4 May in Ischgl: my best ski day of the season

9th May 2014, by Dave Watts

Fresh tracks on 4 May — a dream end to the season in Ischgl

Fresh tracks on 4 May — a dream end to the season in Ischgl

What a way to end the season. A great mountain-top concert in falling snow by star showman Robbie Williams on Saturday followed by blue skies, sunshine and fresh snow to ski on Sunday. Who would have thought that 4 May could produce such perfect conditions?

WTSS colleagues Abi Butcher, Dave Watts and Chris Gill in Ischgl

Yes, perfect they were as a group of us including Hotelplan (Inghams/Ski Total/Esprit Ski) CEO Andy Perrin and WTSS colleagues Chris Gill and Abi Butcher caught an early lift out of Ischgl and headed for the perfectly groomed black runs from Palinkopf at almost 2,900m. They were in great condition and benefitted from the strong early morning May sun. Then it was over into Switzerland to Idalp above the duty free resort of Samnaun – on yet more lovely powdery winter snow.

But the highlight was our last run of the trip. We caught the new-for-this season 150-person cable car (with seats for a few lucky passengers) to Piz Val Gronda. This opens up a whole new mountain including a vast open bowl and a total of around 250 acres of freeride terrain plus a lovely 3km red run with a vertical drop of around 500m. The snow was in lovely condition when we skied it just around 12.30pm.

I already loved the Ischgl ski area but this new lift adds a whole new dimension.

The new Piz Val Gronda adds a whole new dimension to skiing in Ischgl

We had arrived in the early hours of Friday morning after a delayed flight from the UK. A leisurely start amid poor visibility, followed by a long lunch in the VIP suite of the smart Alpenhaus mountain restaurant to celebrate Inghams’ 80th birthday meant a curtailed ski day. Saturday was curtailed too by the 11.30am press conference to meet Robbie Williams followed by the concert. So the early start and 1.30pm finish before going home on Sunday was a perfect ending to the season.

The Inghams/Ski Total/Esprit team from left: Andy Perrin, Moira Clarke, Goran Zunic, Lisa Tyrrell, Hugh Walton and Ian Hope

We stayed at Ski Total’s built-to-order Chalet Hotel Abendrot, in a perfect central position near the lifts and with much bigger-than-normal, comfortable rooms and bathrooms, a nice bar area and two saunas and a steam room. And with excellent food – the delicious duck roll canapés and celeriac and apple soup stood out for me but it was all delectable. And Bruno, the opera-singing chef who appeared from the kitchen to sing ‘happy birthday’ for one of our number, was another highlight.

Roll on the 2014/15 season!

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