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Another where to spend a season topic

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hey guys, just joined with a question about where to go next (as I'm sure many do). Just wanna say based on a post I read on here a few years ago, I ended up at Red mountain for two winters and absolutely loved it so thanks for the tip anonymous snowhead!

I'm tentatively planning a winter season in the Austrian Alps and I was hoping some feedback on where would be a good spot to go. I spend two winters in Canada recently and had an amazing time. This winter I moved to a city (in the UK) and had to cancel my trip to the Alps due to Covid (and pulled out of buying my new board I'd spent ages picking out) so I'm absolutely itching to get out on the slopes again! At the moment I'm just planning a winter season to work in Austria, but I'm rolling around the idea of making it a more perminant move if I like it.

I know that as a Brit, Brexit might screw me over when it comes to work, but I've saved up a bit and if I can't get work, will just go for a long holiday. May be going solo or with a few mates.


Some things I'm looking for:

- I'm got no real interest in groomers, unless they have lots of side hits and stuff they're not really for me. In Canada I felt the time spent on groomers getting to and from the more interesting ungroom runs was more than enough.

- Don't want mad crowds. I understand I might have to put with with big rushes getting up the mountain initially whereever I am, but I'd hope then to be able to avoid any mad queues.

- Mainly looking for good off-piste/tree-runs, cliff drops, powder, chutes, challenging/fun terrain. The more ungroomed runs/powder/"off-piste" accessible without hiring a guide, or ending up in serious trouble the better. I'm happy to hire a guide sometimes but would rather not have to rely on that for my powder (nor can I afford it)! Basically I loved the BC approach to ski/snowboarding and want to find somewhere in the Austria that is similar!

- Good nightlife. I know plenty of resorts in Austria have reputations for great nightlife, but I'm really not into the commerical, sing-along, cheesey edm type parties. So anywhere with a bit more of an alternative crowd, dnb, techno, dub, maybe even metal or psytrance would be perfect.

- The boarding is more important the nightlife 100%, and I'd prefer a cool alternative town with not much nightlife to one with loads of cheesy clubs/bars etc. Also aware that whatever nightlife/apres is probably going to be a lame affair due to social distancing etc. Still would be nice to be somewhere with a good amount of people in their 20s rather than families.

- Kind of want to stick to Austria as I've been learning German for the past couple of months and am eyeing up Innsbruuck as somewhere to move to.

- Interested in hearing what accomodations options are. Is it possible to get apartments/houses if you grab a few mates?

- Cheaper is better as if I can't work I might be tryna stretch the money.


Some options I'm currently looking at and some info I've picked up:

Innsbruuk: City vibe, lots going on, good nightlife, stuff to do outside snowboarding, lots of resorts nearby, not much challenging terrain, more challenging resorts about a while away, would possibly be able to get my own room/flat rather than living in a dorm room?

St Anton: Some of the best terrain, good off-piste, great nightlife (looks super commercial from what I've seen though? Surely theres some more underground stuff given the size of it?), crowds

Feiderbruun: Great off piste, great terrain, loads of powder, chillded laid back vibe town

Mayrhofen - Some say snowboarding mecca, lots of off piste, good terrain, although I've read some people say the boarding was crap and they wouldn't go back so don't really know what to think about that. Alternative crowd, good community, decent music, dnb, techno etc, Cheap, Honestly sounds like it would be right up my/our street if only the boarding would stack up, Maybe nearby resorts can overcome any short comings?


Looking forward to hearing some thoughts, advice, what I'm wrong/right about or missed. Can't wait!
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@patch_uk, I actually thought that Mayrohfen and the other Zillertal resorts, all on one pass easily accessed by the valley train, were great for low commitment off piste, side hits, and rock drops. And while I didn't ski them, Hochfugen has some huge off piste zones, easily accessible and used for freeride world tour qualifiers. I can't comment on what music the clubs play but the boarding should fit your requirements well
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
First the Brexit stuff. If you are a British passport holder and you want to emigrate to the EU, essentially you need to do it now. You need to have moved and be registered before the end of December. Registration involves proving you have an address, a means of income and health insurance. You also need to swap your UK driving licence for an Austrian one. All this has to be done before the end of December. There will be a re-registration process January-June 2021 but only those who have already been registered as EU citizens will be eligible to re-register.

