A WEEK OF SKIING IN FISS
Imagine this…you wake up in the morning, happy and excited for a brand-new day. You walk towards the window and open your curtains. The trees are covered with a fresh layer of snow and you can see the slopes in the distance. After a delicious breakfast, you get dressed and pack your things. You step outside and you hear the crunch of the fresh snow under your feet. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. It’s going to be another awesome day.
Sounds like the perfect dream, right? Well, it’s indeed perfect, but it’s not just a dream. It’s a typical morning in Fiss, Austria!
My parents have had a group of friends for over 30 years now. Most of them have children and we all grew up together. They definitely feel like family. Every year, in February, we go to Fiss with about 25 people in total to spend a week in the mountains.
I’m always looking forward to this week’s months in advance – from the moment the first autumn leaves fall to the ground in September, it’s all I can think about. I’m constantly shopping online as if I don’t already have a whole closet full of ski clothes, I check several times a day if snow has already fallen in Fiss, and of course, I’m singing après ski music out loud a lot (sorry mom and dad). To me, it’s the most exciting week of the year!
Because of the fact that we’re going with such a large group, you can do whatever you want without doing it alone – there is always someone who wants to join you.
We’ve got some people among us who no longer ski, but who enjoy hiking all the more. And since walking through the snow can be very exhausting, they always make sure that they bring a couple of wine bottles with them to make it through the day (smart thinking if I may say so). There are also some people who like to ski a little but are mostly found sitting or even laying in the sun with a glass of wine or Aperol in their hand. I mean, why not?
And last but not least, we’ve got a group full of people who just want to ski, ski and ski all day long. I think it’s not a surprise that I belong in the last group.
It’s a 10-minute walk from our apartment to the ski depot. After changing my shoes and grabbing my ski’s, ski poles, helmet and gloves I head out to the ski lifts. It’s around 8:30 am and I can already see the rest of the group. After a brief moment of discussing where we’re heading, it’s time to get on the first ski lift of the day!
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is a ski area with 214 kilometers of perfectly groomed slopes and an overall area of approximately 460 hectares. We prefer the red and the black slopes, and luckily for us, this area has 132 kilometers of red slopes and 28 kilometers of black slopes. So, plenty of choices! We are very familiar with the area, as we go to Fiss every year. Because of this, we know all the best slopes, all the side paths, and the best places to go off-piste. This causes that we can enjoy to the fullest since we know what we can expect!
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis has a total of 31 mountain restaurants. We’re not only familiar with the slopes, but we’re also very familiar with all the restaurants. We know exactly which dish is best at each restaurant. So, around lunchtime when we’re trying to figure out where to eat, we don’t think about how to get to the nearest restaurant, we’re thinking about the food we want. If you think that it’s impossible to go from one mountain to the other within half an hour, including the waiting time for the lifts and the duration of the lifts its selves, then you’ve never met us when we’re hungry!
Sometimes we meet at a certain restaurant with other people from the group to have lunch together, and sometimes we just see each other again at the après ski. With all the freedom it really feels like a vacation. After lunch, we’re full of energy again and are ready to get back on the slopes again for a couple more hours!
Mostly around 4 pm, it’s time to switch from skiing to après ski. I go down the escalator to reach my locker, as the ski depot is built inside a mountain. It’s a very large depot, with a total of 4700 lockers. I put my gloves and helmet in my locker, which will be heated during the night. After changing my ski boots into my sneakers and putting my ski’s and ski poles away, I’m ready for some dancing and drinking!
The ski depot is located right next to the Après ski bar, the ‘Hexenalm’. You can hear the music already blasting and the crowd is getting bigger with every minute. We’re here with such a large group, so it’s not that difficult to find each other. Now it’s time to party!
The Hexenalm is an après ski bar with both an indoor and an outdoor option. Inside the Hexenalm it is completely dark, except for all the flashing lights. The music is so loud that it is necessary to scream to the one standing next to you so that he/she will understand what you’re saying, even though you’re standing very close to each other. It’s like being in the club, but in your ski clothes at 4 pm!
The outer terrain of the Hexenalm has two sides. On one side you’ve got all kinds of tables where you can chat with each other and enjoy the last rays of the sun with some music in the background.
On the other side, you have a big bar in the middle and everyone is dancing around it. Sometimes we’re even dancing on the bar, especially when songs like ‘Auffe Aufn Berg’ and ‘Wenn du da best’ are blasting through the speakers. We can usually be found next to the bar, dancing, singing, and drinking like we haven’t just skied all day. Speaking from my personal opinion, even if I’m exhausted, I’ll always have enough energy for the après ski! Skiing remains my favorite activity, but après skiing is definitely second!
After a lot of dancing, singing and a little too much drinking it’s time to get some food. The après ski at the Hexenalm lasts until 8 pm. Sometimes, my family already made some dinner by then while I’m still dancing and singing on the bar. Luckily, the leftovers taste just as good. Other times, my family also stays till the end, and we just pick up some pizzas on the way home, as we’re unable to cook anything ourselves because of all the drinks we’ve had. But that isn’t the end of the day! Fiss also has fun activities in the evening.
Every Tuesday evening there is a ski show called the Nightflow, staged by dancers, acrobats, and the ski instructors of the ski school Fiss-Ladis. During and after the ski show you can also go night skiing. We used to always watch the ski show, but now we just go skiing, since everybody is watching the show and we’ve got the slope all to ourselves. It’s an awesome feeling when your skiing under the stars and everything around you is dark, except for the slope you’re on!
Every Thursday evening it’s toboggan evening. Make sure you rent a sleigh for the evening and bought your ticket. You can rent the sleigh in the morning and pick it up in the afternoon, but I have to warn you: there is a chance you forget to pick up your sleigh. Whether that has to do something with the drinks you’ve had at the après ski, is still a mystery to us (maybe speaking from personal experience, maybe not). From around 6 pm the slope is all groomed and ready for us. They have made a certain path to make sure you don’t go too fast and break all your bones. There are still some people who illegal go off-road to have more speed, but those people often end with a body full of bruises (again, maybe speaking from personal experience, maybe not). It’s a night full of laughing, racing, and above all, a lot of falling, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
On the other nights, most people in our group spend their evening relaxing on the couch. Obviously, I’m not one of them. I’m here for just one week in the year, no way that I’ll be wasting even a second of that! The Hackl’s Kaller, located in the village, is kind of an après après ski bar. We’re often heading there around 11 pm. The dangerous thing is though, that the time goes by very fast. After playing some cards, drinking and dancing you look at the time and before you know it, it’s 3 am already. Time to head home.
The Hackl’s Kaller is an 8-minute walk away from my apartment. On the way there it’s a steep walk up, but on the way back all I have to do is lay down and just keep rolling till I’m back home. Big fan of that since I’m often not able to walk back home. When I arrive back at the apartment, I try my best to not wake everybody up, and after bumping my legs 5 times on the bed edges it’s time to get some sleep. But not for long, because in 4 hours, the alarm will ring again and it’s time for a brand-new day!
It’s safe to say that it’s the most tiring week of the year since I sleep like 4 or 5 hours each night, but it’s definitely also the best week of the year! I mean, I have all the time to sleep when I’m old and retired, not when I’m young and on a ski holiday!