Snow Clearing at MoaAlm.
We are based in Osttirol, Austria and it’s just stopped snowing for the first time in 60 hours. At MoaAlm, which is nestled in a remote location at 1800m, we’ve had just under 2 meters of the white fluffy stuff. It sounds like they’ve had just as much snow in down in the village, but I expect it’ll be a couple of days before we can get down the hill to check!
Austria is a country that knows how to manage snow fall and maintain ‘business as usual’ but even Austria has to occasionally accept defeat and hunker down. We’ve been without electricity for 2 days, along with the other more populated parts of the Kalser valley. Apparently, the repair job requires a helicopter, we are hopeful that we will soon be able to recharge devices and eat something warm … they are obviously not in order of importance.
MoaAlm is our winter home and business, its remote location is tucked into the south side of Grossglockner (Austria’s Highest Mountain at 3798m). We are 3km above the village of Kals Am Grossglockner, a gem of a community. Under normal circumstances our winter season would have just started, December 5-12 should have been week 1 of our 18 week winter season. We would normally expect a small number of guests (usually 8-10 per week) to arrive from all corners of the planet to join us for daily yoga and snowshoe hikes. This amount of snowfall would have caused serious arrival problems, with potential delays for flights, buses, trains and road closures. However, as we are all too well aware, nothing about 2020 has been normal. Covid 19 continues to dictate the terms. Austria is currently in its second lockdown, as I write this we are hoping to re-open for business on January 16th, 2021.
‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’, or so they say and in our case, rather than focusing on our lack of business at what should be one of our busiest periods (Christmas & New Year weeks are high season and we would expect to enjoy full houses both weeks) we can personally enjoy our very special mountain location. Since the snow has eased today we have enjoyed glimpses of the surrounding 3000m peaks. The trees are heavy with snow and the occasional sun light that breaks through lights them up like an overexposed photo.
We hope to have electricity restored this evening, or possibly some time tomorrow. In the meantime we can venture out in our snowshoes with shovels in hand, slowly beginning to free the house and vehicles from the thick white blanket that currently hugs them. It will be several more days before the MoaAlm road gets cleared and we can head down into the village for supplies. Fortunately we anticipated the recent snowfall so are well stocked with veggies and fresh fruit, essentials for a plant based diet. The thought of a hot drink was just met with a message from Lottie to tell us that they left a camping stove and small gas bottle in the house if we want to boil some water for a much appreciated cup of tea!
Snow clearing (with shovel not machine) really is a great whole body work out. It elevates your heart rate and works just about every muscle in your body. You can choose a small headed shovel if you want to keep the weight down and work more aerobically or you can go with the big snow clearing shovel if you want to take on the extra weight. You will use your legs, core, back, shoulders, and arms as you load the shovel, lift, rotate and toss … repeat many times! If you do it right and have enough snow (we have enough snow) all the fresh mountain air and exercise should result in a really good night's sleep. Today I’ll also get to read a little by head torch, write in my journal, have my daily stretch, and get an evening cuddle (to keep warm of course).
Despite Covid resulting in no guests, despite a heavy snowfall that has knocked out our electricity leaving us a little more isolated than normal … A perfect day in the mountains!
Craig Wear...Owner of WearActive and MoaAlm Mountain Retreat