My Fun-Filled Contiki Ski Weekend

Most people do not long for the return of their school days, but memories of care free, fun filled days of school trips, and the first taste of freedom, are treasured by many.A few weekends ago I was reminded of that sense of adventure when I went for a ski trip organised by Contiki, who run holidays for 18-35-year-olds. Contiki has its own chalet (“Schöneck”) in the beautiful resort of Hopfgarten in Tyrol, and welcomes young ski-enthusiasts for fun-packed weeks of skiing, partying, and traditional Austrian fare.The best thing about the Contiki package is the freedom it affords its guests, for whom all necessities are conveniently provided. Responsibility and organisation can be gladly left at the door, as the “Contiki Crew” are on hand to provide entertainment – and fulfil any logistical duties.A driver picked me up from the local station to take me to the resort, later on I would use the shuttle bus provided to take guests from the traditional mountain guest house straight to the ski lifts, or to other activities such as ice skating or tobogganing.The attractive range of activities on offer is likely to tempt most people out into the snow, but those who prefer peace and quiet could opt for a relaxing time in the chalet’s sauna, which gets busier in the evening as people return from a tiring day on the slopes.The mixture of young, English speaking adults creates a sociable atmosphere into which it is easy to integrate and start making friends. While many people come as couples or in groups of friends, there are plenty who arrive by themselves, ready to get to know some new faces.In the evening, the “Contiki Crew” ensure that any of the day’s remaining energy is used up partying. On my first evening there was a Schnaps happy hour in the bar and provides a great place to get to know the other guests, and take to the dance floor. By midnight things were winding down, so everyone could get enough rest for another day’s skiing although.A hearty breakfast greeted me the next day at the “Schöneck” and after a good fill of warm pancakes with stewed fruit and deluxe muesli I was ready to take advantage of the fabulous skiing facilities at Hopfgarten.The area available for skiing is huge, and fantastic panoramas can be seen in every direction. Picturesque villages with typical alpine architecture make exploring the area delightful for anyone seeking the true Austrian experience.This of course would not be complete without enjoying the local dishes in a traditional mountain hut, and the “Kasspätzle” which I had for lunch did not disappoint.On my final evening I joined the rest of the Contiki holiday-makers on a trip into the local town for an Italian meal, sharing a taxi back to the “Schöneck” Chalet kept the costs to a minimum, as we each only paid 1.5 Euros for the ride home.On the final day I swapped my skis for a snowboard, and was lucky to have perfect, sunny conditions to enjoy the well kept pistes.I was sad to leave on my final day, and would have gladly extended my stay to the full week. As well as being in a location little rivalled for beauty, good food and sports facilities, the Contiki ski holiday really allows its guests to let their hair down, forget the stress, and rediscover the freedom and excitement that all too often gets lost in the daily grind.