"Why? Why did I get involved? One glass too many and the words seem to gush out of my mouth.
“Why? Why did I get involved? One glass too many and the words seem to gush out of my mouth. No wonder that my sports-obsessed husband jumps at it as I loudly announce my New Year’s resolution on New Year’s Eve: Live healthier and finally start doing sports! Of course he has to get down to business right away and book a spontaneous short trip to Tyrol. No problem, if it wasn’t a cross-country skiing holiday after all”, I think disconcertedly as I throw things into my travel bag.
Our spontaneous trip takes us to the Austrian province of Tyrol. Between the Chiemgau Alps in the north and the Kaisergebirge in the south, the four communities of Kössen, Walchsee, Schwendt and Rettenschöss merged a few years ago to form the Kaiserwinkl holiday region. The alpine location with numerous lakes, valleys, plains and the Kaisergebirge, which gives the region its name, exerts a magical attraction on tourists and yet the region has managed to retain its rural character.
Slowly the thought comes to my mind that my husband really does intend to test all the cross-country ski runs in the region on our few days of holiday. Yesterday, shortly after breakfast, we set off for a first round of getting to know the unique, medium-difficult “Lehrreiche-Schwaigsloipe”. On nine kilometres through one of the largest contiguous moorland areas in Tyrol, we learn on information boards along the route quite interesting things about the natural jewel “Schwemm”, the formation of the moor and the biodiversity hidden under the snow. Cross-country skiing in a different way. Later, after a tasty lunch snack, we let the day end with a snowshoe hike to the Kohlalm. Today we want to put on our narrow skis again. And I must honestly admit that I like it. The Kaiserwinkl and the genuine Tyrolean hospitality, which you can experience on every corner here, has probably infected me with the winter sports virus and I hope my husband has planned this day just as well as the one before. First we head for the cross-country skiing centre Oberberg on the western edge of Walchsee. This is where the eight-kilometre-long cross-country ski run starts, with only an easy 100 metres of altitude difference to master and where you can enjoy the landscape in complete peace. As the name suggests, the cross-country trail leads along the Walchsee.
The route passes the southern shore and crosses the swamp meadows and the Gasthof Essbaum on the eastern shore, which invites you to take a break. We settle down on the sunny terrace, which I also declare to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and let ourselves be spoilt with Kasspatzln, Tiroler Gröstl and loose Kaiserschmarrn. We enjoy the delicious food and the great view of the lake while we go through the possible tours for the last days of our holidays.
My husband starts to rave about it: “Up to the Dorfloipe Schwendt, the highest cross-country skiing trail in the Kaiserwinkl with a fantastic view of the Kaisergebirge mountains or the medium-difficulty Hochau trail through the beautiful forest terrain or rather the 23-kilometre long Kaiserwinkl trail? Then we absolutely have to test the floodlit night cross-country ski run in Kössen in the evening and have you already read about the biathlon training at the Moarloipe? Now it is up to me to stop him. That would be a bit too much of a good thing, but definitely reason enough to come back and experience more, in the cross-country skiing region Kaiserwinkl, where there are so many more possibilities with biathlon, snowshoeing and ice sports to experience a perfect day in the snow, off-piste.
But now we have to start the way back for the time being. Our body movements are completely in time, the muscles in our legs tense up to the rhythm of the kicks, every double-decker push pushes us forward on the cross-country ski run. Strength, agility and coordination are brought into shape, the sweat is the price for the pleasure. Almost silently we glide through this silent paradise and feel how we can clear our heads, leave everyday life behind us and recharge our batteries. Via the loop on the eastern shore we return to the starting point. Cross-country skiing is fun! Exhausted by this training session and the cold winter air, my thoughts already wander to the various recreational facilities in the region. If you are looking for variety when it’s storming and snowing outside or as relaxation after sports, in Kaiserwinkl and the surrounding area there are numerous indoor swimming pools and saunas with the most diverse relaxation possibilities. First a warm up in the steam bath, followed by a hissing sauna infusion and finally a pleasant massage to be fit again for the next day. I’m sure this hasn’t been our last cross-country skiing holiday in the Kaiserwinkl, because in the meantime I really enjoy it: simply imperial holidays at fair prices.
Travelogue by MMag. Lisa Riedlsperger, Cross Country Ski Holidays
All information about the cross-country skiing region: www.kaiserwinkl.com
Information on all cross-country skiing regions and hotels can be found at CROSS COUNTRY SKI HOLIDAYS – Cross-country skiing holidays in the Alps. www.langlauf-urlaub.com
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