Friday 1700 and the shutters at HQ are down. All that's left to do is fill the tank with extortionately priced diesel, pack my case and grab some tea with the family before picking up the boys in the early hours.
All aboard the van by 0200 with cases and board bags before a very scenic route in the pitch black down to Stansted. We all grabbed a quick bite in the Wetherspoons before our short flight over the Channel to Austria and we're all ready to go.
We landed at Salzburg to not even a flake of the white stuff, our transfer time was just short of 1hr 30 winding our way to our hotel, mountains either side covered in snow we followed the crystal clear river upstream. First impressions were great with the location being at the foot of the mountain, rooms were based on 3 of us sharing. But forget all of that for now, we dumped the bags, got our gear on and headed up the mountain.
We got the lay of the land pretty quick and found our snow legs sharpish. After a 2 year hiatus and seeing as we had gone straight through from the day before, we were all feeling it so headed back to our hotel to find the pool and sauna. You wouldn't believe it, on the way back the last bar sucked us in for a couple of drinks.
We stayed at Hotel Vaya and somehow managed to blag a half board deal, the food was bang on. Breakfast was a buffet with fresh fruit and baked pastries, great to start the day off (note to self, don't take a banana up in your backpack, it gets messy). Evening meal was 3 course starting with soup and the main you chose at breakfast, the choice was limited to meat, veg or fish but there was a salad buffet.
Each day we headed up a different lift to the top of a different mountain, taking in the sites as we carved our way down, across and up another side. After a day of hard reds, late in the afternoon we were coerced back to the top but a couple of us had legs that had turned to smoke so we cruised to the base and into a totally different town in search of refreshments. Only to be greeted by the complementary ski bus back to Saalbach, gotta love the Austrians.
On our final day we were up early and at the top before most people had rolled out of bed. We just kept ticking off the miles, we reckon 30+ this day, we explored as far as we could by lunch where we stopped for toasties with a view to die for.
We explored a little more before finding a new route back to town, on the way back some of the lads hit the park but I was more impressed by the 5 year olds taking on the airbag. As a group we took on some big long winding runs and weaving in and out all the way down at impressive speed.
This run ended where it all started which seemed quite fitting, The Soul House was conveniently a ski in après bar and the live entertainment was banging, we dropped our boards in the snow ordered the beers but it wasn't long before we were topping up with another and another round, followed by Aperol spritz. The guy on stage looked little like Rod Stewart but he could sing and Christ he was funny too, we were in stitches and before we knew it it had gone dark and we were among the last left in there.
That day was the best I have ever had on the slopes, the last final run down was breath-taking and I was trying to just soak it all in on the day baked slushy snow, riding it more like Swayze in Point Break than a snowboarder, what a place 🤙
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