Skiing — a spontaneous ski trip — where was I going?

A last-minute skiing holiday to Austria

January 2015

Call it mad, call it coming down from the excesses of Christmas, but one morning in early January 2015, I decided I needed to go skiing. I lived and worked in Malaysia, and I was in Europe for Christmas. I had an urge to see snow and ski.

I got on the Internet, finally the phone, and booked the first thing I could find.

Where was I going?

I was not sure.

I had not heard of the place.

I couldn’t remember the ski area’s name when I got off the phone. But, Lisa at Crystal Ski assured me it was a good resort. She said it had a good range of runs and that they had received significant snow in the last week.

I was not that concerned, I hadn’t seen snow for ten months, and if they had a couple of good runs open, I would be happy.

So, I headed off on the magical, mystery ski tour: next stop, Innsbruck airport.

Flying to Innsbruck Airport

So, I had booked a random ski trip to a ski area in Austria. I had never heard of the place, and when I arrived at the airport, I still wasn’t sure where I was going.

The flight to Innsbruck was delayed. This is always a problem with chartered ski flights. The planes fly out to a resort with a new batch of skiers, drop them off, pick up the skiers currently in the resort, and return. This may be repeated several times in a day, and all it takes is one delay, and things soon start to back up.

The flight to Innsbruck landed an hour late (the flight time was 1 hour 29 mins). We were given a warning on ‘severe turbulence’ for the approach — we passed through snow clouds at 5,000–10,000 feet, and I could see the snow flying past the window. On the ground, it was raining.

Innsbruck Airport is small and odd. They insisted on a coach transfer from the plane to the terminal — a distance of some 50 meters.

The airport only had three luggage belts, so the arrivals hall got quite crowded.

As I left the baggage hall, I was greeted by the Crystal Ski Reps. They were well organised and got us to the coaches for a 1-hour 20-minute transfer.

I was off to the Hotel Sonnschein in Niederau, Austria. Who knew?