Who could possibly have realised last Christmas that the ski season could have been wrecked by the Coronavirus crisis? We never saw it coming – how could we have?
But I guess it could have been worse.
Many of us – including me, helping the Snow-Camp charity at the annual City Ski championships in January – were lucky enough to make a few turns. But in some of my favourite resorts in South America and New Zealand the ski areas are wondering how they are going to cope. Good friends of mine who own the Chilean resort of Portillo have told me they are very anxious.
So, when considering where to choose for this year’s skiing holiday, safety and top quality hospitals are an important consideration. Austria has one of the best health care facilities in Europe, and Innsbruck has a world acclaimed teaching hospital. Hopefully, by winter this will be over planning, but just in case…..it’s nice to know you are somewhere safe.
All the more important that when the new winter season arrives, we are ready to make up for lost time and lost skiing. Obergurgl awaits us – perhaps even in summer or early autumn!
Obergurgl and its neighbour Hochgurgl could hardly be better placed to provide the perfect mountain holiday. And the Chalet at 11º East offers a sanctuary for all – from relaxing holidaymakers to anyone seeking shelter from the elements in winter.
And, as those mountain lovers who don’t ski much or at all – or perhaps only have one skier in the family while his or her partner simply enjoys a holiday in a ski resort without skiing at all – it’s not all about snow. During the lockdown we’re all missing the mountain air. So much so that wouldn’t it be a great idea to get back to the mountains even before winter arrives – if we’re allowed to?
Once the lockdown starts to ease and (hopefully) cheap flights are available, – we could remind ourselves of the beauty of the mountains and the heady exhilaration of the mountain air by taking a morale-boosting trip to Obergurgl where the glorious scenery and altitude is a joy at any time of the year.
Talking of cheap flights, you can’t go that far wrong booking Gatwick to Innsbruck (The Chalet at 11 º East is just 75 minutes taxi ride from Innsbruck Airport) when you see the current prices – £49!!
See below table for an indication of prices as of 18th April 2020
|London Gatwick to Innsbruck using Easyjet ( BA also flies from Heathrow and Gatwick)|
|Date:||20th December||2nd January||15th February||20th March|
Yes, we can exercise all we like in our gardens in the UK (if we’re lucky enough to have gardens) and of course exercise is good. But not just before skiing. To get the most out of mountain walks, fitness is of course a great help.
We need to be tuned-up for the winter and my bet is that Christmas may be one of the busiest ever as skiers who may have been robbed of any skiing at all because of the Coronavirus are champing at the bit to get back to the slopes!
Not all ski areas can guarantee good skiing over Christmas – but Obergurgl-Hochgurgl must be just about the best bet in the Alps! After all, by this coming Christmas, as long as the lockdown is over, the twin resorts will have been up and running for well over a month. No anxious peering into the heavens, no hoping for the best!
Thanks to its altitude, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl is one of the first regions in Austria to open. And with a more-than-generous array of 25 lifts serving no fewer than 112 beautifully groomed kilometres (70 miles) of runs for skiing, snowboarding and freeriding the early snow has plenty of places to decorate! What’s more, the season here continues right through April!
Proximity to slopes
This is very important. It’s not just laziness. In fact it’s not laziness at all. It’s just a key factor in getting as much skiing as possible. Why waste valuable time walking to the slopes? The Chalet at 11º East is in an unrivalled position, adjoining Bobo’s nursery slope. Your children could literally climb out of the window (but we wouldn’t recommend it!) and be ready for ski school! And it’s no more than 200 yards from the main Gaisberg lift too. So, we’re truly right on the slopes – but just yards from the village centre!
This speaks for itself, although long transfer times don’t necessarily always translate into fewer hours on the slopes. Nevertheless, the transfer to us from Innsbruck is just 75 minutes. Transfers are easy with taxis and the Ötztal shuttle is in plentiful supply
Quality of food
When booking a luxury catered ski chalet consider the following:
Are menus available prior to booking? Special orders catered for? Is a wine list available? All three are at the Chalet, at 11 º East. Well, what did you expect from a quality chalet like ours?
What’s the staff/guest ratio?
This can be very important. In our case we have two delightful chalet girls together with Sandy the proprietor. Three staff for 10 guests is one of the best ratios you can find anywhere in the mountains!
And if you are thinking of waiting till April 2021, here are a few pictures of snow conditions taken from April 2020! Absolutely perfect !