part of the Arlberg area, for the long run all the way down to Stuben. Having ridden the big cable car, the view from the top was spectacular, and after a break for photographs, they set off down the run, encountering another short but steep T-bar en-route, making a total of five for the holiday. After enjoying the long run down and lunch at the Ulmerhutte, they returned to St Christoph via the Steissbachtal, the Zammermoos chairlift and Galzig, finishing a great week’s skiing with yet more celebratory beers and gluweins — the perfect end to a very enjoyable week!

The only drawbacks were the 3am departure for the flight home and the 40 minute flight delay, but these were a small price to pay for Tony to ski with the friends he only sees once a year. He is looking forward to 2021.

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