Ischgl. Ibiza on snow. The place where my liver and I have lived (and survived) for the last three seasons. It is little known to the British tourist industry but is slowly gaining exposure. This year I lived, worked and trained there in-between the World Cup races. How does one train in a resort with such a crazy nightlife you might ask? Self discipline is the only answer I can give. It’s not easy!
I joined the local ski club which gave me the chance to train in the gates twice a week, always conscious that the local 5 year olds might well be out performing me! Outside this there is the public GS course, which is short but sweet, and is favoured in the morning due to the interesting rut lines created come the afternoon.
The Austrian resort of Ischgl has 235km of pistes and arguably the best lift system in Europe. They have a FIS certified downhill run, although it has never been used for such an event, and at least 4 pistes that you can set a great GS course on. The run to resort is also pristine first thing in the morning and perfect for practising at speed with SG skis on, you can seriously fly off some of the lips (not to be practiced in the afternoons when the punters are about!). The off piste is endless, with just a little exploration you can still find fresh powder days after it has snowed.
The other great Ischgl attraction is the top of the mountain concerts. Every year they have one for the opening weekend (last weekend of November), Easter Sunday and closing weekend (first weekend of May). The likes of Katy Perry, Rhianna, Leona Lewis and the Stereophonics, my personal favourite, have played the opening and Easter concerts over the last few years, however it is the closing weekend which is always the best party. Over the years the biggest names in the music industry have graced the mountains in Ischgl with their tunes; Elton John, Tina Turner, Kylie and Jon Bon Jovi to name but a few.
Snow sure Ischgl really does have it all, perfectly maintained pistes, acres of off piste and endless choices for apres ski. Oh, and not too many Brits – so don’t tell anyone!
Sarah Hannibal – GB Telemark Team and Ischgl seasonnaire