24 Hours In: Montafon
Where will you ski and party today - Golm, Gargellen, Hochjoch or Silvretta Nova? You're spoilt for choice...
Sunday 04 February 2007
Pick your piste for the day
08.30: After breakfast at the Alpenhotel Bitschnau in Schruns, it's "make your mind up" time. There are four main ski areas in the Montafon - Golm, Gargellen, Silvretta Nova and Hochjoch - all easily reached by ski buses. The local mountain for Schruns is Hochjoch which has family-friendly pistes and cable cars straight from the town.
Warm up with a cosy coffee
10.30: Coffee stops abound. For a touch of the atmosphere that Austrians call gemütlich - no literal translation but "warm and cosy" is close - try either Haus Matschwitz in the Golm ski area or the Wormser Hütte in Hochjoch. Both belong to sections of the German alpine club and date back 100 years.
Make time for a leisurely lunch
12.30: Substantial and leisurely lunches seem to be as much a part of the scene in Montafon as the skiing. All areas are well catered for, but perhaps nowhere is the scale and efficiency as impressive as at the Nova Stoba complex in Silvretta Nova. Capable of seating 1,000 in the self-service restaurant, 500 in waitered rooms and 300 kids in a groups' area, it does so quite cannily by dividing the halls into "stuben" which echo hut living rooms where some of the wood panelling is 400 years old.
Try out a pair of snowshoes
14.00: If you're feeling skied out but not ready for the sauna or hotel pool, then there is snowshoeing or winter walking in the Bartholomäberg/Kristberg area. But for an excursion unique to the Montafon, visit the Silvrettasee reservoir at 2,000m via the cable car and narrow tunnels of the Illwerke hydropower company. There is cross-country skiing on the frozen reservoir and it is also the starting point for ski tours into the heart of the Silvretta. However, the view of Piz Buin can also be appreciated while eating apfelstrudel in the architecturally stunning Silvretta Haus (00 43 5558 4246; silvretta-bielerhoehe.at).
Jump on a toboggan
18.00: The floodlit toboggan runs open on Garfrescha in Silvretta Nova every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and on the Golm - a demanding two-mile run from Latschau to Vandans - every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Tuck into a hearty supper
20.00: If it's Thursday and you can reserve a table, then Obwaldhütte (00 43 664 1340257), in the pines above Gargellen, is the place to be for music and a meal of suckling pig followed by a torchlight ski back to the village. Dinner costs €19 (£13). For those rendered unsteady on their skis by the partying there is also the option of a snow-cat taxi. Down in the valley, the Muntanella Stöbli (00 43 5557 6230; muntanella.at), run by Otwin and Renate Netzer, is another one-off that should not be missed. Otwin is a collector of bottled beer, with shelf upon shelf of it displayed around the restaurant. Diners return with more and more, so that the collection has grown to 11,000 bottles, apparently the second largest in the world. Renate meanwhile is a strudel specialist and her savoury and light pikante strudel makes a delicious main course.
Join Ernest for a nightcap
23.00: Late stops. Visit Limo (00 43 5575 6658; limo.werkstatt.ws) for food, drink and dancing near the foot of the Silvretta Nova piste at St Gallenkirch. Après-piste from 3pm to 3am. There's live music and a disco at the Mühle (muehle.cc), an old mill at Gaschurn. For a less pulsating nightcap try the Hemingway corner of the bar beneath the Gasthaus Zum Kreuz (00 43 5556 72117; kreuzschruns.at) - another haunt of the wandering novelist.
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