Saturday, March 13, 2010

Courmayeur, Italy and Soelden, Austria: Ski Masters Are on the Way

Welcome to the 2010 Ski Masters Euro trip blog. In 2009 I initiated a daily trip report from Europe so that friends and families could follow the skier's antics without enduring a nine hour flight. I suspect the three readers enjoyed the reports. Since I'm staying home this year Carol Mast has agreed to apply her considerable talent with words to keep us informed as to the progress of our skiing and traveling friends

She is so anxious to begin that she has written a sample report to give you a hint of things to come. Enjoy the sample. More is on the way. Check back. She will try to send frequent reports and I will try to post them frequently.

Carol Writes: Well, it's started already! We drove back from Ketchum recently and arrived to find an email saying that our BA Europe flight COULD be cancelled due to a possible cabin staff strike. TERRIFIC! I think that Bob and Dianne McDonald fly BA also, so there could be some Ski Master MIAs from the get-go.

I'm going to be doing a blog for the SkiMasters back in Seattle and will begin when we reach Soelden. In the past, people have done reports after returning, but now with laptops, we'll be able to keep the Folks Back Home in touch. Normally, there is a blow-by-blow from the ski instructors that details numbers of runs, vertical feet skied, narrowness of chutes...who biffed said chute. My entries will probably be like this:

"Skiing OK with overcast skies, zillions of out-of-control Stem Christie people from Innsbruck swarming the mountainside. Moguls formed by 9:25am, knee deep Cascade Concrete off piste. Ice at the bottom, bare spots...had to ski through farmer's yards to get down in cow poop.

Rode 32 T-bars for a total of 4 minute downhill run to next T-bar.

FABULOUS lunch at AlpenHut with a really terrific beer. Spaetzle (mac and cheese but hand-made) and schweinhax'n (roast pork with crackling skin) so the cholesterol levels are higher than Mont Blanc! Two of our skiiers got lost and had to spend $106 each to get back to the hotel by taxi. Their leader got The Spoon, (explained below) as he insisted that they turn right instead of left at a Y on the trail at 4:35pm. They missed dinner, but appeared in time to get The Spoon.

Dinner at the ParkHotel in Soelden, as usual was 5 Stars. First course was a wild mushroom strudel with a brown butter sauce. To die for. Main course was duck, grilled with peaches preserved from the hotel's orchard, in a demi-glace reduction over garlic-studded creamed potato gratin, with sauted baby green beans the size of toothpicks, sweet and tender. The ParkHotel salad bar is open before and during dinner, and one could live on this feature alone. Lobster salad, freshest baby lettuces and grilled vegetables sit alongside every kind of arranged fruit and smoked fish, sausage platter and cheese.

Tonight's dessert bar features frozen treats, with 14 sorbets and ice creams on offer, all made in house. Fresh berries and three chocolate sauces were in silver bowls and Schlagobers (whipped cream) stood in a crystal urn with a 3' diameter. Larry likes the wine list here and between him and John Anderson, we're working our way through it."

I am not kidding. Not one little bit. And THAT is Austria...can you imagine Italy? Well, I am not just joking when I say that I go on this trip to eat.

The Spoon is an ancient (1947) award for the big FUBAR of the day. You can get it for getting lost, breaking a bone, leaving your heirloom family jewelry in the public bathroom...and then get it AGAIN when it is TURNED IN to the desk three days later. Larry got on our last trip for lighting a match in the bathroom (he is soooo considerate) which set off a smoke alarm, which in turn, closed and locked all the fire doors on the floor. Some people were locked into their rooms/hallways for over an hour. They called him "The Ring of Fire".

So, this is the kind of reporting your can expect from this trip! My next posting could be from the BA lounge at Heathrow...on March 22nd!


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