30th January to Saturday 6th February 2010
old are the BOOTSKIboys
is the question we were posed on this year’s BOOTSKIboys
Customer Satisfaction survey wanted to know our age,
but the response box was divided into groups into which
we did not entirely fit. How best to answer?
C, who we had hoped might be touring with us but couldn’t,
provided guidance. He e-mailed the story of a
group of men who met up for a ski reunion in Austria
they were 40, they decided to stay at the Hotel
Ziller because the waitresses looked pretty in their
traditional low cut dirndls.
they were 50, they decided to stay at the Hotel
Ziller because the food was excellent, as were the
they were 60, they decided to stay at the Hotel
Ziller because it was smoke free and in a quiet
location away from the noisy discos.
they were 70, they decided to stay at the Hotel
Ziller because there were elevators and wheel chair
they were 80, they decided to stay at the Hotel
Ziller because they hadn’t been there before.
into which age group did we fall?
the evidence than decide.
destination was Mayrhofen. I had been there twice
before. The first time in the summer of 1963; the second
a short ski break with Margaret and our children, Jamie
and Emma, in 1991 when we were all beginners.
the town has changed. It is almost
unrecognisable from the traditional village
I recall the first visit when it predominately
had wooden buildings. Even the church
has been rebuilt.
it is much larger than was the case in 1991
when the cable cars were outside the town
and now are more or less on the main street.
Several hotels (including ours) are
massive developments of what were separate
buildings to become linked complexes.
the clientele has changed.
now rare wooden chalet
knew that Mayrhofen has a reputation as a party town,
favoured by tour operators and snow boarders. To
that list should be added Russians. I have never
heard so much Russian spoken. At least I presume
it was Russian- it seems like Martian spoken in an Italian
menus are printed in Russian. The shops have goods
tagged in Russian. Some shops are purely Russian.
wonder if there were any other folk called Bootski in
town? It would not be a surprise!
30th January 2010
impressions as Nick and I entered our room at the Hotel
Strass in Mayrhofen were threefold.
location could not be more convenient as the main Penken
lift was literally just outside our window.
room was superbly fit for purpose as there was a settee
if the intimacy of the Austrian twin bed (i.e. double
bed with separate duvets) proved too close for comfort
plus a semi circular corner with seating and
table that would admirably serve as a club house- Philip
and Robert having opted for single rooms.
view from the bedroom window
Club House Comitibus
the other hand, the noise was intense. Below us
was the hotel’s ice bar- an après ski bar where
the participants were having a riotous time singing
and dancing along to the music. How on earth could
we put up with that racket?
arrived late, we made our way down to the rather busy
but soulless bar and awaited the arrival of daughter
Emma and Scott who were driving down from Munich in
their campervan, Van Wilder, to join us for dinner.
ordered beers in my best German only to discover that
the English barmaid didn’t speak that language.
our guests had arrived we went through to the dining
room. No pretty dirndled waitresses. Dalibar,
the helpful young man with good English who was assigned
to us, was Serbian. No doubt a useful nationality
to have around for the Russian guests. Our other
waiter was Anthony. From Kent. Why have
I been going to German classes?
the food and the wines were very good all week!
and Scott had stayed at the campsite just
out of town so they picked me up in Van
Wilder and we parked at the Schwendau lift.
The plan was to leave Emma, who is
six months pregnant, in the café
at the top, where she would do her marking,
whilst Scott and I would ski.
Robert, Philip and Nick would come up the
Penken lift and make their way over to meet
up with us in the café.
a first day, I wasn’t going too badly but
it must have been frustrating for Scott
to have to keep waiting for me.
and Scott arrive in Van Wilder
and I decided it would not be sensible to overdo it
so finished early after lunch, discovering in the process
the downside of Mayrhofen as a resort. The queue
for the Penken lift was huge- there is no way to ski
back down to the town so the inevitable happens on a
later in our room, the noise from the après ski
bar was just as intense. But somehow rather more
and Scott had returned to Munich the previous evening,
so the four BOOTSKIboys
walked together to the Ahorn lift.
is a much smaller area with limited skiing but well
prepared pistes although the steep slope down to the
valley was somewhat icy.
lunched down in the valley in a nice small hotel on
the edge of town. My Gröstl was excellent.
on the Ahorn
Robert and Philip went up the Penken but Nick and I
decided to pack up for the day.
had not been skiing at all well. By the end of
the day I had decided that this was my last ski holiday.
