Sunday, January 26, 2014

Austrian winter adventure with friends...

Our latest adventure was a trip to Austria with a huge Army crew.  It's a tradition for the "office" to go rodeln (sledding) in Austria every year.  Since this is our last year here, we decided to tag along.  

Off we go!
Austria has absolutely NO snow this year. An Austrian at one of the ski resorts told me it's a phenomenon where the jet stream comes up from the south instead of the north causing Italy to get tons of rain, and Austria to get little to no snow and warm temperatures.  It was literally in the high 40's every day we were there.  So strange...

Needless to say, there was no rodeln on this trip.  We were bummed.  The Austrians make sledding trails from the ski lifts.  They are supposed to be fast and crazy fun.  The trails were all closed.  We never anticipated that lack of snow would be a problem in Austria in January.  Luckily, the Alps have glaciers - many of them - and the glaciers mean year round snow. Since the snow wasn't coming to us, we went to the snow, and we had a ball!

View of the Alps from town - we had no snow at our feet, but we could see it was in reach!

Overall, we went on a trip that we probably never would have taken on our own.  We stayed in a town that wasn't terribly exciting, but we also got to hang out with people we rarely get to see or barely knew before this adventure.  There were families and friendly faces at every turn.  With no rodeln in the forecast, we headed up to the Stubaital Glacier to ski. We met some great friends at the top and had a blast.  The kids all did ski lessons in the afternoon while the adults hit the slopes or enjoyed the warmth of the lodge and yummy German food.  Baby C hung out with some awesome girlfriends while I joined the others on the slopes.  That was freaking fantastic.

The following day we found another glacier at a ski resort called Solden.  These were our single friends without kids, but we had already enrolled little r in ski school and baby c was able to stay in the kindergarten. The end result was an incredible day of skiing and snowboarding.  Even little r had a great time and seriously learned how to ski.  That and baby c took his most expensive nap EVER. Haha, at least he had a warm and safe place to nap while I tore up the slopes on my board.

On our way up to the Stubai Glacier - so ready to hit the slopes!!!

The Glacier at Solden - you can always find snow at the top!
Our nights were all different but each had a theme of great fun with friends.  We did a night with the whole crew at a pizza joint that was pure mayhem and an absolute blast.  Another night eating homemade food with friends that rented a huge apartment with other families, and our final night was highlighted by Italian food, baby c's pasta face, and toes warmed by our sweet Lando boy.  Each night ended with the kids being tucked away in bed, and us gathering into the hallway with other friends that stayed at the same hotel to enjoy some wine, great conversation, and a ton of laughter.  I had the added benefit of enjoying the company of my laptop while I did homework and intermittently escaped to the hotel next door to borrow internet to upload my assignments.

A glimpse at our nightly evening gatherings in our hotel hallway

It was a great weekend that was bizarre and unexpected, but also an incredibly awesome time. As a true testament to the type of weekend we had, we hardly took a single picture.  We aren't sure if this is because there was very little snow, and the town was somewhat underwhelming or if we were just having too much fun to remember to take pictures.  Here is a sampling of the pictures we did take a long our adventure.

little r became an awesome skier on this trip!  Check out this blog post to see a video of him skiing down the BIG hill with daddy...

Ski lessons!
And time for the big hill with daddy!

The boys always manage to make fun in the hotel rooms.  There were literally no frills at this guesthouse, but little r had so much fun playing in our bed.  Do you remember traveling as a kid?  Yeah, hotels were always super cool...

"you'll never find me in here!"

"I'm not ready for bed!  Let's go play in the snow!"

As a final note about this trip, here is a picture of all of our ski passes.  When I used to ski as a kid (and a grown up), we would always leave the ski passes attached to our jackets as a sign of pride (I guess).  Not sure if this has changed in the states, but here in Europe they use plastic cards and computer systems to ride all the lifts and gondolas.  Another funny comment about this picture though, for those that have skied here in Europe, you also know that you pay a deposit for these cards.  Basically, you get 2.50 EUR back for every card you return.  We totally forgot.  That means we are also looking at a picture of 15 EUR.  Oops!

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