The Travelling Pixie in Austria
My First Snowboarding Experience Part I
We’ve been talking about going on a ski trip with about 10 friends for such a long time, and we’ve finally done it in April 2014! 9 of us – with none of us knowing everybody else – embarked on a 7-day trip to St Anton, Austria and I had my first ever snowboarding experience.
Jeff, the only experienced snowboarder in the trip, took up the position as our vacation organiser. From looking for flight tickets to deciding where we are going to ski, he has done everything to ensure that our trip is going to be a wonderful one! – THANKS JEFF!
Thanks to Jeff, we managed to get a value for money deal. £599 for a package deal with round-trip flight tickets from London to St Anton plus 7 days, 6 nights in a catered chalet from 13-20 April (catering includes breakfast, tea refreshments and dinner for 6 days)! It was such a good deal as it was the final weeks for ski-season and the snow wasn’t in its most perfect state, but we had the time of our lives!
As it was my first ever snow-trip, let alone snowboarding, I can’t really comment on whether St. Anton was a good place for skiers in terms of the size of the town or whether the ski routes were good, but what I can say for sure is that this was a really brilliant trip and that I’d probably come back in the future!
Now, back to introducing the chalet before sharing my first snowboarding experience – stay tuned for the youtube video at the very end of this post!
We stayed at Chalet Alpenheim, which wasn’t exactly in the center of the town. According to the map, we should be able to ski downhill right to the entrance of the chalet. However, due to the thawed spring environment, we seldom saw any snow apart from being up on the skiing hilltops. So we ended up having to walk from the chalet to the ski lifts, which takes about 15 minutes – its not too bad from the sound of it, but imagine wearing your snowboarding boots, wearing all your gear, plus carrying your snowboard! Its like an everyday workout session! But other than this tiny impediment, staying at Chalet Alpenheim was a wonderful experience. The staff were super friendly, plus they spoke perfect English, which was a big bonus as Jeff and Leon – who skied in France in April 2013 – commented on how almost nobody spoke English. The double rooms were quite small I must say, yet the twin rooms and single rooms were huge! But bearing in mind that we’re skiing most of the day, the size of the room didn’t matter that much.
The best thing about the chalet was the FOOD! Continental breakfast was served every morning, so we all had a full belly before walking to the ski lifts and starting our snowboarding day. We’re already skiing up in the mountains by lunch time, so we usually eat in the canteens up there. We go back to the chalet for tea time at around 4pm where cakes and drinks are served, then we have a short nap before dinner. By dinner time, we’re all absolutely starving, and to our surprise, dinner was absolutely FABULOUS! Before dinner is served, we each get one portion of a pre-appetiser, plus an unlimited supply of bread, butter and wine. After chilling and chatting for a while, our three-course dinner is served. All the courses are so yummy I can’t even describe it – or its also probably due to the fact that we’re all so hungry after one whole day of skiing. But you can take my word for it, the food is absolutely amazing!
So now, back to the actual trip. The first day of the trip, we took a super early flight from London to Austria, and then took a two hour coach ride to St. Anton. By the time we arrived our chalet, it was too late to go ski, so we settled down, paid approximately £300 for renting our ski-gear (snowboard, snowboarding boots & binding and lift pass) – which was a bit more expensive than what I had expected – but the gear itself wasn’t that expensive, the lift pass alone was about £150.
We paid our chalet representative for the rentals and got a little slip to pick up our ski gear at the nearest store. After we collected our gear, we simply couldn’t wait and experimented with our snowboard at that tiny slope right in front of the store. We all delightedly put on our boots, strapped on the binding and skied – which was an epic fail for me, I couldn’t even stand up without screaming.
After our failed attempt to snowboard, we walked back to the chalet thinking that by tomorrow, we’re really going to go up the mountains, and get stuck up there because I won’t be able to ski back down.
By the second day, at 9am, the 9 of us walked to Base Camp – a small pub at the base of the ski-lifts (hence its name) where Jeff taught us the basics of how to get on the ski-lift, and basically how things work around here. We agreed to meet at 1pm at base camp where we will have lunch together. We took the ski lift, got off – I fell down, expectedly – and walked towards the slope.
Apart from Jeff – an experienced snowboarder, Leon – who went on his first snowboarding trip in 2013 and Philip – albeit snowboarding for the first time, he is an experienced skier, we all looked down the slope and literally thought – Ohhhh fuck. We’re gonna die. Eventually we manned up and strapped on our bindings, hastily stood up, and decided to go for it!
STAY TUNED FOR PART II
Fail Compilation Video by Jeffrey Cheng
Filmed by Leon Lee & Jeffrey Cheng
Edited by Jeffrey Cheng
Featuring in order of appearance: Anna Susanne, Taylor Leung, Tara Lee, Jeffrey Cheng, Natalie Lo, Philip Chu, Leon Lee, Himmy Sin, Kurtise Ho