Skiing in the Montafon Valley

Skiing in the Montafon Valley

Article by Miss Teddy, photoes by Miss Teddy, friends and www.montafon.at

In the beginning of January I was invited on a wonderful 3-day skiing holiday by three of my friends (one from Switzerland and two from Germany). We met in a small town in Switzerland near the border to Austria and on Monday morning 8th of March, we headed towards the Montafon Valley, Austria. In one hour drive the valley welcomed us with the sun shining in the distance over the snow-capped hills. We managed to find the “Traube” Hotel in the village of Gortipohl, which turned to be a very nice and cozy family hotel. It was situated near one of the bus stops where from we usually took the bus to the ski area, had lovely warm rooms, a restaurant and a special room for storing the skis.

After a nice lunch with Austrian specialties and a good glass of beer with sprite (this I tried for a first time – it is very good if you are thirsty), we headed towards the ski area, where from we bought thickets for the Montafon cable cars and lifts. The price of the 3-day thicket was approximately 90 Euro. This ski pass was an all-in-one ticket for all the valley's cable-cars and ski lifts, as well as the valley's post buses. Soon I found out that skiing is one of the most popular sports in Austria and all towns situated in the mountain valleys are occupied with skiing tourism: the hotels being very nice and comfortable, offering also a restaurant and a bar, the skiing areas being organized perfectly, connected to each other via many lifts and tracks, as well as buses, the nightlife - exciting, with many places for après skis, parties and fun.

The Montafon Alpine valley, were we spent our holiday is 39 km long, shelters 11 villages with 18,000 guest beds and lies at altitudes of 600 to 1,430 m., surrounded by mountains as high as 3,312 m. Our village Gortipohl was 900 m above the sea level. The Montafon valley offers to the skiers and snowboarders 65 cable-cars and chair-lifts, around 209 km of sign-posted and tended pistes, 100 km of cross-country skiing tracks and natural toboggan runs.

In the valley there are 12 ski schools and 8 ski kindergartens with adventure parks for kids. There is also a covered artificial ice rink and 2 tennis halls. Each of the Montafon's ski areas has its own attractions - some are suit for beginners and children, while others appeal to the extreme sports fan. We chose to ski at Silvretta Nova, lying at 2,100 metres above the sea level - one of the most attractive and easily accessible ski regions in the Alps .

It offers the longest ski descent - 14 km Schwarzköpfle - Valisera Tal, 28 lifts, up to 110 km of pure piste enjoyment, spacious free-ride area, 120 m of half-pipe for the snowboarders, 400 m of FreeXrun boarder-cross - laid out according to the terrain, etc. We spend the evening of that first day visiting some of my friends’ friends at an après ski bar and had several glasses of Gluhwine and then we all had a lovely dinner and played games in the restaurant of the hotel.

In the morning we took the comfortable gondola cable-car, which lead directly to the Silvretta Nova ski area, where I had my first lesson skiing. One of the girls from Germany – Claudia, as a wonderful skier was trying hard to teach me in something between English and German, but my legs just did not listen to me. I learned to stop crossing my legs, but could not learn to make the turns, soon everybody from the group took part in the lesson. The first down-slope skiing /or better falling/ took me one hour!!! And since, I did not want them to loose the entire day with me, I asked them to go and enjoy the slopes and was waiting for them at the bar, getting sun-tanned.

While waiting for my friends I found out that most of the people were coming just for 2-3 days during the week or over the weekend, since skiing in Austria is an expensive pleasure (much more expensive than in Bulgaria). At Silvretta Nova there was a cozy mountain restaurant with a spacious sun terrace facing the snow peaks of the Alps and an Ice Bar, which were full all the time and people were having real fun.

The Ice bar was a star-shaped bar, offering dance music and numerous tempting shots /my favorite was Heisse Witwe - red kind of hot brandy covered with cream and sprinkled with cinnamon – at the price of 3,60 Euro, but we also tried shots of brandy with small peach or pear in it/. The inside restaurant was spacious and offering different and very tasty specialties, which tourists could eat outside on the sunny terrace.

The building offered also a bar, a souvenir shop, toilet and telephone cabin, wherefrom one can connect the entire world. That evening we went tobogganing or like they call it “rodeln” at Silvretta Nova on a 5.5 km long floodlit toboggan run (5,60 Euro being the price of one down-hill race). And that was real fun!!!

