Sunday, August 05, 2012

If I Were A Village, I Would Be Zurs!


1230 (local time)

Lech/Zurs – Austria

Written on a Train from St Anton to Salzburg.

I think I am in love with Austria! I have been sitting on a train for just over an hour re-living the amazing time I had in Zurs/Lech.

I worked a winter season in Zurs/Lech in 2010 – 2011 for Powder Byrne, where I met so many people and fortunately met the lovely Eggler family.

The Eggler’s own the beautiful Arlberghaus in Zurs, so when I sent Stephanie Eggler an email to see if I could crash at her hotel between the dates of the 10th till the 15th, the family was more than happy to have me.

I tell you what, it was amazing to  finally have a really comfy bed, super quick internet and too look outside your window to see the most amazing view of the alps. A bit of a change from the dirty and insect ridden hostels I’ve been staying in. I was doing this in style.

So, Stef met me at Saint Anton at 11pm at night and gave me a lift to Zurs, where I dumped my bags and then passed out.

I awoke at 9am, which is apparently late, where Stef took me into Lech, which is a village just 10 minutes downhill from Zurs, where I was able to get a Lift pass, that is free and allows me to catch the chairlifts that are open, and catch the bus from Zurs to Lech for free!

Unfortunately Stef couldn’t join me on my hikes, as she had to go away for 10 days to complete her Ski Instructors course that allows her to take guests off-piste.

So we said our good-byes and I bought some Lunch and took the Rufikoph chairlift so I could complete the Green Ring (instead of the White Ring in Winter) from Lech to Zurs on foot.

As the cable car ascended into the clouds, visibility was reduced to about 30 - 40 metres. You couldn’t see anything! But it made it kind of creepy and really intimidating! Because every now and then you would see the silhouette of a mountain, and they were just huge!

I stumbled my way down the mountain into Zurs, where I grabbed some water and attempted to climb up the Trittkopf which is 2581 metres high. When I started my hike the sky was blue but I could see some clouds off in the distance, young naïve Steve didn’t realise how quickly the weather can change in the mountains. So by the time I got just over at least the three quarters point of my hike. Visability was reduced to 10 metres! I could just make out my path back down. So as I sat and waited for wondering if the clouds were ever going to break up, I started to get cold. I called it a day and trekked back down the mountain.
So that was a bit of a fail, but on the plus side, I did see some deer? Or some type of animal. Check out the photos!

Day 2, involved me getting up a lot earlier. As I offered to help out clean up and paint the Village of Zurs. It was David Eggler’s idea to do this, all the people that live in and around the village group together for a big clean up. David is the eldest of the brothers and he is very much involved in the Village, if he is helping out the fire fighters or installing a wireless network in the Village.
So my job was to help out with a litter pick, do a bit of Whipper Snipping (or strimming for the poms) and paint and fix one of the little huts as you enter into town. It was great helping out the community, I really felt a part of it.

Day 3, Rolled in and today I was going to go mountain biking! As I woke up, the weather was horrible. There was no visibility and it was raining! But that wasn’t going to stop me. I caught the bus into Lech, walked into SportAlp shop and spoke to the guys there about hiring a fully fledged duel suspension mountain bike. I spoke to a guy called Patrick who showed me some trails that I had to do, and I was sent on my way.

I eventually made it to the top of the Balmalp and hopped off the mountain to the left! What a mistake that was! I was meant to go right! What it meant, was that I was heading down near vertical, wet slippery grass with pot holes and rocks everywhere! I got my arse kicked! I eventually made it down, with only a few grazes!

I again spoke to Patrick at the SportAlp shop, he laughed at me and told me to go to the right, so back up I went to start again.

As I dropped into this new track, I quickly realised that Patrick had very much overestimated my biking skills. I was heading down the most technical single lined track I’ve ever seen. Infact, its not even a track for bikes. It’s made for super fit hikers. Single lined tracks, with vertical drops on one side, and to make matters worse it was super slippery with rocks and tree roots growing across the tracks!
I don’t know how many times I crashed, but I definitely blew my face apart on some rocks! Not great fun! You have to see the photos of what I was trying to tackle. I didn’t give up, and again made it down. Once I hit the bottom I headed back up and do a different track.

This time I was heading from Oberlech to Burstegg, which was a pretty decent ride, with some fast downhill sections and some brutal up hills that sent lactic acid through my legs!

I eventually made it to Burstegg, and found another super technical trail that Patrick told me about that gets me back onto the main rode.

I packed my camera away, had some Gummy Bears and sessioned it! This time I had gotten a lot more confident on the bike, I was slowly getting used to the front break being on the left side, instead of the right side like it is in Australia.

I went down it like a pro! Once I got to the bottom I was so proud of myself to have tackled this track I gave a cheeky fist pump, and got my photo taken by a German guy and then headed back into Zurs with a massive smile on my face!

Once I got home I had a lovely Dinner with David and then passed out!

Day 4 came along, and I planning on getting up early to do another bike ride, but I was in agony! My arse hurt from riding so much, and my legs felt so heavy!

The weather outside was terrible, and the visibility wasn’t so great either, but I forced myself outside and David showed me a place where I could go hiking which wasn’t so high, which means I kept out of the clouds.

The start of the hike kinda sucked, as I was just getting rained on for a good hour. Fortunately for me my Mountain Designs jacket and my Salomon hiking shoes kept a majority of the water out, which made the hike relatively pleasant. The plan was to walk from Oberlech to Schroken and then up through Korbersee to Hochtannbergpass. But I took a wrong turn, and instead it took me into the village of Schrocken, when instead I was meant to bypass it.

No problems, I ate a lovely piece of cake from one of the mountain café’s and then took the bus from Schrocken back to Lech where I completed the Green Ring from Lech to Zurs again… But this time there was a lot better Visibility.

The whole day was amazing, although it rained most of the days, the times when the rain stopped and blue sky prevailed it was absolutely stunning!

I really did love my time in Zurs/Lech, at the moment it’s definitely one of my favourite places I have ever visited! This is travelling! Getting off that beaten track, getting dirty get muddy but seeing things that the average person will never see! I feel so lucky to do what I’m doing!

Before I finish, I must thank the lovely Eggler family for doing a fantastic job of looking after me! Thank you so much, please let’s keep in touch.

Please admire the photos and let me know what you think.

Thanks again, next up! Salzburg!


Lech in the summer, notice how low the cloud line is!

So amazing!

The deer things i spotted whilst climbing under the Trittkoph

Thats how bad the Vis was!
 DAY 3 - Mountain Bike Riding!
Throw ya bike on a 8 man chair, and your off!

Thats how steep i was trying to ride down...

I nice little sculpture to see just before i start my Technical trail

Single Track, steep drop! PERFECT

this is what is was 'trying' to ride down!

crashed here...


Absolutely knackered, but a huge smile on my face!

These are the types of signs i was trying to follow!

Just finished my ride! Felt so good!
Day 4 Today On Foot!

Lovely hikes through the mountains!

Hows that for a view!

Seems safe...

seems really safe...

hiked to that top of that peak... for a nice view

saw this little guy hanging out!

Just me and a Gormley

nice view!

The Lovely Arlberghaus!
Thanks again guys!!! Hope to see you soon!

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