Skinning

Sometimes, riding bikes is not a good idea.

There, I said it. I know this may come as a shock to a number of people, but ski’s have their place in life, and I took this last weekend as an opportunity to do as the locals, and skin up (and ski down) a couple of mountains. Nothing seriously exciting or adventurous, as I stayed within sliding distance of ski resorts at all times, but even so, much more entertaining to gain some altitude on the city.

As with riding bikes, I really like to earn my reward. On mountain bikes, its standard practice to find a nice hill to ride up, and then down. But (from a British perspective) not many people seem to think the same for skiing. I’m not a fan of crowded slopes and carnage at the lift queues though, so making your own tracks has its advantages. Also, the whole idea of gaining some much needed exercise whilst having fun certainly has its benefits.

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Day one, I headed up the Mutterer Alm. Not normally frequented by the downhill skiers, other than families and people wanting a tame day. The slopes are a little limited, but offer a great view over the city. The best part of its limited ‘super rad’ appeal, is that the mellow faces of powder above the lifts are also hardly touched.

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I went as high as my sun-based time limited would allow, and sat at the top for 15 minutes enjoying the solitude. Although the valley is not quiet, you still feel very disconnected from the hubbub of the city when you’re high above the fuzz and the noise. Watching planes landing at the airport below is also a strange feeling!

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Day two: still only a 10 minute bus ride from the city centre, but up a different side of the valley. The Patscherkofel has a huge aerial on top, and can be seen from most places in the city. The aim was to get to the top, but with a low down starting point, and little idea of the quickest way up, I was happy to just find some powder turns. Three hours of skinning uphill in the clouds was rewarded with a late afternoon glimpse at the sunshine. Innsbruck is below the Nordkette mountains, under the clouds to the right in this photo:

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Great way to spend a weekend. Starting to feel a little more involved in this city.