If you do not move to Austria, then for tourism purposes you are limited to stays of 90 days within a rolling 180-day period after 01/01/21.

Regarding accommodation, if you are moving here, then finding an apartment is not so bad. Rents are controlled, and rent agreements are generally for a minimum of 3 years. There will certainly be a deposit to pay, usually 2 or 3 times the monthly rent. Often there are agency fees to pay also, so it's worth trying to find a 'provisionsfrei' apartment to avoid this. They get snapped up quickly. You also have to pay monthly 'Betriebskosten' which includes things like waste, cleaning of common areas, maintenance, etc.

Shorter term rentals means finding a 'Ferienwohnung'. There are many of these but generally they prefer to let them on a weekly basis, and you may find they are already full for peak weeks such as New Year and throughout February.

Finding seasonal work in a bar or hotel will probably be relatively easy if you have residency documents and speak enough German. Finding a long term job really depends on what you want, what you are qualified for and how good your German is. I can expand on this of course if you want more information.

There are a few resident snowheads in the Innsbruck area who can probably offer more specific info. I'm part of the Salzburg crew.
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@patch_uk, the Mayrhofen tourist office staff are very helpful and will send you a list of accommodation providers who offer/accept season rentals.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
From reading your post, I'm assuming you are fairly young and so the following may be relevant: in Innsbruck you can find rooms in shared flats for anything from a couple of months to long term with other young people (often students, but not always). These are known as “WG”, and are let by direct contact on FB or WhatsApp and should avoid agency fees too. There are a few groups on FB you can join.
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My son went to university in Innsbruck. He loved the place. Naturally, I made every excuse to visit during the ski season.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:
I know that as a Brit, Brexit might screw me over when it comes to work, but I've saved up a bit and if I can't get work, will just go for a long holiday. May be going solo or with a few mates.


As long as you move and find a job before 31.12.20 yo should be fine.

Quote:

Don't want mad crowds. I understand I might have to put with with big rushes getting up the mountain initially whereever I am, but I'd hope then to be able to avoid any mad queues.


Hopefully much fewer of these this season everywhere wink

Quote:

Good nightlife. I know plenty of resorts in Austria have reputations for great nightlife, but I'm really not into the commerical, sing-along, cheesey edm type parties. So anywhere with a bit more of an alternative crowd, dnb, techno, dub, maybe even metal or psytrance would be perfect.


Nightlife is closed, and I really can't see it opening any time soon. Bars are open til 1am, but nothing like a club/dancefloor.

----------

Innsbruck's a rad place to live, but it's pretty different to the typical season experience. Almost like normal life, but with skiing wink But as you've already done seasons, maybe that would be up your street?

As @Scarlet says, you should be able to get a room in a shared flat easily enough, I guess around €350-500/month should be doable (lots of students = high rents...).

Local resorts have plenty of challenge, Nordkette and Lizum particularly. If you get a splitboard even more so. Can ski from Sept-June on the glacier.

Season pass (Freizeitticket) is around €500, valid all year, covers all local resorts (plus Stubaier Glacier and Obergurgl), plus 3 days in the Arlberg and 3 days in Ischgl per season (some of the smaller resorts up the valley from Kappl have unlimited use). Or get Tirol Snow Card - probably €7-800 now? - for 90 odd resorts including Ischgl, Kitzbühel, Fieberbrunn, all glaciers, Zillertal/Mayrhofen, etc, but not Arlberg (valid Oct-May I think).

You can see my season thread form last winter here (if you search you can find the same going back for the last 8 winters or so): https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=148503

Quote:

Good nightlife. I know plenty of resorts in Austria have reputations for great nightlife, but I'm really not into the commerical, sing-along, cheesey edm type parties. So anywhere with a bit more of an alternative crowd, dnb, techno, dub, maybe even metal or psytrance would be perfect.


------

Arlberg/St Anton would fit you pretty well. Normally it is pretty busy and gets tracked v quickly these days, but this winter will likely be different... I haven't 'gone out' there since doing a season in 08/09, but nightlife then was good and would have fit with your preferences. Maybe less so since the Funky Chicken closed, but I can't really comment (and anyway very unlikely to be a theme this season!).

