I spent close to my last weekend in Austria romping around the mountains in baggy men’s pants and an unintentionally cropped (children’s) snow coat. Let me explain. IES Abroad organized a ski trip in the Austrian Alps, and being indecisive as I am, I didn’t end up putting my name on the list for the trip until it became a long waitlist. Well, December rolled around, and I was emailed that I was off the waitlist. There was no chance I was passing up a ski trip, and absolutely not one in the Austrian Alps. Having only added my name to the waitlist after arriving in Austria, though, I had no ski gear to wear. IES Abroad ended up saving the day with leftover jackets and pants from previous years, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t resemble a teeny bopper/dad hybrid.
My appearance was no cause for any serious upset, because that weekend skiing on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier in Kaprun, Austria was so worth it. The whole weekend was thoroughly planned by IES Abroad in Vienna, so the bus ride to the glacier, the lodging, the skis and poles and helmets, ski tickets, dinners, and breakfasts, were all included in the price of the trip. This was such a welcome relief after having planned all my own adventures up until this point. The conditions were much less than ideal. Each turn I took sounded like a windshield being cleaned off after a snowstorm; there was so much ice. While my group was there, we did have some blizzard like conditions, but any fresh powder we might’ve been able to ski over was soon blown off the mountain. The equipment was mighty comfortable. I wasn’t too cold with my kiddo jacket, a long sleeve, and a thick scarf. Despite the conditions, I made new friends, and we all kept going down the same runs together, because we just couldn’t stop reveling in the fact that we were skiing in the Alps and that blustery snow was swirling around our heads. The ski lifts were different from those that I’ve experienced in Utah and California resorts, in that they had bubble-like plastic coverings attached to them. We often made use of them, because, somehow, they were built in such a way that they didn’t make us feel claustrophobic while shielding us from the snowstorm. Like all ski resorts, the food was overpriced, but if you go on this adventure too, please do yourself a favor and invest in some fries and a big salad at the main lodge.
The best part of this little getaway was taking the gondola up to a spot where we could enjoy a sweeping lookout of the mountains. The view was hard to take in given the vast whiteness of the landscape, but I realized just how rocky and severe the terrain surrounding the resort’s property was in comparison to the ski mountains I’d been on in the U.S. Looking down, I felt like I was a mountain wanderer who’d found herself at the top after days of exhausting travel upward.
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<p>Hello, hello! I'm Lauren Franklin, and I'm a junior at the University of San Diego. I'm an English major with a minor in psychology, and I'm trying to squeeze in as many theology and art classes as I possibly can. I would love to be the sort of student who's constantly found in the library studying away, but that's not always the case here: What bring me the most joy are grand stories, fresh produce, the green rolling outdoors, and creating and learning with friends who want to venture out together.</p>