The speed was great and the toboggan was comfortable, but still after two tours my feet were really wet and I had a lot of bruises… Anyway, it was worth it and was much easier than skiing! The next day I was really afraid skiing, but was pleasantly surprised! Though the weather was not that nice /it was very cloudy/ I was able at least not to fall and started to make the turn on the left side, though the turn on the right side was still very difficult! Anyway, we didn’t stay too much, since the weather was bad and we spent more time après ski.

The third day was really sunny and though injured (one of my friends had troubles with his back and another one with her ankle), we had fun and till noon I was already skiing several times down the slope. One of the girls tried also snowboarding and she was pretty good at it. In the late afternoon we headed back to Switzerland, little bit tired but happy. Skiing in Austria turned to be really pleasant experience, the slopes had wonderful snow cover, the après ski was real fun and everything was constructed in such a way as to help the skiers and snowboarders have as much fun as they can.

     
  • Ana Whitton From UK
    Sent on 06 March 2019
    I wanted to write a proper review of our hotel and experience while in Pamporovo, so this is the addition to my email. We flew to Sofia and the pre booked taxi transport was waiting for us. The driver (Kosta) was wonderful and we felt really safe with him driving. Our flight was late and we arrived to the Dafovska hotel after midnight. The reception was open and they were waiting for us. We were given sandwiches and water and shown to our room. The rooms were spacious and warm, the beds comfortable, bathroom lovely and clean. Plenty of hot water, the towels were changed every day and bins emptied. The hotel has Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room which is 12 leva per person with towels. I would have liked the water in the Jacuzzi to be a bit warmer. We went in every day after skiing, apart from one when we tried a different hotel. Snezanka hotel has a swimming pool too. Its ok but it was too busy for us and we decided to stick with ours. Their changing rooms are very very small and you have to pay extra for the towels. We chose half board. There was many things to choose for breakfast, hot food, pancakes, fruit, cereal & toast. Apple & orange juice as well as many teas and coffees. I have to admit I always take my own tea bags . Not having to cook dinner after a day skiing was very welcome. There isn’t really a great choice for strict vegetarians, but I always managed to find tasty food to eat. You can buy drinks from the bar, or bring your own. There is a free shuttle bus that takes you to ski centre Malina. Very busy ski centre. We met with the representative Nelly there. I would have preferred to have the information on what time to be where when we arrived. Nelly organised our helmets (you need to rent this separately, 5 leva per person), ski equipment and our instructor. Well! I cannot give more glowing review for our instructor! Alex was amazing, very patient, very friendly and knowledgeable. We had lessons in the morning, then lunch, which he was very good to organise with the local bar, then another set of lessons. The food in the bars by the ski school and at the top of the slope was very good. Big portions, quickly delivered. I only needed soup at lunch time which were homemade and delicious. Staff, at the ski centre and gondolas, didn’t always speak a lot of English or smile enough but they were never the less very helpful especially with children and beginners. We skied on our last day too and we were picked up from the hotel by a taxi to be taken to the airport. This taxi driver was not so careful and good at driving and we could not wait to get to Sofia and get out of his car. The whole organisation of our trip with BulgariaSki was excellent! Thank you all
  • Richard From England
    Sent on 10 February 2019
    Have just spent 5 nights at the hotel for the second year. Still same high standards. Had a after ski massage with Kateriua, spot on girl knows her stuff. Highly recommended her.
  • Tommyboy From Scotland
    Sent on 07 April 2018
    5th time skiing in Bansko, have been here over Xmas period and Easter break, hasn't always been a lot of snow but enough to ski for five days. It is a good value for money skiing holiday for those on a budget, food very good value and varied depending on taste, some restaurants better than others, again depending on personal taste. Not to sure what the nightlife is like as we stay in our timeshare resort The Balkan Jewel which is 3 > 4 miles out of Bansko, they operate a free shuttle bus but the last one back from town is at 4.30pm therefore going back into town would require the use of taxis. I am sure we will be back in the future.
  • Mitko From Bulgaria
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    Dear all, Borovets is a nice place to be, but it is risky to ski there. The slopes for advanced skiers are crossing the slopes for beginners and the slopes are negligently prepared with icy spots and snow heap places. This all is a precondition for accidents. The ski lifts are maintained all on the surface, they stop frequently and the gondola had to be scrapped years ago. So be careful when skiing in Borovets!
  • Lene willsea From N.i
