As an active winter sports enthusiast one could easily be inclined to belittle a horse-drawn sleigh ride – too romantic, too old-fashioned, too passive. Not for those who want to feel winter with every fibre and to get sweaty. Well, only the horses get sweaty on this excursion, as they pull the sleighs transporting their passengers up to the Filzmoos Hofalm. Yet this fact doesn’t make the excursion any less beautiful.
The 23 sleighs, belonging to a total of eight farmers, each consist of two chequered Noriker horses, elegant Frisian or powerful Haflinger horses. The animals know the route inside out, yet their pace is always leisurely. From the resort centre past the Hubertushof, where Johanna Maier, one of the world-famous top female chefs reigns in her kitchen, towards Hinterwinkl. This road, which winds gently up to the alpine pasture area, is exclusively open for horse-drawn sleighs and winter walkers from 1st December until the end of March.
After a good 40 minutes and a climb of around 200 m the winter forest opens out – first and most impressive view point is the imposing Bischofsmütze mountain with its 2,458 m and its characteristic double peak. The mountain used to form the border between the Archbishopric of Salzburg and the Archbishopric of Austria: In 1993 the Bischofsmütze lost a 200 m column of rock; a photo of this massive rockfall can be seen at the Unterhofalm. One of the two destinations of the horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Here, as well as at the somewhat lower lying Oberhofalm, built in1665 – the finest Salzburger alpine delicacies are served: from cheese gnocchi in a pan to Pongau meat fritters and Kaiserschmarrn (a chopped pancake dish). Only the burning of calories afterwards doesn’t quite function on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. As already mentioned – nobody except the horses gets sweaty.
The text comes from the book “Best Views in SalzburgerLand – 66 favourite places and 11 alpine huts“ by Franziska Lipp (Gmeiner Publishers, 2014).
By kind permission from the author.
Photo credits: Franziska Lipp