Return to Austria's Tirol
After dithering for ages I decided not to ski today, common sense prevailing (unusually for me) because of hurting my thumb skiing yesterday (it was very swollen when I woke up) and because today was again overcast and promising limited visibility on the slopes. Although I was aware that a run might not be the best thing for helping my thumb heal, but I was going to ignore that side of things.
I headed down the road towards the river, not running this first bit because the footpath was slushy and slippery, and also busy as I didn't start out until 9am. By the time I got down near the city centre where the Christmas market had been last time I was here a few weeks ago, I tried running and it was ok. I was fully aware that the worst thing I could do for my thumb would be to fall on it.
I stayed on the city side of the river at first, going east, on the pedestrian walkway and then going through the park in front of the Hofkirche. It was a winter wonderland with all the new snow, and everywhere was quite different from last time I was here, when there was no sign of snow. It was foggy so there weren't any mountain views, but I could see snowy hillsides immediately behind the street fronting the other bank of the river. I passed the covered bridge and the Nordkette Bahn rail (seeing one of the cable cars), and then had to cross the river as there seemed to be no alternative.
The footpath was near the road with some long straight stretches. At one point I tried a detour through a park but that proved not to be a good idea as there was deep snow and I was glad to get back to the roadside. After a while I came onto a more scenic walkway through a grove of trees, and then joined a cross-country ski route. Some of the way was on hard packed snow, other parts were cleared and others were icy. I was happy to be able to stay right by the river the whole time. The path was signposted to Kufstein where I stayed for a few days last year, but I wasn't going that far!
I turned back as I approached an industrial area. It seemed colder on the way back and I was pleased to get back to the built up area. A two hour run followed by pastry and cake made up for a day without skiing.
Zell am Ziller
Ok, so actually this was a walk, but I had been intending to run. It didn't look like it was going to be much of a skiing day due to low cloud and snow falling heavily, so I thought I might go for a run instead. The only problem was that I didn't think I had suitable clothes to wear for running in such damp conditions; I needed something more snow proof than my running tights but I couldn't see myself running in ski pants, and I also didn't think the path I was going to run on would have been cleared of the recent snow and it might be so deep that my running shoes would quickly get soaked. So I went for a walk in my ski gear.
I walked along the south bank of the Ziller river in the direction of Mayrhofen. The whole landscape was engulfed in cloud at first so there was little to see, although I could tell that there was a layer of fresh white snow on the hillsides and everywhere else. The rail line snaked through the fields, and there was little sign of activity apart from a handful of other walkers. It was very nice that this riverbank path was well away from the road.
My aim was to walk 4 kilometres to the river bridge in Hippach, cross the river and come back to Zell. There aren't many bridges across the river so when I came to one after a while I thought this might be the one to cross but I wasn't sure. There was a guy walking his dog (well, the man was walking towards me while his dog was sitting on the far end of the bridge) so I asked him if this village was Hippach. He said (in German) "The dog is in Hippach but this is Wiese". Turns out, this wasn't yet the right bridge, it was an extra one that wasn't on my map, so I continued a few minutes more to Hippach, which proved to be a largish village (spanning the river).
It was bright in Hippach as if the weather had taken a turn for the better. I could see the hillsides clearly and there were people walking around carrying their skis. So I decided to hasten back to Zell and head for the slopes. But as I walked back the clouds came down again and soon it was again snowing heavily. Around Zell conditions did not look good at all. But I went skiing because I couldn't resist.