Christmas on the Slopes

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I was spoilt this year, with my family flying all the way from Australia to join me in Austria for a White Christmas.  We spent the Christmas week in the tiny picturesque ski-town of Ellmau, snuggled within the Alps, with enormous snow covered peaks surrounding the town from every angle.  We spent the week snowboarding and skiing down the numerous slopes of the 1555m high Hartkaiser and surrounding peaks.  Images speak louder than words to describe the dreamland we spent the week in, so feast your eyes on this gallery of white:

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As Christmas celebrations, such as the opening of the presents and Christmas feasting, take place on Christmas Eve in Austria, we were treated to an evening of festivities at by the ever hospitable host family at Hotel Hochfilzer.  All the guests from the hotel and it’s sister accommodation Claudia (where we stayed) gathered in the hotel bar for cocktails, to sing Austrian Christmas carols and to be tortured by staggered piano playing and off-tune acapella by the Hochfilzer children, as if we were all one big family forced to listen to entertainment from some distant cousins – just like a real family Christmas!  All guests received a block of chocolate to reimburse the damage done to our ears.  We were eventually released to the various dining rooms for our seven-course Christmas feast.

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During the ski season, one of the town’s ski schools puts on a Ski show once a week, showing off the skills of the very talented, fearless and I suspect slightly deranged ski instructors.  They came powering down an impossibly steep slope on their skis, snowboards, snow bikes and other contractions I had never heard or seen before, twisting, turning, jumping and dancing to the tunes blasting out of the speakers.  Para gliders cleverly maneuvered themselves above the crowd to land gracefully in the middle of the small runway at the base of the slope.  It made for a very entertaining evening and it was great to see the entire township gathered together out on the slopes.

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