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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Wine & Snow, here we go: The highest wine tasting in Austria is on a glacier!


Gourmet Travel, Austria, Travel With Locals, Europe, Travel Blog , 0

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Skiing in late April?! Ain’t nothing more beautiful for a passionate skier like me .. In Austria, this means heading to the glaciers: Pitztal is home to the second-highest mountain top of the Alpine Republic, called “Wildspitze” (wild top!), and rightly so. At 3.770 metres above sea level, it towers above an endless sea of some of the highest peaks in the Alps. All this beauty is visible thanks to the clever ingenuity of the local Tyrol people, who have built Austria’s highest café called “Café 3.440” (nomen est omen). It’s a dizzying height for sure, felt especially when travelling there straight from sea level (where I was just a day prior to this trip, finishing my Italian language course in Salerno!). Adding to all the altitude, we were greeted with some bottles of beautiful white wines from the east of Austria, which looked like a bottle of bubbly. “It isn’t sparkling wine, however, it’s just the altitude”, one of the young wine growers, Michael of the Salzl Wine Estate, explains to us laughing.

Like I said, dizzying for both the altitude as well as the alcohol. A crazy event, really, hosting the “highest wine tasting of Austria” up on a ski slope.

 

“Firn, Wine, and Food”: ‘Tis how people in Tyrol, and Pitztal more specifically, like to end their ski season each year in April.

When Nathalie Zuch, of the local Pitztal tourism board, told me about their “Firn, Wein, Genuss” event, I knew I had to come. Tasting wines, “our typical, excellent wines” from the flat East of Austria, in Tyrol, at exactly 3.440 metres above sea level?! I had no idea how this might be. I just knew I had to have the experience: As a #winelover traveller, this event is for me. Skiing, too, I consider myself a natural. But putting the two together? Interesting, for sure. And thus, we have called out to more intrepid travel writers & digital influencers, CitySeaCountry, EscapeTown & DayTrippers, to meet again at the end of April in the Pitztal valley.

Bilder wie diese ...

Pictures like these …

 

... sind hier, im höchsten Café Österreichs auf 3.440 Metern über dem Meer ...

… right here, at the highest café of Austria, at precisely 3.440 metres above sea level …

 

... ausnahmsweise mal keine Seltenheit: "Sepp, vom Weingut der Stadt Krems stamme ich quasi ab", erzähle ich dem heiteren Pitztaler vergnügt ...

… are exceptionally normal during the days of the wine event: “Sepp”, I tell this lovely local Tyrolean gentleman, “you do know that I come straight from Krems, the home of this wine bottle”, and we laugh …

 

... und fasse es kaum, hier die Weine ...

… so exciting to find my beautiful Austrian wines all lined up here …

 

... in solch erlesener Vielfalt wiederzufinden.

… at the “roof of Tyrol” (das Dach Tirols).

 

Seht Ihr, was ich mit "Schäumen" meine? Schon verrückt, was die Seehöhe ausmacht ...

And you see what altitude can do to you (as well as the wine)? This Chardonnay would not normally bubble up like this …

 

... und zu viel sollte man hier oben sowieso nicht erwischen, denn jedes Achterl zählt hier doppelt : Prost mit Wein & Skischuhen, liebe Christina!

… and of course, there are limits to tasting wine in this altitude anyway: The glass freezes if left outside for ten minutes, the wine takes its toll on you twice as fast as further down below .. A cautious cheers, then, my dear Christina!

 

Wine, of course, is but one of the reasons to visit the wonderful Pitztal mountain valley … The clear skies gift us with some of the best skiing & vistas in the Western Alps of Austria.

I just love ski instructor Mario’s flat humour. Completely unimpressed by our giggly wine moments, he keeps drawing our attention back to what’s really important: Skiing in the pristine surroundings of some of the best glacier ski slopes I have ever experienced. All of them are located between 2.800 and 3.400 metres above sea level, a virtual guarantee for stable snow conditions well into spring. If what you get is clear skies on top of it all, you may really consider yourself blessed by the heavens. Check this out.

Skifahren hier ...

Skiing here …

 

... wo eine Piste ...

… where one glacier slope …

 

... schöner ist als die andere ...

… is more beautiful than the next …

 

... kann einfach nur Spaß machen. Dazu gesellen sich fabelhafte Aussichten wie diese hier über das Gletscherskigebiet vom höchsten, begehbaren Punkt gleich über dem Café 3.440 aus ...

… is a true delight. And don’t you just love the views over some of the very broad slopes further down, as seen from the highest viewing platform right by Café 3.440 ..?

 

... und während unten im Pitztal schon der Frühling einkehrt ...

I do. And while spring is in full swing further down below in the valley …

 

... bekommen wir hier oben, auf gut 3.000 Metern über dem Meer, noch ein paar richtige gute Tipps für das Skifahren von Skilehrer Mario : "Skifahrerhocke" & Co. lassen grüßen ..!

