Kitzbühel with a Kid
“Last one down the mountain is a rotten egg!” Why did I say that? What was I thinking? Surely, my intent was to ignite my daughter’s competitive spirit, for my odds of a victory against the tandem toboggan team of her and my husband were low…almost nil.
However, with a quick start, I had a slight lead heading into the first turn. The third of a mile, natural toboggan trail of Gaisberg snaked down the mountain ahead of me, a combination of snow, ice and slush. The tight turns and extreme drop-offs charged my adrenaline. Left hand down…turn…straighten. Right hand and down…turn…straighten. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
The sounds of taunting and snow crushing under toboggan tracks increased as the distance between us shortened. Before long, my husband and daughter were right behind me. In a last-ditch effort, I scooped up some snow and launched it over my head in an attempt at distraction.
On the next turn, my toboggan hit a patch of slush, diminishing my speed. A second later, they passed me on the outside. My daughter squealed with delight and yelled, “See you at the bottom!” They sped down the mountain quickly increasing the gap between us and most likely securing their victory.
But I wasn’t going to quit.
I decided to let the toboggan run fairly free…minimal braking. This was a bit difficult since my toboggan was naturally veering slightly to the right. Despite the veering, I was gaining ground on them…until IT happened.
I followed the trail around a sharp left turn that opened up to a steep incline that ended in a sharp right turn. No problem. This should be fun, I thought. Unfortunately, the incline was no longer snow. It was ice. My toboggan slid over the ice, gaining speed. The sharp right turn at the bottom was approaching. I fought to slow it down to make the turn. I dragged my right hand and foot. When this didn’t work, I began to lean to the right.
This was a mistake. I leaned just a bit too far over to the right, unbalancing the toboggan. I rolled off the side of it as it shot out from under me, over the embankment and down a short slope where it was snagged by a safety net affixed into the mountain. Apparently, this was a common crash site.
Once I checked to make sure there were no witnesses, I took inventory of my body. Did I break or bruise anything, other than my pride? I definitely had snow and ice in places it had no business being, but overall I was fine.
I retrieved my toboggan and completed the course. When I arrived at the bottom, my daughter and husband were there waiting. A group of skiers was also close by waiting to board the ski lift. My daughter began to chant, “You’re a rotten egg! You’re a rotten egg!” That little stinker.
This event took place during my recent trip to Kitzbühel, Austria with my husband and eight year old daughter.
My daughter has been begging us to go to Austria since we moved to Europe back in July. Our beach babe wanted to play in the snow. Side note, during the entire time we were in Austria in February the temperature never dropped below freezing and we didn’t see a single snowflake. [sigh] Anyway, we planned this trip around things she would like to do in Austria.
Clearly, my daughter enjoyed tobogganing. This was her first time in the Alps and really her first experience with any type of snow sport. This is why we opted for tobogganing as opposed to skiing. She also rode with my husband because she did not feel comfortable driving it alone. We thought she would change her mind after the first couple of rides down the mountain, but she didn’t. I don’t blame her. Because the temperature was warm and there was no fresh snow fall, the course was a bit rough with very few barriers to protect one from steering right off the trail.
We used Kitzski to toboggan down Gaisberg and enjoyed it. The ski lift up the mountain was peaceful and offered great views. The kid’s playground at the top was unique. There were also two options to relax and eat at cozy mountain restaurants. The first is immediately after exiting the ski lift and the other is about two-third of the way down the trail. We stopped at the lower one for lunch, beer and hot chocolate.
The toboggan trail is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and didn’t leave the mountain until 3:45 p.m. Night time tobogganing is available Tuesday through Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. We were only in town on Sunday and Monday night so we didn’t get the opportunity to try it in the evening.
By the second day, the toboggan trail was not available because of the warm conditions and lack of snow made it impossible to navigate. So we opted for ice skating at Sports Park Kitzbühel. This is your typical indoor hockey/ice skating rink. My daughter enjoyed it and gained confidence with each circling of the rink. There were some kids there who appeared to be trained ice skaters doing spins and tricks. They were fun to watch skillfully glide across the ice. Then there’s always that one adult who gets a bit too confident and takes a painful spill. When kids fall ice skating, they bounce right back up. This is not true of adults. The rink is open for public skating from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It’s a nice alternative to the slopes when the toboggan trail is closed, while still keeping with the wintery theme.
Also on the second day, we strolled through the picturesque, medieval town of Kitzbühel. The town is nestled in the beautiful Austrian Alps with stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. It was so colorful and gorgeous. The restaurants and cafés were abundant and the quaint shops were enticing entrance. A historic church perches on a hill encircled on three sides by ornate tombstones. Some are quite old and help tell the history of those who called this village home.
That’s right, swimming. We used some of our Hilton Honors points and stayed at the Grand Tirolia. This hotel has an amazing swimming pool and spa area. The pool is heated and offers an indoor and outdoor option. It was an interesting experience to swim outside in the cold weather. The mist that rose from the surface of the heated water created a haze around the swimmers and the stars shone brightly overhead. So, we swam every night.
As I mentioned before, we didn’t ski during this trip. However, if you want to see some of the beautiful ski slopes in Austria, blogger paintdigi has some great photos.
We had an amazing trip to Kitzbühel, Austria complete with tobogganing, ice skating, swimming, strolling, snowball fights and snow angels. There are many other great towns like this nestled in the Alps worth visiting. I hope this inspires you to hit the slopes.