Thursday, October 18, 2012

Scenes from the Road: Ramsau am Dachstein Edition

Ramsau am Dachstein in Pictures

For the second year in a row, I'm spending the last weeks of October with Team Sjusjoen in the Austrian mountain town of Ramsau. It's a tiny town about a half-hour outside Salzburg, Austria (think Mozart's hometown), but awell-traveled location in the cross-country ski world. This is for several reasons. The rolling valley offers great trails for both relaxed skiing and tough efforts on their World Cup courses. Full-pension hotels are everywhere here, and the price is reasonable (40-50 euros a night), especially so for European. And perhaps the most important reason - there's plentiful snow come wintertime. And, thanks to the Dachstein Glacier that sits up among the clouds in this picture, there's skiing year round.

The boys of Team Sjusjoen take a quick break near the end of an afternoon skate session on the glacier. After a pretty epic snowstorm - for October standards, anyways - the sun's back out, and the track is in incredible shape. We share the trails with perhaps 400 other skiers on the busy days. Riding the gondola up the thousand meters to the glacier is to hear more languages in a confined space than I've ever heard. It's almost like a UN conference of cross-country skiers. 

Yeah, it's worth the visit to Ramsau if you've ever thought of skiing Europe. The alpine skiing isn't too bad either. Schladming, which sits ten kilometers in the valley floor below, will be home to the 2013 World Championships in Alpine skiing. I'm sure the town will be absolutely off the hook. Much more than anything, Austrians love alpine skiing. 

This picture comes from a small hiking trail near our hotel, the Turlwandhutte, that sits right next to the gondola base. This makes getting the first ride to the glacier that leaves promptly at 7:50 a little easier.

Well, I guess that's all I have for you this time. I'm sure with a place like this, though, you'll hear (and see) a little bit more from me in the near future. Until then, Viel SpaƟ!

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