Car retrieval was the agenda of today’s Otztal Ski Traverse journey (day six of our adventuring in the area). After a few days of excellent alpine ski touring, we’d called off our trip because of weather (see previous blog posts), and exited in a way that left our rental car stranded in the trailhead town of Vent, Austria. Time to pick up the poor little thing.
With morning weather of approximately the nature of a wet dog, we loaded a borrowed car with our ski gear. The idea was we’d haul our group to Vent in a borrowed car, ski up the piste of the recently closed ski resort (as far as the weather would let us), then caravan the two vehicles back through Innsbruck to our basecamp.
Vent kind of makes me sad. The locals (and plenty of non-locals) do enjoy the work a ski resort brings them. But I enjoyed descriptions of how the place was _before_ ski lifts — a classic ‘end of the valley’ Austrian alpine village that was much smaller and more cozy than it is today.
Rain was spitting and clouds building, so we didn’t push it. Instead we reversed while only part way up the closed resort.
So, how to salvage the day? Ah, yes, the old reliable of the Tirol: Hit a gasthaus, consume a tall one and a nice big Schnitzel.
Sand grains define numerous. So do stars. But neither holds up to the number of restaurants in the Austrian Tirol. It’s like, what, one gasthaus for every five people, or something like that? For me, the best restaurants are the basic ones in the alpine, where you dine with like minded mountaineers on inexpensive and plentiful victuals. But the locals also know the good places in the city. Previously, Fritz had turned me on to the Buzihuette gasthaus, perched above Innsbruck in what prior to automobile GPS must have been the ultimate in anti-tourist locations.
Things change. Today, we simply punch Gasthaus Buzihuette into our Tomtom GPS (which has worked super well during this trip, by the way). The mech-voice leads us up streets so narrow we’re afraid of jamming the car between two buildings, spinning turns as tight and steep as a Moab 4×4 trail. And there we are, walking into Buzihuette and interrupting the cook’s cigarette break. Whatever, the Schnitzel is awesome — though none of us ordered the specialty of the house: a stuffed chicken ‘cordon blue’ concoction known among Buzihutte fans as the ‘pus blister.’ We figured that even in adventure travel, some things are better left to those with better lactate tolerance.
By the way, our Tomtom GPS works so well in comparison to the lame Garmin I tried to use in Europe last year, a shopping link is appropriate.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.