Mayrhofen week long ski trip

Reflections of Bytown Mayrhofen Austria Ski Trip 2023, by Don Singer, Bytown Ski Club Trip Leader.

After our overnight flight to Munich, 48 Ski Club members were pleasantly surprised to find a double decker coach awaiting them at Munich Airport for the transfer to Mayrhofen’ s Gasthof Hotel Brücke. Shortly after arrival were treated to an area overview by Amanda and Julia from the local tourist office and Ursula the hotel manager who would be on site throughout our stay to address any wishes and concerns we might have had.

For seven days the hotel provided us with amazing buffet breakfasts to send us on our way to the nearby ski lifts and a plethora of lifts and runs. Despite some gloomy forecasts, the weather cooperated for our first four days with a healthy dose of sunshine and blue skies to find our ways around the massive areas. Day five was sadly windy as many of us went to taste the Zell am Zillertal area but they had to close the upper lifts; that took away a possible great experience. Day six we had some overnight snow to play in during the day. Our hotel ski room was virtually empty of skis and snowboards by 9:00 each morning as our groups broke into smaller groups to explore the two local ski areas where we could walk to the lifts, or the glacier area that required a 30-minute Green Line coach ride each way. The glacier ski area, in addition to taking our skiers and boarders to over 3000 meters, provided the added attraction to some brave souls who ventured into the inside of a glacier for an hour tour. Climbing from the glacier in ski boots up to the lift in deep snow and thin air at 3000+ meters proved a serious challenge and demonstrated our human frailty!

Many members, especially the “six boys of winter” were found doing après ski each afternoon and post dinner as well. Each day’s dinner featured a stupendous dinner buffet and dessert bar with a choice of three main dishes.

A few other noteworthy ski week memories included:

  • A significant occasion for one of our faithful ski-week folks, Mark, who was provided a surprise horse and wagon ride around Mayrhofen that was followed by a fondue dinner for his family and close friends.
  • A hit and run collision from behind on the hill that disabled one of our members, Jennifer, on day one. Like a trooper she stayed on during the week but sadly spent her time receiving top notch care in clinic visits rather than enjoying the mountains on skis.
  • The “six boys of winter” cultivating social relationships with the vivacious Irish ladies at the hotel pub.
  • The captain (pilot) on our Air Canada flight from Toronto to Munich was the son and law of a Bytown member who hosted him at our ski week dinner, and skiing, on our Bytown Soll trip a few years ago!
  • Majestic scenery of mountain peaks everywhere as we skied and boarded with mild temperatures and quality snow conditions. While many pictures were taken, they won’t be able to capture the feeling as we toured around the mountains.

After a wonderful seven-day action packed vacation in the majestic Austrian Alps, most of the group returned to Munich Airport with an early departure on Saturday February 4 for their Air Canada flight home to Canada. A few others stayed in Europe with personal itineraries, while six members opted for a second week of skiing, in the nearby Ski Welt region of Austria.

The optional second week attracted six Bytown members who transferred by taxi van to the village of Itter where we resided for seven nights at the beautiful Hotel Edelweiss. Each morning we caught the 8:47 ski bus for the two-minute ride to a gondola which linked us to the region of 90 lifts and 280 kilometers of skiing in the Ski Welt region. After a day to recuperate from our Mayrhofen experience, we experienced six cloudless sunny days to tour the massive ski area connected to nine valley villages. Our little pack of skiers were led each day by Michel on a magical mystery tour of all the pistes before we returned each afternoon to catch the 4:00 ski bus back to our hotel, clocking on average about 40 kilometers of skiing per day. We ventured to nearby Kitzbuhel for a day of skiing but only looked at the Hahnenkamm, not daring to descend that run. A special delight of this ski week was our hotel hosts Peter and Alison who treated us so wonderfully like we were family. Peter, a former Austrian racer, and racing instructor joined us for a day on the slopes. It was a real “wow ’to watch him ski and a nice feature as he informed us of many interesting points of interest around the mountain. With the phenomenal weather and special Edelweiss Hotel hosts, it was a sad feeling to pack our bags and return home after two glorious weeks of skiing the Alps.

Vacation Epilogue

Before this trip I was thinking of offering Bytown members a deviation from Austria and maybe looking to Morzine France as a vacation destination in 2024. However, the antidotal feedback from members on this trip was that Austria is so service oriented, meals terrific, great mountains with panoramic vistas, so why go beyond Austria? So, while France is not eliminated, I will pursue looking for another hidden gem for next winter’s offering to members.

As always, I will look to my preferred week of Friday January 26 – Saturday February 3, 2024, as that period allows for snow to accumulate in the European Alps, and it avoids the European school holidays.

Bytown Ski Club members should be able to view some of our ski week photo memories of our two weeks in the Mayrhofen and the SkiWelt region of Austria.

Mayrhofen Austria 2023

Personally, and on behalf of the Bytown Ski Club and Touringhouse Travel, I want to thank the thirty-five people that returned from at least one previous modern era Bytown ski week, plus added welcome to the thirteen new people that joined our group for the first time this year. I invite you to join us again in the future. I feel privileged to enjoy the pleasure of your company and sharing a ski-snowboard vacation experience together. These memories will last forever and hopefully we can all add to them on a future trip.

Don Singer

Bytown Ski Club