Birgit Pototschnig

In search of the "alpine lifestyle"

For many years (or better said ski seasons), I have noticed that Austrian ski huts have placed more and more value on interior design, lifestyle and chalet character. The former so-called self-service huts are being turned into stylish chalets, nearly at the same speed as draglifts are being replaced by heated chairlifts and cable cars. In this way, skiing is being turned into a lifestyle. In the past, for many passionate skiers, there was the urge to make the first tracks in the snow in the morning, for others it is just a winter sport. Whilst once the break was often “frowned upon“ amongst friends, nowadays passionate skiers, snowboarders and gourmet lovers happily indulge in cuisine in the snow, as well as a café latte whilst lazing in a sun lounger with stunning views directly over the mountains.

In the truest sense of the word “in search of alpine lifestyle in Ski amadé“ – Austria’s greatest skiing with 760 kilometres of slopes in 5 ski regions – I visited various ski resorts on skis and discovered a number of ski huts with lifestyle character. Thereby the chalets differed greatly in real style, art chalets with modern interior elements and a lot of attention to detail and typical alpine, quaint huts with the popular Austrian touch. Should you book your winter (sport) holiday in good time in Gasteinertal, Hochkönig, Flachau, Reiteralm or even in Schladming, then I can recommend the following places to take a break!

The “Deantnerin“ at the Hochkönig

Probably, the most stylish ski hut in Ski amadé! It only opened in December 2016 and for me the ”Die Deantnerin“ aesthetically represents an alpine lifestyle which one would more expect from a 5 star hotel. Not only is the ambiance impressive here, but also the furnishings, which can best be described as “alpine chic“ but are nevertheless still very comfortable. Even the service, which they themselves call “the alpine butler“, tries to fulfil every wish which skiers and winter fans desire. The interior is a successful combination between modern looking wood with a lot of grey and black design elements as well as the attention to the lifestyle details. This all adds up to a highly purist concept.

Regardless whether you decide to get comfortable in a cosy corner, by the fire or in the lounge, come in for a quick drink or come to enjoy the regional, fresh cuisine: these moments have the possibility of becoming lasting memories! The surprise: not only is there a well-stocked wine cellar, but also a pizza oven if you get hungry. In any case, Mirko the manager makes it so cosy here, that some guests come back and use this restaurant for private celebrations and even weddings. Weather permitting, you can make yourself comfortable on the sun terrace and observe the lively goings-on on the bordering carving slope or simply enjoy the mountains. Unfortunately when I was here it was snowing a bit.

The Steinbock Alm in Maria Alm

This alm has impressed me for many a winter season! When skiing with friends at the Hochkönig, a stop off at the “Stoabock Oim“ is a must. Be it for a cappuccino or a hearty ski lunch. This mountain hut must be one of the first in Austria, which knew how to combine traditional ski hut flair with modern lodge character. Today, the Steinbock Alm still has the quaint cosy mountain hut rooms, which now are combined with a modern, stylish lounge area and spacious bar. Lastly, if you are hungry and want a quick bite to eat, this is the perfect place.

This ”lifestyling” lounge is encased by a full length glass window with an open fire, where you can sit and enjoy having the Hochkönig quite literally at your feet: a truly stunning view and very comfortable lounge furniture for those cold skiing days. On sunny days, I prefer the large panorama terrace with even better views of the mountains. To refuel there are international dishes on offer with a local focus but also traditional cuisine. With such a cosy atmosphere, it is very difficult to motivate myself to put my skis back on and to continue with my Hochkönigs tour. This ski hut can also be booked for celebrations or weddings.

The Lisa Alm in Flachau

For all skiers and snowboarders young at heart, and all partygoers who find designer ski huts “too well-behaved“, then I can recommend the Lisa Alm in Flachau! This ski hut is different to all the others in every respect and I thought it was really stylish, fun, hip and crazy all at the same time. In a glass, modern construction, “the roof is really raised“ in the truest sense of the word. A DJ and sometimes live music create a real party atmosphere in the afternoons already and not only just for après ski. For those who like it a little bit quieter can use the ski hut restaurant area, which has been done very tastefully, is stylish and somehow very fancy. Everywhere you go you can discover modern pictures, decorative elements and light rose purple ornaments which give a very modern and fresh feel. Moreover, for once not that typical red of the Austrian huts.

The service is especially attentive, the food is served quickly and the menu is full of culinary surprises. Enjoyment and lifestyle in the mountains and this time completely different!

As Confucius so wonderfully put it, “don’t wait for the perfect moment.... simply take it and make it perfect!“ This is how I felt during my ski days in Ski amadé. I tried to enjoy the moments when I took my skis off and went into a ski hut for a break, to allow the alpine lifestyle to influence me as I made my way on my skis to the next resort or ski hut. In the upcoming week, I will be introducing you to more ski huts, but those more appealing to those who like the Austrian touch!

Birgit Pototschnig

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