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A Ski Region Just for One

How do you fancy being all alone on the ski slopes, carving the very first tracks of the day through the freshly groomed snow? In the Hochkönig ski region you can make this dream come true.

Making Tracks

If I close my eyes, I can still hear the sound of the soft, fresh snow crunching under my ski boots as I trudge to the Mühlbach lift station.  Then I see the magnificent alpine panorama of the Hochkönig rising up before me and suddenly I feel a sense of glorious anticipation about the day to come. We meet just after seven by the cable car, and that’s an experience in its own right: not having to queue for the lift, but being able to get up the mountain straight away with no stress, no crowds and just a small, friendly group for company.

A Very Special Feeling

And the view during the ascent! There wasn’t a single track in the snow, just the occasional print of a rabbit’s paw. It’s so romantic and idyllic it’s almost kitschy. For a moment, when you step out of the lift at the top, the view leaves you lost for words. “It’s an amazing feeling,” Sebastian Nadeje from the Hochkönig Bergbahnen had promised me – and he certainly hadn’t been exaggerating: stretched out at my feet, the pristine slopes. Mountain peaks glowing in the first rays of sunlight. The glittering snow.

As If on a Smooth, White Carpet 

And then the first downhill run. In three groups, we carve our way down the Schneealm, and then onward to the Fellersbachalm and to the Kings Cab cable car.  My curves are fantastic! Today, not even my calves ache - I’m not a particularly fit skier. It can only be because the slopes are like a soft smooth carpet. Or has my technique really improved so much this skiing holiday? At half past nine and after two glorious hours in the powder snow, I take a break at the Karbachalm.  And here too, I can have the same magnificent view of the mountains!  But now I have a stupendous breakfast to go with it!   Getting up early was really worth it! 

Picture Gallery

  • Let's go again after taking a break on the hut © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Let's go again after taking a break on the hut © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera
  • Karbachalm © Hochkönig Bergbahnen Karbachalm © Hochkönig Bergbahnen
  • Being the first on the slopes © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Being the first on the slopes © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera
  • Taking a break © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Taking a break © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera
  • Karbachalm © Hochkönig Bergbahnen Karbachalm © Hochkönig Bergbahnen
  • Karbachalm view © Hochkönig Bergbahnen Karbachalm view © Hochkönig Bergbahnen
  • Early Morning Skiing © Hochkönig Bergbahnen Early Morning Skiing © Hochkönig Bergbahnen

Interview

Sebastian (Basti) Nadeje is 28 years old and the head of marketing at the Hochkönig Bergbahnen. He is always delighted when he can accompany an early morning group into the Hochkönig ski region.

The best slopes, perfectly groomed, a spectacular sunrise and to top it all, the mountain is still deserted.”

Sebastian Nadeje, Marketing chef at Hochkönig Bergbahnen, passionate Skiguide

austria.info:

Basti, you are one of the experts who accompany early bird skiers as they make fresh tracks in the snow.  How did the idea come about?

Sebastian Nadeje:

Everyone who works on the cable cars has a little early morning skiing when we go to our workplace. The best slopes, perfectly groomed, a spectacular sunrise and to top it all, the mountain is still deserted. We wanted to share this with our guests.

austria.info:

120 kilometres of groomed slopes! Can you ski on them all so early in the morning?

Sebastian Nadeje:

Basically yes, but we didn’t want to lose sight of the guests.  We thoroughly tested which pistes and lifts can be done in what time. And then we chose the best 4-5 downhill runs.

austria.info:

What’s it like to be out on skis so early in the morning? 

Sebastian Nadeje:

It’s an amazing feeling. You get out of the lift and the first thing you do is look about and admire the surrounding mountains and the glittering slopes that stretch out before you. The sun peeps out from behind the first mountain summits and then after a few photos, it’s time to go. 

austria.info:

And what do you personally enjoy most?

Sebastian Nadeje:

The tranquillity and the knowledge that I’ve got the next few hours on my own to carve the best and most beautiful curves of the season.

austria.info:

Aren’t the slopes still pretty hard at that time of the morning?

Sebastian Nadeje:

No harder than at 9.00 when the lifts open for normal business.  And freshly groomed pistes are easy and fantastic to ride no matter how hard they are.

austria.info:

How old was your youngest guest, how old the oldest? 

Sebastian Nadeje:

Hard to say. But we always have a very good mix. From families with children and grandparents, to snowboarders and highly-athletic experienced skiers, we have them all.  We divide the guests into three groups based on speed, then everyone is well taken care of. 

austria.info:

How does your own day continue? 

Sebastian Nadeje:

As usual in the office.  But we do get jealous looks from our colleagues. There’s not one of us who wouldn’t love to be up on the mountains.   

Being the first on the slopes © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Being the first on the slopes © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera

Wax Often - Glide Smoothly

If skis are to run really well, they need regular waxing. But it’s not essential to take them to a ski shop, you can also do it yourself quite effectively. The easiest method is to use cold wax. The technique is rather like caring for shoes: Clean your skis, apply cold wax with a sponge and after five minutes polish until smooth with a soft cloth. The disadvantage of cold wax is that it doesn’t last as long and the procedure has to be repeated every day.

Hot wax is a slightly more complicated procedure but lasts longer:
• Clean your skis with a brush and cloth (tip: experts remove the last particles of dust with sticky tape)
• Apply hot wax with an old iron and leave to dry • Scrape off the wax with a plastic scraper
• Apply a second layer and scrape off, and repeat the entire procedure up to five times
• For absolute experts: A final layer with spray or powder

Skiing area Hochkönig © Hochkönig Bergbahnen Skiing area Hochkönig © Hochkönig Bergbahnen

The Ski Region

120 kilometres of well-prepared trails connect the ski resorts Maria Alm, Mühlbach and Dienten to create a contiguous ski region against the stunning backdrop of the Hochkönig. 

The Königstour is particularly recommended:

Five summits, 32 uninterrupted kilometres of ski trails and 6,700 metres difference in altitude. This ski loop is one of the most impressive in the Alps. Each section boasts a superb alpine panorama with views of the Hochkönig and the Steinerne Meer karst high plateau. 
Read more about the Königstour
 

Other winter activities in the Hochkönig region

Tobogganing, ice-curling, ice-skating, geocaching, horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Read more

Hochkönig © Hochkönig Tourismus GmbH Hochkönig © Hochkönig Tourismus GmbH

Early Morning Skiing

  • Every Wednesday in February and March

  • Meeting point: 7.15 am by the Karbachalm cable car in Mühlbach

  • Maximum 25 people, advance booking recommended

  • Skiing is done in 3 groups: pro, intermediate, chill

  • Price: € 48 including breakfast

Contact

Hochkönig Tourismus GmbH

Am Gemeindeplatz 7
5761 Maria Alm

Telephone: +43 (0) 6584/ 203 88
Fax: +43 (0) 6584/ 203 88 25

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The main purpose of the two main domains www.austria.info and www.austriatourism.com is the promotion of Austria as a holiday destination.