|Our apartment is in there somewhere...|
For a start, in Obertauern you are surrounded by mountains. And snow.
|Note the avalanche protection...|
|Looking from the lounge over to my favourite run...|
|The view down into town...|
And skiers. And snowboarders. From every window in our apartment, there was just this dazzling whiteness, spotted with trees or rocks, down which little black specks wove or hurtled or occasionally tumbled.
The first morning we were there, I woke early and found the mountain-tops backed by a rose-pink sky; I watched the sun kiss the highest of those peaks and move on to illuminate the rest.
|Rose pink dawns do not just happen in books...|
|The first kiss of sun on the peaks|
The view was equally as stunning in the evening. Venus appeared, ultra-bright, in the early evening and as the blueness turned ever darker, you could see the lights of the snowcats at work. I never got tired of watching their headlights travel up and down the various slopes - some of which I'd dared to try, others I knew I'd never be able to manage. I really, REALLY, wanted to sit in one of these huge vehicles and see what it was like to come down an almost vertical snowy slope in the dark...
|The bright spots are the snowcats|
We had wonderful weather. Bright sunshine, no fresh snow, reasonable temperatures around or just under freezing, with no real winds to speak of except when we ventured onto the high tops. And yet on the day we left it was -4 degrees with a bitter wind, and it has apparently been snowing today.
I'm not the most confident of skiers, and after a fall on the first day (too steep and narrow a track for my continuous snowplough), I wasn't sure I'd manage any of the blue slopes at all.
|Just one of several over the week...I'm actually lying head first |
down a rather steep slope after I hit a mogul.
And I'd been doing so well up to that point...
A private lesson with Clements later, and I was able to get down some of the steeper runs. It wasn't very elegant or particularly technically correct, but it was controlled and I began to understand where I'd been going wrong.
As was the case last year, the kids and Mr Squidge spent quite a bit of time sussing out the runs first, then taking me up on the chair lift to coax me down. And yes, they probably did two runs for each one of mine, but I did get better over the course of the week. They ended up doing maybe one and a half to each run of mine...
|Always lunched together - the Weiner schnitzel and grostl were winners!|
|A rare trip to the tops for me.|
And I seem to have snow pixies on my helmet...
A surprise during the week was the Winterfest, held on Shrove Tuesday. One of the local ski schools put on a bit of a free show and we went along. We arrived just as around a hundred instructors wove their way down the slope, flares in their hands, waving at the crowds. We had formation skiing, youth ski club demos, tricks, turns, fire shows, fireworks, mad rabbit mascots, snow motocross (say what?!) and to top it all, my personal highlight: a snowcat formation dancing team. I kid you not.
We had some lower points... the nine young men in the apartment next door had a thing about staying out rather late, imbibing copious shnapps and returning rather noisily in the wee small hours. 4am was the latest I think they returned. Not conducive to a good night's rest after a day spent on the other sort of piste. I went down with a rather heavy cold mid-week, which meant the last couple of days I didn't get quite so much skiing done as I'd like, and we also spent some time (and a fair number of euros) at the Unfallstation (Austrian equivalent of A&E) when T fell and hurt his wrist. Fortunately there was no fracture, unlike the others we saw in various stages of cast-sling-and-crutchness. (We had a bet between us, as to how many pairs of crutches/wheelchairs there would be on our flight home to Luton. I think it was two wheelchairs and a crutch in the end...) Oh - and our camera died, luckily the day after Mr Squidge had downloaded everything we'd taken to his netbook.
But on balance, a fabulous week. I have built my confidence so that next time I go (see - I'm talking about next time already, when once upon a time I'd have refused to consider it at all) I'll be even happier.
Oh - and writing-wise? I managed to plot Ani's story on the flight there and started to handwrite the ACTUAL story in a dedicated notebook in the evenings and on the flight back. It's a naff first draft, but the story is there and taking shape. Perhaps the mountain air is good for creativity? I'll let you know how it goes now I'm back in rainy Blighty...
But for now, I have to get back into the swing of things...prepare for two author events the week after next, get Granny to the printers, and prepare some writing exercises for a writer's weekend away in Oxford. Oh yeah - and get the holiday washing done. *sighs*
I'm definitely home...