Serious downhill runs
Several of the Tirol’s ski resorts have good black runs, but if you’re seriously into your skiing, confident in your abilities, and have no fear of dying, take the funicular and cable car from Innsbruck up to Nordkette Mountain. The gondola is in several sections, and as you leave the building there’s a sign: “A fall means Danger to life!” And it’s true. The ski route here is unmarked and with a 70% slope. If you slip, or lose your balance on a turn, you will tumble and fall, down and down, until a rock or tree breaks your fall. This isn’t somewhere where you can afford to make a mistake. That said, our guide, 77-year-old Elisabeth Grassmayr, escorted us to the top of the mountain and pointed out the route that she and her equally senior husband ski down five times a week. We wouldn’t have dreamed of following in her tracks, but if you have the confidence in your abilities, and nerves and thighs of steel, by all means give it a try!
Words by Sophie Ibbotson