… ski instructor Mario demonstrates endless patience in teaching us some really good and easy-to-implement tips for better skiing: “Always keep your core engaged, bend your knees, do not flap around your arms too much, keep them to the front, look ahead”. Great how simple tips can help so much, sometimes ..!

 

Pitztal, we love you ...

Pitztal, we love you …

 

... sogar eine eigene Photovoltaikanlage gibt es hier, welche den Liftbetrieb zu einem Drittel mit Energie versorgt, wie ich höre. Sehr spannend, und vor allem nachhaltig gedacht & gebaut!

… even a photovoltaic facility is up here, powering the ski lifts with up to a third of their required energy! Sustainability wins!

 

Further news from the valley down below? Foodie Nights & Wine Fest are on …

… and do trust me when I say, wine still hits you at “only” 2.000 metres above sea level further down below from the glacier slopes. Besides the alcohol, the tasting experience is so different: Even if I cannot quite put my finger on what it is exactly that makes Grüner Veltliner, Gelber Muskateller, Chardonnay, Zweigelt, Merlot & Co. taste so strangely different up here, I love discussing it with the multitude of wine growers that have come from different parts of Austria. On top of it all, a whole host of local chefs, waiters, wine agents and event staff have put together a night of celebration, as I have hardly experienced it before, in such a pristine alpine surrounding. Check this out.

Vom gemütlichen Hotel Mittagskogel angefangen ...

Starting with our cosy Hotel Mittagskogel …

 

... arbeiten hier, im hinteren Pitztal mit Blick auf die Gletscherberge ...

… located right here, at the top of the mountain valley and last little resort town of Mandarfen …

 

... so einige engagierte Teams mit, um Gourmetnacht & Weinfest in Mandarfen ...

… we are starting the night …

 

... zu einem richtigen tollen Event werden zu lassen: Immer noch in Erinnerung ist mir der gute Tiroler Bergkäse, ein Gedicht zu den guten Rotweinen die wir hier verkosten ...

… with a poem to the senses: An Austrian mountain cheese tasting …

 

... aber auch leichte Zwischengerichtet bietet die insgesamt neungängige Menüfolge der Pitztaler Gourmetnacht ...

… including some light entrees …

 

... passend dazu, der gute Grüne Veltliner aus der Heimat: Prost und Dankeschön, liebe Andrea & Karin vom Weingut Steinschaden in Langenlois, meiner Nachbargemeinde im Kamptal ...

… and more beautiful wines from my own home country, the lovely Kamptal wine valley in Lower Austria …

 

Das Putztal ist durchaus genießbar ist, beweist uns auch dieser letzte Gang ...

Pitztal really is for food, ski and wine lovers alike …

 

... und so manch ein Winzer macht es überhaupt ganz "schlau", und setzt sich mitsamt seinen Weinflaschen inmitten in die Blogger hinein .. Prost, lieber Michael vom Weingut Salzl in Illmitz!

… and Mr Salzl, from the wine estate in Illmitz with the same name, invites us to a private tasting at his table once all skiing and other (physical) efforts are done with ..!

 

Last but not least, all I’ve left to show you are some pictures of our champagne tasting in a glacial crevasse .. no kidding!

“So it’s YOU who carries the champagne?”, I call out to our ski instructor Mario, “well, of course then. Now I know where your patience with us comes from: It’s all about looking forward to this final tasting moment together” ..” He smiles, yet keeps on talking above our champagne tasting excitement, about something like glacial buildup and the movement of glaciers, ice and snow across the Alps. Champagne? A mild excuse for taking a break from skiing at this exciting, huge white & blue crevasse in the glacier slope around us. Christina and me, however, find it hard to resist a silly little photo shoot right inside the ice, and so, the following photos have ensued.

Blick auf die Gletscherspalte im ewigen (Pisten)Eis: So also sieht ein "Gletscherskigebiet von innen" aus ...

Looking at a mighty crevasse in the ski slope, essentially the top layer of a massive glacier below …

 

... So also sieht ein "Gletscherskigebiet von innen" aus ...

… the sky surely does appear different in here …

 

... Mario hat den Champagner ein- und jetzt ausgepackt ...

… thank you, dear Mario, for your patience, your great teaching skills and .. for bringing the champagne …

 

... das muss also gleich getwittert werden ...

… naturally, Christina had to tweet about it immediately!

 

Prost, ihr Lieben !!! Was für ein einzigartiges Erlebnis hier im Pitztal!

Cheers, my dear! What an exciting end to the snow season here in Pitztal!

 

Check out further mountain top photography from Austria’s highest wine tasting here:

 

I also look forward to all the videos, photos & further articles from my friends, some of whom have already published here:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Pitztal tourism board to travel to their local “Firn, Wein, Genuss” in Tyrol. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

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