AUSTRIA 2007. St. Anton Vienna. AUSTRIA 2007. St. Anton Itinerary Friday - 01/19/07 Depart from Grandville via bus to Chicago O’Hare Airport at Noon Friday - 01/19/07 Depart Chicago on Swiss Airlines Flight LX9 at 5:05 PM; Saturday – 01/20/ 07 Arrive in Zurich at 8:35 AM
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St. Anton Itinerary
St Anton is at the foot of the road up to the Arlberg pass, at the eastern end of a lift network that spreads across to St Christoph and above the pass to Rauz and Stuben. The resort is a long, sprawling mixture of traditional and modern buildings crammed into a narrow valley. It used to sandwiched between a busy road and the mainline railway - but the railway was moved before the start of the 2000/01 World Championship season, and this area is landscaped into a park and ice rink.
It has also become one of the world's Meccas for ski bums. That's a reflection of the wonderful, tough off-slope runs available in the bowls below the Valluga - the best that Austria has to offer. In good snow conditions they are superb. Sadly, conditions are often less than perfect except just after a fresh snowfall, because of their south-facing aspect. But if you are lucky with the snow you'll have the time of your life. There's a lot to offer adventurous intermediates too, both locally and at Lech and Zürs, a short bus-ride away.
There are lots of lively discos and bars, which keep going from 3 pm to 2 am. The resort is an ideal choice for the hard-drinking, disco-loving, keen-for-action holiday maker who can stand the pace of getting to bed late and being up for the first lift - it's not for those who like a quiet life and gentle, uncrowded slopes.
Why Ski Europe?
Skiers who have never skied outside North America often harbor a surprising variety of misconceptions that may keep them from treating themselves to the rewarding experience of a winter vacation in the Alps.
We are going to identify some of these fallacies, and to set them straight by analyzing them and explaining the facts.
We need all the help you can give us in spreading the word about what things are really like!
1) What are the cost factors?
Look at a ski vacation closely. A number of key elements determine the cost: transportation (usually air plus a ground transfer), accommodation, meals, lift ticket, local taxes and tips, and, for many skiers, equipment rental and ski instruction.
Learn the bottom line
All these together, plus some discretionary spending for drinks, a little souvenir shopping and some postcards, make up the bottom-line price.
2) I am not a good enough skier to handle the Alps!
This notion may stem from some picture postcards views of forbidding cliffs rising abruptly above dreamy mountain villages. One aspect is the terrain of Europe's ski mountains. True, for those who seek it, there are dizzying World Cup runs straight down the face of the mountain. But for each of these runs, there are five or six very gentle, undemanding, ego-building runs on that same mountain. These runs turn a bit here-and-there, move over to the side and then bend back, or follow the shoulder of the hill on much milder gradients.
3) They don't mark or groom their mountains!
There is no single "trail"; the entire mountainside is one. Skiing on open slopes is much freer and more individual. Skiers who are just accustomed to operating within the confines of American woodland trails adjust to it quickly, and soon are spoiled by this new-found freedom. When you can hang your turns wherever you feel like it without any risk of crashing into a trailside tree, skiing moves into an entire different dimension. The necessity of a rigid natural boundary to guide you down the trail rapidly palls.
4) Europeans don't speak English!
It's true! Few Europeans speak English when conversing with each other! But if you can survive without being able to eavesdrop on the next table, you've got it made. When it comes to you, your wishes, and your needs, you will be surprised how many people speak English! Anyone who has gone through Europe's school system since 1945 (that's 50 years ago now, so it applies to people aged up to 60 plus) has had at least four years of English.
5) It takes too long to get there!
The flight to Zurich from Chicago will take about eight hours. The bus ride to St. Anton is about two hours. Experienced European travelers have learned how to adjust their sleep patterns to adjust for the flight and change in time zones.
6) What's the plumbing like?
This is a legitimate question on the important level of creature comfort, and the answer is, "Just fine!"
The roots of this uneasiness lie back in the personal history of some skiers. Many had their first exposure to Europe when they were in the service overseas or when they toured Europe as students.
7) Aren't the Alps too cold?
A clear and definite No! Actually, by the standards of most American skiers, skiers in the Alps are a bunch of sissies. Unlike their hardy American counterparts, Europeans wouldn't dream of hitting the mountain in sub-zero temperatures when a howling wind generates chill factors way down to the big minuses.
Temperatures in the Alps are relatively mild.
8) Those mountains are awfully big!
Yes, Europe's Alps certainly are big where it counts for skiers, but they're small enough for comfort. What matters most to a skier is vertical drop, the difference in altitude between the highest lift-served point and the bottom of the ski run, in Europe usually the village. Big verticals mean long runs, people widely spread out over the mountain, uncrowded lifts, and overall a better ratio between time on the lift and time on the run. St. Anton has a 4,500 foot vertical drop.
