RED TURNS on the Schmittenhöhe
No sporty gourmet should miss out when vineyard meets ski mountain
Seriously now, I do love Austria and the great ideas we Austrians have occasionally. Our country is diverse and it is often that cool people combine all the facets to unique experiences. Just like with the RED TURNS on the Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See-Kaprun. The motto alone is worth a visit: “Vineyard meets Ski Mountain”. On Austria’s ski mountains, we ski in open air and in beautiful weather. The best local grapes turn into fine wines in the vineyards of our country. So, someone said: let‘s combine the two and create a unique event. The ski mountain is in Zell am See-Kaprun and we bring the best vineyards and their vintners to the Schmittenhöhe and let them present their finest wines of the season. Voilà: the RED TURNS event on the Schmittenhöhe was born!
The RED TURNS took place on the Schmittehöhe for the fifth time from 10th – 12th March 2017. And I was there. Apart from sampling diverse red wines from the Mittelburgenland, skiing was also topping my list. After all, we have fantastic ski and snow conditions on the Schmittenhöhe at the moment. The sun is quite high already, the snow is perfect and the conditions for enjoyable spring skiing couldn’t be better. Culinary delights and pleasure are also a must during spring skiing. This is of course guaranteed especially by the many cosy and quaint huts on the Schmittenhöhe. At a top event like the RED TURNS, you must make time for enjoyment and treat your palate.
LET’S GET THE RED TURNS 2017 STARTED
No sooner said than done, my day of skiing started at the upper terminus of the Schmittenhöhe. First I took my skis to test a few sporty pistes. The pistes were in perfect condition. The wide slopes at the Sonnalm are especially great for skiing in the morning. Unlike the standard and Trass downhill run, these pistes enjoy sunshine from the early hours in the morning and are pleasantly soft. A few fantastic carving turns later and it was time for the first stop already. After all, it was RED TURNS. Where do you start when more than 20 vintners present the best wines from the Mittelburgenland in 10 huts? The choice is yours but you don’t want to miss anything either. Just as well that one of the hut highlights of the Schmittenhöhe is near the Sonnalm.
Stop at the Schmiedhofalm
The Schmiedhofalm has been shining in new and especially attractive splendour again since the 2015/16 season. The owners combined the old structures with modern design elements, creating a worthy setting for presenting the best wines of the Gager Vineyard from the Burgenland. I tasted and enjoyed the wine but stopped in time even though it was very difficult to do so. After all, I still had several kilometres of piste and one or the other quarter of the finest red wine ahead of me.
The day progresses – the sun moves on
...and also hits the other fantastic pistes in the ski resort. When the sunny slopes at the Sonnalm slowly start to get soft, I go and take the pistes around the Kettingjoch. Compact snow, in which you can take your sporty carving turns, can still be found on the west-facing ski pistes around lunchtime even when the sun is shining. Carving turns are ok, but what about some RED TURNS? Well, luckily the vintners of the Schumitsch-Stocker Vineyard were on the Kettingalm and presented amazing red wines. There was also some food this time. Skiers cannot just live on red wine alone, one or the other local treat is an absolute must!
The clock doesn’t stop
Not even on the most beautiful and most delightful days of skiing I had so far in the 2017 skiing season. I still had one more ace up my sleeves; the Trass downhill run leads from the upper terminus of the Schmitten directly into the valley and, because of its north-eastern direction, offers top piste conditions even in the afternoon. But before I was going on the steep downhill run into the valley, I still had time for one more stop. A “getaway quarter” for the necessary portion of courage was just what I needed. Not only did the Breiteckalm provide a beautiful sunset in the Oberpinzgau, the Deutschkreuzer Weinmanufaktur and Grenzlandhof Reumann vineyards with their TOP wines made sure that I got the proper “I-really-cannot-go-yet” feeling.
But this was not quite the end of the RED TURNS 2017. The Ferry Porsche Congress Center, in the centre of Zell am See, offered the interested audience of experts the opportunity to get inspired and to learn more about Austria’s finest wines. If one or the other fine wine was especially to your taste, then you could also order all wines at vineyard prices. A great idea. I don’t know whether it was the fantastic atmosphere or whether one or the other fine wine is responsible, but there will be a delivery of some supplies from the Mittelburgenland to my front door shortly.
But even the most beautiful day must end, and that goes for the RED TURNS 2017 too. As visitor and loyal fan of fine wines and sporty ski turns, I can rightfully say: the RED TURNS 2017 event was a success and I am looking forward to the next edition in 2018. Where sports enthusiasts and TOP restaurateurs meet, there is often great potential for memorable events. Just like on the Schmittenhöhe in Zell am See-Kaprun!