So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

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Back to Blogging and a snow report!


One of the perks of living here, walking in the winter valleys

For the snowies, if you want to ski, there’s shed loads of the white stuff here, and the skiing is great!  After the odd January where we had no snow at all for the first ten days, we’ve just had a week of snow off and on with 42cm measured here in the valley.  Just like forecasted, but, the weather has gone warm, today we had +8 and it’s all melting, I only hope its ok further up hill! So although we have enough snow for all our local Cross country ski routes, they’re too sticky in this warmth.

We’ve just had my brother here for a visit and had one of those holidays from home, blogs to follow, it was a real boon in the light of all that’s been going on.

Talk about disaster after disaster! Since the beginning of this year, I  seem to be catastrophe bound.  Besides having to replace the laptop, I’ve ironed a whole in my bosses favourite dirndl pinny, in January I had  another bout of Diverticulitis and had all the horrible investigations,so we missed all the Ice stock schiessen in the village and the Faschings stuff as I felt grotty. I missed the flu, but broke a tooth and had to have that mended- I hate dentists. We arrived to open the holiday house we look after to find there was no electricity and had to get the bloke out – fortunately fixable, oh and I’ve lost my job!  Although I was employed for 15 hours, there was rarely enough hours, and before Christmas had to work out the backlog.  We’d just got it sorted and one of the houses I clean had got a new bloke installed and she didn’t want a cleaner any more, so back to square one.  Before I had a break I said I didn’t want to go back to a backlog, so while I was off I got the dear John phone call.

I’m just so tired of this starting and leaving jobs.  Six years here and still not sorted. I know God helped with this job as I blogged last year and I’d long felt this job would end in the spring.  It’s the not knowing what to do next that’s so depressing.  Dave has been out of work since October, and the job situation here is dire unless you’re happy to work in the Hotel system with all the hours under the sun. It is, I affirm because God has the next step in his plan for us, I just wish he would tell us the direction. Is it time to go back to the UK? I can’t see him putting me in the Church structure, and then tell me to leave?????

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Snow report – Matters back to normal!


After our weird week with no snow and the grass showing, we’ve had more white stuff, not as much as last year, but enough!  The  ski resorts  have plenty, and I’ve heard that skiing is great.   We haven’t got enough here to go Cross Country skiing in the valleys, but there’s still time.  The temperatures seem to be swinging between normal cold and up to about+7.  There’s supposed to be shedloads of the white stuff coming in February.  We’ll see!

Our new neighbour in the block, who we’ve nicknamed ‘Nipper‘  in English dialect (he’s in his early 20s) has got a snow blower and a plough, so on the first snow was tinkering away, neither of them working. The little he did do just seemed to make the snow a mess, not actually move it. After the next snowfall overnight, by the time he got up, Linda and the GB contingent had already cleared it away, how long till he admits defeat and buys a shovel?

So of course, the UK is nicking our snow and its quite funny for us to see them all enjoying the little they’re getting!


More snow to come?

One of my favouritest photos I've taken lately!

We’ve had a bit of a respite from the endurance snow shovelling for the past few days. I’ve seen extreme shovelling on roofs on tv  but I don’t think I’ll go for that!  Our little Hof has  streaks in the snow, maybe it needs a new covering. Some people have said we’ll get a metre this weekend, others that it’ll rain, but there’s a great big cloud heading our way at the moment!  The council has been along with a snow blower and cleared the huge heaps that have built up on our lane.  It still tickles me pink to see snow being moved around in lorries, something I’ve never seen in the UK, I find it bizarre!

We’ve been Langlaufing again, but it was so windy that the  tracks were covered in drifts.  We joined the Loipe near the Dikler Hut, but because you need to cross a bridge to get to the start,  we had to wade through deep snow and the slots other people had made, our footprints sank deep and made the slots difficult to stay in for others.  When we reached the Loipe was decided to pretend it wasn’t us if asked who wrecked the way in.!

We’ve been rebuilding the front room for the new sofas. The delivery lorry from XXXLutz arrived and tried to reverse up our drive which is a sharp bend on a small hill.  Result skidding truck and Paggy leaning out the window  yelling instructions at the guys to reverse the truck who ignored him.. They sensibly stopped and carried the stuff a short way up the lane rather than try to get in our Hof – Paggy shut his window in disgusted at being ignored!

