This morning we all kind of struggled to get up and moving – except for Rhinehart who is always first and ready to go, so he made us breakfast – eggs, cheese and prosciutto – while we all got ready.
We thought the buses ran every 10 minutes, so we didn’t pay much attention to what time we were leaving, so at around 10:10 am, we realized the buses only come once an hour, so Francis had to drive us the short distance into town.
We got our stamps done at the tourist office in St Anton, and then parked the car and crossed over a “closed” bridge (not sure why it was closed though) to get into the village. We jumped on the brand new Ganzig Bahn gondola which is ridiculous – it’s huge, high tech, brand new, and has these humongous wheels that rotate the gondola up like an elevator before it takes off up the mountain.
Today was a perfect bluebird day, no clouds anywhere so the views were amazing. From the top we dropped into the village of St Christoph and ran into a couple other fellow epic racers again (we are roughly on the same schedule as it seems maybe 20 other racers so we run into them periodically at the photo/video spots at each resort).
The information office at St Christoph was super old and historic “hospice” hotel there that offers amazing ambience and fine dining, and is a 5 star hotel. The history of St Christoph dates back 600 years ago when a shepherd founded a shelter for wary travelers making their way through the Alps. History is so much greater in Europe!
From St Christoph, we made our way up the St Chrisophobahn lift, which takes you to the center point of the St Christoph and St Anton lifts, and you can see down from up there into either valley (a village on each side). It’s so hard to describe how grand this mountain range is, especially when you’re at the top overlooking everything from a 360 view.
We had some really fun runs after that, and kind of kept getting lost so we actually rode probably most of the lifts at the resort, which turned out to be pretty fun. It’s crazy how long the runs are here, and how steep even a normal groomer tends to be at these mountains.
The gnarliest lift I’ve ever seen was shooting up from the St Christoph area to a mountain peak that seemed like it wouldn’t really be skiable because of how intense the terrain was, but apparently they don’t give a crap here in Austria and will put a lift on anything. There was also a tram, which I believe is was one of the first trams ever built taking you almost to the top of the super gnarly mountain peak also. Neither were open but if they would have been, I know the guys would have wanted to ride it, and I’m not completely sure if I would have done it. The lift was a two or three person lift, shooting straight up to the top, and the terrain down from there looked pretty insane, probably would have been the steepest run I’d ever had access to, so as much fun as it would have been, I’m also a little relieved it wasn’t open!
Speaking of lifts, at the bottom of one of the runs on the St Christoph side, we were riding a 6 pack lift up – most of the high speed lifts here have lap bars, and then an additional plastic bubble cover that you can pull down in bad weather. Because of the bubble, I couldn’t put my arm around the back side of the chair like I normally do when I ride lifts on the scarier side, and um, all of the lifts here in Austria are pretty scary and way far off the ground. I kept asking the guys if I could put the bar down, and they kept insisting no way and that I needed to suck it up and that this was good practice for me since France is supposed to be scary also. But, we got to a point where I had a mild freak out and told the guys I didn’t give a shit what they thought, and I was putting the bar down. They all gave me crap and said I had to buy the first round at the bar because I wussed out, but I didn’t care, at least I wasn’t scared anymore! And, THANK god I did, because shortly after that, the lift stopped, and swung back and forth at a high point over the ground, ugh! And then, just to freak me out a little bit more, after the lift stopped, a guy came on the loud speaker in German and said something which we didn’t understand, and all I was hoping was that he wasn’t saying that the lift was broken and that we would all have to be rescued because we were pretty high up there!
After that, I started to realize that EVERYONE puts the bar down on lifts in Austria. It makes sense, they are a lot higher up than the lifts I’m used to in the states. So, I gave the guys crap back and said “hey guys look up, see that, every single lift that is going by has people with the bar down, bar down, bar down” so hopefully they will get the point and let me put the bar down the rest of this trip, or else I’m probably gonna be riding them alone on purpose!
We then headed over to the St Anton history of skiing museum (one of our epic race photo stops). What a cute little place! It had a beautiful historical style dining room downstairs, and upstairs was the ski museum. I’m so glad we went inside, it was cool to see some of the history of how skiing developed in St Anton, seems like this is where a lot of the history of skiing began!
And then, it was time to hit up the Mooserwirt – a world famous après ski bar that overlooks the Alps, is on the slopes (but within walking distance from the base if you want to hike up for a little bit). It was a trip to see this place – outside they had a stage, girls dancing, a DJ, live music, and it was so packed you couldn’t really walk unless you were trying to push your way through to get somewhere.
Inside was a little less crowded, but still very “club” like. We got a couple rounds of drinks (we had met up with Adam, fellow epic racer there also), and took it all in. I got hit on by a local Austrian guy who kept wanting to “make dance” with me and said “you good, I’m good, lets make dance” which was pretty funny. And of course, Hydle was “famous” throughout the club – people either were thinking he was Mc Fitti again, or high fiving him because he had the best beard they’d ever seen, or apparently he also got called out by a group of people thinking he looked like the guy from the hangover, not to mention every epic racer that was there knew who he was also!
After a couple drinks, we strapped on our skis, and skied down the hill to the base in the dark. Of course in Europe you can ski after the slopes have shut down, with no lights, after having a million drinks (if you choose to have a million drinks at the Mooserwirt). What a crazy place! Apparently it doesn’t even really get started until 10 pm or so, I can’t even imagine…insane!
Back at the room we worked on uploading our content, and had leftover spaghetti. The guys went out again late night tonight where I thik they are meeting up with Adam for a bit at Bar 37, and I stayed in to go to sleep! Tomorrow is Stuben, and then driving to Verbier, Switzerland!