Ischgl Women’s Summer Festival – Part I

Relax. If you can… At the Ischgl Women’s Summer Festival! Leave your mommy routine behind and join amazing women for a journey through nature’s playground (not your neighborhood’s playground) for a weekend of discovery and adventure. Sounds like a dream? Not at all. The 1st Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl is an ultimate long weekend that is guaranteed to leave your muscles tired, your spirits high, and your heart content.

I was very excited to receive an invitation from the Paznaun/Ischgl Tourism Office to participate in all the festivities. I have never been to Ischgl before and it would be my first time away from the twins! It was somewhat nerve wrecking but I kept calming myself that I will only be an hour drive away. Plus, they will toughen up and learn some new things after a weekend with their father, right?  Somewhat concerned, I drove to Ischgl Thursday night through hail, lightning and thunder as it became noticeably cooler.  Will the weather spoil our perfect weekend? For about three weeks preceding the Women’s Summer Festival, the weather was hot and with temperatures reaching over 30C/85F.

THE FESTIVAL. Fuelling the outdoor spirits and minds of active women from across the world, this year’s 1st Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl took place from June 30 to July 2, 2017, in the heart of the Paznaun Valley, Tyrol, Austria.  Festival goers were able to bike, climb, boulder, trail run, and hike their way around the stunning alpine scenery whilst kicking back and relaxing at the festival’s ‘base camp’, where numerous other workshops like TRX functional training, Stand Up Paddling (SUP),  yoga, Pilates, and Smovey fitness classes took place. Add live music and DJ, healthy food stands, beauty services, and adventure films into the mix, and the 1st Women’s Summer Festival was all set to be the ultimate destination in outdoor adventure and exploration. Plus women were able to test the latest offerings in outdoor and workout gear and equipment.

THE LOCATION. Known for its famous start- and end-of-season Top of the Mountain concerts, Ischgl for years attracted an A-list of international celebrities that have so far included Elton John, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey,  Kylie Minogue, to name a few.  The village itself remains traditional Tyrolean in style, but with some contemporary touches – an airport-style running walkway in a tunnel through a giant rock connects the two ends of Ischgl. My base for the three days of the festival was a luxuriously welcoming Alpine Hotel Ischglerhof. The mountain access lifts and the festival area were just a short walk away from the hotel and the center of Ischgl.

FRIDAY: Via Ferrata (Klettersteig), Afternoon Yoga, and Gourmet Dinner.

The weather forecast promised a rainy day on Friday and there was a talk of our via ferrata tour being cancelled. What a pleasant surprise it was to wake up to the sunny skies on Friday morning! After a healthy and filling breakfast at the Ischglerhof, I headed to the festival area to watch the official opening and do a TRX warm-up. I receive the most awesome goody bag and find out that our via ferrata tour received a green light but we would have to do an easier family-friendly route. The originally-planned route at a higher elevation is covered in snow!

TRX warm-up before the day’s tours at the Women’s Summer Festival. Photo: Thompson Photography

TRX warm-up before the day’s tours at the Women’s Summer Festival. Photo: Thompson Photography

 

Goody Bag Content. Photo: Thompson Photography

After everyone got their equipment from Edelrid’s booth, we take a 10 minute bus ride to Galtür and then a chair lift up the mountain. Thanks to Silvretta Card, our ride is free! All festival participants and any visitors that stay overnight in Ischgl receive the Silvretta Card, that allows you to use:  all cable cars and chairlifts in Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl and See, public  transportation, free entry to the museums, public pools, and the waterpark See, and toll for the road “Silvretta Hochalpenstraße”.

View into Paznaun Valley from the beginning of the Via Feratta Tour at the Women’s Summer Festival

The via ferrata Little Ballun is family-oriented. It’s located just a 5 minute walk from the chair lift, takes about half an hour to complete, not very hard (Category A/B), especially designed for kids’ to be able to reach and the security cables throughout the route, and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Nevertheless, it has all the elements of an adult route. I try not to look down when crossing the steel wire bridge over a 100 meter drop.

Family-oriented Via Feratta“Little Ballun“ and our group of 5 wonderful ladies

Steel wire bridge is a fun fart of the Via Feratta „Little Ballun“. Photo: Thompson Photography

But all goes well, and we are back to the festival area to enjoy some lunch. I order a vegan fitness box, with chia pudding for desert and a cup of amazing coffee from a local coffee roaster. I have some time before my late afternoon yoga class, so I get a 15 minute massage and get my nails painted. It turns out that the nail polish we are testing called Edding L.A.Q.U.E.® and is a new product from a company that traditionally manufactured permanent markers and used its expertise to create a “permanent” no-chip solution for women without harmful ingredients. I am excited to try more colors from our goody bag later at home.

Foam roller „Backroll“ Stretching Class at the Festival Area

Relax your tired muscles with a massage at the Festival Area

While mom is on a hike, childcare is free from 9 to 5 at the Women’s Summer Festival! Photo: Thompson Photography

Preparation for a Mom-Child Tour powered by Thule at the Women’s Summer Festival. Photo: Thompson Photography

Collection of the Edding Nail Polishes. Photo: Thompson Photography

Smovey Workout at the Festival Area. Photo: Thompson Photography

After our amazing yoga class, I decide to drop into the newly remodeled wellness area at the Ischglerhof. Quick sauna visit and it is time to get ready for a dinner at the Designer Hotel Fliana. The gourmet restaurant at Fliana’s chef and cheese sommelier Andreas Spitzer is considered one of the best chefs in Austria and his excellent performance is confirmed by leading gourmet guides. Thank you Ischgl Tourism Office for an unforgettable evening!

After dinner some girls from our group head to Kuhstahl, Ischgl’s favorite Apres Ski destination. I am tempted to check it out but remind myself that my goal here is to relax away from the kids. So I head back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep. As I try to fall asleep, I can put out of my head Ischgl’s slogan:” Relax.If you can…” I probably had too much food. Will I be able to relax?

Yoga Class at the Women’s Summer Festival. Photo: Thompson Photography

One of the creative dishes from our Gourmet Dinner at the Fliana Restaurant

Next week I am telling you about our Saturday and Sunday at the Ischgl Women’s Summer Festival. Stay tuned for my report about yoga on the mountain, SkyFly Zipline, and „Three 3,000 meter peaks in one day“ hike.

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