Stories from the ski areas
The Zillertal mountains in the morning sun and a pristine piste that sparks feelings of happiness. Anyone taking the early gondola up Mount Ahorn, is treating themselves to unforgettable moments.
There are these moments full of magic. Whose dimensions are almost impossible to grasp. The mountains are particularly suitable for this. And so Johannes and Leonie stand in front of the Mayrhofner Ahornbahn top station at 7.40 a.m. and take in the views. Goosebumps. The alarm clock reminding them of their adventure in the dark is long forgotten. The strange feeling of slipping into their ski boots at dusk also forgotten. Now they are standing on the mountain, not a cloud in sight, and all around them the magnificent peaks of the Zillertal mountains are glistening in the fantastic light of the first rays of sunshine. Their eyes light up too.
Almost every minute the colours change, a unique natural spectacle. The gondola left at 7.30 a.m. This offer is called MorningSport. But when the two boarded Austria’s largest cable car, they had no idea how effective this trip would be. So they don’t even think about strapping on their skis looking at this atmosphere in sheer awe. Instead, they walk through crunching snow and catch themselves treading carefully. Instinctively, so as not to disturb the silence.
Next to them is a young couple from Germany, and she whispers to him: “Wow ... the whole holiday is worth it just for this atmosphere.” Zillertal leaves b ehind a n impression. Johannes and Leonie smile at each other. That’s all that needs to happen for everyone to realise: it’s moving up here. And then they climb into the bindings, as if hypnotised by the beauty, and take another deep breath. Before they gently push off and begin their descent. Still without any idea of how perfect it was to be. They know the route is long and varied, which increases their anticipation of swishing down the slope. What follows is every skier’s dream. Which comes true here and now. The slope is like a carpet. “This can’t be real,” Johannes calls out to his girlfriend. They deliberately take their first turns slowly. So the mood lighting can still be soaked up and to enjoy the feeling of savouring every second. The snow is superbly prepared. The fine grooves made by the piste bashers can be seen and felt all over the slope. Not a trace of a trace. No humps, no piles, no icy patches. But just this carpet of snow that gives them the sense of security that they could never make a mistake. As if they were the best skiers in the world. They are not. But perhaps the happiest.
Leonie hears herself carving, Johannes hears himself whooping. And the couple takes more breaks than usual this time. To pay respect to the downhill run, the mountains and probably also to themselves. Turn, stand, look, marvel – over and over again. They use the whole width of the shop, it belongs to them alone now. They glide down towards the valley, inspired by the panorama. “Fabulous,” Leonie exclaims. And Johannes just nods. That’s how it is when a skier is at a loss for words.
As they swish off full of enthusiasm, there is just one thought: Ah Mount Ahorn, thank you! Then they get into the gondola and ride up again. And again. Until they feel this irrepressible desire for breakfast in the mountains. In the meantime, the sun has flooded the area, the other lifts are running, and at one of the rustic huts they eat eggs and bacon, bread and rolls, cake and yoghurt. Their appetite is huge, feelings of happiness need a lot of energy. Leonie and Johannes are sitting on the sun terrace, with the fantastic panorama and coffee in front of them, and they know: A day of skiing couldn’t be more beautiful.
Image: Bernhard Huber and text: Michael Hufnagl
Zillertal magazine 2022/23
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Zillertal is located in the west of Austria and is the widest of the side valleys on the south side of the Inntal Valley. Get to Zillertal safely and comfortably.