So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog


Shönfeld – the death of a ski resort?

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View towards Innerkrems, the Mehrl hut in the middle of the ldanscape

Shönfeld, although not in the Lungau is one of our favourite places to walk and fall over on the skis. We discovered it in our very first year and love the high meadows and the gentle hills of the Nockberge range.

P1200528 (2)Maybe its the isolation that’s  the charm, it takes a good three quarters of an hour drive up a beautiful wibblywobbly road past the mining museum.


Enough romanticising!  The first blow was when one of the hotels closed when the owner had cancer,it was a shame as you got really fresh trout there, despatched at order from the pond!

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First closed hotel on the left, Joseph Mehrl hut on right

A couple of years later, the river which runs down to the next resort of Innerkrems  was greatly damaged by flood water, causing landslides which undermined the road, even now no repairs have taken place as the county of Carinthia is bust – I presume!  But it means only cars can access it, which blocks off a certain amount of important through traffic, but not the bikes and cars that use the scenic Nockalmstrasse.

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All was ok though, as the big hotel which took large school parties was doing well and two lifts were opened. There seemed to be expansion.  The couple who ran the hotel were obviously close to retirement and then we saw in the paper that it had been bought and a couple were going to do it up.

P1170075 (2)When it shut for the first season maybe it wasn’t a problem. But its now the second season and its shut still. Result the lifts are now closed. The carpark isn’t cleared, when we were there at the weekend everyone was parking along the road. Great if you are a ski tourer and they still put the Langlauf loipe in, the Kassa was shut, there was only an honesty box.

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The little restaurant by the kassa is now shut too. Only the Jospeh Mehrl hut was open and they seemed snowed under by the trade – that’s not good in itself if they cant cope with demand but it was the last weekend of half term, beautiful weather and people hurtling down on the powder. It seemed the hut itself is running  the Loipe.


Hotel Shönfeld now closed on the middle

So what will be the future? The Hotel will gradually deteriorate, it must have lost all it’s good will which justified its price of 1,000,000 euros, so someone could snap it up. The holiday houses may still be lettable. The Mehrl hut will always have plenty pf trade and has accommodation. Maybe it’ll just turn into a little lost part of Austria, a little secret. To my mind this is maybe better than being exploited and turned into a big resort,with ugly big lift housings that scar the landscape. The business as it was sat happily on it, that was enough.  I think local people hold the area in their hearts, so maybe we’ll hug it to ourselves, it’s not such a tragedy!