Winter Wonderland at Hochkönig Ski Resort in Salzburg

Erhard Plosky is what you call a friendly giant. “I weigh over 110 kilograms”, he laughs looking into our incredulous faces only lit by the dim light of the torch he is carrying. We are standing inside a snow-covered mountain forest in Mühlbach am Hochkönig in Salzburg, it is about 10 p.m. and we read animal tracks in the fresh snow: Deer, rabbit, fox, maybe a wolf? “You really need not be afraid”, Erhard smiles while all of a sudden he starts taking his shoes and socks off. Ana, Máximo & Antonio, my lovely travelling companions from Spain, have fallen silent.

What is happening here?


Erhard Plosky is Austria’s (most) famous ‘barefoot hiker’. Today, he takes us on a special tour of his own – a lantern hike at nighttime.

Here in Mühlbach near Bischofshofen & Saalfelden, renowned as a top ski resort for its perfectly shaped Hochkönig mountains, (winter) dreams come true. “You do not have to pay anything for the lantern hike, our local tourism board organises these tours every year free of charge for our guests.” Pleasantly surprised, we insist on tipping him at the very least. After all, the four of us enjoy the exclusive company of great Erhard, knowledgeable and kind, during the two-hour winter hike with torches, an experience we all love. Only the light of our torches mixed with the occasional blabber of English, local Austrian German & Spanish pierce the snow-covered night. Until finally that too stops. For a full ten minutes, Erhard walks around barefoot in the snow. “My very own spa moment”, he beams. Being used to hot saunas followed by icy showers, I get what he is aiming at. The Spaniards have by now fallen completely silent. Must be the culture shock!

Entgegen seiner Schuhgröße lebt Erhard Plosky am liebsten auf kleinem Fuß: "Ich mag die einfach Dingen des Lebens und bin sehr zufrieden mit dem, was ich habe. Die Natur gibt mir Kraft und heilt - dies gebe ich gerne an andere weiter", erzählt er mir während unserer rund zweistündigen Laternenwanderung in Mühlbach.

Despite his large feet, Erhard Plosky likes to live “on a shoestring”: “I am fond of the simple things in life. My love and respect for nature is what I pass on to visitors during my walks. I really enjoy this”, he tells us during the two-hour hike with torches in Mühlbach am Hochkönig.


Der Hochkönig ist ein traumhaftes & weitläufiges Schigebiet, das wesentlich mehr zu bieten hat als bloß Alpinschifahren. Hier sehen wir talentierten Einheimischen bei der nächtlichen Skishow in Dienten beim Wedeln, Carven, Boarden sowie gar dem "Ski-Paragliding" zu!

The Hochkönig ski resort has a lot to offer, like nightly ski shows run by (young) talents such as these: Here, we witness “ski-paragliding” which looks amazing, light as a feather. The commentator of the event, though, destroys our sudden hopes with one single line: “It looks easier than it is, and takes weeks if not months to master …”. What a shame. It does look fantastic, though!


Die Bergwelt des Hochkönig hat es meinen Freunden & mir angetan. Solche Blicke offenbaren sich Euch bei besten Wetterverhältnissen: Am Vortag sind 30 Zentimeter Neuschnee gefallen, der nächste Tag grüßt mit strahlendem Sonnenschein.

“Postcard weather”: You have to be quite lucky to be spoilt to freshly fallen snow and perfect blue sky weather conditions the day after. So I took my camera with me on the slopes to catch the magic of the Hochkönig here for you!


... auf jeden Fall sind wir glücklich hier! Unser "Neujahrs-Stern" am Schifahrhimmel in Salzburg!

In any case, we are very happy skiing & snowboarding here: Our “New Year’s Eve star” at the ski sky of Salzburg!



Travel tips for those young (at heart): Hochkeilhaus & snow boot hiking at Hochkönig winter mountain resort.

I am usually a happy, optimistic person. But to get accommodation for a group of 11 during Christmas & New Year? Even had to admit I was doubtful. Thanks to my wonderful (festival) travel companion and darling brother Julian, though, we managed to get something going: “Elli, they have still got shared rooms at Hochkeilhaus am Hochkönig in Salzburg complete with half board at € 43,- per person and night. Wouldn’t that be something?”

Shared rooms with friends, playing cards & partying till late – this recalls faint memories of school ski trips only that now of course drinking is legal for us outgrown teenies. Nice! It was always a lot of fun, certainly, and so we all went along. And really, I must say this for Hochkeilhaus: The breakfast buffet is rich and fills you up with fresh rolls, cheese & muesli for a whole day. Each night, three courses were being served to us that tasted delightful after a long day out in the fresh air. Local lady Christl together with her son are wonderful and rather happy hosts, especially at New Year’s! We can definitely recommend you to stay here as a group of friends travelling together.

