Today was the first day without snow since we arrived. Even Hani said she hasn’t gone skiing in a while because it’s been snowing or dull light.  In fact, she took today off from cleaning to go skiing. Can’t say I blame her. It was a gorgeous day for skiing. Cleaning can wait for another day. I’d do the same thing back home.

We had an early start to the day, catching the 8:30 bus to the Gampen lift and being one of the first skiers on the lift. The Gampen is a really big gondola that detaches for easier loading. It holds about 30 people in each gondola. From there we took the Valluga I. Again we were the first skiers on the lift, and actually met some Canadians from Ottawa.

If you want to follow along, here’s a map.  From the top of the Valluga I we took the 19 and then to the Valluga t-bar up. I’m not a big fan of this particular t-bar because it gets really steep. At least Rob was behind me not beside me. I’ve got such short legs that the bar would be either at his knees or digging into my back.

At the top of the t-bar I took Timmy II over to a big snow gun to pose for a picture. A bunch of Canadian guys started asking what I was posing with. I said it was a bear and that he’s got a blog. I didn’t get as far as saying he’d hijacked the cat’s blog. That would just sound too weird.

So from there we took the 14 then the 17 and then waited about 5 minutes for the free ski bus. We could have taken a bus from St. Anton but we would have had to pay  about 3 euros each way per person.

When we got to Zurs (because we got off the bus too early) we tried making our way over to Lech. We started on the 7, then to the 6. We meant to get to the 4, but missed the turn off. So we ended up taking the same lift again, the Trittkopf. It’s a really old tram, older than the old one at Jay Peak. This time we made the turn off and ended up at the bottom of the Hexenboden.

On the way up this lift we asked the two locals if we could get to Lech. That’s when I remember the Weiss Ring (the White Ring). I had found it about 4 months ago on a web site. It’s a series of trails you can take to visit, Zurs, Lech Oberlech, and Zug. In fact, it’s even a race once a year.

We had been trying to do the ring in the opposite direction, and that just doesn’t work. So from the top of the Trittalp we took the 1, then stopped for lunch at the Trittalp Restaurant, where we secretly devoured our sandwich and oranges. Rob had gone off to buy orange juice since I was so dehydrated.  Must be the altitude.

After lunch we took the 3 down to the bridge, where you skate ski for part of it until you get to the “magic carpet”. Then we got on the Seekopt, then did some off pisting to get to the Madloch lift.  We were now on the Weiss Ring. At the top of the Weiss Ring the only options were ski routes (ungroomed runs that often have uphill sections). We took the 33 to where the options became Zug or Lech. At that point we opted to go to Lech.

That may have been a miscalculation on our part, because it takes you to a residential part of town, not a ski lift. Oh well, Rob kindly carried my skis and his, while I carried the poles. And if you’re thinking I’m a wuss, just remember that I used to pull him along the flats when he was on a snowboard.

From there, we took the bus back to Alpe Rauz, and then took the 12, 4, 1 back to St. Anton. I was just getting in my groove on the bottom half of the 1, but it’s only day 1, so we called it a day.  Well almost. We had a pint each, then took the two poma lifts to get back to the Nasserein side. Our timing was perfect as the number 4 bus was due in only 5 minutes.

A second apres ski beer on the balcony included some free entertainment as we watched two young children, about 5 and 7 years old, climb up the hill to the Rodelbahn. We had hoped we’d see them go down on their plastic toboggans, but we weren’t so fortunate.

All in all, a good first day.

And pics of the day: