Where Will Your Heart Take You?

You know that feeling when you’re doing something so special – experiencing somewhere so rare and amazing – that your senses overload and your heart just seems to skip a beat? You could be on the top of a mountain, taking in the sunset, or skiing down your favourite run with perfect snow under your feet. Then all of a sudden, everything just slows down and you want to hold on to that moment forever. It’s a sensation that happens quite a lot in the Tirol. That’s why we asked seven Tirol locals to share their heartbeat moments…

1. Snowboarding above the rooftops in Innsbruck - Flo Orley

“Heading up the Nordkette cable car on a Friday night for dinner high above the city’s twinkling lights.” Flo Orley, © Julia Türtscher

“Even as a teenager, I realised that Innsbruck was a special place – the perfect combination of city lifestyle and great skiing. After school, I would swap my textbooks for winter gear and take the cable car from the town centre right up to the ski area of Nordkette for an afternoon of snowboarding.

“My heart would race as I strapped into my snowboard and started navigating my way down the almost-vertical couloirs that lead from the highest cable car. With Innsbruck directly below me, it would feel almost like I was skiing directly into the city – a sensation that just added to the awe-inspiring feeling.

“Even if you’re not an extreme skier, the Nordkette is a must-visit. A favourite experience of mine is jumping onto the cable car on a Friday night for dinner above the city. Tucking into a four-course meal of seasonal delights with Innsbruck’s lights twinkling below you is guaranteed to get your heart thumping.”

2. A sunrise ski tour above Kitzbühel - Tobias Dankl

“Touring up to the Kleinen Rettenstein mountain at sunrise. Everything was perfect: the weather, the timing, the view and the company.” Tobias Dankl, © Kitzbühel

“One of my most special moments in Kitzbühel happened on 18th January 2016. My friends and I had planned a night of partying but then we saw all the fresh powder snow on the forecast. Instead, we woke up well before sunrise for a ski tour up the Kleinen Rettenstein mountain.

“With -18°C and a clear sky, the journey up was stunning in itself. The sun was slowly rising behind us, and as it got lighter, the mountains in front of us started to reveal their shape. When we reached the top, we had the most beautiful view over the Kitzbühel Alps, all to ourselves. Total silence, total peace. I felt like time was standing still, everything else forgotten about.

“It was breathtaking and energising, a moment in life where everything was perfect - the weather, the timing, the view and the people around me. It’s a moment you can only experience in the mountains, where nothing is comparable to this feeling of freedom and joy.”

3. An action-packed weekend in the Ötztal - Nicole Jäger

“Relaxing in the outdoor pool at the Aqua Dome thermal bath and taking in the clear, starry sky after a wonderful day of skiing.” Nicole Jäger, © Aqua Dome

“My heartbeat moment came at the end of two incredible days skiing in the Ötztal. The weekend had started with an early run on the glacier above Sölden, crisp snow under my skis. The rest of the day was a blur of fun; from cruising 15km down to the valley bottom, to battling against my friends in the Adrenalin Cup. Even lunch was perfect: We went to iceQ, a gourmet restaurant with spectacular views, and star of Jame Bond flick Spectre.

“The next day was just as wonderful. This time we went to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, where my favourite spot is the Top Mountain Star bar. Sipping champagne at 3080 m above sea level with a view over the Dolomites is truly inspiring.

“That evening I went to the Aqua Dome, a Thermal Spa Resort in Längenfeld. Sat in the 36°C thermal pool, gazing at the star-speckled sky and reflecting on two wonderful days, I had my heartbeat moment. It was the Ötztal at its very best.”

4. Wandering the picturesque streets of Alpbach - Michael Mairhofer

“Walking through Alpbach on a winter’s evening, taking in the cosy atmosphere of Austria’s most beautiful village.” Michael Mairhofer, © AlpbachtalSeenlandTourismus

“Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau is not short of heartbeat moments. It could happen at the top of the 1898 m Schatzberg mountain, which offers far-reaching views of both the Wildschönau and Alpbach valleys, a snow-covered landscape made up of mountain pastures, forested slopes and dramatic peaks. It could happen when you pop into one of the area’s mountain inns and are greeted with heartwarming hospitality. Or perhaps when you taste one of the local specialities, like Alpbachtal hay milk cheese or Wildschönauer Krautinger Schnapps.

“But my heartbeat moment was a simple one. It came as I was walking into the village of Alpbach, snow crunching under my foot. As I turned the corner, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. All the houses are built in the traditional chalet style, snow clinging onto those wide sloping roofs and fairy lights sparkling from the balconies. It was like a scene from a shortbread tin, and to see it in real life was truly special.”

5. Finding ski freedom in the SkiWelt – Lydia Neumayer

“Sweeping down a freshly-groomed run, the wind in my face, a stunning-panoramic view in front of me and crunching snow under my feet” Lydia Neumayer, © SkiWelt.at, Christian Kapfinger

“In SkiWelt, the clue is in the name. It’s all about skiing. With such a huge area, spanning 284 km and offering every kind of run, from gentle blues to testing blacks, I get a real sense of freedom here. My heartbeat moment came on a winter’s morning in January 2017. It had been snowing heavily the day before and the sun was just starting to break through the clouds, revealing the crown-like shapes of the Wilder Kaiser mountains.

“I stood at the top of the Hohe Salve, with an incredible choice of runs laid out in front of me. Clicking into my bindings, I made my choice — the red “Rigi” piste — and pushed off. The buzz I experienced as I swept down this freshly-groomed run, the wind rushing past my face, the snow crunching under my skis and a stunning panorama before me, was like nothing else in the world. It’s a moment I’ll hold onto forever.”

6. Carving First Tracks above Lermoos – Birgit Linder

“Being the first one on the slopes of Lermoos with the First Tracks programme and watching the sun rising and touching the mountains.” Birgit Linder, © TZA/Linder

"One February morning last year, I woke up well before dawn, gathered my ski gear together and set off for Lermoos. The reason for my early start? First Tracks. It’s a programme that runs every Thursday during the winter and gives keen skiers and snowboarders access to the mountains before everyone else.

"At 7.30, just as the sun cast its first rays over the mountain, I stood at the top of the Grubig 2 lift. There was just me, a dozen other skiers, and a whole mountain to play on. I pushed off, carving down the just-groomed slope, making grooves in the silky-smooth corduroy. In front of me, the majestic Zugspitze mountain was glowing in a pinkish light. It was magical.

"After a couple of hours of high speed, uninterrupted fun, I was ready for brunch. Thankfully, a mountain breakfast at the cosy Wolfratshauser Hütte is included in the price. Drinking coffee on the panoramic terrace was the ideal end to a perfect morning.”

7. Experiencing the buzzing heart of Ischgl - Andreas Steibl

“Entering the atmosphere-filled village of Ischgl, my heart starts to thump. It makes me feel like I’ve escaped the grey of everyday life and entered a different world.” Andreas Steibl, © Tirol Werbung

“Ischgl is different – unlike any other resort I’ve experienced. As soon as I arrive, my heart starts to thump. The streets are alive with vibrant bars, shopping and restaurants that create a truly addictive atmosphere. It makes me feel like I’ve escaped the grey of everyday life and entered a different world. It’s a village full of life, joy and sunshine – a winter paradise where I feel truly at home.

“That feeling of awe continues up the mountain at Idalp, 2,320 m above sea level, where Ischgl shows off its beautiful side. It’s here, surrounded by snow-topped peaks, that I’ve seen Robbie Williams, Pink and Rihanna all perform at the Top of the Mountain concert, a gigantic music event that kicks off and ends the ski season in the most jaw-dropping way. And it’s also where I get a rush of excitement as I jump into my skis. When I carve down those glittering white slopes, powder spraying up with every turn, my heart fills with a kindof joy that only Ischgl can provide.”

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