I found my job at Burg Finstergruen advertised on the AMS website, and rang to ask if it was and so I confirmed I’m not going back. Maybe now I can move forward. I still havent quite got it in my head that I’ll never work with Erna again, or try to clean those loos.  Job hunting is not going anywhere.  I’ve the chalets in St Martin but three hours a week aint enough! The only option is a job in a shop – but who’ll take me on when I say I wont work for ten days in February because we have visitors and I’m away in Germany doing some EAGALA training? Edith and I are going to write to lots of local charities and firms to see if they will pledge amounts for us to do therapy and teach riding. If I get enough, I could survive on this, that’s my dream!

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More snow and do I put my skis back on????


I’d felt for a while that this year is make or break for the Langlaufing (Cross Country skiing), as I was getting fed up with my nerves and just not enjoying things.  When the snow had abated we went up to our favourite place, Schonfeld.  As we drove up there the roads were very snowy and I felt a sense of fear.  And I wasnt going to ski, so where did it come from? Was it just a fear of the big open spaces after having been down in the valley and even stuck in the flat?  No it was a fear of the sliding on the snow and seeing it as a negative,scarey thing.  I wasnt going to have this and determined to enjoy the afternoon.

We found a lot of the Loipes (runs) shut because of Avalanche warnings and the snow is very deep.  So we put on the snow shoes and walked along the runs they were very soft and deep despite being prepared. Someone made rude comments, but when we stepped off even the snow shoes didn’t stop us sinking nearly to the waist!  It was quite hard going – loads of calories burnt.  But I could feel myself looking at the ski slots and thinking, maybe I could do that. We enjoyed the snow and made our way home.


The next day  had me waking with a similar gloom and we spent the morning faffing around buying a roof rack and me forgetting the Langlaufing shoes so we had to go home to fetch them.  A subconscious trying to delay things?  I’d felt for ages that the trail through the river valley of Weisspriach would be good and easy.  So under glorious blue skies we found the trail, and to my own surprise, I slapped the skis on and after about 200 yards of striding like a wooden board, I found myself loosening up.  The trail is nigh on flat,but I still felt the panic at a tiny slope. It was very warm, and beautiful.  We did approach a turn on a slight slope downhill and I took the skis off – then Dave had to pole himself around it, if only I’d known. 

Stunning weather!

 The snow was sticky and as we went back, I found myself welcoming a slight slope where I didn’t have to work so hard. I got back to the car park for the first time having enjoyed myself, actually having wanted to go a bit faster. I dint come down for several hours.  Maybe its a case of having overfaced myself too early. We’ll go back and   do more of this stretch – which ends at our favourite Dikler hut.  So I’m SO pleased its snowed so much that the easy low trails are installed, I can’t wait to get out again -What an about-face!

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Der Lungau, Four Years along -Winter


I wrote this last year, so may be a bit repetitive, we’ve more snow now too!

Four years, my the time goes by.  Life seems to be settling into a new, seasonal routine which makes all seem familiar and like home. It seems to be that the months after Christmas are the most boring, almost a time of hibernation.  I’d rather have the summer off like when I as at the Fortune Centre.  New Year begins with loads of fireworks like in England, but sometimes, they are just chucked about in the big parties in the square.  They’re never sold from a locked cabinet, although teenagers are banned from buying them. If you want you can buy Children’s fireworks – smaller versions of the adults ones -ahhh! If there’s enough snow, Dave and I can go Langlaufing or even falling over in the snow. 

This is because he works so many extra hours in the summer, he gets almost all of January and February off.  Even when I was with Lois it was quieter with him too.  Yet it’s so easy to get bored and into lassitude. Cabin fever even.  We did a lot of DIY last year, having tiled the kitchen, so much better than laminate, they actually seem to catch the heat of the wood stove – luvly.  We can’t garden until maybe the end of March as the ground is frozen! 

