Skiing Above the Clouds - An Alpine Training Trip to Austria

Enjoy this play-by-play look at Gould's U18 training trip to Austria by Hannah Smick ’23

It’s 6:00 am. The closest outlet is ten feet from my bed, which requires walking to silence my alarm. My roommate, Riley Jerome, and I get dressed and pack our boot bags for the day. We go to breakfast at the hotel and have the regular: eggs and bacon with bread and fruit. The food is delicious, they serve fresh eggs and local cheese. 
The farmer next door is taking his cows out for his daily morning walk as the sun breaks over the peaks, which means it’s time for our drive up to the mountain. I’m traveling with a group of alpine skiers and coaches from Gould in Austria, at Stubai glacier, on our annual training trip for the upcoming ski racing season.
The ride takes about twenty minutes, the equivalent of about five songs, 35 if my teammate Gaven Schain and I are playing “guess the song.” Not popular in the morning. Once we arrive at the base of the glacier we get in the most chaotic line I have ever experienced. We wait for 45 minutes until the line begins to move around 7:45. It is mayhem. Ethan Bouchard is playing music over a bluetooth speaker while we wait in line. Even athletes from other countries are dancing and singing along. We finally push our way into a gondola and we’re able to squeeze three people and three human-sized bags into one. Getting race gear and boots on in a gondola is tricky, but we manage to finish just as we reach the top.

The weather is almost always different than at the base because we’re so much higher than where we started. Today, we went through the clouds on the gondola and were able to ski above them without getting rained on. We take our two warm-up runs after dropping our bags at our lane. During our training block, we lap the t-bar. At Stubai Glacier, there are two very long t-bars next to each to help create shorter lines. The mountains are huge and the peaks are massive. The sun just starts to rise above the mountains in the first hour of training.

Six runs done, it’s noon. My legs are tired and I’m starving. One last stretch of pulling the course and finally skiing down to the lodge. Today I got the famous Wiener Schnitzel. I get it almost every day, and it never fails to impress.

Most afternoons after skiing we have dryland training, and if we have free time after, we’ll go into the nearby town to get coffee at a local cafe. Today was special. We took a cable car up Elfer Mountain and went paragliding instead! The trees were glowing when I was in the air, the sun was hitting them perfectly. It was beautiful to be able to see the scenery from that angle.

Back at the hotel after showering and changing, it’s time for dinner. After salad, bread, and cheese come the next three courses: soup, our main entrée, and dessert. It’s delicious and a great chance to unwind with the team after a long day.

On our trip, we do school work every night. I’m currently reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides for Ms. Leff’s AP Literature class. It’s the last thing I do before going to bed.

We’ve had a great time being able to train before there’s snow at Sunday River. Can’t wait to get back on snow soon in Maine!

Photos by ski coach Megan Ahearn 
Click here for more photos from the trip!
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