Blick auf das Hochkeilhaus am Fuß des Hochkönig-Bergmassiv: Hier urlaubt es sich gemütlich, einfach & günstig.

Welcome to Hochkeilhaus mountain guesthouse at the foot of the Hochkönig: Here, you can enjoy time with your friends in a convivial environment.


Der Blick vom Fenster am Morgen lohnt jeden Tag das frühe Aufstehen ... Wow!

Each morning, the view from our window rewards us for getting up early … Welcome, beautiful mountains!


Das Frühstücksbuffet für echte Schifahrer & Wintersportler: Frische Semmeln, Vollkornbrot, weiches Ei & herzhaften Schinken-Käse. Lecker!

Austrian reakfast buffet for ski fans & outdoor lovers: Wholemeal bread, cheese & ham, soft-boiled egg and ah these fresh rolls … what a delight!


Gut gestärkt brechen wir auf zur Schneeschuhwanderung am nur rund 200 Meter entfernten Hotel Arthurhaus, das direkt an das Schigebiet am Fuß des Hochkönig grenzt.

“Well-fed”, we start off for our morning tour right into the deep snow: It is so much fun to go snowshoeing in the mountains!


Die Landschaft, die wir dabei genießen, ist einfach traumhaft ...

The view you get of the landscapes is just stunning …



... unser erfahrener Bergführer Matthias führt uns gerne "quer-schnee-ein" durch den tief verschneiten Wald: Dank überdimensionaler "Schneeschuhe", die direkt an die Winterschuhe montiert werden, sinken wir nicht ein und können buchstäblich überallhin stapfen.

… and our well-trained and experienced guide Matthias knows exactly where to take us in order to get the most out of our trip: Snowshoeing is fun and a great exercise in the fresh mountain air, especially in those perfect weather conditions of deep powder snow and sunshine.

Vor lauter Glück & "Schnee-Freude" habe ich gleich mal mein Profilbild bei Facebook "winterfest" gemacht ;)

Beaming with delight, I have just changed my Facebook profile picture to look like this. Of course 😉


“Happiness is when you go …

snowboarding. Skiing. Whatever. If you know the feeling of carving down a hill, dashing up perfect powder snow, under the splendid mountain sun, framed by awe-inspiring nature scenery and breathing in the freshest of airs, laughing with your friends in delight then … There is really nothing more to say. Really. THANK YOU to my parents who have taught me how to ski pretty much after I learned walking, at only three years old. Today, I would not want to imagine my (winter) life in Austria without boarding & carving at least once a season. I’M LOVING IT!

... und sehe unten angekommen in etwa so aus. :D

The endless views, the mountains … Go on then and take my picture, I have to gooo … !


Blick auf den perfekten Hang in der Hochkönig-Skiwelt.

View of a perfect slope at Hochkönig ski resort.


Später, im Licht der späten Nachmittagssonne, bekommt alles nochmal seinen ganz besonderen Reiz ...

Later, in the glowing light of the afternoon sun, everything falls silent to a truly magical spell …


... die Spitzen des fast 3.000 Meter-hohen Hochkönig-Massivs leuchten kräftig im Licht der orange-goldenen Sonne ...

… with the tips of the Hochkönig mountain top glowing in the fading light …


... und ich lasse mich zum Fotografieren in diesen zart glitzernden, weichen und eiskalten Schnee fallen. Die Welt ist still geworden rund um mich. In Gedanken sehe ich mein inneres (und äußeres) Lächeln strahlen!

… and I lie down, in the fresh powdery snow, with nothing on my mind but happiness – and to capture the beauty of the snow next to me while the sun gradually sinks below the horizon.


Happy New Year to all of you!

May 2014 fill you with many more happy, informative & inspiring travel moments here on my Creativelena Travel Blog. “Prosit” – So it may be!

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Maximo Perez 5 January 2014 - 18:17

Trip to the mountains was great, sunny days and lovely views from our room. Winter hiking was fun and Plosky, our 110 kilos guide was very friendly and enthusiastic. Watching children skiing over the slopes makes skiing look quite easy, but i will experience it for myself soon. Thank you for this post. 🙂

Elena 5 January 2014 - 18:50

I look forward to more skiing together 😀

It certainly was fun in the mountains. Glad we went on the lantern hike with Erhard Plosky, which I can recommend again anytime!


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