The year roles out thus. We have the Star singers – the three Kings come in January  (and always one blacked up!).  They raise money for charity, and get a cut, carefully negotiated with the Priest.  All the events I am talking about can be no doubt more accurately read about on the links I’ve put on the Blog.

The Stern singers

 Then it’s party time as there is a season of masked balls and then it’s Faschings or Shrove Tuesday, when there’s lots of parades in fancy dress – not quite like Rio de Janiro, ready for fasting time. We had a real laugh at the Mayor dressed as a Smurf.  These parades go back into folk history and have had people dressed as dancing bears and strange masked costumes.

Fasching parade

There’s Icestockshiessen parties- skittles on ice which we must learn how to do. Where England descends into debt and gloom after Christmas, Austria parties!  The farmers cut loads of timber before the sap rises, mainly by continually thinning, a far prettier way of clearing, but its amazing how they slide the trees down the hills for collection.


Me and skiing/Langlaufen/Cross Country skiing…..

Me not skiing!

Are you a skier is one of the first questions we get asked when we meet people, here or in England, and when we answer in the negative, a second’s disbelief flickers across their faces.  Our joy is walking in the summer and spring.  It just didn’t occur to us that you can go walking in the hills when it snows, or that modern ski shoes are brilliant.

So bending to some pressure we decided to give Langlaufen/ Cross country skiing a go. Even before starting, neither of us felt the attraction in belting down a hill.  So we hired some skis and boots and poles and went off to give it a go.  We chose a flat place, where we just got going as we did on a cross trainer in the gym. This was fine till we met a small hit, where we both shot down and fell flat on our backs.  Undaunted we went on and found that besides hills  we couldn’t really stop or do corners. Still it was fun and we were out in the fresh air and getting exercise.

Edith took us out the next time and was brilliant at explaining what we should do, till I took off down a hill and got my stick caught between my legs and had another pile up – I’d actually quite enjoyed it until then! 

So we booked a lesson with a local guy – Dave found him ok but I felt if I used his tactics to teach riding, I’d have precious few customers.  When I panicked he stood there with an impatient,’look at the idiot’ look on his face, and then bullied us into doing various exercises such as going along the training path with no sticks.   It didn’t help when all he would say was its easy do it like this – ok for someone who has spent his life belting about on the cold hard slippery stuff.  I don’t even really enjoy the sensation of slipping – maybe its a control thing.

So Dave and I went to Shoenfeld and had a wonderful day falling over on the loipes ( the installed paths with two slots for skis) and that was it.  Last year I had no chance to ski as I was working at the stables, except for one day when we went to the local airfield which has a lovely flat loipe. 

I always start of in sheer fear as I begin to move on the snow, jabbing my sticks in the ground at the slightest slipping feeling.  This gradually wears off, but if someone rushes me while I’m getting over my panic threshold, it goes on longer.  This year we went up to Prebersee where we found several training lines, and the first time, it was a good three-quarters of hour before I got going.  But then I did and loved slowly chundering along in the glorious sunshine, till some bl*&^%dy German moaned at us for going the wrong way round the loipe.  It’s getting better, as slowly I absorb the feeling of the skis, and when it’s all flat, it’s better than a cardio vascular workout. I’m even beginning to get annoyed at myself for chickening out when Dave goes down a slope and I bail out. We see loads of people doddling about like us, and leaving falling over marks which is heartening!

But Skiing?  My brother took me for a lesson last year.  I felt I had to try it just once. Got onto a childs slope with practically no gradient.  I was paroximed with fear, every muscle in my body (including brain).  I did a couple of little slides, which were horrible.  Then Larry was trying to tell me about snow ploughing, and someone was right in front of me -splat onto the ground!  Its much more difficult to get out of proper skis!  We had a break, but to no avail, I ended up on the ground each time so I said that’s it. NO More!  I just don’t want to ski, can’t see the attraction.  All those people on the slopes like ants, getting in your way.  Put me on a horse, (well an Icelandic with the proper shoes and nails) and I’ll gallop across a sheet of ice.  I used to love taking the kids out for a ride with plenty of galloping especially when it was snowing.  Would all you skiers do the same?  If your scared that’s just how I feel about skiing and is why I don’t pressure you into riding!!!!!

Complete Fear