When I heard we would be snowshoeing, I imagined meandering through the countryside with tennis-racket like equipment on my feet. Instead, I climbed a mountain (I would like to clarify here that it was not a hill; we climbed over 1,200 feet on this “hike”) with high-tech plastic and metal contraptions strapped to my feet.
The group met up at the Salzburg Train Station at nine where our guide Alex was waiting for us. From there we took a train to Hallein and then a bus (free to skiers) to get up to the ski resort area. Alex then got our shoes and helped us all figure out how they worked.
These devices are not comfortable at all. They feel half like ice skates and half like lead flip-flops if you can envisage such a thing. It didn’t help that mine fell off my feet about five times on the way up.
The first half of the climb us was fun and gave us views of the surrounding mountains with cloudy Salzburg in the distance. It was incredibly clear and sunny, warmer than in the city. This became a problem when we hit the actual climb. There were about four stretches of what felt like near vertical climbs; I had never exerted so much energy in my life than on these slopes.
The group got split up on the climb up with the last of us arriving to the top after around two-and-a-half hours. We were given a short break to catch our breath and eat some lunch before heading back down. Two of the members chose to take the ski-lift down while the rest of us put back on our snow shoes and began the descent.
Dürrnberg is half in Austria and half in Germany; the climb down took us through the German half where there used to be border guards. This was a much more fun and relaxed process. Half the time we spent just falling and sliding down the mountain. About 30 minutes from the bottom, one of the students realized she had lost her dad’s glasses and so headed back with Alex and another student. That left the rest of us to get back on our own, which became an adventure after we split up and lost the one person with directions..
We all eventually made it back to where we started, sunglasses and all. It was a strenuous day and I don’t think I’ll be attempting such an ordeal in the near future, however I still had a lot of fun. It was good to push myself and experience something new.