Tuesday 18 March 2008

Snowboarding in Obergurgl

Only a week after we got back from our trip to the Czech republic we took off again to go snowboarding in Obergurgl.
Kate booked us a hotel right next to the slopes in Hochgurgl.
We flew out to Innsbruck on Sunday, checked into our hotel and rented some skis for Kate.

Monday's weather wasn't the best. It was windy and the slopes were a bit icy. It was Kate's first day skiing in about 10 years, but she managed just fine.
We stayed on the blue slopes on the Hochgurgl side of the resort.
It snowed all afternoon and all through the night.

Tuesday was much prettier, the sun was shining for the most part of the day and skiing got much easier for Kate. We went over to the Obergurgl side. I got to practise a few jumps and Kate tried a red run without even knowing.

Wednesday was a bad day again. It was snowing and windy and we could not see a whole lot, but we stayed on the slopes till closing time.
We had a deal with the ski rental place that, if Kate decided to buy some skis after 3 days, we would not have to pay for the rentals. So, in the evening Kate decided to purchased the same kind of skis, she was renting.

Thursday was a fantastic day with lots of sunshine. I could not wait to get out on the untouched snow.
While Kate was getting ready I was out there doing a bit of off piste boarding and went back to the hotel to meet up with Kate.
I had rented some snow blades(very short skis) for the day, which at first were a bit of pain but proved to be a lot of fun. We went over to the Obergurgl side again.
I tried a few jumps and Kate practised going on a few red runs.

Friday was a bad day again. Snowing most of the day and visibility was quite bad. We stayed on the Hochgurgl side. We ended up finishing early because I hurt myself doing a stupid jump. The jump was actually very nice,
just the landing wasn't quite right. I landed on my board on a steep part of the hill, fell on my back sliding downwards. The board caught the snow again and I summersulted head over feet down the hill, landing on my neck and back. I was glad that I wore a helmet and spine protector, checked that I could still feel my toes and was able to turn my head ... We did a couple more runs but my strained back and neck muscles did not approve of it too much and since the weather was pretty bad we decided to jut go back to the hotel.

Saturday was a great day again but also our last. :(
Even though I was still hurting quite a bit we had a fantastic day.
We went all the way up to 3080m (Wurmkogl) which had a fantastic view of all the mountains around us.
Kate's skiing had improved quite a bit in these few days and we enjoyed every minute on the slopes.

After we checked out of the hotel and returned Kate's rented boots we took a bus and train back to Innsbruck.
Had a very nice meal in the old part of the town to finish off this wonderfull day.

Sunday it was raining in Innsbruck, so we visited a museum and stuffed ourselves with Sacher cake and Sacher coffee and took the plane back home in the evening.

I am looking forward to our next winter holiday :)

Thursday 6 March 2008

Cross Country Skiing in the Czech Republic

This is becoming a family tradition.
For the past years we have been going cross country skiing
in the Czech Republic. And so far we have been fortunate to have had plenty or at least sufficient amount of snow... Not this year :(.
The weather forecast had already been bad and we contemplated taking the skis.
We did take them anyways, rather safe than sorry.

So, we took off. Kate and I visited Dirk and Susi in Leipzig and spend a night there before
driving to the Czech Republic. On the way there we also stopped to pay my older sister, Ela, a visit, who was at a dancing competition with her daughters.

Then we got to Horní Blatná and it did not look at all like skiing.
Most of the snow has melted away. Fortunately our host told us that there are a few places on the north side of the mountains left that may have enough snow.
We decided to give it a try, packed our skis and hiking boots(just in case).

The snow was quite slushy but it was still OK to ski on it.
Or even build a snowman ... a tiny one, though.

Sometimes there were patches of no snow and we either had to walk or
venture off track trying to stay on the snow as long as possible
doing zic-zacs around the trees.

The weather was gorgeous. It became so warm, over 20C in the sun that
my sister and I decided to just ski in shorts and t-shirt.

The further we got to the south facing side of the mountain the less snow we had.

Up to a point where there was hardly any left.

The next day the weather got worse, it was very cloudy and it had rained a bit.
We decided to give the skis a try again, but it was pretty clear that that would be the last day
for them.
The following day we tried again, but gave up after just a few minutes and took a walk instead.
As the wether did not improve we went to see the Katerina Springs just north of Cheb on the 4th day.

On the 5th day the sun came out again and we hiked around in the area.
It was very nice though I would have enjoyed it a bit more on skis.

The following day it was cloudy again and it was raining a bit.
We did not want to waste the day and went hiking again.

The day we had to go back home it started snowing again
and it got very very windy.

It was a very enjoyable trip but either there is going to be snow there next year or we will have to choose a different destination.