Enveloped in a winter wonderland
Get up, draw the curtains, open the window, take a deep breath and savour the view of the snowy Flachau valley. Yes indeed, this year you couldn’t get more “winter wonderland“. Mother Nature has given her all and the conditions for all sorts of winter sports are – without exaggeration – simply bombastic.
For a change, I’m not heading off to the ski slope or the cross country trail – no, today I’m going to delve into the Flachau winter landscape on snowshoes. I’m really looking forward to the tour with guide Petra and the group of young ladies, together with whom I’m going to explore the Reiteck and the area around the Schloss Höch. At 9.00 am on the dot and at a chilly temperature of -6 °C, we set off on our snowshoe tour – after Petra had issued us with our equipment and checked that we’d put them on properly. As the terrain along this tour is not too steep and ideal for beginners, we manage without poles, meaning we have our hands free to take photos and enjoy the landscape.
For the first 30 minutes we walk at a gentle pace behind Petra, who makes a trail for us through around 15 cm of fresh snow. Then it’s time for our first short stop. Whilst we take a sip from our water bottles, we learn useful information regarding avalanche awareness from Petra. She explains to us for example, what avalanche equipment is recommended, we try out a probe and create a snow profile together.
A few snapshots later we’re on our way again. As if on cotton wool, we stomp through the most fabulous snowy countryside you could ever imagine. On this tour we explore Flachau from a completely different viewpoint, now and again we get a glimpse of the Dachstein mountain range, look down on the seemingly sleepy valley floor or observe what’s happening on the ski slopes on the hill opposite.
We head along a fun downhill passage and then there’s a short stretch through the forest. Walking between the snow-covered trees – sometimes depositing their snowy load on our heads – we get an extra special taste of winter.
Happy and exhilarated from the fresh air, with wonderful country pictures on our mobile phones, we end our two hour snowshoe tour back where we started.
My conclusion – a guided snowshoe tour is a marvellous experience, just crying out to be repeated.
Photo credits: Elisabeth Hartl, Verena Buchsteiner