Ischgl, Austria: Too many men behaving badly

15 Mar

By guest blogger Stuart Elliott

We have been spoilt. Ischgl is a pretty Tyrolian village with 240 km of pistes, plus others nearby, and much stark natural beauty (it’s above the tree line with snow covered mountain scenery), so how could this not be the scene for a wonderful week in the mountains? Well…..  

– We had the misfortune to meet a lot of Austrians who did not understand the meaning of providing a service. “You say you couldn’t ski safely because your ski edges weren’t sharp? – why would I care?” This may not have been typical but you get the point. 


Far too many people skiing, sometimes stupidly fast, and out of control, down the same snow covered alpine slope. I think I’m normally a mild mannered level-headed kind of person, but on one occasion, and perhaps the only occasion in my sixty-four years, I lost it, and was moved to ask a maniacal skier if they were mad or what? If I’d known the German for it my exclamation/question might have had more impact. Dummkopf might have done it too, but then the person in question might have done my Kopf in. We observed two people who had previously been able bodied hobble into the breakfast room on crutches. I rest my case. 

 Piste #1, otherwise known as ‘if you fail here it’s entertainment’. 

 Which brings me neatly to the Teutonic race. Here we all are in this idyllic situation atop magnificent pristine mountains, supposedly relaxing, but certain of us (read most of them) have only one interest in mind, which is to get to the top and then to the bottom of the mountain as recklessly as possible, without acknowledging or considering any other human/life form, unless it is to eat it during a beer-infused lunch. “This is supposed to be a holiday”, I shout in vain. It’s as if they are in their Audis hurtling down the autobahn late for a business meeting and woe betide you if you get in their way. Holidays – who needs zem!


Then there are the lift queues. If you are not in their group then you are against them and definitely in the way. It’s every man, woman and child for themselves. Sorry, no photos as to do that would have risked being trampled. 

As for the pistes, the descents are mainly featureless blue runs, or blues designated as reds, regularly interspersed with unmarked intersections and always over populated with blinkered, high speed Teutonic types doing their best to replicate the athletic accomplishments of their racing heroes (some of whom came to a sticky end). 

One day we decided to ignore the advice of the overbearing, dominating, know it all receptionist at our disappointing and pretentious hotel and visit a small nearby ski mountain, Kappl. It was gorgeous; actual snow-covered pine trees, idyllic mountain restaurants, a variety of terrain and a distinct absence of the Teutonic types. 


As some of you may recall, I’m particularly fond of long alcoholic lunch breaks in small atmospheric converted cow sheds at altitude (for example). Well, not in Ischgl. The descriptor which comes to mind is industrial. Massive great structures, made mainly of glass and steel serving up the identical dishes no matter which self-service restaurant you visit; great if all you like is dumplings, speck (otherwise known as bacon), sausages and pasta. And whatever you do don’t ask for the local wine. Best to stick to the very large beers unless, for obvious reasons, you are male and over the age of fifty. I regret I cannot add one single Ischgl mountain restaurant to my top ten mountain restaurant hit parade. In fact it would be a struggle to include them in any polite list. 


 However, if your thing is spending most of the night drinking beer in girly bars with your mates, then Ischgl is the spot. I came across one Brit (not yet in the the “tits’ bar” as he so delightfully put it), who was reputedly a keen skier, but had been in the resort for two of his four day stay and had yet to set boot on ski. He was however enormously enjoying England’s win over Wales in the six nations rugby tournament, at a bar where I encountered him, along with many beers. He was a Scot so I think this foreign beer had him a bit confused as he was supporting England! 

 What have I forgotten? Oh yes the hotel. Apparently more than enough has been written by Sharon on this subject elsewhere. So suffice it to say Zhero Hotel was not a highlight of our visit to Ischgl, which made it kind of par for the course, if that makes any sense. We have one week of skiing left so will return to the tried and trusted French Alps in April, but for now Innsbruck, Vienna and India are next on Sharon’s 60th birthday tour! 

2 Responses to “Ischgl, Austria: Too many men behaving badly”

  1. trevor willis March 15, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

    other than that, how did you enjoy it ?????

    • Sharon Tickle March 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

      Well Trev, we found one hotel, the Sonne in the village, that had an excellent dining room, plus an Italian restaurant, La Nona, that was the real deal so we enjoyed those meals. Oh, and England won the Six Nations so that put a smile on Stuart’s dial! Sxx

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