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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- CitySeaCountry.com: “Höchste Weinverkostung und Champagner-Degustation in Österreich | Firn und Genuss am Pitztaler Gletscher“
- Escape-Town.com: “Pitztaler Gletscher | Wein, Ski & Dirndltime“
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Pitztal tourism board to travel to their local “Firn, Wein, Genuss” in Tyrol. All opinions are my own.