Climate Change demands diversification away from winter sports, but viable alternatives are far from obvious – nor straightforward

With 40 fewer days of snow cover than 60 years ago, the alpine regions of Austria are not only losing the very element on which its leviathan winter sports sector relies upon, but also the use of melted snow that impacts river flow, hydroelectric capabilities, and the ability of farmers to harvest precipitation to water…

Saalbach Hinterglemm retrospective

My final alpine retrospective turns to Saalbach Hinterglemm, where skiing doesn't get in the way of partying through the winter months, whilst mountain bikers and hikers seek an uneasy coexistence during the summertime. As is common with many of my initial visits to resorts in the mountains, the first impressions I gained of Saalbach and…

Big money threatens to homogenize distinct alpine regions

Undeveloped land within the Austrian Tirol, in particular along the Inn Valley and where it is more tableland than vertiginous peaks, is in great demand and under growing pressure - in equal measure. There is little doubt that the region's popularity as a tourism destination and the location of second homes for wealthy Austrians, and…

Obergurgl memories: Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Stepping back in time from my previous post, the turn of the millennium is when my relationship with alpine Austria firmly took root. For decades, my family had already established individual connections with the Alps but aside from a visit as a young child to Salzburgerland's St. Wolfgang these experiences were never shared together and…

Tirol: Will the onset of Climate Change make sustainable development in the Alps unrealistic?

Architecture, similar to many areas of modern life, has become highly subjective as tradition gives way to the Avant Garde, the controversial, and a general feeling that 'anything goes' in an era of declining standards, moral ambiguity, and disrespect. Even in the Alps there is no longer a uniform design template to which architects must…

Kitzbuhel: Hiking from the Hahnenkamm

Frustrated at the first time of asking by extremely poor visibility I hoped that my next attempt to ascend the iconic Hahnenkamm and spend a day walking from the top station of its eponymous cableway, would bear greater fruit. I was indeed second time lucky, at least from a meteorological perspective. Home to the most…

Kitzb├╝hel: Shopping, Skiing, Hiking. In that order.

The allure of Kitzb├╝hel to the well-heeled is there for all to see. A short survey of the main street immediately highlights the Tirolean town's slavish devotion to luxury brands, and how those sashaying along its pristine thoroughfares are tacitly judged by their own attention, or lack of, to high-end couture and jewellery. For a…

Oetztal: Crumbling Hochwildehaus hut a sobering, but unheeded, example of local Climate Change

The fate of the iconic Hochwildehaus mountain hut high in the Tirol's Oetztal should serve as a warning to those who continue to deny the onrushing effects of Climate Change, and the short-sighted within Austria's insatiable ski community who insist upon putting financial interests ahead of the core values that have sought to protect unique…

Austrian Tirol: A limitless desire for more poses threat to its synonymous landscape

Promoting responsible tourism: what does this increasingly nebulous strapline now represent? Are we expecting responsible tourism to be defined by policies outlined by regional/national tourism associations - or shaped by the actions of those for whom the industry caters? In keeping with many strands of today's society tourists, without guidance or ordinance, are content to…

Innsbruck Airport announce long overdue expansion plans

Innsbruck Airport have finally acknowledged what most who've recently travelled through its modest terminal will attest: modernization, ergo an enlargement of especially the post-security side of its operations, is desperately needed. Architectural design tenders are expected to be submitted during 2019, with construction slated to commence in 2022. Although a welcome development the announced timescale…