Skiing trip to Söll, Austria
January 2001

Sunday31st December 2000 found us in the snowy village of Soll in Austria. We woke to this view out of our room window in Pension Ranier. It had been snowing for the past 2 days and just enough snow had collected on the slopes for some good skiing. Despite our excitement we only just managed to prize ourselves out of bed in time to be the last to join ski school.




Monday 1/1/2001.

The nursery slopes are just outside the town making it quite a short walk from our room just by the church to the gondola just beyond.


We collected our skis and boots each morning from the 'ski garage' to the right of this picture and slipped across the gentle slope to the button lift which dragged us up to the gondola base station.


Apart from the skiing, the views were excellent. The recent snowfall still clung to the pine trees like icing sugar. This red run became an early favourite due to much of it being more like a blue.



Clear blue skies to the horizon and crisp, clean snow. These are a thing of the past in London.

The clean air and excitement daily made me forget the pre Christmas bug that I was still suffering from.

The second gondola took us to the top of the mountain called Hohe Salve where the views were stunning. This view looked down into a valley where the little town of Brixental nestled quietly. The little church perched on the peak behind me must have required an arduous stroll on a Sunday morning. 



At least this side of the peak provides an easy slide back down to the town of Soll in the winter time. Perhaps roller skates could be used in summer.
The last view from the Hohe Salve peak is towards Zinsberg.



Having accepted the challenge of skiing the red route from the Hohe Salve peak back down to the middle gondola station, I opted for a blue route half way down that I thought went the same way. Unfortunately I found myself on the wrong side of the mountain with the return chair lift closed for the night there was no option but to join the long queue and take the chair lift down to Hopfgarten. At the bottom I succeeded in missing the last bus and had to get a taxi round the foot of the mountain back to Soll. This would not have been so bad had not Tracy been waiting for me at the gondola middle station for the last 2 hours. 
Still, the chair lift ride down was scenic.



So I took a couple of snaps.

Due to my late arrival we missed the ski instructors performing their torch-lit procession but managed to see the roman candle outline of '2001' on the hillside and half an hour of fireworks from the comfort of our room.

That evening we went out to eat at a nearby hotel where a band was playing English and Irish songs to see in the new year. They turned out to be from Cumbria!

Just after midnight the fireworks started going off big time and we went out to watch until the cold seeped through and we retired to our room.


Tuesday 2/1/2001.

Some of the trees looked rather pretty with a dusting of snow clinging to the branches so I tried, rather unsuccessfully to capture the image on film (or rather, in digits). These were taken from the gondola on the way to the middle station.

Fortunately for us, the gondola had been installed in time for the 2001 season. The disadvantage is that the slopes become crowded with folk taking advantage of the easy ride.

Before we managed to start skiing, Tracy began suffering from boot pains so we had to return to the hire shop to get them changed. The new pair solved her problems but we missed out on ski school for the day.


On the way back down in the gondola I managed to get these snaps of a little church perched on an outcrop of rock. It has a peculiarly oriental appearance for a church in Austria.



With a colourfull painting on the side,
and a defensive air about it.



We took a couple of toboggans up in the gondola and ploughed down the toboggan run at breakneck speed (although noticeably slower than most children).

At the bottom we found a more spacious hill without ice, hairpin bends and other obstacles to cause concern down which we slipped at even grater speed and not inaudible whoops!

This is the view from the hill, just above the 2001, roman candle illumination and firework display from the previous night. The gondola base station is on the right of the picture with the nursery slopes across the bottom.


Looking to the left we could see the town of Soll with the church nestled in the middle and the bottom of the nursery slopes to the right. This shows just how close to the town you could ski should you wish.


The church was lit up every night creating a wonderful centerpiece for the town. Although yellow seems a bit of a strange colour to paint a church, it did create a warming, Christmas like impression in the otherwise frosty night.
For a small town they had some impressive night time Christmas illuminations.


Wednesday 3/1/2001.




Tracy practices her lessons on a gentle red run.
Thursday 4/1/2001.

Our instructor Elaine, a very active sergeant major-ish lady, amazed us all by informing us about her artificial hip. In her spare time she is also a nurse and swimming instructor.


Louise, Column and Tracy(2) await further instruction.


Elaine was very keen on promoting the social aspects of the group and invited everyone to the restaurant at the foot of the Salvenmoos slope for a spit roasted chicken lunch which turned out to be so nice we had another the following day. I'm not sure why, but it did not seem strange to eat outside in such conditions.



Friday 5/1/2001

For only an extra 50 Schillings we got to compete in the races. The small dot to the right of the blue banner is Tracy making her winning slip to the final post.

And here she is again making the final skid round the winning post.


Going for elegance rather than speed, Deborah glides round the final flag still the right way up.



Sauntering past the post, Louise wins the 'nonchalant'
Racy Sarah blurs her way to second place.



Looking rather nervous, our group congregate at the head of a black run ready to take the final plunge whilst children in crash hats plunge like Lemmings over the edge.
As it might be the last time we all had legs to stand on I thought I had better take another shot.


During our last few days on the slopes the snow was becoming rather thin, slushy and turning a rather nasty shade of brown.



Mal the Milk Tray man flaps his flippers.

Mal prepares for the classic sliding down the slope in a star shape trick much to the amazement of onlookers.



Unable to resist the temptation for a final gig.


Saturday 6/1/2001

The inside of the church at Soll has a much nicer paint job than the outside.

It being our last day, there being insufficient time for more skiing and our transfer bus not being due till 14:45, we took a walk round the town which proved to be rather a nice little place.



The houses have lots of style and even more space around them.

One last look at the mountains before we were back on the plane for home.


Travelogues by Malcolm Weller

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