In the previous post last week, I wrote about the Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl and our first day’s (Friday) experience there. There were so many exciting things that I experience there, that I had to split the story in two parts. This post is about my Saturday and Sunday at the Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl.
SATURDAY. Yoga on the mountain, SkyFly, E-bike Tour, and a Live Band Concert at the Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl.
Saturday early morning I wake up re-energized and ready to start the day on the top of the mountain. After quick and healthy breakfast at the Ischglerhof, we meet Melanie from Innsbruck’s MOveMENT yoga studio at the bottom of the Fimbabahn cable car, which takes us up to the altitude of 2,321 meters. We are ready to begin our morning yoga practice with the view!
Our practice is slow but focused and I feel that my aching muscles enjoy the practice. We focus on our breath and I am finally able to completely relax. Research has shown that the ability to become aware of and regulate the breath is the key in terms of lowering stress and anchoring oneself in the moment -both of which are needed to feel happier.
After a relaxing yoga hour, we are ready to get our adrenaline pumping again. We are off to try SkyFly, Ischgl’s twin zip-wire ride. The ride if 2 km long with the cables 50 meters above the ground and “flyers” are expected to reach speeds of up to 84 kph (approximately 52 mph). I am shivering as I stare at a big provocative sign at the beginning of the ride. “Relax. If you can…” Everything then happens very fast – hanging above a ravine we get pushed off… wind in my face… and I am flying above Ischgl!
Back at the festival area it’s time for quick lunch before our E-bike tour starts. I never tried an E-bike before but always jealous to see those people zip by you on the way up on the mountain road. I am thinking it would be so easy, that I won’t even have to move a finger (or foot). E-bikes look like normal two-wheelers, they have a built-in electric motor for propulsion. So, you ask, if the bike is doing the work, where’s the exercise? Well, I realized the trick to making your e-bike a fitness tool is to use the motor just enough to keep going. Cycle until you’re either wiped out or you hit a steep hill, and then employ the engine for that extra push! We cycle to a mountain restaurant Dias in Kappl, where we have some coffee and a tasty Austrian apple strudel. When we return, it turns out we covered almost 40 km and 1,000 meters in elevation! I would never be able to do it on a normal bike. I am exhausted and it starts to rain, so I go back to the Ischglerhof to warm up at the sauna.
In the evening, it’s a grill party with a live band “The Johnyy Freelance Experience”. After all the day’s experiences, I am finally ready to relax… and I can.
Sunday. Three 3,000 meter Peaks in One Day Hike at the Women’s Summer Festival in Ischgl.
If you ever stood on a top of a mountain peak higher than 3,000 meter, you probably experienced a feeling of a proud accomplishment! With more than 74 peaks higher than 3,000 meters, the Silvretta mountain range makes it possible to visit three of those peaks in one day. The intermediate guided 6-hour hike with 1,100 meters elevation gain is offered as a part of a weekly program by the Paznaun-Ischgl Tourism Office. On Sunday we were set to reach those peaks!
The day began gray and cloudy and as soon as we got on the bus to Galtür, it started drizzling. Thanks to the waterproof jacket that I was testing from Haglöfs, the rain didn’t bother me too much. From the Galtür’s village center, we were transferred by a mountain taxi to Jamtal Mountain Hut, located at 2,164 meter elevation. The side valleys surround the hut in a star-shaped pattern and, therefore ,offer a wide range of hiking tours over rocks and ice, catering for all levels of experience both during the summer and winter months. The valleys are untouched by civilization and are surrounded by a number of glaciers, thus, sometimes the name “Blue Silvretta” is used. The lush greenery and the rolling hills of the valley, through which we hiked to our destination, reminded me of the rolling hills of Hawaii for some reason.
Despite less-than-optimal weather, our guide Christian from Galtür Mountain Guides was optimistic about our ability to reach at least one of the peaks. He set a steady pace for our group, and after about an hour we came to FinanzStein (FinancialStone). The legend has it that this big rock in the middle of the valley used to be the outpost of the border patrol, trying to catch smugglers from both Austria and Switzerland.
Until then, our hike is relatively flat but after the Financial Stone, we start to rapidly gain elevation. In about 10 minutes, we start to see snow, and soon our route is completely snow and cloud covered. The temperature rapidly drops and some ladies start voicing concerns about our ability to reach our destination. Christian is firm and says that in another 10 minute we are there. He is right as in about that time we reach Kronenjoch peak at an elevation of 2,980 meter. It is cold, about minus 4 degrees Celsius, there is a lot of fresh snow, and almost no visibility. Christian decided that it is too dangerous to continue to the other peaks via an icy ridge. We take a short break and are ready to head back to Jamtal Hut. Although we didn’t see much, it was definitely a toughening experience! I will definitely be back when the weather is nice. Ischgl Tourism Office, thank you for having me!