MEMORIES OF RAURIS, A VILLAGE TO LOVE
In the late eighties, my dream was to be a ski instructor in Austria. Then I found a job in Rauris. So I decided to take all my ski stuff, a couple of Dutch “hagelslag” and “drop”, a stereo music installation, and lots of popular CDs in my 2CV Charleston and drove to Rauris, a quiet little village in the Salzburger Land in Austria. I wanted to use my skills as a teacher by working as a ski instructor for children. As soon as I made my little room comfortable, the whole village seemed to know about “the Dutch woman with the Ente”. After one week of internal instruction to get to know the ski area and all the secrets of Rauris, I concluded the village felt like a warm blanket. Friendly people, nice colleagues, sweet neighbors in the ski school souterrain; so everything was super.
As I visited Rauris for the first time to meet the ski school owner, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the village. The valley is narrow in the beginning because you have to drive on the left or the right side of the Kitzlochklamm, which is a steep waterfall to visit in summer. There are two roads; from Taxenbach and the Rauriser Höhe or from Lend to the tiny village Embach which is built on a plateau. When you see Rauris, the valley is wide and nice and continues to Wörth, where the valley is split up: in one direction you have Bucheben and the highest weather station of Europe – located on the Hoher Sonnblick – and in the other direction, the Seidlwinkltal and the highest mountain of Austria: the Grossglockner.
The ski area of Rauris was and is a very comfortable one. Not too big, so very easy to enjoy a vacation with a group or a family. In those days there were only 2 chairlifts and several ski tow lifts (Nowadays the area got a boost and there are 4 gondolas to reach all the slopes!). The ski area is still situated at two mountainsides which are connected by two skis and walk/sled roads. At the start of the gondola on the south side, you can reach the highest top which is 2100 meters. At the north side a few years ago a new lift was built to the top of the FIS slope Waldalm. The ski area isn’t very big but has alternative difficulty levels, so there is something to enjoy for everyone.
The nice cabins and restaurants still exist: for example Helga und Christian who serve delicious Ofenkartoffel, Glühwein, and Pommes mit Mayo near the little children area from the Maier Skischool (which is the oldest ski school and the one that I worked for). Another nice Inn is the Sportalm nearly at the end of the ski slope where they organized so many Heimatabende during those days. Culture is well conserved in this village and that’s what makes this place adorable. Nobody seems to be in a hurry and everyone takes time to inform or help you. To have a little more adventure there are many possibilities to find some excitement: ski shoe walking trail at the end of the valley Naturfreundehaus, where they pick you up with a snow scooter and bring you up. Sometimes you can use the ice climbing area there. Walking in the snow is so nice and you can go down by sleds. Don’t forget a light and ski goggles… Rauris is also a nice area for ski touring and langlauf with beautiful trails.
The whole area is also very nice to visit in the summer. A marvellous part of the nature park the Hohe Tauern can be visited to hike, mountain bike, or climb. A museum was built in Wörth to learn about the big birds like Bartgeier and Eagle which is nice for kids and adults and free once when you have a guest card. There are many hiking routes; easy trails for families and higher and harder ones for very sporty people. You can even climb to the Sonnblick and the Grossglockner when the weather is okay. Please get informed by the locals about the current conditions on the mountain before attempting the hike! The trail can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. These trails are an official High Mountain area, above 3000 altimeters, so it’s rocky, steep, and slippery.
People who stay in an apartment and want to have a nice meal: go have one of your finest dinners ever at the Andrelwirt in Wörth; a historical restaurant and hotel (since 1490, when it started off as an Inn for visitors who crossed the Grossglockner). They also have a beautiful camping site right next to a nice mountain stream. The Luggi Mayer family has been running this place for a very long time already and they almost treat their guests as a part of the family.
As you can imagine, I stayed in Rauris for many winter seasons. During my career, I managed several ski and snowboard instructor courses at Kitzsteinhorn, Kaprun until I was injured too badly. Now I still go there to visit people or to ski or hike in these beautiful mountains. Because of my good memories and experiences, I can still dream of living in Rauris and maybe one day, my dream will come true. Until then, I like to tell people about Rauris and its beauty. Especially for people who want to relax, people who love nature, and people who want to feel the smell and taste of old times. I really love it!