We are back in Dahab once again after a fantastic week in the mountains.
We were very lucky to be invited to Innsbruck, Austria for some snow boarding with the FTWO team (F2 but snowboarding ).
It was to be my first time on the snowy slopes and also Danielle’s first time for snowboarding.
After finding some good flights to get us to Geneva, Switzerland we arranged our adventure. Lucky for us one of our windsurf students and close friend was able to come and collect us from the airport and drive us back to Zurich where we spent the night.
It was an early start for us the next day and a morning in the car to get from Zurich to Innsbruck where we met up with Moritz from F2. Once we arrived, settled down and ditched our bags it was time for lunch and to sample some authentic Austrian cuisine. However, after ordering noodle soup we discovered that Austrians have their noodles confused as dumplings but as the noodle/dumpling was very tasty we felt there was no need to correct the Austrian’s on this J.
That night we went floodlit Sled/Toboggan racing down a mountain after drinking some Jagertea (rum, sugar & hot water) to warm us up first. It was great fun going super fast down this mountain sat on a tiny wooden sled racing the locals and often wiping out. Congratulation must go to Danielle’s & Moritz’ combined efforts to be the first team down the mountain and with no crashes. I must have crashed at least 5 times but only because Joe and I were just too fast and mega extreme for our sled. All in all a great first day on the mountain.
Day 2 in Innsbruck we were set to go snowboarding for the first time ever! We had a drive over to a resort called Slick2000, set up our gear and were ready to begin. First of all I loved just to be going up to the slopes in a lift and the amazing views of the mountains and all the snow ready to play on. At the top we set off with a little practice on the heel side and then the toe side, linking a few turns and after a few goes we had the general idea. It was a matter of minutes before Danielle was cruising down the slope looking like a real snowboarder, making it look very easy, while I charged off trying to go as fast as possible, the freestyle influence in me trying to spin around lots of 360’s.
After the morning we had the basics covered and we were starving hungry for lunch. At lunch I discovered Germ Knoodle (Steamed dumpling with fruit inside and some vanilla sauce on top). It was amazing and I could have eaten at least 10 of them but we were eager for more snowboarding in the afternoon so I settled for one knoodle and we were off again.
In the afternoon we both went really well. With some off piste fun in some deep snow and a few Ollie’s to give me my first snowboard airtime!
That evening we went halfway up a mountain in the middle of nowhere to a restaurant/pub called “Buzihutte”. I don’t know what this means in Austrian but we were informed by our Hungarian friend Joe that in Hungarian “Buzihutte” translates to “Gay Hut”. As it turned out it was not some mountainside gay bar but a rather nice place that served lots of nice food and lots of good drink and our own guitar for entertainment.
Day 2 of snowboarding we went to a slope just north of town. The view on top was amazing! We were so high on the snowy white mountain looking down to the city with the river snaking right underneath. It took us a little while to get back in to the boarding because we had to warm up and forget about the aches and pains we got the day before, but once we had we got the feeling again it was time to go BIG. Well as big as you can go as a beginner. We went to the freestyle park to mix it up with the experts and try getting some bigger jumps. As it turned out the big jumps were not the issue it was the landing that was, so after a few short sessions of Phil going high then landing on his arse we decided to hit the main slope again.
Back on the main slope Danielle was shredding the turns with her distinct yet classy “shake my hand style” (to achieve this you need to always hold out you right hand as if ready to shake someone else’s). While Danielle was shaking hands I went loop training. This consisted of going as fast as I could to the corner of the slope, hitting the edge and throwing myself Kamikaze style off piste down the steep mountain side into the soft powder. They were by no means the best attempts you would have seen, in fact if you had seen them last week you would probably still be laughing about them now, but I managed to land a few and ride away from. Wooooooooo!
Time for lunch……… Danielle had a mega giant pretzel and I found some more Germ Knoodle. After lunch and a few beers we let ourselves recover before the next session. We sat in the sun on beach chairs checking out the pros on the massive kicker jump. There was some big moves going down and the FTWO team on their new 2013 boards were ripping . I admittedly don’t know much about snowboarding but the new 2013 kit looks awesome! The underside of the deck is florescent neon of either blue, green, orange or a mix of them all. When in the air you can’t miss them but even when on the snow the bright colour still seems to shine through into the snow giving off a cool vivid glow beneath the board.
After food and watching all the entertainment at lunch we got back on the boards with some more enthusiasm and inspiration for that afternoons snowboarding session.
For our last night in Austria we had a nice dinner of spetzle cooked by Moritz followed up by a trip into town for a couple of drinks where we ended up in a bar with the worst DJ’s in the world ever! Regardless of the dubious taste in music it was a fun night with good company, a few beers and some shifty looking dance moves.
The next day Danielle, Peter and I were heading back to Zurich. On the way we decided to have a bet on how many tunnels there would be from Innsbruck, Austria to Zurich, Switzerland. The result was a mind blowing amount of 32 tunnels! (Real tunnels & not the fake ones with holes in the side to let light in.)
Some of these were huge up to 16-18K long! We joked that most of the journey was underground.
While in Switzerland we also went snowboarding in Toggenborg. We spent the morning in low cloud covering the mountain, and everything was totally white. The slope and the terrain we were boarding on was really hard to see and super challenging but fun nonetheless. After the mornings hard work snowboarding, trying to see where we were going and some rather hard wipe outs we stopped for a well earned lunch break with the rest of the group we were staying with. At this time we were told that if we went to the very top of the mountain there was no clouds, fantastic sunshine and a spectacular view.
So we gobbled down our food and headed off on a short board ride across the mountain to the gondola leading to the top. On the way up the clouds just stopped at a certain height and we were greeted by amazing bright sunshine, brilliant white snow covered peaks poking out of thick white cloud as far as we could see. It was a spectacular sight to see but we could not stand and linger on the view too long as it was -7 on the top, so it was time to get warm with some more snowboarding.
That night after a short but good afternoon on the sunny slopes, we were once again treated to some lovely dinner and had some traditional Swiss Raclette (Melted cheese and grilled meat, cooked at the table) before heading back home for bed.
The last day we spent doing some shopping for some last minute treats to take back to Egypt with us. At 12 that evening Peter had the un-enviable task of driving us back to Geneva in the snow to catch our plane home so a huge thank you for that. In the airport the snow was coming down really thick and covering the tarmac and planes in a massive white blanket of snow that had Danielle and I starting to wonder if the flights would be cancelled. Fortunately for us the efficient Swiss were not to be deterred by this, they loaded us on to the plane and then began the de-icing operation. This looked like they were squirting orange juice all over the plane to get rid of the ice and snow, and before we knew it we were on our way back home to Dahab after an amazing holiday.
Danielle and I had such a fantastic time. It was really nice to experience the challenge of learning a new sport, it is definitely something we look forward to doing again once Danielle’s bruised bum has recovered (so maybe next year.) J
A massive thank you to our friends in Switzerland Peter (or Joe), Nanou, Matyas and Zazu for letting us come and visit them in Zurich, feeding us fantastic Hungarian/French food & drink, chauffeuring us around, baby sitting us on the slopes and being all round fantastic and making us feel part of the family.
Also to Dommy the Swiss machine & his lovely family, Ximina, Pia & Beatrice for hosting two great evenings and showing us a lovely time.
And a big thank you to Moritz & the FTWO team for housing us in Austria, showing us the local places, introducing us to their friends, sorting out all the kit we could possibly ever need for snowboarding and teaching us how to do it, and of course just being all round cool snowboarding buddies!
All the fun time we have had the privilege of experiencing this week would not of been possible without our very generous friends, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.