-------

Mayrhofen - see caveats above about nightlife, but would fit well. I've never skied there as not on my pass, but according to people I trust, Zillertal/Hoghfügen has some of the best freeride lines in Austria. I have friends (high level skiers/boarders) in Innsbruck who pretty much only ski there during there. I doubt you will feel let down by the terrain...

-----------

Other idea: Montafon. Great terrain, lots of snow, like the Arlberg but with about 80% less freeriders. See videos from Fabio Studer and Thomas Feuerstein for terrain.

Some of the best treeskiing in AT, but not all officially allowed... For a taste:

https://vimeo.com/123984214

No nightlife to speak of (you need to get the train to Feldkirk, which is quite doable but a pain on the way back), but as that's probably out anyway...

Some notes from one of my winters there: https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=113436
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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In addition to what I said earlier, I just saw a WG ad go up – Saggen, Innsbruck, 22m² room in 3x WG sharing with 30y/o M and 24 y/o F, balcony, garden (with slackline!), big kitchen, from Nov 1st 440€ all inc. Let me know if you want more info.
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Wow thanks for all the responses. Lots of food for thought.

Mayrhofen actually sounds great for boarding and right up my street based on what you guys are saying! Might move that to top of the list with a view to Innsbruuck futher down the line.

@queenie pretty please: Thanks so much for the info regarding Brexit. Thats super useful and something I'll definitely take in to consideration. Would be so great to hang on the EU citizenship.

In terms of work, I currently work in a snowboard and mountaineering shop and worked for 2 seasons as a liftie in Canada. Is it possible to get jobs on the mountain or is it similar to France where those kind of jobs go to the French? My German probably isn't good enough to use it for work, but I do have a good foundation down through Duolingo use.

I did have a chat with a woman at work today who was saying her daughter is doing an instructor coarse in Zermatt. Apparently there are huge discounts on the courses at the moment as they're trying desperately to get people to sign up. That might be something to look at, but then might not count as an actual job for the EU registration. Would be good to have some instructor qualifications. Long term I'm training to be a web developer and was planning on firing off a round of applications after the season.

@Scarlet: Yeah I'm 26. Thats sounds great actually. I chatted to some friends today and a few of them seemed keen. Not sure who will actually commit but even so it might be easier to get accom seperately rather than signing up a whole new house. Plus that would be better for meeting people Smile.

@Clarky999: Thanks for the info on the different locations. All sounds super exciting! Will check out the different resorts/towns you mentioned. I do really like the sound of Innsbruuck. I have a friend who lived there for a bit and loved every minute!
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patch_uk wrote:
@Scarlet: Yeah I'm 26. Thats sounds great actually. I chatted to some friends today and a few of them seemed keen. Not sure who will actually commit but even so it might be easier to get accom seperately rather than signing up a whole new house. Plus that would be better for meeting people Smile.

26 is ideal for a WG, so you should be able to get something fairly easily. Definitely better for meeting people (this is something I’ve found harder as I live out of town, but I’m too old and stubborn for flat sharing NehNeh ), and you may not want to actually live with your mates if you want to stay mates. Everywhere in the city is walkable, though a lot of people have bikes, so meeting up should be easy enough. If you sign up a whole flat, you’ll be on a 3 yr contract, which may not be ideal either.
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@patch_uk, yeah you can find on mountain jobs, but you'd probably have to be able to at least get through an interview in German (work in German too, but given it's not customer-facing exactly it wouldn't need to be perfect).

Close by to Innsbruck some resorts are already looking: https://www.axamer-lizum.at/de/jobs-karriere.html and https://www.stubaier-gletscher.com/jobboerse/jobs-bergbahnen for example are two I've seen, but I guess there are others too.
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@Scarlet yeah I get you. 3 years is definitely too long to to commit to something like that! I do like the sound of the WGs (especially the one with the slackline). Seems like a good set up.

@Clarky999 Thanks for the job links. Made me realise I'm definitely not ready with my German to get job like that (don't understand the bulk of those adds). Are there any jobs that are recommended for English speakers / people with poor German. I'm interested in both normal jobs and season-long jobs. Next year really I should return to the UK to try and get my web dev career of the ground to actually earn some decent money and not be scraping by everywhere I go. Once I go remote, freelance then I'm away!!

