A ski holiday without snow
What do you do if you book an early ski holiday and there’s no snow? Is it really so awful?… Here’s what happened to one family in mid-December last season, when snow in the Alps was particularly thin on the ground. It’s written by FamilySkiNews’ teenage correspondent, Katie Campkin.
It wasn’t without trepidation that we embarked upon our mid-December flight to Innsbruck for the transfer to the ski resort of Lech in Austria.
After dedicatedly following snow reports, scanning forecasts and calculating snow depth since the first snowfall in the Tirol, we had been forced to acknowledge the general consensus that this was to be one of the worst starts-to-the-season for snow levels on record. In addition to the lack of natural snow, as we had taken the tactical decision to book an off-peak week for skiing, we feared that the resort would also be less inclined to try and produce the vast drifts of artificial snow needed to cover the slopes.
Thankfully, as part of a package deal with SkiTotal, our group of about 6 families (who, collectively, took up the entire chalet) were covered by insurance in the event of complete run closure but, when we arrived to find two runs open on the mountain, this was no longer an advantage.
For my family, as advanced skiers, the lack of varied terrain on just two pistes became a bit monotonous. SkiTotal pulled out the stops to organise a somewhat overpriced but nonetheless much appreciated trip to Ischgl. Most people enjoyed this. However, myself and my friend (a beginner snowboarder) felt that, at 100€ per person, it wasn’t really worth a three-hour bus ride for a handful of runs.
Aside from the abysmal snow conditions in Lech last December, the rest of the package exceeded all expectations.
The chalet, Hotel Sonneck, with its’ spacious, well cleaned rooms, huge communal dining area and bar and amazing private pool and sauna was perfect for those who, unlike us, preferred to be out on the slopes for just a couple of hours a day. Sometimes the occasional flurry of snowfall fell as rain, so this group often ended up at one of the traditional slope-side bars, whiling away the afternoon sipping hot Glühwein, served waiters clad in Lederhosen.
The chalet staff was accommodating and friendly and, if a little more removed from us than the usual apartment-based chalet hosts, it was only due to the way that the kitchen and their living quarters were separated from ours. The enormous continental and hot breakfasts and large afternoon tea dispelled the need to buy expensive lunches on the slopes. But, despite the food being incredible and beautifully-presented, with a wide variety of both vegetarian and meat dishes available, the teenage boys (who formed a large percentage of the party) were sometimes left hungry after dinner by the modest portion sizes. But perhaps that’s always the case with teenage boys!
Overall, it was a surprisingly enjoyable trip considering the dismal snow conditions. The chalet was situated far enough away from the town to be quiet, yet close enough that it was easy to make the first lift in the morning. The runs, despite how few they were in number, were not overcrowded, and the chalet was exceptional.
Against the odds, we thoroughly enjoyed our snowless ski trip – thank you, Hotel Sonneck and SkiTotal!