    Sent on 28 February 2018
    I love Pomporova. Its our home from home.We first went in 2008, the airport was a portacabin and the lifts were a dangling wooden chair.. The place improves year on year. I would highly recommend it. VERY CHEAP once ur there. But with all upgrades the prices to travel are clinbing. Jumped 200 in two yrs.
  • Neo From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2018
    The hotel it’s a brilliant idea however there are aspects you would be surprised to stumble upon We arrived late at night about 10pm. Greater by a very polite hostes she kindly provided us with prepacked sandwiches as the restaurant closed at 9pm ( we called in advance to ask if such is possible especially when you have young ckranky from long travel hours in multiple travel vechicles The room very spatious. Bed cover had some suspicious sticky stains that absolutely horrified me at the thought that my children could possibly put their tiny hands on to that. One of the bath robes provided had a black stain on its back, the other bath robe had its pocket thorn out and just hanging. There was a massive flaky, mouldy, damp patch in the corner on the ceiling. The toilet was leaking on the floor. Breakfast food was cold and rancid with a queue for pncakes quite long and very impatient as pancakes was the only food that you could have still warm. Boiled eggs were cold and so hard the yolk was dusty . Fried eggs were dry... won’t even go to details about the rest of the food. As the drinks offered to be purchased by the restaurant aren’t the healthiest of choice for children (all the juices on choice contained added multiple preserving agents and colourants) we asked if possible to have some tap water. It proved to be a terrible mistake, we were told that yes but we would have to pay for it, then told that if they bring a jug for us everyone else will be asking for it, then he brought a manager who was more rude than the server and plainly put it that even if we have children asking for water we would have to buy bottled water and she is not prepared to give us water for free, unnecessarily often stressing the ?free’ word. There are far more many good things that are good about this hotel. It’s main let down it’s restaurant staff who are poor hospitality professionals and frankly plain rude.
  • Nigel Buckle From United Kingdom
    Sent on 17 December 2017
    I have stayed at the Orlovetz for 6 out of the last 8 years and will be returning in 2018 for another week. It has become my 'Winter retreat'. A modern hotel that stands out due to its prominent position and its design. The rooms are comfortable and warm with plenty of wardrobe space and an area to relax. The safe is in the wardrobe, which is really useful for your valuables. There is a decently equipped gym, a small pool (though you can also use the larger pool in the Perelik as well) a Sauna and massage treatments, great for those aches from the first days of skiing ! The restaurant was made larger a couple of years ago and now accommodates more guests. Both breakfast and dinner are buffet style, the food, in general, is of good quality and there usually at least four different options at dinner. There is a small bar in the lobby area and a Piano Bar on the top floor that has stunning views across the surrounding district. As it is the sister hotel to the Perelik there is a tunnelway that links the two and saves you going out in the snow if you choose to use the alternative facilities provided there. One of them being 'The Pub' (previously known as the Pampi Bar) plus a couple of night clubs and a bowling alley. Also as the Orlovetz is just across from the Schnezanka it is only a short walk to Daks Bar, often used as the first mornings meeting place for your ski passes etc.,which is a lively night spot with live music and very popular. In all a great Hotel within a great small town, try it , Pamper yourself !
  • Liz From England
    Sent on 19 November 2017
    I went with my daughter January 2018. I was a cheap half board flights included and we wasn’t expecting much.... but what a fantastic week we had!! Stayed at the Lion hotel which is about a 10-15 minute walk to the slopes/town. A free shuttle is provide by the hotel. The hotel and staff are lovely. The food was always varied and hot. My daughter and I are vegetarians and in only two nights were we disappointed with the choice - but we heaped up on pudding so didn’t go hungry. Am lucky enough to be going back in 2018.
  • val From United Kingdom
    Sent on 15 February 2017
    group of us just back from borovets.we arrived 4th feb 2017 and departed 11th feb.had a great time.hotel rila was fab.great gym and spa.food was good.ski school was great.we had a really good instructor Martin Hristov.he was really good with everyone took time to try and learn everyone.we all had a great time thankyou.will be back next yearx
  • Alison From England
    Sent on 15 January 2017
    I wonder if the poor review is really about the Winslow Elegance. We have been going for years. It does not serve food and never has done. However, the spacious accommodation is for self-catering. We have always found it to be clean and we have always found that the reception staff can not do enough for you. We are looking forward to our next visit in February, 2017, Bring it on!!
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