People Watching at a Ski Hut in Austria – By @elisaczerwenka

By Elisa Czerwenka

People Watching at a Ski Hut in Austria


Life goes by so fast; it is easy to miss something interesting or inspiring.

At SCA, we are always encouraged to watch our surroundings more closely and to learn from them.

I was lucky to spend the holidays skiing and celebrating in the mountains of Salzburg with friends and family. One location in the environment of skiing, the ski hut,  has always struck me as particularly interesting.  A ski hut is a place to replenish from skiing, to enjoy a traditional lunch or merely to end the day with some drinks. When my ski shoes started to hurt, I felt like a break was needed, so I decided to leave my friends for a bit to sit down at a hut to watch people. Here is what I found:

Somehow the ski hut is simultaneously a family- and party-friendly place which I find incomparable to any other site I have ever encountered. I saw many families while right next to them, students would cheer with plenty of alcohol – and it was not their first beer. To clarify: it is 1 pm at this point. But apparently, Austrians seem to think it is always 5 pm somewhere. In a confounding way, ski huts are like airports: it’s always busy and any time is a time to drink or to take a nap. No questions asked. To my surprise, I even saw a child, much likely, not older than 12 (I’m generous here) drinking alcohol. But I guess in Austria it works just like that: You order a schnaps. You get one.

Another important thing that makes ski huts so interesting is their music. We play Schlager, a type of music that is  described as “a style of popular music that is generally a catchy instrumental accompaniment to vocal pieces of pop music with simple, happy-go-lucky, and often sentimental lyrics.” I usually associated it with corny bars that I regret entering the moment the door slams shut behind me.

Usually, it is quite embarrassing in my age group to admit to like Schlager – somehow though, at the ski hut, everyone seemed to know the lyrics perfectly. I caught more than one group of people lip-syncing every single song that was being played. And a lot of them were dancing too. Nobody at the hut cares how good you dance. And after a couple of beers, you won’t care how good you dance either.

Another thing I find fascinating is that I didn’t see anyone at the hut by themselves. Even if there were – some people enjoy going skiing by themselves – they wouldn’t have stayed alone for long. All tables are long and inviting to sit there as a bigger group. If you are a small group, it won’t take long until the table is full and you become one. Oh, except for one person: myself. But it didn’t take long for that to end. Just 10 minutes in I was joined by two Germans that were desperately looking for a fun place to go out (it was the 31st of December), but I wasn’t really of much help. I wasn’t a local in that area either. But I had a lovely chat with them, and I always enjoy encounters with strangers.


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