Its travel back Thursday and I’m recapping my daughter’s tenth birthday celebration trip to Austria that we took in December just before the Christmas holiday. As usual we made the most of our four days by catching the first flight from London to Innsbruck, Austria and a short 2 hour flight later we picked up our rental car and were off to start the day. Early flights can be tiring but it’s the most economical way to maximize the first day in your location without the cost of a hotel the night before. I reserved a small economy car and as fate would have it, I was offered an upgrade at the reservation desk from a Volkswagen Polo to a brand new, never driven Audi Q5 for a mere 20 EUR per day. The kids were ecstatic to ride in the Audi Q5 since it brought back such happy memories of road trips our Audi Q7 that we had when we lived in New York before the move to London.
We stayed at the Austria Trend Alpine Resort in Fieberbrunn, an hour and a half drive down the Audubon from Innsbruck airport. The ski in/ski out resort was perfectly located on the slopes and near restaurants, equipment rental, instruction centers, ski lifts and the cable cars. The resort also offered excellent amenities like an indoor pool, sauna and spa and an onsite restaurant which included breakfast and dinner, making it very easy to maximize our time on the slopes, breaking only for lunch and not worrying about where to eat and racking up meal charges. We enjoyed great views of the slopes from our private balcony.
We arrived at the resort shortly before noon and after checking in we found ourselves in one of the nearby restaurants googling the items on the menu in German and deciding to just go for it. I wasn’t all that impressed with Weiner schnitzel, maybe if I had some hot sauce but the mulled wine made me get over the mediocre menu. After our first taste of Austrian food we decided to use the afternoon to book our rentals and snowboarding instructor for the following day and relax and enjoy the resort amenities.
Ursula, our English and German speaking Swedish and Italian snowboarding instructor met us on the slopes at 10AM for our private family lesson. Although the kids and I had lessons before, I was the most advanced in the family but what my children lacked in experience they more than made up for with their perseverance. The learning curve with snowboarding is steeper than skiing so it was a slow and frustrating morning but after lunch the kids found their groove and were able to come down the bunny slope on their own. My husband didn’t quite get the hang of it and thought it safer to stop than to risk reinjuring his knee or ankle. The lift closed at 4:45pm and by then the kids were semi-pros.
I enjoyed our first day on the slopes and it did come back to me like riding a bike. I was pleased with my progress on the board and my willingness to go for it but I paid the price for that progress with a few bruises and happy to escape without anything more serious. Once back at the resort I made myself acquainted with the saunas but the Monk in me wouldn’t let me fully relax around the butt naked people walking around. I felt like a foreigner in my bathing suit but I wasn’t about to join them. I tried several of the steam rooms and saunas and I’m sure it helped prevent any further aches. Over dinner the kids were beaming with pride and bravado about how they conquered the bunny slope and they spent the better part of the evening comparing and assessing who was better.
The next day was on our own, no Ursula, although we did find her on the slopes with another student and the kids were anxious to impress her. I had never witnessed such competition between them as I tried to keep up with them run after run. Just before lunch we met Christopher and his dad, Indian emigrates who lived in Amsterdam and were spending the Christmas holiday in Austria. Christopher was my daughter’s age and his dad was happy for him to join in the competition with my children to motivate him to improve and it worked. Truth be told, I was happy for Christopher’s presence because it took the pressure off of me to join the kids on every run.
My kid’s ego’s were so swollen after the 2 days on the snowboards that I wouldn’t have been able to take it had we gone back on the slopes on the final day. On the final day we took the cable car ride up the mountain to enjoy the mountain top views and ride the snow coaster. Because it was Christmas Eve the operators were offering free unlimited rides which my kids took full advantage of. It was lots of fun but after 3 rides I was able to lure them away with hot chocolate. We enjoyed the slower pace of the final day as we left resort to drive back down the Audubon to the airport, returned the car and made our way comfortably onto the plane to head back to London.
The non-UK/EU customs line was painfully slow as airport staff was light on Christmas Eve. We were familiar having travelled three years in a row on Christmas Eve, previously to Amsterdam and Paris. We made it back home in London in time for bed and with everything prepped before I left, making magic happen on Christmas morning was easy, breezy. The kids loved this trip so much that they’re asking to go every year and as much as I’m a fan of trying new places, it was so nice that I would consider it.
Check out my Instagram for more photos and videos of our trip.