Skiing with a Motorhome – Two Weeks in Austria
Camping Arlberg, our home for the next two weeks, is perfectly set up for skiing with a motorhome. The pitches all have individual heated bathrooms and boot rooms. A regular ski bus stops right outside of the campsite, so it’s a nice 10 minute bus journey to the main lifts.
We spent the afternoon getting ourselves set up and sorted for the next day. Knigel (our Knaus motorhome) is on chocks, electricity is plugged in, we are warm and we’ve been fed. A successful first day.
Skiing St Anton Days 1 – 3
St Anton had a lot of fresh snow for our first day, which was lovely to ski on, but meant that we were pretty wet at the end of the day. The first day was pretty successful, by which I mean that I hadn’t had a melt down. It was really nice to come home to our own bed and things at the end of the day. I think that we are going to like this skiing with a motorhome lark.
Now is probably the time to give you some more information about my previous skiing trips. I learnt to ski when I was 35, so lacking in childhood bravery (not sure if I ever had any though, Mom??). My first ski trip was to Courcheval with friends. One day I ended up on a black, mogul field which resulted in me being in tears and rescued by Clare (whom I now affectionately call Schnorbitz).
Les Arcs, France
Second ski trip to Les Arcs with Greg and a couple of his friends (Ross and Sophie) early on in our relationship. Day 1, Sophie and I had complete melt downs accusing Ross and Greg of trying to kill us with an icy blue run.
Third ski trip with Greg in Japan. During a pretty heavy snow storm, I believe the technical term is a flat white, I had a meltdown. We were at the top of a mountain, and I told Greg I wasn’t going any further. He shouted at me that I had to. I started to cry. My tears filled up my googles on the inside in a comedy moment. When we finally got to the bottom, Greg convinced me to practice on a nursery slope. We had the funniest argument, arguing all the way on the short chair lift, then skiing down the little run, then arguing again on the chair lift. This continued for around 15 goes, until I relented and said perhaps Greg hasn’t tried to kill me!
Due to health issues I couldn’t ski for a few years, Greg had many an enjoyable ski trip with his friends without me being neurotic.
Then ski trip number four in Meribel. Day 1 I slipped on an icy red run and couldn’t get back up. I just lay on the ice for what seemed like an eternity. No-one stopped to offer me assistance. In the end I phoned Greg and he had to come to my rescue. It’s fair to say that I didn’t enjoy skiing except for the last day, despite having private lessons.
Ski trip number five with our nephew and niece in Andorra was a wipe out for me. Having just had an operation I hadn’t fully recovered. Most of it was spent in the hotel room, bar or the spa.
So, as you can imagine, this ski trip is a little make or break. Was it stupid to come skiing with a motorhome? Will it be a step too far?
Back to Day 2
Greg and I went over to the St Chrisoph ski area for the day, but the visibility was awful. Obviously, we had a row because I blamed Greg for the conditions. I spent nearly an hour sulking with him until I got bored and we made friends!
That evening we met a friend of mine, Richard, with his family for a little après ski. It turned into a little bit of a session so taxi back to the campsite. This is a drawback of skiing with a motorhome, campsites tend not to be right on the pistes so aprés ski is a little more difficult.
Day 3 Rendl
Richard and his family had recommended Rendl as a ski area, so off we trotted. I was pretty scared skiing along the blue runs. Some of them were rather steep! I didn’t have the guts to tackle the red back to St Anton so we got the cable car back. The skiing is not going well, I’m scared, Greg is stood waiting for me all the time. It’s all very tetchy.
After yesterday a private lesson to calm my nerves is required. I booked in for a 4 hour lesson with Ski Arlberg. My instructor was Anna, a former professional skier for Austria. She was so lovely and I developed a bit of a crush. I love a bit of praise and encouragement, which she gave me in spades.
We started off on a nursery slope with a button lift. As you can predict, try number 3 on the button lift and I fell off. I was surrounded by 3 – 6 year olds whilst lying sideward in the snow. Not my finest moment!
Anna and I practiced parallel turns, whilst feeling in control. By the end of the 4 hours, I had skied down three sections of black runs and I was buzzing. Bring on Day 5!
Day 5 Pride Comes Before a Fall
After my lesson yesterday, and my buoyant attitude, Greg has high hopes for me. We went back to Rendl. I was awful. Everything that I learned yesterday went to pot, I was scared, moaning at Greg and generally not happy. We did have a few good runs from Kappall on a blue that we had all to ourselves.
The decision was made. Group lessons were required.
