Q: We know that this was your first holiday in the snow. What surprised you the most?
Sadie: The silence – I had always associated winter holidays with crowded slopes but that wasn’t the case in the villages we visited. I couldn’t believe how sunny it was, either – one day we took the funicular to Rosshütte, above Seefeld, and people were snowbathing in deckchairs!
Rebecca: I spent the whole trip in awe of the snowy scenery and was amazed by how well organised everything is. The hotels are really impressive too – so friendly but also very professional.
Q: What activities did you try?
Rebecca: We started with a 2-hour cross-country ski lesson – a bit of a crash course.
Rebecca: Yes – the instructor was very good at catching us! He was also very patient. After the lesson, we had the chance to try on downhill skis and boots too, just to see the difference.
Q: Was there a big difference?
Rebecca: Yes, huge. The downhill boots were more restrictive and so much heavier, whereas the cross-country shoes were like slippers – I could wear them every day!
Q: And what about the skiing itself?
Sadie: I expected cross-country skiing to be quite hard but it really wasn’t – it’s a very natural movement. And although the beginner trails are generally flat, there are still slight changes in gradient so you can easily get some momentum going!
Rebecca: It’s amazing how quickly the more experienced skiers can travel. I think a lot of people rule out cross-country skiing as they don’t see it as a very exciting activity but I disagree. It’s a great way to enjoy the snow and is so relaxing and adaptable, plus there are no lifts or heavy boots to worry about.
Q: What else did you get up to?
Sadie: We went on a guided snowshoe trek which was brilliant, really peaceful. I loved the grips on the snowshoes – they allow you to get off the normal walking routes and to properly explore in ways you couldn’t otherwise. We walked up between the trees and along a snow-covered riverbed – it was quite steep but no effort at all with the snowshoes. They give you so much confidence.
Rebecca: I enjoyed listening to the sound of the snowshoes crunching through the snow. They make quite a lot of noise but it’s a nice noise – quite rhythmic and meditative. The guide was great too, so knowledgeable and very good at adapting the trek to people’s different abilities and interests.
Q: Did you try winter walking too?
Rebecca: Yes, that was lovely and even quieter! We walked to a mountain hut for hot chocolate and Glühwein.
Q: What was your best meal?
Rebecca: Everything we ate at the Hotel Wiesenhof in Pertisau – the level of service there is exceptionally high.
Sadie: It’s too hard to decide! I enjoyed the breakfast omelettes in Pertisau, and the Spätzle we ate at one of the mountain huts was delicious – much needed skiing fuel.
Rebecca: You do definitely get hungrier in the cold!
Q: And your favourite memory from the trip?
Rebecca: Snowshoeing in the river bed. It was eerily still in the valley and the sky was reflected in our tracks, leaving a bluish tinge on the snow – a real ‘Slow Moment’!
Sadie: The view from the terrace at the Inntaler Hof in Mösern. It’s worth going to Austria for that alone.
Q: Any top tips for newcomers to the snow?
Sadie: Definitely book some lessons. Even if you have skied a little in the past, they’re the best way of familiarising yourself with the area. And take the time to try all the different activities on offer – there’s so much to see and do in the snow.
Q: And finally, sun or snow?
Sadie: Anywhere with mountains!