Altitude in the Alps are small enough to be comfortable. If you're a skier who pushes a desk at sea level all year long, when you get to a high altitude ski resort, it takes three and five days for the body to adjust to the altitude. Until that adjustment is complete, insomnia, headaches, a high pulse rate, shortness of breath, excessive fatigue, and low tolerance to alcohol are common symptoms. The resort elevation, at which you live, eat, party, and sleep, is much more important than the mountain elevation at which you ski. St. Anton is 4277 feet above sea level.
9) It gets crowded over there!
There can be some truth to this reservation, depending on timing.
No one can honestly say that any ski area in the world does not get crowded on a holiday weekend in the peak season around Christmas, in mid-February, or just before Easter. A forecast of superb weather can make it even more intense.
January is off season for most Europeans. Not only are the fees lower, but the slopes are less crowded.
10) What about the food?
There is nothing wildly exotic about European cooking, there are no unfamiliar ingredients, there are no outlandish styles of preparation. What you get is good, solid food cooked from the same raw materials you use every day at home, maybe done up a bit, and spiced differently, but familiar. All Americans we have talked to said that the local cuisine needs no adjustments whatsoever, except maybe for a little willpower and some restraint, particularly in the sweets department, because all the goodies coming out of an European kitchen are subtly addictive.
11) Will there be snow?
We wish we had a definite answer to that question. Most likely yes, but then a freak year may strike once in a while. It happens in the Appalachians, it happens in the Sierras, it happens in the Rockies, and it happens in the Alps. There may be little snow, or no early snow, or thin late snow.
Pray for snow and keep checking on conditions. Check the snow reports direct from each resort. At the same location, you will also find current and forecast weather conditions, live videocams, and other useful information. There should be plenty of snow in January at St. Anton.
St. Anton am Arlberg
St. Anton Hotel Arlberg
The Vienna Itinerary
Vienna is, quite simply, one of the most romantic city’s in the world. From the fantastically ornate facades of the imperial-palaces and theatres to the horses and carriages that clatter past the oak-panelled coffee houses displaying their jewel-like cakes and sweetmeats from behind their frosted glass, Vienna is enchanting. Not content with being aesthetically beautiful, the city has one of the world’s finest art collections, orchestras and opera houses with an extensive history of cultural heritage.
In Vienna, every brick is coated in history ranging from the strains of Mozart’s musical compositions to the reign of the decadent Hapsburg’s and the terrors of the Second World War.
Unusually for a city, the River Danube doesn’t flow through the centre of town but rather through the north-eastern outer suburbs. If you want to catch a glimpse of it, then board one of the boats that regularly plough up and down the waterways, more information about this service can be found in the Transport section.
The Inner Stadt, or the centre of the city, is relatively compact and the winding labyrinthine streets are crammed with twinkling shops and cosy cafes that can be explored easily on foot. At the very centre of the medieval streets, the Stephansdom cathedral rises up from the low roofs and offers a very handy visual aid if you take a wrong turning! Also occupying the centre is the former Imperial Palace of the Hofburg family, now an excellent museum, and serves to remind mere mortals of the wealth that this family one commanded.
Almost entirely circling the Inner Stadt is the famous Ringstrasse, studded with the city’s grandest buildings, such as the Opera House, Parliament and several museums. Walking the entire length of the street can be exhausting (although Sigmund Freud managed it on a daily basis when he was a Viennese resident) so catch tram number one or two to glimpse the magnificent structures.
The outer suburbs are relatively quiet compared to the myriad of attractions available in the city centre, but to the north-west there are some wonderful wooded paths which provide some respite from the bustling metropolis, especially during the sizzling summer months. To the south-east lies the enormous Central Cemetery where some of Vienna’s most illustrious citizens now lie.
Just outside the city lies the spa town of Baden that can be easily reached by tram. Highly popular in both the Roman times and nineteenth century, the healing waters never lose their appeal and Mozart wrote his Ave Venim chorus for the choir at the church. The pretty town of Durnstein is also just a train-journey away and lies at the edge of the Wachau wine-growing district. The area is steeped in history and make sure you visit the lovely eighteenth century monastery and church in the centre.
Back in the city, the newly constructed MuseumsQuartier is an educational marvel and has plenty of bars and restaurants to offer some respite from the great artworks during the day and after dark. Although the Viennese aren’t known for their all-night parties, there are certain districts that have a number of after-hours venues ranging from jazz to the latest DJ’s who have their residences in newly converted clubs.
The hotel offers 212 single and double rooms, in modern and traditional style, featuring private bathroom, with hairdryer. The rooms are furthermore equipped with individually controlled air conditioning, satellite and Pay TV, radio, mini bar, electronic safe, trouser press, Internet connection and direct dial telephone.