Nestled in Austria’s Tennengebirge mountain range, Werfenweng provides a variety of winter activities. By Wibke Carter Photographs Courtesy Wibke Carter
“I will come and rescue you” shouts Alois Schwarzenberger as he slowly disappears from my view. Helpless like a beetle I’m lying on my back, unable to move with my legs twisted at weird angles while others pass by intrigued by my peculiar situation. What had I gotten myself into? At the ripe old age of 40+ I was taking my first ever skiing lesson, and with a former world ski instructing champion, no less. After an hour on the beginners’ slope, I’m ready to tackle a steeper run but even Schwarzenberger can’t prevent my clumsiness as I manage to fall off the surface ski lift while admiring the skiing skills of some three-year-old. So here we are.
As I’m waiting to be helped to my feet, I look up to a cloudless blue sky and spot a dozen or more gliders catching the thermals (finding updrafts of warm air that rise from the ground to the sky and allow gliders to climb to higher altitudes). As well as being a skiing and snowboarding area Werfenweng is also a near-perfect location for paragliding.