Austria´s first Biathlon Hotel opens its doors

By Kathryn QuinnOlympic fever has had people the world over fixed to their TV screens this winter and inspired people to don their skis, dust off the ice skates and head to the mountains.Austria, the alpine nation is blessed with some of the best ski resorts in Europe and outstanding winter sport facilities, but this year those opportunities just got better.Winter 2010 saw Austria’s very first specialist Biathlon hotel open its doors, giving guests of all ages and abilities the opportunity to really get a taster for the popular Olympic discipline.Hotel Neubergerhof, nestled in Filzmoos, an enchanting village in Salzburgerland, is Austria’s first hotel to offer a specialist biathlon programme for its guests.It is thought Biathlon originates from Sweden. It was discovered more than 5,000 years ago when hunters were discovered using skis to go on hunts during the snowy, icy winters. Skiing and shooting disciplines also have a long-standing history in the military.However, Biathlon, an intense combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting first became an official winter Olympic sport in 1960. The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver saw a series of fiercely fought Biathlons. Norway and Germany topped the biathlon medal table, taking 5 medals a piece. Austria was also able to secure two medals.Former biathlete and Austrian national Biathlon trainer Manfred Nagl offers a specialist programme for Hotel Neubergerhof guests. Over three days you receive training in the fundamental elements of the biathlon sport and really get to delve into the world of Biathlon.The first session is spent perfecting (or learning) the cross country technique on the hotels own perfectly prepared cross country tracks. Whether a complete novice or the next Olympic hopeful, tips and training will help you improve your form.The next session is spent rifle shooting training. During the session you will be taught how to use a genuine biathlon rifle, you will be given plenty of target practice, as well as learning to shoot on skis. By no means any easy feat.The final session really gives you the opportunity to put your newly acquired skills to the test. After a thorough warm up and training session, its time for the competition.Competitive spirit and passion are necessary (as well as fighting spirit) as you take part in the competition.  The atmosphere is lively and the strain tough. It is a fight against yourself as well as against your team mates. But most of all it is really good fun.Post race you are presented with a winner’s certificates and team photos. You also have the opportunity to gain feedback on your performance. Alternatively you can retire back to the hotel for a well-earned, celebratory beer with your competitors.If this has awoken your interest in Biathlon training, prices start from 120 Euros for three sessions. Alternatively other programmes such as a taster session or private lessons can be arranged upon request.All equipment can be rented from Sport Stefan (located in the hotel) for 10 Euro per day.Hotel guests also have unlimited access to its very own floodlit cross-country route, so you can practice around the clock!However Hotel Neubergerhof is not only Austria’s only Biathlon hotel there is also much more on offer.Whether summer or winter Hotel Neubergerhof is the perfect holiday base for outdoor freaks and families alike.Located on the outskirts of the picture perfect village of Filzmoos, Salzburgerland, the traditional, family run hotel is more than just your standard hotel. It will really add that magic touch to your holiday whatever the season.In winter the hotel is the perfect base for winter sport fans. The hotel is only a short distance from the slopes. Filzmoos is part of the vast Ski Amade region, Austria’s biggest ski region. Also on offer are ski tours, snow walks, curling, skating and sledging.In summer the hotel is the perfect location for mountain walkers and climbers. The hotel also has its own riding stables, climbing wall, archery court as well as various sports courts. You name it, it can be arranged.However if all that sounds like to much hard work, the hotel is also the perfect location to sit down, relax and watch the world go by.The newly refurbished hotel strikes the perfect balance between modern and traditional. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and offer idyllic alpine views form all balconies.The family feel runs throughout the hotel, the restaurant offers local specialties using only the finest local ingredients such as Oma Reiter’s Kas’ Knockn.Sepp the family father is often to be found in the Sepp and Soda bar, where he happily chats and shares a beer and his vast local knowledge with the guests.A swimming pool, sauna area and even a luxury spa offer the chance to really relax.  Even the kids are looked after with excellent children’s programme and facilities.The friendly, laid back atmosphere of Neubergerhof, run by the Reiter family for decades, makes a welcoming change to mass-run chain hotels and is definitely worth a visit, whatever the season.For more information or to book, contact Hotel Neubergerhof at of 0043 (0) 6653 83 81Or go to