Quite like the look of all these spots, especially Mayrhofen and Innsbruuck. Might look for work at both and just see where I end up. I do feel like it would be nice to go to a resort town for the full ski season experience and then look to move to Innsbruuck after, but we'll see
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
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@patch_uk, Haha! There are slackline parks/setups all over town, so you can always make your own or join someone else. Unless you are seriously good though, be prepared to have your ar5e handed to you (tbh, that goes for all sports...) wink

My bf is a remote software dev, former freelancer, then contractor but now ft for a US company. He might be able to give you some tips.
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@Scarlet Oh I'm not good at all. I've just enjoyed it when I've dabbled. I'd like to get good though if I had the opportunity. Sounds like a nice way to make friends too

Oh nice. I'll be looking to get in as a juinor React Dev come spring. Could kill two birds with one stone and get a dev job in Innsbruuck but I expect my German would let me down. Although maybe its all remote anyway so I could live where I want.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@patch_uk, 4 companies you might wanna check out for English-language dev jobs (no idea if they have open positions right now though) in/near IBK: MED-EL, Barracuda Networks, Swarovski, Innio (was General Electric). I believe Burton Snowboards and Black Diamond also work in English and have their EU HQs in Innsbruck.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Hi all - daughter is in Innsbruck for college this coming season. She has mentioned that many/all/some of the ski resorts are not opening? Any truth in that?
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@ado, 100% no truth in that! Decisions still being made as to exactly how things will operate, but the discussions are very much how not if.
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Got me scared there! I'm choosing to remain optimistic. Will try and hang on to my current job until its clear whats going on.
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What would be the ballpark figure to just go for the season and not work? Say for 3 months?

I cant really be arsed with some of the typical seasonairre type jobs and have saved up a bit. When I was working in Canada I remember thinking working 4 days a week was too much haha, and that I would rather be there for a shorter time without working and just have a long holiday.

I make my costs in Canada at £690 a month for food and rent (in the hostel) + £574 for the season pass. So for three months £2070 + £574 = £2644. Not including flights. Round to £3000 for unforseen costs + extra travel etc.
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@patch_uk, just for a ballpark figure for 3 months without working I'd say between €8,000 and €9,000. You could probably do it for less if you were really disciplined with regard to eating out and partying.

I spent 5 months in Val d'isere 4 Winters ago without working and with accommodation, season ticket, insurance and general living costs I went through roughly €12,000 for the season. I too went mainly for the snowboarding, but did end up eating out 2 or 3 times a week and enjoying a few beers on those nights.

Ok that's France not Austria, but hope it helps as a rough guide.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 31-08-20 14:52; edited 2 times in total
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Hmm thanks for the info! That sounds considerably more expensive than Canada! £3000 would be maxing me out which is doable in Canada and for 3 months that seems reasonable. I know Austria would be cheaper, but it doesn't sound like it would be as doable.

(Also just considering sitting this winter out and just saving up Sad )
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@patch_uk, given the choice between Canada and Austria, I'd go Canada every time

Way more snow, generally chilled friendly people, and a distinct lack of crowds compared to Europe(apart from Whistler of course). Plus people don't seem to stand all over your skis or board while waiting in a lift queue Laughing


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 31-08-20 12:33; edited 1 time in total
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Yeah I loved it when I was there. I'd move back in heartbeat tbh Smile
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Backcountryboarder wrote:
@patch_uk, given the choice between Canada and Austria, I'd go Canada every time

Way more snow,


That bit's not strictly true (Whistler averages about the same amount of snow on the mountain each winter as for example Lech does in the village). But both get way more snow than Val D wink

@patch_uk, somewhere like Innsbruck you could find a room for €500 and fairly easily pass it on to someone else after 3 months (all contracts by law are minimum 3 years, but rooms get passed on - legally - all the time). Lift pass €500. Living on €50 week for food would be possible if you scrimp, but any nights out would be on top!
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[quote="clarky999"]
Backcountryboarder wrote:
@patch_uk, given the choice between Canada and Austria, I'd go Canada every time

Way more snow,


"That bit's not strictly true (Whistler averages about the same amount of snow on the mountain each winter as for example Lech does in the village). But both get way more snow than Val D wink "

I didn't at any point say Val D did get more snow than them both rolling eyes

The Val D reference was purely because the OP was asking about costs for 3 months without working. Last time I did a season, it was in Val D without working so had a good idea of budget.

