Austria 2019

Straight to the slopes!

Sunday 15 December, we had a 06:25 flight from Heathrow to Innsbruck which meant a 03:00 alarm for our 03:45 taxi. We arrived just after check-in opened and only had to wait about 5 minutes for the BA lounge to open at 05:00 so our schedule proved relatively good!

Immigration in Innsbruck was really quick which meant we had to wait a little while for our suitcase but our taxi driver was already waiting to take us on the hour long drive to Almhof Family Resort and Spa in Gerlos.

Highly unusual for us but this was a hotel that only accepted families (and the only reason we could stay was the fact that we were with Jason, Kelly and 3 other families)! We arrived at 11:00 so our room wasn’t yet ready. Thankfully Jason and Kelly had arrived a day earlier and kindly offered us their room so we could drop our bags and change into our ski gear.

Intersport Gerlos

It was a 12 minute bus ride to the Intersport where we were able to collect our gear (skis, boots, helmets and poles). We then headed straight up the mountain on the bubble lift.

Kelly and her parents had already stopped for lunch by the time we got to the top so we joined them at the Arena Center. After lunch Kelly showed us a couple of the lifts and pistes and we spent a couple of hours re-familiarising ourselves with the art of skiing!

Getting back into the groove

As we neared the end of the day Tammay decided to take a rest so I dropped her off at the Arena Center and made another loop and a half on pistes blue 34 and blue 32 before making my way back to Arena Center from where we took the bubble lift back to the bottom of the mountain.

Annoyingly Tammay realised she’d left her new woolly hat at the top so we planned to get there a little early the following morning for our ski lesson so we could check if someone had found it.

Our room

That evening we had dinner with Jason, Kelly, Kelly’s parents and two couples that Jason and Kelly knew through Ashley’s school. The soup and salad starters were so good I didn’t bother ordering a main, but did of course have the desert. Tammay and I were both fairly tired so headed to bed soon after dinner.

Almhof Family Resort and Spa

Monday 16, we were up fairly early and the first down for coffee and breakfast.

Amazingly Tammay found her hat at Arena Center! We then met our ski tutor, Martijn, at 09:30 and had 3 hours of lessons before ending up at Seppi’s for lunch with Kelly and Ashley.

Into the afternoon

After lunch Tammay and I made one more run down blue 32 and red 31 back to the bottom of the mountain. From there Tammay headed back to the hotel and I completed two more runs along the same route before heading back to the hotel.

More lessons

Tuesday 17 and another morning of lessons with Martijn. We once again met at Arena Center but found the slopes to be very icy and instead took the chair over to the Umbrella Bar where the wide reds were better.


After lunch at Seppi’s we met up with Kelly and while Tammay took the red back to the bottom of the mountain to catch the bus home Kelly and I took the black run (my first one ever!) down the mountain to re-connect with the slopes around the Umbrella Bar.

Skiing around Umbrella Bar

We completed a few different pistes on the mountain before Kelly headed back. I completed the downhill red twice more before getting the lift back to Arena Center and taking the red to finish the day. Strava measured me reaching 40mph - likely time be in the final section near the bottom (thankfully I felt relatively stable today!).

Discovering new slopes

Wednesday 18, another morning of lessons and this time we ventured over to the left hand mountain. The snow was definitely melting, leaving large areas bare at lower levels. I managed to collide with a snow border who fell in front of me.

Kelly, Ashley, me and Tammay

In the afternoon Tammay and I completed a few more runs down to Arena Center and I finished the day by completing the full run from top to bottom while Tammay took the bubble down the mountain with Kelly and Ashley.

The adult's lounge

After getting back to the hotel we retreated to the ‘adult lounge’ to escape the chaos of all the children.

We had become very good friends with the hotel's coffee machine. Tammay would often get back a little earlier than me and would pick coffee and cake for us to eat in our room or in the lounge.

Stopping for a selfie

Thursday 19, our last morning of lessons and we explored another new part of the mountain. High winds around the tops of the mountains caused many of the bubble lifts to close.

Enjoying the views

After lunch we completed a few more runs on the blue around Arena Center and seeing that the bubble to the bottom of the mountain was closed Tammay had no choice but to join me on the red down to the bottom.

We had coffee, cake and a quiet relax in the adult only panoramic lounge at the hotel.

Taking a walk

Friday 20, waking up to the sound of strong wind at our window wasn’t a good sign. During breakfast we kept checking the status of the lifts but none on our side of the mountain had opened. The lift from the Umbrella Bar was open but by the time we got to the Intersport to collect our skis it had also closed.

After getting back to the hotel and changing out of our ski gear we took the bus to the far side of the village and walked back. As we left the main part of the village we crossed the small river and walked along Erlebnis Reich back to the hotel. Despite the relatively warm weather some sections were still a little icy.

Skiing into the snow

Saturday 21, looking out of our window I could see the tops of the mountains shrouded in cloud. I was hopeful that it meant fresh snow and less wind! At breakfast I was glad to see all the main lifts open as normal. We got onto the mountain for about 09:30 but soon realised that the falling snow meant rather poor visibility and made things a lot colder - particularly on your face when sat on a chair lift!

Tammay soon decided to sit it out at Arena Center while I persisted with another 5 runs. By the time I joined Tammay for a coffee at the Arena Center the visibility had started to improve but the snow was still cold on the face - especially given Tammay wasn’t wearing a mask. Tammay decided to wait at Seppi’s where we had our final lunch while I completed a few more runs. Tammay took the gondola down.

Walking in the snow

After arriving back at the hotel we took a short walk along the lane behind the hotel then retired to our room.

A quiet dinner

Dinner that evening was a lot quieter given that the rest of the group had departed that morning.

Sunday 22 and we had a 07:00 departure from the hotel for the 1 hour drive back to Innsbruck. The snow was still coming down so there was probably a decent amount of powder on the slopes, which was great, but the forecast predicted 4 more days of similar weather so skiers just arriving would face the same challenges we had had on our last day.

As we approached the bottom of the mountain the sun started to light up the sky and the snow turned to rain. Check in and security were pain free and we had a little over an hour in the business lounge. The 10:15 flight got us back the Heathrow and home in time for lunch.

Some basic things to remember when skiing...

  • Knees forward to put pressure on your shins
  • Point your knees over the up-hill ski
  • Lean your body over the downhill ski
  • Twist your body slightly towards the down-hill direction and look towards the valley