Today we skied an Olympic ski run, at a resort called Axamer Lizum. Both the 1964 and 1976 Olympics were held here. Oddly enough, the 1976 Olympics were moved here from Denver because Colorado voted down a State bond issue referendum, making the financing of the games uncertain.
Skiing here is HARD! The trails we did were all blue, which is the easiest here (red= medium and black= hard). However, I was rust form having not skied much lately, and the conditions were kind of bad. It’s almost April, what do you expect. The snow is very wet, and got very clumpy, especially on the steeper parts of the hill. Oh, and I had a screw up with the ski rentals. They did not fit my boots to my bindings properly, and my right ski fell out every time I turned (left). We had to trudge up a hill and take the ski lift down to the rental shop to get it fixed. This wore me out, and wasted the good part of the ski day, morning, before the trails get clumpy from use.
It is hard to imagine, though, that skiing an Olympic course is 29,50 Euro, slightly less than the $45 it costs to ski Devil’s Head in Wisconsin. They also gave us a free wiener schnitzel! This was at a restaurant at the top of the mountain, with an amazing view of the town. So, overall, the ski mountain was a great deal. The rental company was not. They did not even give us a discount for the mess up with the rentals. But, I learned something. This was the first time I ever saw a ski resort have multiple rental companies. Usually, in the US, the ski resort just sells the rentals. Here, there were multiple companies competing for our business. In this case, we should not have gone to the first rental company we saw. They have the least need to be good, as they can count on business from tourists that just go to the first place they see. The others need to have a good reputation to get business, so they are a better bet.
For some reason I feel a bit closer to home here, which feels odd to me given that I am half Italian. But, it’s just some little things. Innsbruck has sushi, thai, and other food options that I don’t remember seeing in Italy. The restaurants are open a bit earlier for dinner (around 6 PM), and it is less out of the ordinary to eat dinner at 7 or 7:30. I also see pool, bowling, darts, and other activities I am used to seeing around. I saw young people being rowdy both Friday night and Saturday night.
Tonight we stumbled upon a crazy acrobatics show outside the Golden Roof. People were on stage in colored body suits, singing, banging on the drums, etc. And then someone, head to toe in orange, tried to walk a tightrope across the street, from one building top to another. I still have no idea why this show was happening, but it made the town feel a bit like the town in Hot Tub Time Machine, where people ski and party!
Also, everything is cheaper here. We got gelato for 1,10 each. It was never under 2 in Italy. Beer is 2,10 and most other things are noticeably cheaper. Most likely this is because Innsbruck is not much of a destination for people from other parts of the world. But, sometimes I wonder if a cultural difference, or Italy’s current economic standing/ dire need for cash has anything to do with it. Maybe this helps me explain the US a bit. Could it be that Italians, in love with the extravagant, made New York expensive and extravagant as an image of their culture, while the Germans and Polish made Chicago and the Midwest cheaper and more practical in their image?