Last week, before and after Easter, I spent a few days in Ischgl, mainly because it was near St Anton, where I had to be for a race on Easter Saturday. As you can see from a post I wrote before Easter, I liked the place. In the past, I have usually opted for Zermatt or Obergurgl for late-season skiing – two of my favourite places at any time of year.
Surprisingly often, an improbable blanket of powder materialises in late spring, but sun and spring snow are just as likely to be in the offing – as they were this year. I adore spring snow – and if you don’t think you can have fun on very little of it, watch this (very short) film, taken by Ski Club of GB leader Jim Costelloe (who had been showing us round) just before Easter in Ischgl: http://www.youtube.com/user/yolandacarslaw#p/a/u/1/Q2dWVD_gr20.
I also love the ‘holiday’ feel of spring apres-ski. In Zermatt, my favourite option, given enough snow, is a hut-crawl along the homeward Sunnegga run. Bands play in some huts, and you have a glorious view of the good old Matterhorn. If you’re holidaying with children in Zermatt – as my sister was last week – apres-ski might involve marmot-spotting while walking to Zmut or Zum See. Meanwhile in Obergurgl, live music at the Nederhuette, which is so cosy in winter, continues on the terrace at least three times a week until the Saisonsschluss.
Apres in Zermatt and Obergurgl is low key, but in Ischgl it’s quite a serious business. The likes of the Schatzi Bar (see previous post) cater for a minority: most Ischglites favour the Mooserwirt-esque experience (right down to the galleried building and playlist) offered by the Trofana Alm. As it’s not on the mountain, there are fewer ski boots stamping on the tables, and as this is Ischgl, not St Anton, there’s bling, war-paint and his’n’hers suits aplenty. My only complaint is that it all takes place indoors – in contrast to the Mooserwirt proper, which has a massive terrace. This is what the Trofana Alm sounds and looks like, by the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-RL8YKBh1Y&feature=BFa&list=ULzzwEFXtCyDg&index=3
When the Trofana Alm winds up at 8pm an identical party continues at the nearby Kuhstall. It’s tremendously popular among all nationalities – from Germans and Russians to Scandinavians (the Brits barely figure) and lots of fun – I’m surprised more resorts don’t operate a similar soundproofed apres-style late-night Europop den. I admit I didn’t last beyond an 11pm supper, but maybe this was due to the other – much squarer – kind of apres-ski I had been doing earlier, walking in the meadows. Well, the Alps are a land of contrasts, aren’t they?
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