I learned to ski at the tender age of four and I’ve therefore been a passionate skier, wishing to spend every free minute on the mountain, for nearly 25 years now. As lovely as every day’s skiing is, there is also the odd treat that stands out. In the world of skiing this is unarguably is the “first line” or “first track“. Which literally means being the first person to make tracks in the snow and when possible alone. It’s a feeling as if you are gliding down the mountain on the softest cotton wool. If then the sun is making its way over the mountain and you can feel the first rays on your face, you believe you can embrace the whole world.
Yet this unique experience counts amongst the rarest. Locals as well as guests jostle quite early at the lifts – especially during holiday periods – so as to make as much use of the day’s skiing as possible and so there’s no time for the “first line”.
In St. Johann-Alpendorf they’ve come up with something special. At “Early Bird Skiing” you have the opportunity to use the lifts and slopes in the Snow Space Salzburg before the official opening time, just so you experience this very feeling of cotton wool under your skis. You’ll be accompanied by one of the company’s executives or managers. Therefore you also have chance to learn interesting facts about the mountain landscape, the business behind skiing and the region itself. Of course I couldn’t pass up such a golden opportunity when the motto is: the early bird catches the worm.
Meeting point is at the Gernkogel cable car station at 07.20 am. The initial weariness from getting up early disappears the moment I see that the dawn promises a beautiful day. After welcoming all participants we’re ready to go – at 7.30 am we get into the cable car and are quickly transported up the mountain. The longer the cable car journey lasts, the more my pleasant anticipation of the coming hours increases. Once at the top the manager explains the route to us 10 early risers and we’re off. Tightening up my ski boots, snapping on my skis and I’m ready. Simply fantastic! I hear nothing other than the crunching of the snow under my skis, and then my friend shouting for joy. I can’t begrudge him – it really is amazing. I stop and stand still for a short time to take a look my tracks and to really savour the moment. And so it goes on the next 1.5 hrs. One glorious moment follows another – the fresh snow and the sun on my face. It’s absolutely wonderful and surely one of the best day’s skiing I’ve ever had.
The dates for “Early Bird Skiing” cannot be checked out in advance. Those responsible select them according to the weather and snow conditions. When and if an “Early Bird” ski day is taking place can be found out at short notice through one of the Snow Space Salzburg official channels (homepage, panorama TV and Facebook). The number of participants is strictly limited to 10 persons. That way it remains exclusive and very special.
I’m really glad to have been able to experience this special day’s skiing and who knows, maybe I’ll get another chance to take part in Early Bird Skiing.
Photo credits: Snow Space Salzburg