Having skied from the age of 5 (including a couple of seasons in the late 90s when working for a living temporarily lost its appeal) I`m always amazed that I find choosing a ski resort and chalet so difficult! I blame the Internet (perhaps slightly ironic for a blogger).
The trouble is, there`s so much choice!
But I think I`ve found the answer. I recently returned from a trip to St Michael, in Austria`s southern region of Lungau – slightly off the tourist route but still only an hour`s transfer from Salzburg. It was, quite simply, exceptional.
There are several reasons why.
Because the resort is not well known, it is also not heavily skied. In the four days of skiing I don`t remember queuing for a lift even once and not a single snowboarder or budding downhiller cut me up all week. That also meant there was plenty of space for our beginners to begin, without feeling they were getting in everyone`s way.
For the experienced skier the off-piste is plentiful, which, combined with the lack of bodies, means fresh tracks aplenty!
Perhaps the best part of all though is the piece that holds it all together – the chalet. St Martin Chalets is a stunning multi-million Euro development, which has been boldly undertaken by Austrian carpenter Herbert Bliem (Herby to his friends) and his English wife, Jodi. With a little help from daughters Jessica (14) and Florence (12) Herby and Jodi have produced one of the most stunning chalet complexes I`ve seen. It`s one of the most ecological developments in Europe and the chalets themselves are nothing short of exquisite.
The chalets, combined with the authentic Austrian sense of fun, great food, personal service and optional action-packed evening activities (I can recommend the tobogganing and, for experienced skiers, `Steep and Deep with Herby`!) make this the kind of resort one would come back to year after year.
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