Like the last time, Rafa picked us up at 5:30 AM and we drove out for about three and a half hours to get to the ski area. Saori and I had ski rental reservations at an Intersport at the bottom of the valley, and it was a little slow, but we got our stuff and the staff assured us if there was any problems with either the skis or boots, we could swap them out at any number of locations on the mountain. Ski rentals this time were more expensive, 70 euros for two days of boots, skis, poles, and helmet. Lift tickets, too. Where before, the lift tickets for two days were 75 euros, two day passes here were closer to 90 euros each. Not cheap, but on a per day basis, much cheaper than the resorts in Utah.
The valley where we parked, put on our ski boots, and trudged up to the gondola had noticeably no snow at all. But the gondola rose up like an elevator over not one peak but two successively higher ones, and we were soon flying over snow, and finally even above the tree line, with vast white mountain tops and slopes, rocky outcroppings, and brilliant sunshine.
We skiied the whole day, Saori skiing much better than she had the last trip. Weibke took a long break in the middle and we caught up for a snacky lunch at a big wooden deck where a series of German brass bands were playing. It was apparently Brass am Berg weekend, and we could hear them playing from a ways away.
The skiing was good for spring. A little icy in the morning, and oatmeal after noon, but still lots of fun. Great weather. At the end of the day, we took the Gondola back down and joined the "Apre ski" crowds, grabbing some beers from an outdoor bar and relaxing on a grassy knoll.
We stayed in the Schlosshotel Dorflinger in Bludenz, a three to four star hotel where we got a suite with a kitchen. It was 50 euro a person, a pretty good deal for two bedrooms and a big bathroom. We showered (Saori got hot water this time) and then went out to hunt for some food. I found an Italian place which looked really mediocre, but it was really close by and open, so we went. It was surprisingly good. I had baked gnocchi which was good, safe but a little boring and Saori and Weibke both got the pasta gambolini or something like that with homemade pasta and shrimp, which was fantastic. It probably helped that Italy was less than a hundred miles away. Rafa wanted some chili oil for his pizza and was visibly shocked when the oil turned out be spicy as hell, hotter than haberneros, since it turns out there is a small chili in Majorca which packs this kind of a spicy punch.
We all slept really, really well.