Mission: Top Spots!

3 Top Spots, 3 Winter Activities

This winter holiday is going to be sporty! Our family has set a goal: we’ve picked out the best top spots in the Salzburger Saalachtal and want to visit them together this holiday. “Top spots“ are those places with the best views where you can simply take a seat and relax. What is the challenge then? I can’t ski myself, none of the four of us have ever attempted a snowshoe hike and our kids are quite lazy when it comes to walking….

A perfect basis for our mission in which we all hope to master a personal challenge. Mine begins right on the first day when I enroll at the ski school. I’ll be in the professional hands of a ski instructor for four days so that I can reach the top spot in the Almenwelt Lofer ski area with my husband and children. The mission has begun!

The Devil’s Bridge

After my first exciting and instructive ski lesson, I make my way back to the holiday accommodation with my family. However, before this, I regained my strength with a fine lunch at one of the rustic huts. Today, a winter hike to the Devil’s Bridge (Teufelssteg) is on the programme. I know my kids – they’d much rather surf on their tablets or watch television. That’s why I’m really surprised as they are already waiting for me at the accommodation, fully kitted out in their anoraks, hats and gloves. My husband explains, laughing, “It’s all about fulfilling the mission! And besides, they are curious about the legend surrounding the Devil’s Bridge.

“So we set off on a very leisurely stroll of around 7.2 kilometres! We begin in Lofer and walk over the Hubertus Bridge to Scheffsnoth and through forests and fields to the Auer chapel. We look at this little treasure for just a short time as we are already excited for the high point of this hike. We finally come to the Devil’s Bridge via Au and the Bairau Park. The atmosphere there is already a little mysterious. The white water rages underneath the bridge and along with the white spray, the water sparkles in blue and green tones. We prick up our ears as my husband begins to tell the legend, “Do you see the big block there under the water? The devil threw that in there. The legend says that a soul he had bought wanted to rebel. The devil learned of this and hurried back to Lofer. However, a flood cut off his way – so he threw the rock unceremoniously into the water and jumped in two great leaps from one bank to the other to catch the lost soul. This is how this bridge got its name.“ The boys look on in awe as they step onto the solid wooden bridge which was rebuilt just a few years ago. We take a few photos for the memories and listen to the roaring of the water for a while until we hike back to our starting point.

On snowshoes to the Hubertus Chapel

The next afternoon a challenge is waiting for all our of us: the top spot “Hubertus Chapel“. In fact, the 9 kilometre long hike via Au and the Auer meadows isn’t particularly difficult or long, but we want to tackle it on snowshoes. The weather is perfect as there was a fresh dump of snow in the night in the Salzburger Saalachtal and so stomping through the deep snow is great fun.

At least that’s what the salesman in the sport shop said when we rented the snowshoes and poles. There’s a lot of laughter straightaway as we put on the tennis rackets and waddle about like ducks with the unfamiliar sports’ equipment on our shoes. We soon get the hang of it though and walking in the deep snow becomes effortless over time. We walk to Au via the Devil’s Bridge and over the Auer meadows to the Hubertus Chapel. “The chapel is dedicated to the patron saint of hunters. See how many animal tracks there are here around the chapel. It seems as though deer and stags feel well here“, explains my husband. After a short break, we plod on along a short track uphill until we reach the height of the “Old Knappenstadl“. From here we have a perfect view of Lofer and the Loferer Steinberge. Now we can see how fit we are on the snowshoes as we walk through a wildly romantic forest along the narrow Knappenstadl hiking trail. Concentrating, we put one foot in front of the other and applaud proudly when we reach the valley floor again after a descent without falling. Mission accomplished!

Ski Premiere to Schwarzeck

Now it’s time – time for my own mission!. The ski course has finished and the ski instructor says that I am fit for the piste. Together with my husband and children I climb into the gondola and off we go to the Almenwelt Lofer. My boys cheer me on as I step into my skis and ski down the few metres to the 8-person chairlift, the Schwarzeckbahn. I can catch my breath in the chairlift and we enjoy the stunning view. After getting out, we take the piste on the right to the Kechtalm. Turning on the perfectly-prepared piste works very well, but there is a short stretch in powder snow. “Full throttle!“, my husband calls out to me and I glide through the loose powder snow because our top spot for today is situated a couple of metres off-piste behind the Kechtalm. We glide through the powder and reach this beautiful place. So close to the piste but so quiet! We unclip our skis and sit down on the sunny bank by the fenced-in wooden cross. The view into the distance is incredible. “I can see Chiemsee!“ says my husband and after we’ve convinced ourselves, we agree with him. The city of Salzburg and the Hohe Tauern mountains in the South are also recognizable in the clear winter air. “All missions accomplished! What’s the reward?“ shout the boys into the silence and laughing, we decide to call in at the Kechtalm for a giant portion of cheese dumplings and celebrate our holiday missions.

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