As for Whistler, I was talking about it getting crowded, like a lot of European resorts. Whereas a lot of Canadian resorts don't really suffer from that problem. It does have a higher snowfall average than Lech though.

I'd still go Canada every time Toofy Grin
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[quote="Backcountryboarder"]
clarky999 wrote:
Backcountryboarder wrote:
@patch_uk, given the choice between Canada and Austria, I'd go Canada every time

Way more snow,


"That bit's not strictly true (Whistler averages about the same amount of snow on the mountain each winter as for example Lech does in the village). But both get way more snow than Val D wink "

I didn't at any point say Val D did get more snow than them both rolling eyes


No, you said Canada gets way more snow than AT, and I said that's not strictly true. *eyeroll*
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@clarky999,

Lech average snowfall - 8 metres
Whistler average snowfall - 11.6 metres

Zurs seems to top the Austrian list at roughly 10 metres on average.
Whitewater in Canada looks to top the Canadian list with 12 metres on average.

The record for annual snowfall in Canada is in the Revelstoke area, at Mount Copeland with a total of 24.46 metres. That's just over 80 feet!! There's nowhere in Austria jumping out with a figure that big.

Parts of the Monashee Range in BC regularly total between 13.5 and 15 metres for the season (45 to 50 feet).

While you're entitled to your opinion, I stand by my opinion that Canada does get way more snow than Austria. I'm not saying Austria is crap, far from it. I'm merely pointing out that Canada gets more snow and if I had to choose between them, I'd go to Canada.
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@Backcountryboarder, sure, but those measurements are from village level (and remember these are old farming villages, not purpose-built in the snowiest spots possible) in Austria vs on the mountain in Whistler et al.

For Lech that means measurements are taken at ~1400m at the bottom of the ski area, and all the terrain up to 2800m will have more snow.

Whistler has one of the best and most accurate records of snowfall of all North American resorts, taken from their weather station at Pig Valley at 1660m, around 500m below their top lift and way above the bottom village.

As you mention Whitewater, their bottom lift is a 200m higher than Lech, and as Canadian resorts usually measure snow on the mountain not the base, it’s fair to assume that 12m average is taken somewhere between 1600 and their top lift at ~2000m.

The highest recorded depth of snow in Austria was 11.9m (in 1944, vs that Canadian record in 1971) - this time it WAS on a mountain, mind - which given that will have been heavily compressed under it's own weight suggests at least 20m of accumulated snowfall. BTW this info is only available in German as far as I can see: http://www.zamg.ac.at/medien/static/aussendungen/zamg_schneerekorde_130117.pdf Other records include 10m at Nordkette in Jan 2019 - 7m of which fell in 7 days - and a seasonal total of 20.87m for 18/19.

This is obviously a fairly pointless discussion haha, massive thread drift, and pretty semantical, but I reckon here we’re talking fairly equivalent numbers and maybe +/- 10-20% rather than ‘way more’.

BTW also not trying to say AT is better than Canada or 'defend its reputation' or anything, I'm just a bit of a nerd Laughing Definitely things that Canada does better: pillow lines, poutine, and (in the Interior anyway) drier powder!
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You know it makes sense.
clarky999 wrote:
Backcountryboarder wrote:
@patch_uk, given the choice between Canada and Austria, I'd go Canada every time

Way more snow,


@patch_uk, somewhere like Innsbruck you could find a room for €500 and fairly easily pass it on to someone else after 3 months (all contracts by law are minimum 3 years, but rooms get passed on - legally - all the time). Lift pass €500. Living on €50 week for food would be possible if you scrimp, but any nights out would be on top!


Interesting. That also sounds pretty doable.

I've applied for one amazing sounding job with Burton, but otherwise I think I'm just going to hang on till January and go away for a nice holiday. Everythings a bit too up in the air for me to drop my current job and try and find work in the Alps. By next winter chances are I'll be able to work remotely or will have saved up enough, we'll see. Or if the covid situation has settled, I might do a season but with a bit more certaintly.

I remember thinking when I was in Canada that working 4 days a week was too many haha and I would rather be there for the peak season and board every day, and that was a lifty which was a great job.
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