Five Unmissable Events in Austria This Winter

FIS Ski World Cup Opening

From the 24th to the 26th October, the Rettenbach Glacier above the resort of Sölden hosts the opening event of the FSI Ski World Cup, the Giant Slalom. Featuring the world’s top skiers, including reigning world champion Ted Ligety, the runs will be held in the Rettenbach’s state-of-the-art stadium. In between, there’ll be a full programme of processions, presentations and parties for everyone, both on the glacier and down in Sölden.

FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Opening, 25. - 26.10.2014, RETTENBACH GLACIER.

Top of the Mountain Opening Concert with James Blunt

On Saturday 29th November, the annual Top of the Mountain opening concert welcomes singer-songwriter James Blunt. The free gigs marking the start and finish of the season at Ischgl have traditionally attracted stars such as Elton John, Robbie Williams and Mariah Carey, to be enjoyed by the winter sports enthusiasts who flock to the resort. This year Blunt, who is himself an enthusiastic skier, is including the date in his Moon Landing tour.

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International Hot Air Balloon Week

The “balloon village” of Filzmoos, in the shadow of the mighty mountain Bischofsmütze, is hosting the 36th International BP-Gas Balloon Trophy from the 10th to the 17th January. About forty balloon teams from all over the world will be taking part, flying over the high ranges and picturesque valleys of the district. In addition to the more formal races, the Sunday features a musical display of glowing, colourful balloons, while Wednesday is dedicated to the children.

hot-air-baloon

Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup

The 15th to the 18th January sees snow polo come to Kitzbühel for the 13th Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup. A modern variant of polo, this is an exciting, skilful game played across level, compacted snow, and its premier event sees top players and high society gather in the Tyrol in January. Matches are played on the Münichauer Wieser, with the striking Kitzbühler Horn in the background.

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International Hahnenkamm Race

From the 21st to the 25th January, Kitzbühel in Tyrol hosts the Hahnenkamm Race, a series of skiing races held since 1931 and for decades forming part of the World Cup. The event consists of the Super-G, the Slalom, and the Downhill on the Streif, widely considered the most demanding course on the World Cup circuit, including the 80m Mausefalle (mousetrap) jump near the top. The event will feature breathtaking speed and skills from the world’s top skiers.

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Ischgl Overmountain Challenge – from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 September 2014

Watch and even mingle with Europe’s best endurance racers, who will be demonstrating their skills, strength, tenacity and courage at the second Ischgl Overmountain Challenge. It’s running from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 September 2014 at the Silvretta Bike Arena, which is between Ischgl and Swiss Samnaun High Country Valley.

Ischgl Overmountain Challenge

The Ischgl Overmountain Challenge will take place against a backdrop of inspiring Alpine scenery and infinite, breathtaking trails.  Enjoy yourself with old friends or make new ones while you watch some of the best in their field compete against each other – stars such as Jérome Clementz, 2013’s champion and the winner of the 2013 Enduro World Series, and Nico Lau, both of whom have already confirmed their attendance and participation.

If you want to get involved, the competition section is simple and designed to be fun!  Your time will be recorded over certain sections of the trail, so you can cycle at your own pace. Naturally, you will want to go as fast as you can – but do take a moment to appreciate the beauty and freshness of the Silvretta Alps.  Finally, the times from the various sections are added together and the competitor with the best overall time will be named the winner.

Prefer not to cycle to the top? You and your bike can take the cable car up instead, then you can take in the spectacular views and cycle back down.

Do you expect to take public transport to the event? You can now plan your journey in advance.

Ischgl Overmountain Challenge

Ischgl Overmountain Challenge

Ischgl Overmountain Challenge

SILVRETTA RUN 3000 – 15:00 on Friday 18 July 2014

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SILVRETTARUN 3000You can run up and down European marathons in Paris, Rome, and Stockholm but never see the beautiful sights on display each year during the Silvretta Run 3000. This cross-country tour takes runners up into the hills of Paznaun, where they can choose three different routes: easy, medium, and hard. For a thirty two Euro entry fee, five Euro of which goes to support the spinal cord Wings for Life charity, runners can speed their way through (or take a leisurely run) through the 3000-meter peaks and valleys of the Austrian Alps. The race begins at 15:00 on Friday 18 July and concludes at approximately 17:00 of Saturday 19 July at the Galtür Sports Centre.

The easiest route rises only about three hundred meters from the starting point to the highest point and is an excellent way to get accustomed to mountain running. The longer races, however, stretch out over the course of a half or full marathon (28 and 43 kilometers, respectively) and challenge all runners to perform at their physical peak for the duration. Each finisher receives a gift as well as food and water along the race, luggage transport to the start, and shower facilities at the conclusion of the marathon.

silvrettarun-3000-tirolRegistration takes place at the Paznaun-Ischgl tourist authority. Anyone who wants to watch the race without actually running up and down the mountains can take in the beginning at the namesake Silvretta Square in Ischgl; anyone willing to follow the runners up and down the Alps by following the trail through the Fimbatal Valley. Those who find the race challenging enough for their tastes can come back in the later months for the Ironbike 2014, which takes them through more hills in the Austrian Alps on the seat of a mountain bike.

Those staying in Ischgl for the marathons or mini-marathons can find accommodation at four-star hotels like the Hotel Marangun.

Robbie Williams storms Ischgl

robbie 5Robbie Williams takes the Austrian ski resort of Ischgl by storm!  Ischgl has been featuring ‘end of season’ concerts since 1994 when Sir Elton John performed.  This year, it was Robbie Williams and many concertgoers feel this was Ischgl’s best concert yet!

Other performers who have graced the ‘end of season’ stage include The Killers, Bon Jovi and even Sting.

This year, though, the weather was not on the side of Robbie Williams or the crowd.  According to Elisabeth Türtscher from Galtür, there were thick clouds, visibility was hampered and then there was snow!

However, Robbie Williams and his 25-piece Big Band kicked off the concert with aplomb, not letting the weather deter him at all.  He started his set with ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and that is exactly what he did, to the delight of over 25,000 people.

Williams’ concert lasted for an hour and a half, and everyone agreed that he was one of the best entertainers they have seen at the Austrian resort.

The snow did fall, lightly, throughout the performance, but it really seemed to enhance the ambiance.  A little winter white to go with Williams’ music made it all the more atmospheric.

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As the concert was planned for the day, there were no lights for the stage, you just heard his music and that was enough. Williams’ dad, Peter, actually joined Robbie on stage for a duet.

The concert was free, all that concert lovers had to do was buy a lift pass to get to Ischgl’s resort.

At a press concert prior to the show, Williams said that Austria was his favourite country to play in, which made the concert even more memorable.