It was such a shame that we didn’t have any white magic in the Central German Uplands this year. But we wanted to experience that feeling of silently advancing through winter landscapes one more time. So we set off looking for our missing winter and found it at the Bregenzerwald in Austria for a whole weekend.
We park the car in Schoppernau and continue on foot, travelling light with our snowshoes attached to our backpacks. We follow the sledding run through the woods, and after a few metres it starts to snow. There they are, the silent flakes that easily turn the laws of nature upside down around this time of year. Time seems to find a slower rhythm, and we too walk in silence to its beat along the stream that is rushing powerfully through the woods, 800 metres up the mountain.
We’re soon putting on our snowshoes and enjoying the views of the winter wonderland through every single gap we can find in the trees. On the last leg, just after the tree line, we walk across open country, with the wind whistling around our ears and snow whipping into our faces. But we can already see Neuhornbachhaus, the lodge with the inviting red window shutters. The screaming jackdaws are dancing frenziedly with the wind, while we trudge through the deep snow towards our destination.
As soon as we step into the warm parlour, we are warmly welcomed by Gebhard Ruf, the owner of the lodge, who supplies us with cake and drinks. No need to go out today anymore! Sitting in the parlour and looking out through the window, watching the snow, is just as amazing. Moreover, the sauna in the basement is fired up so we can warm up and relax before we go to dinner. Gebhard and his cooks are very open about my food allergies and special wishes. Fantastic and rare so high up! To Thomas’ delight, his three-course meal is rounded off with fresh, homemade filled doughnuts, and I get to enjoy their homemade schnapps for afters, which also tastes good! We sleep like logs in our own room, not in a dormitory as is usual in mountain lodges.
During a hearty breakfast the next morning, the few guests, snowshoers like us and ski tourers, discuss possible routes for the day. Gebhard is on hand with his experience. He gladly passes on his knowledge of the current snow situation, weather forecast and possible routes. An innkeeper passionate about his work! Thanks a million, Gebhard!
We decide to put on our show shoes and go up to a summit now that the weather has cleared up again. Following the few animal tracks, we slowly walk on the fresh snow like on clouds up to the mountain Falzer Kopf (1970 m) while enjoying everything we had been looking for – the winter, the uninterrupted views, the silence. We discover by chance two new possible starting points for our favourite sport, paragliding. We take a few more photos and glide back down to the lodge. Then we grab the sleds, let our backpacks and snowshoes be taken down with the service lift and sledge down through woods, partially open country and over bridges over a run of 800 m – always staying on track. Great fun! Our stomachs hurt from laughing so much. Once we get down, we swap the sleds for our backpacks and are so glad to have found our beloved winter. One thing we’re very sure of: we’ll be back – and already can’t wait for it!
Jutta and Thomas
P.S. We would definitely recommend this trip to anyone also looking for winter!