WEEKEND GETAWAY TO SÖLDEN, AUSTRIA
A couple of weeks ago, Nina and I where sitting at uni watching ski videos on youtube. Its the time of year when the cold air hits you and your feet get itchy- It was time to plan a ski trip!
On Friday we were at Stockholm airport ready to go! Two hours later we rented a car in Munich, bought some pizza, got on the road and pumped up our favourite tunes. We were headed for Sölden. Sölden, high in the Austrian alps, was hosting the opening FIS World Cup of the season. Two Giant slalom’s for men and women on the famous Rettenbach Glacier. We arrived at 10pm, tired but buzzing for the good times to come.
Straight away we unloaded our gear at the lovely chalet and headed to the Rossignol athlete party. Being ex ski racing athletes, the Sölden World Cup is a nostalgic place for us. We had so many old friends from from back in the day all there to watch the race. My friends from the Australian Ski Team had been training in Sölden for a week, Nina had loads of friends from school and all over Austria. Everyone comes to Sölden for two things: great skiing and good times, and thats exactly what happened. After talking about good old times over a few drinks and meeting with the Rossignol staff we strolled back to the chalet feeling the World Cup BUZZ, eagerly awaiting the morning.
BEEP, alarm goes off- 6am, but today it easy to get up! Music on, windows open, crisp mountain air filled the room. Jackets zipped, pants on, new GoPro in the bag, semel in one hand, camera in the other. We chucked our skis in the back of the car with our new ski poles from Komperdell and fresh Holmenkol ski wax. Then followed the road up to the glacier. It felt amazing to have the two of us back in the Alps with golden light pouring over the mountains in the back drop. We were feeling at home and couldn’t resist stopping for a few pics on the way. with the car parked, we pulled our boots on and hurried to the lift, eager to be first in line for the gondola!
From the gondola we saw the pristine race track, ready for the best racers in the world to attack later in the morning. We couldn’t wait to watch the race, but first it was time for some turns of our own. We went straight to the top of the mountain and took a moment to look over all the epic glaciers. We applied some Holmenkol syntec to our skis to making sure our skis would be gliding over the perfect groomers (always important for the start of the season). Now it was time. We turned to each other, nodded, and dropped in to the steep slope. Theres nothing like those first turns of the season on new, freshly waxed skis! Nina and I criss crossed each others tracks all the way to the bottom of the gondola, feeling super balanced with our new carbon poles from Komperdell. What a rush! we did another lap, and then another, and another, on piste and off piste, all the way until lunch. we were having so much fun we missed the first run of the race!
After lunch we went straight back to the peak of the mountain and took the opportunity to take some great shots over the Alps. Although I think the bright green Komperdell’s stole the show! The 2nd run of the race was starting soon and we had time for one more run.. I got out the new GoPro and did a follow-cam with Nina down an icy race training slope towards the base. Nina carved through the ice, making it clear that she hadn’t lost any skills over the long summer and the shots came out crisp and epic on the Gopro.
As we approached the race arena we heard the roar of thirty-thousand fans cheering on their favourite athletes. World Cup skiing really does have a special atmosphere with some of the most passionate followers. We pulled up, put our skis away and caught up with some friends in the crowd. The Swiss group close to us rang their massive cow bells and the Austrian fans tried to out do them with huge air horns and flares (from Nina’s side, the Austrians were the loudest). The Rettenbach Glacier proved to be an intimidating challenge for the racers and kept everyone’s hairs raised till the very end. It was so awesome to be back in this environment with great friends!
After the race we jumped back in the car, drove to an awesome spot to watch the sunset and took some time to talk about how great the day was and make some plans for the night. First on the agenda was some Apres’ ski drinks, a must for anyone on a ski trip in the Alps. Next we caught up with some of Nina’s old school friends and the Aussie guys for a delicious Austrian dinner before hitting the town for some party time. The World Cup fans were out in full force with good vibes, schnapps and table dancing all round…
The next morning we woke up to howling winds. The mountain was closed, but thats the way it goes in the mountains. we went into town for a quick coffee before driving to Nina’s mums house for some R&R. We sat back, relaxed in front of the fire and reminisced over the weekend. The more we spoke, the more excited for the winter to come we became. Then we slept for two hours, woke up at 2:30am, drove the the airport and made it back to school in Stockholm by Nine!
What an awesome weekend! Thank you Sölden
Photocredits: Sam Robertson