I knew exactly how Margaret felt about skiing and what
is the point of struggling around on skis, half terrified,
when there are so many other things that I can do more
competently and with far great enjoyment?
up the Penken with some trepidation and lack of enthusiasm
but, to my surprise and relief, I was skiing much better.
went over to Eggalm and back, passing en-route
the Hari Kari- allegedly the steepest black
run in Europe. It is so steep that
the piste basher has to be winched up by
cable. We saw one poor soul take a
spectacular tumble, losing both his skis
and continuing head over heals down the
hill for many metres, in the process of
which he attempted a dive to catch one of
his skies. It was a valiant effort
though confidence was returning, it did
not encourage me to try that slope!
Ice Bar Polar Bear
polar bear was prowling outside the Ice Bar when we
returned. We resisted its entreaties but those
inside were certainly enjoying the music and so did
we, from above.
light deteriorated somewhat and, in consequence, so
did my skiing.
all decided to finish early and consoled ourselves with
an excellent lunch at the Hotel Neue Post in the centre
of town, a traditional building that I remembered from
to the train station, bus to Zell in Zillertal train
station, some miles down the valley, then skibus to
the Zell Arena before taking the bubble up the hill.
all that travelling worthwhile?
had predicted that away from tour operator dominated
Mayrhofen, the nature of the clientele on the pistes
would be a higher percentage of Germans and Austrian
and they are less enamoured of snowboarding. His prediction
proved right. Far less Russian, Dutch and English
being spoken and much fewer snowboarders.
is an interesting area with a long travel over to the
far Königsleiten valley and back- just the sort
of ski tourism that we enjoy- good snow, well groomed
pistes and even the black run was manageable. Or
dare I say enjoyable?
I ever skied better? I don’t think so. The
sun was out, albeit slightly veiled at times. Suddenly,
it all came together and I even managed to keep controlled
short swings going on direct descents of steep slopes
rather than my normal ungainly long carving turns on
the edge of disaster.
return could not have worked better had the Austrians
subpoenaed the public transport to work exclusively
for us. Off the bubble straight onto a skibus.
Likewise, skibus to train and then from train
to skibus back to the hotel.
thought about going down the valley to Kaltenbach but
the weather looked grey in that direction and snow was
expected so we decided to go up the Penken especially
early and ski till the weather caused us to stop. Beating
the crowds worked well and the weather remained much
better and brighter than expected. As a result
we covered a huge amount of ground before calling it
a day in the mid afternoon, beating the lift queues
cold view from the Rastkogel Cable Car
Scott and Emma
and Scott came down from Munich again to join us for
dinner. Afterwards Philip and I walked with them
to the campsite for our evening constitutional. When
we returned, it was starting to snow, not very heavily
but huge sized flakes.
awoke to see the results of a heavy snowfall. I
had hoped to spend the morning with Emma whilst Scott
skied but there was a text from him saying that Emma
had been ill in the night and that they had headed home.
They stopped at a hospital on the way and were
reassured that it was “only” food poisoning and that
the baby was alright.
carried on snowing all morning so any thoughts of a
bonus day’s skiing were discounted. On arriving
at Innsbruck in the late afternoon, we discovered that
the small airport was grossly overcrowded with unfortunates
whose return to the UK had been delayed. We feared
a long wait on our two square feet of floor space. However
our flight departed more or less on time. The
drive back from Manchester was more of a challenge-
the north west of England was fog bound so it was rather
later than expected when I had the welcome sight of
have some thank-yous to record.
Philip, for organising yet another successful ski
trip. He will be relieved that this year there
is no aftermath of compensation to be claimed. Inghams
remains our ski tour operator of preference.
Robert, for being such an effective “Red Leader”-
he guided us around the pistes as if he were a local
rather than a first time visitor.
Nick, for being such a cheerful roommate and char
all three, for their company and making it an enjoyable
of course, to Margaret, for uncomplainingly releasing
me for the week!
to return to the question posed at the outset, how old
are the BOOTSKIboys?
read the evidence and the guidance notes. The
verdict is yours.
where will the BOOTSKIboys
got next year?
suggest somewhere with pretty, dirndled waitresses,
good food and wine, in a quiet location, with elevators,
to which we haven’t been before.
7th February 2010
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This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
If you want to contact us, click on
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of new BOOTboys reports.
Thursday 14th January
A Snowy Equipment Test
Thursday 21st January
Leave It To The Professionals
Thursday 28th January
That's A Lyth Record
Reasons To Be Cheerful
One, Two, Three
Thursday 11th February
Can You See Clearly Now?
Thursday 18th February
Saturday 30th January
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
download a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which BOOTboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!