Skiing with a Motorhome
Whilst everything is going a little pear shaped skiing wise, skiing with a motorhome is going swimmingly. We have found that there are a few things that we wish we had brought, like rubber mats, but on the whole we are well prepared. The motorhome is warm, the additional bathroom means that we have lovely showers and somewhere to leave our ski gear. On top of that we are having lovely home cooked dinners every night. It seems skiing with a motorhome can be done pretty easily.
Day 6 Knigel Repairs
Limited skiing today due to motorhome repairs. Our previous blog post (Our Journey to Austria) showed one of the limitations with skiing with a motorhome, a cracked windscreen. However, today the lovely man from AutoGlass came out and gave Knigel a lovely clear new windscreen. No cracks – yippee!
We had a nice chill out day enjoying our surroundings and finishing Ray Donavan (awesome TV).
We booked lessons with Ski Arlberg again. The first day we turned up and had to ski in front of lots of people to be put into groups. Oh yippee-do! I managed not to fall over – yay!
Greg was put into an off-piste group, and I was put into an above beginners group.
Greg has written these sections, as I wasn’t there…….
I don’t have the same level of confidence skiing as I did when younger. Nonetheless I consider myself to be quite a good skier having started skiing when I was in my early teens. I had a 15 year hiatus but have been most years since. So, I was pretty pleased when asked if I wanted to be in the top group for the ski lessons….the off piste group. I was certainly up for it – I’ve never skied off piste before (apart from the sections right next to the piste which don’t really count) and with the amount of snow there had been over the last week I imagined this was going to be a great experience.
There’s nothing like skiing off piste, it must be said, The elegance, style and expert skiing required all make it look fantastic fun. My group had all these in abundance led by the joyfully effervescent Dutch ski instructor Martin. Unfortunately I had none of them! I spent most of my time digging myself out of deep virgin snow ruined only by an imprint of my body. Then staring up at the group waiting for me! I’ve never had a days skiing as tough as this one. Whilst it was an awful lot of fun and I learnt an enormous amount I am self aware enough to have realised that there are some fundamental flaws in my technique which were preventing me from nailing it. Tomorrow I am going to demote myself to the next group down.
I joined Thomas’ group the following day which was also an advanced group but mainly on piste. Thomas took a little getting used to, but I quickly realised that he is probably the best instructor that I have had. He is a young fit German, and was very determined to conform each of the group to the exact technique required for advanced skiing. At one point he and I had a little tussle half way down a black slope as we established what leaning was versus twisting! There was lots of shouting (all by Thomas) as I established what he meant, but from there my skiing developed at a rapid pace.
I stayed with Thomas for the next 5 days and honed my technique each day as Thomas critiqued, pressed and chastised each of us for imperfections. It was exactly what I needed, and from talking to the rest of the group they were also very pleased with the approach taken. We all genuinely were instructed rather than being “guided”.
Lost in Lech
Thomas did get us lost one day though and we ended up getting back to resort at 6.30pm instead of the scheduled 3pm. I think he got enough stick from the rest of the instructors for me to need to lay it on more here!
So back to Michelle and her lessons before the rest of the “skiing with a motorhome” blog.
Wow, I write this at the end of my 2 weeks at St Anton. I had 6 days of group ski lessons with Adi at Ski Arlberg. Also, I’ve met some lovely people in my classes from a variety of different countries and backgrounds, including a magician. The main news though is how much my skiing and my confidence have improved.
Today, I actually prefer to ski on red runs than blue and I am not afraid of black runs at all (although not quite enjoying them yet). Greg and I had the best day skiing together on our last day. I didn’t sulk and he got to practice on red and blacks. Awesome!
Adi has been such a brilliant teacher. He is in his 70s and you just wouldn’t believe how fit this guy is. As with Greg and Thomas, I think that he is the best instructor I’ve ever had, patient yet firm. He concentrates on good technique to improve confidence.
Actually I have enjoyed skiing for the first time (cue “phew” from Greg). I am going to write a blog about nervous skiing.
We have limited the après ski due to the campsite being in Pettneu rather than St Anton but also due to cost. After our lovely night with Richard and his family, our après consisted of a drink or two in Basecamp and a couple beers in the famous Crazy Kangeru. On our last night, we met up with Greg’s friend Emmy and had a great time. We’ve been lucky to be able to coincide our time in St Anton with friends from the UK.
All in all, we are really, really sad to be leaving St Anton. The snow has been great, the weather lovely and people friendly.
I cannot believe how much my skiing has improved either.
The skiing with a motorhome experiment has been a complete success. We have loved it and would love to do this every year.
So we head west to France for the next couple of weeks of skiing with a motorhome.