Following an epic week in Tignes last year, there was no way that we were going to let another winter pass without a trip to the Alps. Knowing that chalets get booked up quickly, we put a deposit down for Chalet Murr, in the famous party town of St Anton, back in August and began building a crew. It didn't take long to fill the list of legends that would make this holiday another unforgettable one.
Shortly after touch-down inbetween the snowy mountains in Innsbruck we were unpacking at our new home and making friends with our hosts – 4 lovely seasonaires from the UK, working for Ski Total took care of us and dealt with our antics with commendable patience and cheer! We didn’t need much encouragement to get stuck into the unlimited wine offered with dinner every night which gave us the boost we needed to power through our ridiculous nights in this fun focused resort.
Friends reunited, new friends, snow, first day of holiday, beer, wine and jager….a dangerous combination
The next morning we raised our throbbing heads to clear blue skies. Eager to explore some more of our surroundings we hit the slopes early and cruised around trying to remember how attaching planks of wood to your feet and sliding down a mountain is supposed to work. Pleased with our efforts, by 3pm we retired to the deck of the Krazy Kangaruh to swap tales of our adventures; notably some epic T-bar attempts, vertical chutes, fresh snow and a lot of “OMG it’s so beautiful out here”. Well it is.
After a nervous 20 minutes wandering when they were going to turn the music up, the Krazy Kangaruh lived up to it’s hype and saw every one of us dancing on the chairs, benches, tables and whatever else we could find to elevate ourselved above the crowds of skiers crammed into the pumping bar. The Aussie’s represented in a Kangaroo and Koala suit to mark Australia Day as they serenaded us all with a roaring rendition of Waltzing Matilda before everyone ramped up again for hours of boot stomping, Austrian Apres fun.
Back at Murr HQ our staff had dutifully cleaned our digs and prepared a delicious 3 course dinner. There really is no beating the value you get from a chalet holiday. Just under £800 buys you flights, transfers, accommodation, full board and unlimited wine. You can leave your brain at home because once you’re on the plane, everything is done for you - and it’s awesome.
The rest of the week continued in a similar vein to Day 1. Ski hard, party hard, sleep (a little bit) and repeat. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and snow conditions – the season had seen a very poor start with little to no snow falling before January. By the time we arrived there was only a thin base but during our stay we had 3 days and nights of solid snow fall. Our perseverance in the snowy weather was rewarded with 3 perfect, bluebird powder days.
For the first time ever we made the decision to hire a backcountry guide – we didn’t know the terrain or where to go as we were all new to the area, conditions were sketchy as so much fresh snow had falled on an icy, thin base layer and we wanted to make the most of the short time we had to ski as much as possible. What we weren’t expecting when we met our guide however, was to be led around the mountain by a 6-time World Freeride champion. Robby Brackenhofer (I would add a link if I could find one that wasn't in German) let us expertly around the seemingly never ending ski area into some incredible bowls and some of the deepest powder I’ve ever been in. At times it was legitimately up to my boobs and all that was visible on the way down were people’s heads getting blasted with fluffy white spray. Some of the best skiing we’ve ever done in our lives.
Book a chalet. The hotels are expensive and you get incredible value and comfort in a chalet but book one close to the centre of town. The two main lift stations are right in the thick of things and you want to be within walking distance as we were.
Side note – it’s always best to fill a chalet with your friends. Chalet Murr, for example, had quite small common areas so sharing them with another group or a few families would have been uncomfortable. Taking over with your friends however is absolutely ideal. Chalets come in all shapes and sizes from those that sleep 8 people to big houses sleeping up to 30.
Hire your ski equipment. The hire shops are affordable if booked in advance and carry top of the range gear. We opted for the higest level of rental equipment and for 100 euros we had our pick of the newest skis on the market and could swap them daily depending on the conditions.
IF you get some fresh snow, hire a guide. By far the best way to make the most of your day on the mountain
Go to Krazy Kangaruh or Moosertwirt for Apres. Both start getting going around 3pm and go on until 7pm. It’s dark by then and skiing down blind is almost as much of an experience as the party inside the bars. Dancing on tables is mandatory. Krazy Kangaruh has a younger crowd pumping out classic party hits whereas Moosertwirt is slightly more mature but equally loud and prefers the foot stomping Austrian beats. Either way, make sure you lock up you skis or board outside as after a few drinks most skis look the same and they are often known to go down the mountain with the wrong owner.
If loud isn’t your thing, the Underground bar is also great. The crazy lady that runs it is lovely and will find you a spot to sit even if you think the place is rammed to the rafters and they have live music every night. Basecamp by the bottom of the Galzig Gondola is also popular and saves you from having to ski down in the dark.
Do a day trip to Lech. The easiest way is to ski to Stuben and then get the bus from there to Zurs. It’s only a 7 minute journey vs 20 minutes from St Anton. The runs over in Lech and Zurs are long, wide and almost empty compared to those in St Anton.
Wherever you’re heading for your ski holidays this year, stay safe and enjoy!