Travel Tales from Tyrol: “Classic Skating & Cheese Making!”

Dear readers, today my question for you is this: What does “classic” mean in Tyrol or in combination with snow & skiing? To be quite honest with you, I haven’t had a clue myself before travelling to Kaiserwinkl in Tyrol this time. Doing sports in the fresh winter air might sound like music to my ears, but “classic music” is not what athletes such as Franz Schuler refer to as “classic”. Here he is on a bright winter morning in Tyrol, determined to teach us either classic cross country-skiing or the more demanding cross country-skating technique. In 1986, he became vice world champion of Austria, which he drops casually: “1986 – wow! I have only been three years old back then, just learning how to ski with my family!” He laughs and splits up our group according to everyone’s own preferences: Do we want to go classic cross country-skiing or learn the faster skating techniques from him, similar to ice skating but with sticks and ski?

Auf geht's: Ein wunderschöner Morgen lockt uns zu neuen Abenteuern, hier beim Langlaufen in Rettenschöss im Kaiserwinkl Tirols.

Off we go on this beautiful morning: Cross country-skiing in Rettenschöss near Kössen in Kaiserwinkl, Tyrol. It is the warm weather that is actually responsible for this, ah, colourful image .. !


Wir lassen uns nicht beirren: Langlaufschuhe sind schon mal wesentlich angenehmer zu tragen als die viel klobigeren Schischuhe.

However, we cannot be deterred easily: Here we are getting into our cross country-skiing boots, which are much easier to slip in and out from, and much more comfortable to wear than ordinary ski boots.


In den Startlöchern: Heute lernen wir die Ganzkörperbewegung des Langlaufen an der frischen Luft. Wem's zu "langweilig" wird, der versucht sich in der Königsdisziplin des "Skating" wie die Biathlon-Helden.

Máximo is ready to go: Today, we are learning both classic cross country-skiing as well as “skating” from the Austrian legend and vice world champion Franz Schuler.


Unsere liebe Trainerin Andrea steht uns geduldig für sämtliche Fragen sowie die Erklärung der richtigen Langlauftechniken zur Verfügung.

Our second local trainer Andrea is there to support the group and patiently answering all our many questions about cross country-skiing techniques and “how to”.


Wem's anderwertig beliebt, geht Schifahren ...

Of course, we have also been to do some “classic” skiing …


... hier im Schigebiet am Unterberg im Kaiserwinkl gibt es gut präparierte Pisten mit optimaler Hanglage für Familien, Einsteiger und Fortgeschrittene.

… for instance here at the Unterberg mountain ski resort in Kaiserwinkl, which thanks to its perfectly shaped slopes is especially suitable for beginners, families and advanced skiers who love some good carving.


Und Euch: Zieht es Euch im Winter ebenso in die Berge?

Are you, too, a ski / snowboard aficionado? Teachers and students talk about the magic of being up here on the mountain (yes, it IS worth to get in those sturdy ski boots for 😉 ).


Herbert Plangger says: “Do you have any idea how good hay can smell?! As a cow, you would simply love it!”

And eat it. Maybe! I do agree that the hay Herbert Plangger passes around in his little basket we find in the small farmhouse next to his big, modern-day cheese factory does smell exceptionally well. A lot has happened during his lifetime: “What we need today, more than anything, are good programmers! Who know how to set up those automated cheese robots we can see here”, Herbert talks with passion in his voice, his eyes twinkling like those of a young boy. He represents the belief that “we are what we eat, hence there is a need to look after our modern-day nutrition and the environment – maybe now more than ever”. His cheese factory is a certified organic and “Heumilch” one, meaning the cows whose milk is used for the cheese production are fed hay from sustainable, organically-grown alpine meadows here in Tyrol. While we walk around the factory getting to know all the “cheese aromas” there are (I count about nine different cheese smells as we walk!), we pick up what makes a typical mountain cheese from Tyrol.

The tasting that follows our visit is heaven! I especially go for the “old mountain cheese” (what an aroma !!) as well as the fresh herbal cheese. Now, if that does not have that lovely hay in it … I silently mouth a big “thank you” to the local cows as I take a bite.

Die Betriebsbesichtigung der Käserei Plangger lohnt sich wirklich: Nirgendwo sonst kann man sich so gut durch ausgezeichnete Tiroler Käsespezialitäten kosten.

Visiting the cheese factory “Käserei” Plangger is well worth your visit: Nowhere else can you get behind the scenes of delicious Tyrol cheese production in such an entertaining kind of way.


Frisches Heu sieht nicht nur "dufte" aus, sondern riecht auch so: Grundnahrungsmittel für glückliche "Heumilch-Kühe".

Fresh hay is what the cows around here love. I go for the smell and have to agree: The cows do not have a bad taste after all.


Bei der Betriebsbesichtigung nimmt uns Herbert Plangger mit in das Herzstück seines Betriebes: Die "heiligen Hallen" der hier lagernden Bio-Käselaiber.

Upon visiting the cheese factory, Herbert Plangger takes us right inside the “holy halls” of cheese-making: Have a look at all this cheese storing and maturing around here. Beautiful!


Mahlzeit: Zur Käseverkostung im Anschluss wird gebeten. Dieses köstliche Buffet werde ich so schnell nicht vergessen .. !

Enjoy your meal: Right after the tour, this delightful cheese buffet awaits us hungry lot. Yum!


Keen to see more from Kaiserwinkl in Tyrol? Join me on my trip through Flickr:


Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Kaiserwinkl Tourism Board to experience different winter activities in this Tyrolean mountain resort. All opinions are my own. 

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