Birgit Pototschnig

Ski huts with “ALPINE LIFESTYLE“ in Ski amadé

The mountains are calling! The vast amount of fresh snow over the last few days in the Alps and the beautiful images of the current ski race on the TV really put you in the mood for winter sports in the great outdoors! We have not had so much natural snow for many a winter season and therefore the slopes are in great condition to carve and snowboard down. I spent a few days in Austria’s greatest skiing paradise - Ski amadé – and did not only enjoy carving down slopes in five different regions in glorious sunshine, but also searched for all the ski huts, from the 260 (!) in total, which boast “alpine lifestyle.“

Since I have been living in a city for forever and especially as I have been travelling a lot over the past years and have tended to stay at more modern hotel chains, in winter I have developed a special soft spot for alpine lifestyle and the respective approach to the furnishings with wood. That is why I always feel happy on a winter holiday in Austria. It is not only the hotels and guesthouses, but also the ski huts which are all furnished so rustically and cosily. Many of them still have the well-known Austrian touch, but in a more contemporary style than before. Many have modern extensions with lodge character and stunning views over the mountains and have also upgraded their culinary offerings to the highest standard.

The Schlossalm in Bad Hofgastein

Since last winter, when I first visited the chic area of Bad Gastein I have been an absolute fan of the Gasteinertals. Most of all, the ski lift Schlossalm – Angertal – Stubnerkogel offers real skiing fun on varied slopes and a large difference in altitude of more than 1,000 m. On my search for the perfect place to take a break, the cuisine was also taken into account! Just as sunny as the ski day was the spacious sun terrace of the Weitmoser Schlossalm ski hut in Bad Hofgastein, situated right in the middle of the slope.

A real Eldorado for those in need of the sun, where you can choose between seats on the terrace, the ski bar, lounge or sun loungers. A real blessing after many runs is the cool lounge area with its bright cushions – something a bit different.

If the weather is bad, then Schlossalm also has a large ski bar, rustic ski huts with their own bbq stations and plenty of indoor panorama places. I would have preferred to have used a sun lounger in the sun, but I really wanted to carry on to Dorfgastein, therefore I chose to eat something “quick“, some very tasty curd cheese dumplings with stewed apricots and then carried on skiing. At the same time, this ski hut had a lot more culinary delights on offer: delicacies from the giant pan, grilled meats off the lava stone, beef specialities from their own farm and a tempting strudel buffet, and of course a lot of pastries. An insider tip is however the very well assorted wine cellar – next time!

The Wengeralm in Dorfgastein

After an intensive day of skiing or snowboarding in Gasteinertal with wonderful slope conditions, even for very fit skiers or snowboarders, at some point energy reserves run low. There is the Wengeralm – regardless what the weather is like – a welcome opportunity to take a break, especially at the end of the ski day. Because if you are lucky and it is a sunny winters day, you can enjoy the very last rays of the warming sunshine on the large panorama terrace, in front of the small hut or in a red sun lounger, as the sun goes down.

Ideal for a sundowner on the slopes! In addition, for very spoilt skiers, who prefer Champagne to cordial, then the Moet & Chandon “private gondola“ is in the middle of the snow. “Some bubbles“ are allowed as the ski hut is located directly by the family run down and not too far away from the bottom station. Even in the ski hut itself, the Wengeralm has taken young lovers into account! In your own heart Séparé (which I would advise you to reserve in good time) you can eat snacks and drink together as a couple without being disturbed. In general this ski hut captivates you with its typical Austrian charm, attention to detail, decorations, quaint comfort and very friendly service!

The prepared meals all date back to traditional Austrian cuisine and contain only fresh and local ingredients, many of which come from their own farm and annex. I myself have a weakness for Kaspressknödelsupp’n (cheese dumpling soup) from Salzburger Land when skiing and this is best enjoyed on the terrace in the wonderful late afternoon sun.

Those on the look out for a very special present for winter sport fans can have a great breakfast in the Champagne gondola. The highlight (unsurprisingly) is the Champagne breakfast.

The Schnepf'n Alm at Reiteralm

It is a little bit more difficult (I have to admit), to take a break in the popular Reiteralm. As there the slopes are in the greatest condition, in the truest sense of the word, even though it has not snowed lately. Anyhow, our national ski team trains there and that is immediately apparent when you go skiing or snowboarding there. Even though the slope conditions have been perfect throughout the whole of Ski amadé, I have to confess that I had the greatest fun carving in Reiteralm and then in Planai in Schladming! Nevertheless, even here the time came to take a break in a cosy ski hut.

In the middle of an alpine chalet village, you can find the Schnepf’n Alm. Even though at the time of my visit, the sun was not so gracious and I could not use the sun terrace, but could instead enjoy the mountain panorama from the spacious glassed lounge. From here, you have a wonderful view of the Dachstein and down below the bordering Ennstal.

Also at the Schnepf’n Alm, high value is placed on quality, fresh and local products from Austrian producers and organic farmers. Even if you feel yourself dozing off in the warmth of the lounge area, you really should get back on your skis or your snowboard as quickly as possible and take the lift over to Schladming.

The Schafalm in Schladming-Dachstein

The last stop after a long day of winter sports in Ennstal: The Schafalm, which got its name thanks to a small glassed sheep stable. Here, not only can you enjoy the sunshine on the terrace, start your après ski, but at the same time you can also spend a nice evening. The hut is also popular for family celebrations and weddings. But even when the sun is not shining, the ski hut is very inviting with its cosy warm flair, to while away an hour or two and to warm up by the open fire. Here you can often meet “regulars“ and non-skiers, so popular is this ski hut atmosphere.

I treated myself to my absolute favourite meal in the mountains to round off my trip, a real fluffy “Kaiserschmarrn“ (chopped up pancakes) with stewed plums. However, this meant that I had to head back to the imperial city of Vienna the next day. Even though terrible weather awaited me and I have really missed the mountains since then. Should you now be in the mood for a break at a ski hut in Ski amadé and are on the search for more lifestyling ski huts, then you can find further recommendations at “on the search for alpine lifestyle“.....

Birgit Pototschnig

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