Friday, 1/29, we packed up the bus and left the Piscataway parking
lot before 3 PM. We arrived at Newark Airport at approx. 3:40.
There was no group check-in available, so we all checked in
individually. Dolores, Ted and Heidi met us at the airport. A nice
surprise was that no one was charged the $50 for the second bag
because we booked our tickets the previous summer, before the
per-bag charge was instituted. Our flight took off on time, without
We arrived in Zurich Sat. morning. Everyone
was able to get their luggage and pass through customs quickly. Kit
and Daniel met us just outside of customs. We met our driver,
Lombardi, loaded the bus, and headed to St. Anton. Lombardi did not
speak English but we were able to get by with some Italian speaking
Club members. There had just been a snowfall, so
Lombardi had to take it slow on the roads. Along the way, we
stopped at a rest area for a bathroom break and to purchase some
snacks at probably the most elegant and savory cuisine that any of
us experienced at a roadside rest stop. We arrived at the
NassereinerHof around 12:45.
Upon our arrival at the
NassereinerHof, we brought our skis to the ski room, which
was in the basement of the hotel. Not all of our rooms were ready
for check-in, so some people had to wait a short while before being
able to go to their rooms. Most people then took a walk into town
to check out the area and get some Euros.
At 6PM, the hotel staff held a welcoming party
for the group, where appetizers, beer and wine were served. The
staff discussed general points of information; a representative from
the Ski School was there to discuss ski classes and guided tour
options. We were given the choice of having dinner as a group each
night, or separately; everyone opted for the group dinner option.
The breakfast buffet was open from 7:30 – 10:00
AM. The buffet included scrambled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, homemade
breads and jams, cold-cuts and cheeses, yogurt, fruit medley, dried
fruit and nuts, coffee, tea and juices. Most of the group ate
breakfast at the same time, at adjoining tables. People then broke
up into subgroups and made their plans for the day.
(gondola) was a short 2-block walk from the hotel. In Austria,
the local custom for lining up for the ski lift/gondola was the
‘funnel method’ where everyone pushes like a mob to get to the
front of the area where the gondola doors open.
There were no lift attendants to guide who should go into which
gondola. If you weren't assertive, you watched as everyone
pushed their way in front of you. The same held true for
the approaches to the handful of central lifts that tended to
attract a lot of people. For the most part, the
outer lifts were empty with none of the funneling issues. The
Nasserein Gondola took you to the
center of the St. Anton ski area. The un-groomed ski-routes had
a huge amount of powder on them; the groomed trails varied from
good snow coverage to ‘east coast like’ conditions at times.
We had one day of an all-day snow that dropped between 8" to 4'
of snow. All in all, there was an incredible amount
to the Lech, Zurs, or Stuben ski towns required that you either
ski to Alpe Rauz to board a free bus or you hire a taxi (8
person van) for 48 Euros. Riding the bus gave new
meaning to the term “packed in like sardines”; the taxi was a
nice alternative for a group of friends who wanted to take the
trip together and split the cost of the taxi.
of the ski areas had their own special charm and natural
beauty. In the upscale shops in Lech you could buy a ruby for
1.4 million Euros, skis made of granite, or a T-shirt for 296
Euros. You could walk through town, or take a ride in a horse
pulled wagon. The view of the mountains from the top of Lech
was absolutely breathtaking. Some people chose to ski from Lech
to Zurs, enjoying the rolling,
sparsely populated trails. The Rendl
ski area was separate from the other ski areas, but was
accessible by gondola from the St. Anton ski area. This ski
area was smaller and better for beginner/intermediate skiers,
but the mountain views were equally as spectacular as in the
other areas. The people who didn’t ski every day or at all
got together and went on several sightseeing trips during the
were several bars on the slopes that offered real party-like
aprčs-ski. One day several folks went to the
bar where there was a live two person band. The lead singer
played several different instruments and sang songs local to
several different countries. There was singing and dancing, and
everyone had a blast.
hotel offered a complementary after-ski snack, daily from 3 – 5
PM. This was a nice time for folks to gather at the bar and
discuss the adventures of the day. There was just enough time
after the snack to take a quick nap and be ready for dinner at
7. Dinners consisted of typical Austrian style cuisine,
consisting of pork, sausage, and speck (similar to ‘thick’
bacon). Each night there was a full salad bar with bread. One
night we had an Italian buffet, while on another night we had
chicken and beef fondue.
The driver arrived at the
NassereinerHof hotel at 4:15AM Sat.
morning for our return to the Zurich airport. The hotel staff
put coffee and juices out for us, and also made a ‘bag lunch’
for each of us. At Zurich airport we went through several
security checks in addition to checking in. The news of a
blizzard hitting the US eastern seaboard was on everyone’s
mind. The flight left Zurich on time and actually arrived at
Newark roughly 45 minutes early. We were very fortunate in that
the snow did not reach Newark airport and we were able to land
without incident. Unfortunately, the bus that was to pick us up
from the airport was leaving from the Trenton area and was
delayed slightly by the storm. After 40
minutes the driver arrived we quickly loaded the bus and drove
back to Piscataway, where there was hardly any snow on the
said good-bye with hugs and smiles, surely a sign of a trip that
was enjoyed by all.