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Study Abroad

Skiwoche

"The hills are alive with the sound of music" well, not quite. "Hey, hey Baby, I want to know, if you'll be my girl" is more the style of the Austrian Alps during ski season. Each day during our 7-day excursion in the Saalbach/Zell am See region we heard someone singing that song from the mountain top. Granted, our hotel was on the mountain top, so we heard all the cries of the animated skiers.

Throughout the seven days each skier found a suitable challenge on the slopes. Thomas, our ski instructor, met the beginners each morning and held class on the slopes outside the hotel. The intermediate and advanced skiers headed down the slopes in search of adventure. The Saalbach/Zell am See valley will challenge even the best of skiers. The blue, red and black slopes wind down and around the mountains. Pines and Firs line the slopes breaking once in awhile to an awe-inspiring view of the valley and surrounding mountains creating a serene and pristine feel to the day.

After the lifts close at 4 p.m. we and the other guests at our hotel were the only people on the mountain top. The time was generally passed sitting in the sauna relaxing the used muscles and then drinking a nice cold beer, while watching the sun disappear behind the mountains. The nightly three course dinner filled every crevice available to my stomach in the most fulfilling way. The evenings were filled with card games, quality Austrian beer and good conversation. Once the night really hit, we would walk on the slopes enjoying the stillness and quietness of a winter night atop a mountain.

Those seven days were some of the simplest, yet most enjoyable days of my time in Austria. The skiing was amazing, the company wonderful, and the food amazing. What more could a person ask for? Even the none skiers found themselves content, because of the slow pace. That week was a true vacation away from it all.

Katherine Surber

October 2001