Wednesday was particularly awesome because all of us went up Ahorn together.
Lemme backtrack for a sec though. Morgan wasn’t kidding about those first few days making you stiff and sore, so my Tuesday (or Day 3) was spent at my own pace on familiar Penken runs in the morning and in town with Bea in the afternoon. We strolled through the village, grabbed a snack - oh weißwurst, how I love you! – and read in the hotel solarium until it was time to soak, eat and bowl!
But Wednesday was good because the sun was shining (again!) and the Glüwien was flowing and Christine gave lessons to whoever wanted. (Pick me! Pick me!) And I got to see the ski-out, which had some very lovely scenery and more après-ski at the end. We caught a somewhat fortuitous/somewhat unfortunate bus, which left right away and passed very near our hotel, but which did not pass our way again after we missed our stop.
We ended up taking a taxi from the train station, where the bus route terminated. Then more sauna/swimming/steaming and more wonderful soup with supper. By this point the stiffness of the first days was leaving. Three cheers for the steam room and sauna!
Evening… lemme see… probably spent at Mo’s. That was the bar on the corner closest to our hotel. We discovered a few beers and mixes that were new to me at least. Would you believe I had my first Jäger bomb at Mo’s?
Thursday was a “ski-away day” at Hintertux, half an hour away. We got on a bus that wound it’s way past dwellings with stacks of firewood to the first of three gondolas that get you up to a snow-covered glacier. Included with this were three guided groups (slow, medium, fast) you could join. Morgan and most of the rest went down all the runs they could, including an absolutely epic T-bar (I saw a shorter one that disappeared into the distance) that they agreed led to their favorite run of the day. I joined the slow group and skied over the glacier in the morning, and then in the afternoon, took a tour under the snow and inside the ice itself. The layers and ice formations were quite pretty, and it was neat to see it from above and below. In the cafeteria, we discovered the tasty Tyrolean gröstl - pan-fried potatoes and onions and sausage with a fried egg on top.
As night fell we were to be found once again at Mo’s, where salsa night was going strong. It was a fairly early night for me, as we had one more day left and had to make the most of it on the hill. Morgan stayed up late to watch the women’s gold medal hockey game.
Friday came so fast. The last day. So sad! And yet so good because even though it was raining in town and visibility was a bit poor on the mountain in the morning, there was fresh snow just for us - what Christine calls “freshies”. In fact, it appeared that lots of people were dissuaded by the vis and came down early, leaving more mountain for those of us without hangovers. Morgan, Christine, Aaron, and Breece took down the “Hara-kiri” – advertised as a groomed run of 78 degree average pitch (I hear they use cables and winches to groom it.) – just to say they did. Apparently they didn’t find it terribly vertical, but the morning mist and snow made it less fun than it might have been. Just as well I met up with them at lunch. And lunch at the Schneekarhütte (top of the Shcneekar lift) was pretty posh. There was this bacon `n’ egg pizza with a super tasty hollandaise-esque sauce. Mmm! (We want to go back!) I spent the afternoon with Morgan and he showed me some runs he had enjoyed. All too soon we were on the last run home, but we were tired, it had been a good week, and it wasn’t too crowded on the gondola. We watched as we descended down through the mist, toward an invisible base.
One last dip in the pool, one more sauna session… I totally miss having steam rooms, pools, saunas, and plated dinners brought to me whenever I show up in the dining room. Friday’s dinner was just the two of us. So romantic! Everyone else fancied steak that night, so the dessert buffet was ours! We went to Mo’s with everyone for a few nightcaps and then we called it a night, though some of the lads stayed out über late. Well, I called it a night for a while. Morgan stayed up to watch semi-final Olympic men’s hockey (Canada v. Slovakia), and I woke up at the end of the first period of a game that could have gone either way and was really exciting. Plus, between the periods, there was coverage of speed skating events that worked out for a bunch of Kanadischens (that's us) as well. Totally worth not going to sleep until 4 or 5 or whatever it was. Kind of cool, actually, to watch the Olympics from an area that's hosted so many competitions and Olympic events.
And the next day we got our sorry (yet vicariously victorious) selves up and breakfasted and checked out. Going home is always a bit sad, but it was mid-day on the way back to the airport, so we got to admire the mountain scenery. And be served another meal on good ol' Austrian Air even though it was only a few hours back to Dublin. We made sure to get together later that weekend and watch the men's gold medal hockey game. (I actually forgot about rugby while anticipating hockey, but we (we of Ireland now) were busy beating England on their home turf while I was occupied with pre-game snacks. I'm such a bad immigrant! I hear it was a great game too.) And now we are home! Morgan has a bit of a helmet tan still and I just feel great. Spring is allowed to begin now.