Welcome to my new blog! Following many years of graduate study in musicology (see my bio if you don't know what musicology is), I am finally embarking on my fieldwork portion of my degree, spending one year in Germany. For all the latest updates on Music, Life, and Travel, read on, friends!

Friday, February 1

My favorite winter sport

Some of you may know that one of my favorite experiences while living in Salzburg was learning how to ski. Having grown up in Missouri, a relatively flat state far from the Rockies and the Appalachian mountains, I never really had the opportunity to try the sport. For some reason, while in Austria, I figured that I wasn't too old to learn a new sport (I am not very gifted in the sport department, as it is), and when would I ever get the chance to have five days of small group ski lessons from an Austrian in the freakin' Austrian Alps? I dove into the experience, stomaching the financial implications as best I could, and I do not regret my decision for a moment! Mind you, after the first day of lessons, I hated skiing. It was not very intuitive, and I felt like I was using muscles I didn't even know existed. Still, I got a lot better over the course of our lessons, and I loved being in the mountains, surrounded by snow and silence. I was hooked!

Well, I was as hooked as someone could be - who loved the first trip and still spent the LAST EIGHT YEARS off of any slopes! I remedied this problem, finally, when I joined my church's youth group ski trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in mid-January. It was a dream!

About 30 of us left on Friday afternoon in a tour bus, getting to our youth hostel around 10:30 at night. I got to stay with a college student who met us there. The hostel was extremely nice, and affordable. The smell reminded me of some of my other study trips in Austria, when my fellow students and I stayed in similar hostels in Germany. We got up early on Saturday, enjoyed a nice breakfast, packed a lunch, and then promptly got stuck in all the traffic heading to the slopes. The 15-minute trip took us almost 45 minutes. Then we had to get our rental gear, and I decided to take one morning's worth of lessons, just for a refresher. Needless to say, I did not need to take beginner ski lessons again, especially since we worked on such basics as putting on skis, staying upright on the skis, stopping on minuscule hills, and just a bit of turning.

Still, after the morning I was tired, and I wasn't sure what other slopes I would be able to handle. All of the group met for lunch and sat in the snow near the gondola station.

I'll just let you all know about how amazing the trip was through photos!

Here we are in the gondola at the base of the mountains. The parking lot was completely full! And look! Alps!!!!

At the top of the first gondola lift. Lots more peaks and trees!

This is where we had lunch - very relaxing, if not a little cold, because you sat in the snow.

This was at the top of the second gondola, for the two ski passes that I kept taking over and over again. I must have taken this gondola 25 times between Saturday and Sunday.

On the first day - me chillin' during the lunch break! I don't have ski goggles, but the sunglasses were helpful and necessary with the snow glare!

Here is the view of the slopes I spent the whole time skiing down.

Again, you can see all the skiers converging on the area behind me - one of the lodges and lines for the gondola.

On Sunday, we experienced "Foehn" - which basically means that the weather is warmer and sunny up on the mountains, and it is foggy and colder below. The snow kept getting worse and worse on Sunday, as areas of the slopes turned into mush.

Pretty mountains!

On Sunday, one of my friends and I sat outside at the ski lodge and enjoyed a cappuccino and the view from above. Even if you are not a skier, it is completely worth heading up the mountains in Germany and Austria JUST to experience the food, drink, and Gemuetlichkeit!

Me and my Kaiserschmarrn! This Austrian pancake-like dessert is AMAZING!!!!! Read the Wikipedia description linked here, and be jealous!

Our youth hostel! We had full room and board, and the food was surprisingly satisfying! Other highlights here included attending the youth group's discussion time on Sunday night, and losing horribly in table tennis to the three youth leaders!
The morals of this blog post are the following:

1. Skiing in the Alps is unbelievable!!!!
2. I still love skiing, and can still ski relatively well, all considering my eight-year hiatus!
3. I will not take another eight years off before I ski again. California has more mountains that Missouri or Illinois, and, despite the high cost, I really think it is worth partaking in an activity that brings me such pure joy!

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