A white Christmas in the Austrian Alps is a flurry of festive fun, but even after the tree decorations are packed away the winter season continues with exciting sporting events and entertainment for families and friends, whether on a ski holiday or simply visiting the wonderful, culturally rich Salzburg region.
On January 30th 2016, one of the most interesting races on the slopes: the Schmitten Trasslauf is a real nostalgia-fest for fans, dating back to 1951 it is a time honoured Zell am See tradition. Early publicity photos of contestants show plus-four style ski pants, shirts and berets as the fashion of the day!
A week later, on Saturday February 6th, nostalgia reigns again with the Nostalski, attracting 200 entrants from various countries for its popular ‘Nebn-a-nont’ (side-by-side) slalom. A jolly time for participants and spectators can be expected. For more information and registration for the average classification race visit www.nostalski.com
For those on the ground, hot air balloons sailing across the sky is always a cause to stop and gaze heavenwards. So prepare for a crick in the neck during Balloonalps 2016 (February 7th – 12th). Especially spectacular is The Night of the Balloons in Kaprun, February 8th, when the darkness is lit by multi-coloured balloons, fireworks and torches. Some 20 hot air balloons, dependent on weather conditions, will offer flights to the public and on the ground entertainment includes a snowboard and motor cross show, music and drinks.
Falling over for fun
Slapstick hilarity as folk take tumbles is a natural part of a skiing holiday, and there are usually plenty of laughs during the Aufi Owi Ski touring race. Happening on the 12th of February, the first challenge is to ski UP the mountain, before skiing back down again. The action, in teams of two, starts at the Bar ‘zur Lederhosen’ in Kaprun and travels via Schaufelbergpiste ‘Eisbär’ before racing back down.
A more serious tone is set by the 10th International Maiskogel Fanlauf ski race, taking place on February 27th in aid of a Salzburg charity for childhood cancer. Hundreds take part in this annual giant slalom at the Maiskogel in Kaprun.
Red, red wine…
Austrian wine is showcased at many refreshment stop huts and mountain restaurants from March 4th – 6th, with a tasting of reds from the winegrowers of Burgenland, billed at the ‘Red Turns – vine consumption on 2.000m’.
Skiers and snowboarders will have sober minds firmly focused for the X OVER RIDE Freeride World Tour Qualifier, a three star event on the Kitzsteinhorn (March 19th). The tour establishes the world top 3 skiers and top 2 snowboarders for the highly selected starting field of the Freeride World Tour.
Any unsuccessful competitors might like to drown their woes by joining celebrants of Paddy Night, happening that same evening at the Kaprun Castle, with Celtic Shamrock & Roll entertainment from Selfish Murphy. The fun begins at 7pm, with a musical repertoire that includes drinking songs!
Wet, wet, wet
A comedy highlight that brings the winter season to a close on the Schmitten is the Splash Contest & Ö3-Pistenbully on March 26th. There will be plenty of laughs, splashes and excitement as skiers and boarders attempt to glide over water – without falling in… Those that succeed have a chance of winning €500. The waterslide contest gets under way at 11am.
So there you have it! If staying at CLC Alpine Centre during the aftermath of Christmas and in the run up to Easter, you’ll have plenty of local entertainment and events to top off your sightseeing, sporting activities and cultural visits. There’s excitement all year round in the Alps and opportunities galore for memorable photos.
Photo credit: © zellamsee-kaprun.com