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Bad Gastein ☆☆☆☆

7th January 2009 permanent link

Times visited:three
Last visited:today (January 2009)
Rating:Very good

Nice mountain – long, interesting runs, beautiful scenery. Lift connection (brand new, apparently) via Angertal to the next village/mountain, Bad Hofgastein/Schlossalm, so loads of possibilities.

Bad Gastein is an object lesson in how the details of local geography affect snow conditions, and why it is therefore not a good idea to take generalisations about conditions in an entire mountain range, country or even valley too literally. Bad Gastein’s mountain, the Stubnerkogel, has a dome-shaped summit significantly above the tree line. The snowfall from before Christmas has had no freeze-thaw cycle to consolidate in the last couple of weeks of cold, dry weather, and much of it has just blown away from the exposed slopes. At the top and on the east slopes facing the town of Bad Gastein, what snow there is is good, but it’s getting thin and stony in a lot of places. Another decent snowfall desperately needed, but there’s no sign of one. The more sheltered runs down in the trees on the north side (Angertal) are still excellent.

Bad Gastein itself is a curious town. A nineteenth century spa resort that long pre-dates skiing as a mass tourism industry, it is situated around hot springs right where the wild and narrow upper Gastein valley drops into the wider and friendlier lower valley. Big old hotels perched on the edge of the chasm, and a railway station. Brighton in a gorge.

The apres-ski party scene is not something my five year old son and I generally do much of, so don’t expect to read recommendations in this blog on a regular basis. We did, however, like the Silver Bullet in Bad Gastein.

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