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The Week Before:

Wow Cornell.  You've outdone yourself this time.  Three midterms in one week (Mon-Thurs), one of which is a seven-page single-spaced take-home test I did almost completely in the JFK airport.  The night before the bus rolled from CTB I didn't sleep.  With school work and packing, who has time for some z's?!  I knew I was out of time on my take-home test that day when I heard "last call for boarding flight 1259 to Frankfurt."

Travel:

Somehow, I didn't find the need to sleep on the plane to Frankfurt.  We arrived with an absurd 7 hour layover which consisted mostly of eating German pastries and doing the cold dance with Tom Hirschfeld to stay awake.  Next came a 2.5 hour turboprop shuttle to Innsbruck, on which I passed out for an hour or so.  Finally, roughly 24 hours after leaving my dorm, I am in a bed at the Hotel Tauterman.

Skiing:

Half of going to the Alps to ski is going to the Alps to look at scenery while you ski. Almost all ski areas we skied, be that in Austria, Switzerland, or Italy, had valley floors in sight 8-10,000ft below. The resorts themselves only spanned a few thousand vertical feet at the top of the mountains; the rest was a windy road or long gondola ride back down to near sea level. We skied Stubai Glacier, Ischgl, and the Super-Dolomiti in Italy. I'd like to say the Alps are wasted on the Europeans. They prefer to stay on the groomed trails and are deathly afraid of off-piste crevasses, even in the fresh snow directly next to the groomer's corduroy. But also, the Europeans are wasted on the Alps. One time on a the chairlift at 10am, a drunk Austrian asked if we "wanted some Schnapps," from a flask in the handle of his ski pole. We told him that we did not start drinking until after we were done skiing for the day. He replied, "you'll never catch up with me."

I made lots of new ski friends on this trip: Tom, Cal, Alex, Taylor, Reed, Eric, Julia, John, Kate, Bill, Becky, Chris, Emily, Sam, Jared, and of course Segway kid! Tom, Cal, and I skied together most days. At Ischgl we skied a trail we dubbed "the blowhole" four times in a row because it was the best snow on the mountain. It closely resembled "the blowhole" on Blackcomb Glacier in BC, Canada.

Salzburg:

We took two day trips with our tour bus to non-skiing locations. Salzburg has some amazing glass-blowing artisans, which gave us a demo on how they work with colored glass. An old castle looks down on the town from the top of a hill, and an opera house is built into the stone of the mountain. In fact, Salzburg is where The Sound of Music was filmed, and where Motzart grew up. When we weren't looking at old stuff, we ate street pretzels with various fillings and listened to young woman play the violin.

Munich:

The Munich trip occurred towards the end of the of the week. We visited an old palace with sprawling gardens, BMW World, and a beer garden. We all slept the entire drive back to Tyrol, Austria. Bill and Becky had a little more fun than everyone else.

Innsbruck:

On the final night, we went out in Innsbruck, across the river from my hotel. Tom and I must have visited 4-5 clubs surrounding the University in Innsbruck before finding one that suited our tastes. We made it back to the Hotel in time to pack, but then had to go back over the river and search the city's cobblestone streets for one of our roommates who almost missed our 4am flight back to the U.S. We found him with the University of Colorado freestyle ski team.