alan little’s weblog


26th January 2009 permanent link

Times visited:once
Last visited:January 2009
Rating:Typical of its kind

The Problem: you are at a tiny ski area aimed at small children and total beginners. It is a sunny Sunday afternoon, and busy. Snow conditions are not good. You can’t be bothered to spend ten minutes in a lift queue in order to spend two minutes on an easy slope with crappy snow.

The Solution: be a total beginner. Leave your snowboard in the car, rent a pair of skis and spend the afternoon enjoying the thrill of the fall line on the baby slope.

Ödberg is a typical example of a phenomenon that is common throughout the foothills of the Alps: the village ski slope. Almost every village has a sloping field with some snow on it and a drag lift. These are generally friendly places, less intimidating for kids and beginners than a big ski resort, where the baby slopes are often an afterthought crammed in next to the car park. Ödberg is actually bigger than most: it has two baby slopes and a whole five hundred metres of blue slope, complete with an International Ski Federation approved slalom course. There was even a race in progress when we were there.

My son’s kindergarten ski course is taking place here in February, so we thought we’d go and check it out. Ski courses in kindergarten are quite normal in Munich (and probably everywhere else within an hour’s drive of the Alps). My son couldn’t go last year because they are only for over fives – not that anybody has any objection to under fives on skis, far from it. Starting at three or four is normal, and I’ve seen four year olds on the mountain skiing better than most adults. But under fives are too high maintenance in other ways; it would be unfair to expect ski teachers to deal with large troops of them without parents within easy reach.

The snow at Ödberg is thin and rock hard at the moment. The huge dumps of fresh snow that is reporting all over the Alps evidently haven’t reached the northernmost foothills.

If your party doesn’t include small children and/or total beginners, Ödberg would not be a wise choice. Spitzingsee is only twenty minutes’ drive away; go there instead.

related entries: Snowboarding

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