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Saturday was Day 7, the last of this trip. Following the previous day at Hochkönig, I relocated for my two last nights to a hotel in the middle of Salzburg that's only five minutes from the airport.
Once again, I went back to Alpinforum for inspiration. My legs were pretty tired after seven straight days of turns; still, I wanted to do something on skis that was fun but not too demanding. I remembered a TR from Zwölferhorn in the lake district of Salzkammergut 45 minutes from Salzburg. It's right alongside picturesque Lake Wolfgang in the village of St. Gilpin, which is well visited by Europeans and UKers, as well as busloads of Asian tourists, absolutely none of whom ski. My pix below aren't much different from the TR linked above, but his are much better quality, more complete, and it was a clearer day.
For lift freaks, Zwölferhorn is a real throwback with only one mode of uphill transport, a 1957 gondola, which is an attraction in and of itself. Instead of scrapping it and installing a brand new tram, the entire lift was out of commission for a year for a complete renovation, and they kept the original cars in red and yellow. This being a German-speaking country, they don't mess around with stats. Here's all the necessary info:
Waiting my turn for these oldtimers:
They secure your skis to the back of the car with ropes!
Capacity is four passengers and it's a very snug fit, even for slim people. It takes about 25 minutes to cover the 3,000 vertical feet and the ride is slow, smooth, and steady; it feels like you're floating. Had a great chat with these locals; they were shocked to be with someone from NY/NJ who could speak their language.
They were curious about the skiing where I come from so I put in a plug for the Cats, Daks, Greens, and Quebec. I underscored that our mountains were far older than the Alps and underwent a lot of glaciation so they're not dramatic, but offered fun skiing if you hit 'em at the right time, blah blah blah.
It was still pretty overcast by the time we reached the top:
The main run down the gut of the mountain is ungroomed for the first 1,300 verts and a nice steep pitch:
Further down, you ski right under the gondola:
The lower 1,500 verts are through a dense forest.
Hardwoods like the northeast!
There were far more people skinning up than taking the gondola, literally hundreds:
Back at lake level, you take off your skis and walk five minutes through the village main street back to the gondola.
Here's the view from about a third of the way back up:
For the second run, the sky was clearing up and conditions were transitioning to spring sugar:
A nice view from a mid-mountain clearing:
I should've taken more pix but by this time in the trip, I was OD'ing on being a shutterbug. I only did three T2B runs and that was just right. Had lunch in the village then headed back to Salzburg.
At the airport the next morning was an advert for an international prep school in St. Gilpen. The pix say it all: a European version of Andover Academy, I suppose. Your guess is as good as mine what it costs.
And with that, this road trip through low-elevation Austria was in the can. A great visit, the only thing missing was a powder day. If you missed the other reports:
Day 1: Werfenweng
Day 2: Tauplitz
Day 3: Wurzeralm and Hinterstoder
Day 4: Planneralm
Day 5: Riesneralm
Day 6: Hochkönig