Bad Gastein - brief summary


Bad Gastein - brief summary

Started by Tony_H in Austria - 17 Replies

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Tony_H posted Jan-2014

Evening all. Back from BG late last night, been flat out all day catching up, so a very brief summary for you.

An interesting place to say the least. The town itself is built on a steeply tiered valley and is virtually dead. Decadent buildings suggest it had a heyday once, but its like a ghost town.

Up at the higher level is the newer part where the skiing starts and finishes art around 1000m so not at all high. However, the modern gondola soon whisks you up to 2251m at Stubnerkogl, from where you can ski on the front of the local mountain, or round the back and down into Angertal at 1175m, from where you can again rise up to 2050 at Schlossalm above Bad HofGastein where this is a plateau with some nice runs well linked.

Off the very top at 2300m there is a fantastic long red down the back into Bad HofGastein, known locally as the Aeroplane Run because of the Hutte near the bottom at Kitzstein.

Up the valley and 15 mins on the free regular ski bus is SportGastein starting at 1590m and going up to 2686m do notably better snow all over the mountain here. Lovely long sweeping runs, but more exposed and prone to closure in a storm as it gets the wind. You can spend a good day exhausting this area, we were lucky it was cold and sunny and conditions were about as perfect as you could get. Quiet slopes, modern lifts many with heated seats, and superb grooming. Sadly, no snow in 3 weeks meant pretty much no off piste to have a crack at so it was 99% piste skiing all week.

Down the valley is DorfGastein at 830m with good lifts taking you up to 2027m at the very top, but wierdly this place has a micro climate of its own, and the snow down here was better than anywhere else, that is until after lunch when the sun beat down on it. Lower slopes on the run off remained open incredibly, although it was a tough combination of slush in the sun and sheet ice in the shade. Like skiing in April, not January.
Dorf is linked over the back to Grossarl, and we found this to be our favourite area to ski, albeit a 30 minute bus ride away and involving a change half way annoyingly. There is a good selection of slopes here, with some fantastic reds off the top both sides, we blasted these all morning the 2 days out of 6 we visited them. Again, quiet slopes with modern efficient lifts, typical Austria.

Food was plentiful, very well priced, and delicious in every mountain hut and restaurant we tried. Local Strudel was excellent. Coffee was around 2,50 euros, a large beer between 3,50 and 3,90, spag bol 7,90 and Schnitzal and chips 10,90.

Unfortunately, we didnt have a good experience with the company we travelled with. The hotel wasnt really up to the standards they had suggested, nothing like the norm for Austria anyway. Food was ok, but portions far too small, and some of the staff made life uncomfortable at times. Put it this way - none of our group will be using this company again for a number of reasons.

Anyway, that aside, and despite being the worst conditions I have ever actually skied in at times in certain parts of the area, we had a blast and covered virtually every single marked piste. I ventured off piste with one of the others in our group one morning down the back of Stubnerkogl where we saw a number of people heading, but it turned into a bit of a nightmare with gulleys, streams, trees and no way down, so we hiked for half an hour with skis in hand before skiing down through some trees and stumbling across a red path which led us joyously out to a cafe close to a major lift station. 90 minutes of not enjoyable ski time!!!!

It would, of course, been a lot better with decent conditions. Austria seems to be the place suffering this season, and January is usually a good month but it just is not cold. One lift station read 12c but it was pretty much above 0c all day every day, except for some shaded areas facing north where good snow remained intact. The ski off each night became more and more demanding, interesting, testing and challenging to say the least.

Its a nice area with good valley views, and some really cracking long pistes, but its badly disjointed and you need buses or cars to get about. They claim 220km of piste, and we covered pretty much all of it in a week, much of it a couple of times, but you do feel like you are travelling to different areas to ski which was nice. I wont be going back though.

I will post more and some photos later this week.

In the meantime, anyone heading out to Austria and in particular the Salzburg area, pack the sun cream, consider renting skis rather than taking your own, and dont even think about thermals or layering up. For now, at least.

www  New and improved me
Edited 2 times. Last update at 19-Jan-2014

reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

Thanks Tony - most interesting

I'm sorry you didn't have better conditions but it sounds as though you made the best of what there was.

reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

Interesting write-up Tony; looks an interesting area, if a bit disjointed.

Sounds like you had an adventure, regardless of the snow (and operator - that sounds a bit, er, disappointing). not to follow tracks or people off piste though, it might turn out to be Fred Syversen...

The Admin Man

Ian Wickham
reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

Well done mate looks like you made the best of average snow ..... I guess it is about staying high in some places this season, Much damage to your ski bases ?

reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

None, it really wasn't THAT bad. A few stones around low down which you can avoid if you're careful enough. I think the edges need resetting though.
www  New and improved me

Ian Wickham
reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

Tony_H wrote:None, it really wasn't THAT bad. A few stones around low down which you can avoid if you're careful enough. I think the edges need resetting though.

A diamond stone will take off the burr's .....

reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

I was in BG last year. Not really impressed. Mind you I caught flu whilst there, so maybe that coloured my experience. The skiing was quite good, but the town is a tip. It looks like a dilapidated Russian mining town. Everything is up hill and I mean REALLY uphill, even the fit amongst us were gasping for breath after some of the walks in town. Our hotel was not very good, the bus service is chronic. It was not unusual to let 3 buses go past before we could actually get onto one. The the bus stop seems an awful long way from the Gondola when you are wearing ski boots and carrying skis. I think Bad Hofgastein may be a better place to stay if you want to ski that area. Bad Gastein passed it's prime a long time ago in terms of looking nice. In summary, nice ski area, shame about the town.
Skied: On snow, On water, On mud, On slush, On ice. Oh, and on a few dry slopes.

reply to 'Bad Gastein - brief summary'
posted Jan-2014

As always, a good report thanks Tony. Shame about the fresh snow that was originally forecast for the week. We had snow in Ellmau Tues and Wed - not loads but just enough to freshen up the pistes. Was waiting on your report to see if it was an option for march.

Topic last updated on 21-January-2014 at 14:47

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