SKI-ING IN PARADISE

James reports on our most recent group holiday from a fully Naturist hotel in Ramsau, Austria

‘Ski in Paradise’ say the billboards at the Schladming-Dachstein ski-lifts, 15 minutes’ drive from our hotel in Ramsau, a big centre for cross-country ski-ing as well as downhill ski-ing, and also an excellent centre for walking.

Our hotel, the Landhaus Lührmann, was fully Naturist for our March 2018 week, as Chalfont Holidays had taken sole occupancy. ‘So it really is naturist this year,’ I say to Andrew Welch, who in his guise as Chalfont rep meets us naked at the front door. (I had enjoyed the inaugural Chalfont ski holiday to Spain in 2017, but only the spa was naturist, and then only late in the evening).

This year we undress on arrival and spend all our time at the hotel in the nude, including breakfast and dinner. The hotel’s spa and garden are Naturist all year round but not the rest of the hotel. We only dress for the ski-ing itself. The hotel is super, owned by Naturist Hansmartin, run also by his son Hans-Georg whose grandmother is chef and cooks excellent three course dinners. Nothing is too much trouble for them, and the same applies to Andrew and Sheryn who cater for our every whim including various collection times and places from the slopes using a large hired mini-bus. The hotel spa has a swimming pool, an 8-person wooden sauna, a 2-person infra-red sauna, a steam room, hot stone benches to relax on and so on.

The Schladming downhill ski area is large with runs suitable for different abilities. Here is a flavour of the trip from my diary:

Saturday – my friend Bob late at Luton but at least didn’t miss plane this year. In car from Salzburg lady taxi driver peeved that we are chatting and nearly missing amazing castle and Austrian mountain views on way to hotel. Arrive, undress, then at 5pm off to hire ski equipment in Kulm, buy lift passes, visit local shop for beer and wine. Quiz after delicious stew at hotel, our team have to do second quiz with one hand behind our backs to give the other team a chance…

Sunday and Monday (and the next four days in my case) – full day’s ski. John goes cross-country ski-ing, others try the glacier, bridge and ice caves at Dachstein.

Tuesday – Malcolm gets bruised on the slopes and has Wednesday off. One of our party is a GP and diagnoses him in front of us all, and as we are all nude we see progress of bruise colour over rest of week. After dinner, wonderful complimentary wine-tasting with owner Hansmartin down in creepy 700-bottle brick cellar, where we put on some clothes as chilly. For helping him pronounce ‘phylloxera’ Hansmartin offers me to stay on in cellar. I refuse, saying this has good and bad points…

Wednesday – all (except unsociable spa-fanatic me) off to local traditional Austrian restaurant with dancing and something called the ‘hat-dance’

Thursday – Andrew takes short cut to furthest peak lifts, inadvertently driving along sunken cycle track, impossible to turn until end. Not sure if deported from Austria yet. Abandon one of party attempting to do four peaks challenge as he mislaid poles on chairlift. Boasting that I never fall, I do so for only time in week on steep black run. Malcolm fails to come to my aid and just videos me for later blackmail attempt. Decide to take local bus back to town but overtaking car crashes into us and the police arrive. After calming dinner, guided night walk from hotel.

Friday – Sleigh rides with schnapps for some. Bob guides us to same mountain bar for fourth time to chat to Polish barmaid Flora. Forced to drink disgusting sour apple, coconut and also pumpkin seed liqueurs.

Saturday – Sheryn leads aerobics in pool, transfer to Salzburg airport and sadly home. Sign up immediately for next year before it gets booked up (well, I will when announced…which I am reliably informed will be soon…)

James (Oxnat)

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