Alpine Skiing in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria

Yesterday, I shared pics from my first curling adventure. Earlier I took you on a trail run through the Austrian Alps. But most folks who head to St. Anton am Arlberg in Austria are there for some Alpine skiing.

I’m not a big skier, so I’ll let my husband, Phil, lead you on this particular tour. He shot this video on the slopes. It’s basically ski porn. As you’ll see, the Austrian Alps are truly gorgeous. Be sure to watch it in HD.

And the music? Well, you’ll probably be singing, “Hey! Das Geht Ab” by the end of the video. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I first heard it at the apres ski bar called Mooserwirt pictured in the video. You’re welcome.

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Ski buddies! (Photo:

Karla’s Alpine Skiing Adventure

As for me, I did spend one day skiing. I grew up downhill skiing on small hills in Wisconsin. But when I started having knee problems at the age of 14, my skiing days were over.

My friend, Cara, was a total ski newbie. She was the reason for my visit. She’d been transferred, along with another friend of mine, to Switzerland for work. So Phil and I cashed in some airline miles, flew into Zurich, and stayed with our friends there. Before long, a large group of us converged on St. Anton, about 2 hours away.

While the experts skied in the video above, Cara and I booked a 6-hour ski lesson. When you’re jet lagged and not really a skier, 6 hours is a long time!

We spent the morning on classic Nordic cross-country skis and hit the pristine trails around St. Anton.

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Nordic skiing in Austria!

Seriously, if I lived in a place that beautiful, I’d be on cross-country skis all the time. As it is, I’ve been cross-country skiing a few times in New England and the Catskills in New York. But I’ve never had a lesson before. It was really helpful, and I have a much better feel for the sport now.

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Goofing around on my Nordic skis as my ski instructor looks on. (Photo:

In the afternoon, we switched to downhill Alpine skiing and hit the bunny slopes.

It had been two decades since I’d been on a pair of downhill skis. But I was pleased to discover it was a bit like riding a bike. My body immediately remembered what to do. Sure, there was some snow plow involved. But before long, I was shushing down the beginner slopes confidently.

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Skiing through a course my instructor set up. (Photo:

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Feeling good on skis (Photo:

By the end of the day, I’m sad to admit that my knees were sore. One has the remnants of a bone tumor (made of bone–cue circus music!) and the other has arthritis. Running has actually been great for both of them. I’m a “goldilocks” runner: not enough activity and they get stiff. Too much mileage and they get sore. But just the right amount of running keeps them humming along nicely.

The downhill skiing was tough on both of them. By the end of the second hour, I felt the familiar ache start to settle in. So I don’t think I’ll become a keen downhill skier again.

But our instructor was thoroughly impressed that we survived 6 hours under his tutelage. He said he’d never had anyone book a lesson that long. Everywhere we went in the village—on the slopes, in the ski shop, at lunch—he kept bragging about us. We didn’t know that it’s totally not normal to spend an entire day in lessons in two different ski styles. But it was our one day to hit the slopes, so we were all in. We even won a trophy for our efforts.

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We won a trophy! Not really. It’s just a prop. (Photo:

OK, that’s just a prop. But we had a lot of fun in the process.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


03 2014

16 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    I do want to try skiing this December when I’m in Colorado but I’ve never skied in my life. It could end up being quite interesting.
    Lesley recently posted..Random Sunday Musings 3/30My Profile

  2. 3

    That looks so fun! I grew up skiing in the west coast, but moved to the east coast and switched to snowboarding. I try to go at least a few times a year, but it’s not enough! Wish I could fly out to Colorado, or Switzerland!
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots recently posted..Training log 3/30My Profile

  3. 5

    I LOVE downhill skiiing, but haven’t gone in years…I’d really love to go sometime! And I’ve never tried cross country, but it looks like such a crazy workout, I feel sort just watching people cross country ski!
    Danielle recently posted..Weekly Training RecapMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I really enjoy cross country. It’s a CRAZY workout. As a runner, my guess is you’d like it. It’s even more intense. I loved watching it during the Olympics. Those skiers are beasts!
      Karla Bruning recently posted..Alpine Skiing in St. Anton am Arlberg, AustriaMy Profile

  4. 7

    So cool – I’ve never seen so much snow! Awesome pictures!

  5. 9

    I’ve only been skiing once and sadly probably won’t go again. The one time I went, I couldn’t get myself to stop unless it was with a controlled fall (my butt was definitely sore by the end of that day lol). But I would love to be able to enjoy views like that! Maybe I can go snow tubing instead :)
    Kellie recently posted..Michelob Ultra NYC 13.1RecapMy Profile

  6. Pam #

    What a fun adventure! I cannot imagine a full day of lessons. We once did a clinic at Steamboat for a week, but it was just half day lessons for 4 hours each day….and believe when I say that was enough! Skiing overseas is really fun because the trails are so long and they have Gluvien (sp) at lunchtime! It was fun having an adult beverage halfway through our ski day the one time we skied Austria. (we were in Bad Gastein)
    Pam recently posted..Pam and Christine’s Favorite Things Giveaway!My Profile

  7. 13

    So jealous! The mountain looks just plain AWESOME!!!!! And I love Europe’s apres ski culture (I love Olaf Henning’s Cowboy und Indianer and the silly fun lasso dance). Looks like you guys really did have the time of your lives.
    Elle recently posted..Interview with Paddy Runs for BostonMy Profile

  8. 15

    Loved both of your Austria posts! The snow seems so much nicer there than when it’s coming down in light flakes in April in Iowa :/
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