St Patrick’s Day in Austria

I thought I’d take advantage of this year’s double-bank holiday for Patrick’s Day to get away from it all, so I’m back in Austria once again – this time in Bad Hofgastein, one of several beautiful small towns in the famous Gastein valley.

It’s another great Austrian ski resort, plenty of variety with lovely pistes above and below the treeline and easy connections to the neighbouring resorts of Angelet and Bad Gastein. There seem to be far more skiers here from Austria and Germany than from the UK, always the sign of a local treasure. The weather has been fine most days and, more importantly, the snow cover is as good as one can expect in March.

Lunch on St Patrick’s day – not a parade in sight!

I had a great few days – my only complaint is that although the resort boasts quite a few ‘ski-touring ‘ routes, the off-piste skiing was in fact very challenging. This is because it hasn’t snowed in 3 weeks, so anywhere unprepared had quite a hard crust. In addition, there are v few snowbaorders around, a community I rely on when I’m looking for company on a mad jaunt!

One of the few doable off-piste tracks – enjoyed this one!

Last lift of the day.

By contrast, the snow on-piste is quite mushy and slow in the afternoons. I quite like this sort of snow, although a lot of people complain about it (one suspects many of them never learnt how to absorb the bumps).

For the anoraks ; as always for spring snow, I hired flexible soft skis with twin tips. Popular with free-stylers in the snow park, these skis are also really handy in soft lumpy snow, perfect for short, flexible turns close to the fall line as the main pistes turn into mogul fields late in the afternoon!

All in all, a great break, I’ll be back.

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