We just returned to Innsbruck from our brief visit to Vienna… on our second day there I was already pining for Innsbruck! Vienna is beautiful, cosmopolitan and friendly; unfortunately, it is also a huge tourist Mecca- which has benefits and pitfalls. The local places are set up to deliver an expected experience and the servers have an expectation of the patrons. Even though we aimed for the local places, a brash consumerism pervades all spaces.
So, happy to be back home! My big discovery this trip is not about how wonderful the entire experience would be, it is more about how special the nooks and crannies are that only the locals know about.
During our first 2 weeks here we made a concerted attempt to hit as many places as possible. Since the local places tend to be closer and smaller, we hit 9 different local places early. Patscherkofel, Oberperfuss, Schlick, Seefeld, Muttereralm, Fügen, Oëtz, Axamer Lizum and Kühtai all fit into our early skiing.
We also hit the bigger places – Fiss, Zillertal, Mayrhofen, HochZiller and Stubai. The big places are AWESOME, but, more crowded, more commercial and more touristy.
With the smaller places I expected to be bored and uneager to return. Instead (although I do love the big places), I actually prefer the smaller places. We have been to Patscherkofel 4 times (including Dee’s favorite ski day of all time in a snowstorm) , Axamer Lizum 5 times and Schlick 4 times. Instead of boredom, we are busy trying to find the most “local” of local places. (Also, the skiing is still great). We love it.
So far, our very favorite is Patscherkofel. 3500 vertical feet.. only 6 runs (mostly top to bottom), no lift lines ever, thrilling pitch, interesting undulations, great snow, 2 great restaurants, 1 awesome hütte and 25 minutes from home.
My very favorite sequence so far: we hit Andi’s at 11 am in terrible weather for a quick pop and distraction… we were the only ones in the place and Andi was expecting a very slow day. After our first Williams, we ordered a beer and Maurits, Anja, Dee and I decided that we should work to fill the place by encouraging those who stopped by the take out window to come inside. With some hard work, great tunes and merriment, we got about 25 people in… basically singing and dancing while the snow fell. About 1 hour in, we decided that we needed lunch – back up to the top for a great meal. We skied down after lunch in 4” of fresh snow…. alone on the trail – total magic. We stopped back by Andi’s for a final pop and the same crowd was still there. Only at the local hill!