Day 1 - Depart US/Fly overnight to Salzburg
Depart from the U.S. for Austria. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
Day 2 - Arrive in Salzburg
Upon arrival at the Salzburg Airport, claim your luggage and
clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you outside the customs
area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign. Your
representative will help you transfer (approximately 25 minutes) to your hotel.
The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and explore the city. Tonight,
choose a restaurant for dinner on your own. VBT provides you with City
Information in your Final Travel Booklet that includes information and
recommendations on what to see and do in Salzburg during your stay.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 1 p.m. You may store your luggage with the Reception Desk. If
you are traveling from the West Coast, your arrival in Salzburg may not be
until late in the evening.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly
in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport
will be at your own expense.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders/Warm-up ski / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: At 9:00 am meet your local VBT representative and the rest of the group at our Salzburg hotel – Hotel Goldener Hirsch (address: Imperial Hotels Austria AG Getreidegasse 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria. t +43 662 8084-884 f +43 662 8084-845). From here we then transfer to Obertilliach, Austria (distance about 169 miles, or 3 hours, 30 minutes) by private coach, with a lunch stop in Lienz. Plan to wear your ski clothes on the transfer or have them packed in a small day pack that will be easily accessible upon arrival in Obertilliach.
In case of delays, please see page 3 of “For Travel-Related Emergencies.” VBT highly recommends flying to Austria at least one day before the tour begins. This allows you to rest and recover from jet lag before you begin sightseeing and skiing. In the event your arrival is delayed, please contact our hotel in Salzburg, Austria at t +43 662 8084-884 f +43 662 8084-845; or call ahead to our hotel in Obertilliach, Austria at +43 4847 5288 to advise staff of the delay. They will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package and Pre-Extension guests: Meet your local VBT representative at 9:00 am in the main lobby of our Salzburg hotel; he or she will be holding a VBT sign.
From Salzburg, we will take a 3 hour transfer to Lienz (137 miles), enjoying breathtaking views of the Alps along the way. Your VBT Trip leaders will meet the group in Lienz, where you will have lunch on your own.
Lienz is a medieval town and the capital of the eastern Tirol region. It is an alpine town that plays host to Alpine Ski World Cup competitions and cross-country ski events, such as the Dolomitenlauf. Lienz sits at the junction of three valleys – the Isel to the northwest, the Puster to the west, and the Drau to the east. The old town of Lienz stretches along the banks of the Isel River, with Liebburg Palace, a 16th-century building, now the seat of local government, overshadowing the Hauptplatz (Main Square).
After lunch, we will take the bus to Obertilliach (traveling for approximately one more hour) and head to the Nordic Ski Center. You should be ready to ski upon arrival with your ski clothes on or in an accessible backpack containing ski attire. Changing rooms are available. Your Trip Leader will hold a ski-fitting session followed by a brief talk about the area trails and the afternoon schedule. If you are an advanced skier, you may head off on your own with some trail recommendations from our Leaders. If you are a beginner skier, you can choose to stay and work with a local instructor for a lesson. Your warm-up ski will be around the trails, and ultimately you'll work your way back to the hotel (which is less than two miles, or about three kilometers away).
Obertilliach is one of the Alps' most beautiful villages. It blends harmoniously into the unique landscape of the upper Lesachtal Valley, which opens to reveal magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. It is a place for those seeking serenity and relaxation but also for people looking for adventure off the beaten path. In the winter, Obertilliach is connected both to the 60-km “Grenzlandloipe” (borderland ski trail) and to the newest biathlon stadium. A very famous inhabitant of Obertilliach is the Norwegian cross-country skier and biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen – winner of 6 Olympic Gold medals, including 4 in Salt Lake City in 2002.
All guests will meet back at the hotel in the late afternoon/early evening where your luggage will await you. The Hotel Auer is owned by locals, Christian and Manuela Auer, who built the hotel themselves and who have hosted the German and Swedish National Ski Teams. It is a true gem located in the center of town, a short distance away from the Obertilliach Ski Center. After arrival, you can shower and relax and get to know each other. The leaders will hold a welcome cocktail reception followed by a hearty dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 - Ski Obertilliach trails/Sledding
Today, after breakfast and trail review, enjoy a morning ski
on the Obertilliach trails. Stop along the trail for a strudel and cappuccino
at a trailside restaurant. You will end
your ski before lunch, and be able to return to the hotel with the local ski
bus or local taxi. You may also choose
to ski back to the hotel to arrive before lunch.
We will meet in the hotel lobby after lunch and depart for our
afternoon excursion: together, we'll walk to the local lift station and take
the chairlift to the top of the mountain to take in the view from the
Golzentipp. The mountain’s name says it all: the Golden view from this
wonderful perch overlooking the nearby trails and the surrounding snowy peaks
After lunch, choose to take the chairlift back to the
valley, or bring € 2 to rent an Austrian toboggan and sled about four miles (7
km) down from Golzentipp to
Obertilliach, then walk back to the hotel. You will have the rest of the
afternoon and evening to yourself to explore the town and enjoy dinner on your
Day 5 - Ski from Obertilliach to
Rauchenbach/Local dinner and torch walk
After breakfast and the morning route review, we ski from
the hotel in the opposite direction from the previous day, towards Rauchenbach,
a stunning alpine village set 4,449 feet above sea level. Glide along the Gail
River or explore the hillier terrain.
Meet at the Obertilliach Ski Center before lunch and we’ll take the
local ski bus to Rauchenbach for lunch at the Klammerwirt Restaurant. Take in magnificent views as you look out
over the mountains that separate Austria from Italy.
You can choose to ski downhill back to the ski center or
enjoy the transfer back to Obertilliach. In the afternoon, we’ll have time to
relax at our hotel before dinner.
Our dinner at the Hotel Unterwoeger features all locally
made East Tyrolean specialties. Not to worry about calories, as you'll walk off
dinner with a starlight stroll, locally called the laternen waderung
hike). The brisk night air, snowy paths, fragrant bratwurst grills, and warm
mugs of glühwein
(hot mulled wine) keep the festivities moving along till they
wrap up with plenty of traditional music and beer at a local pub.
The group will take a short taxi ride back to the Hotel Auer
after our hike.
Day 6 - Transfer from Obertilliach to Cavalese/Afternoon ski at Passo
After breakfast, we say goodbye to Obertilliach and transfer
to Cavalese (about 112 miles, or 3 hours) in Val di Fiemme, often called the
“cradle of cross-country skiing” in Italy. On the way we will wind through the
Trentino wine region, noticing the gentle eastern Alps slowly fading in the
distance as we begin to near the dramatic craggy peaks of the snow-covered
Dolomites. Nestled among these natural spectacles are charming towns and
castles. Early this afternoon we arrive at Passo Lavaze, where you will have time
for lunch on your own before an afternoon ski.
We convene at the local ski shop to get outfitted. Your skis
will be at the shop when you arrive. After a bit to eat, take another ski
lesson with local instructors or ski on your own along the spectacular trail
network. Passo Lavaze is a landmark for cross-country ski lovers. Located on a
plateau between Trentino and South Tyrol, with over 50 miles of trails
perfectly prepared by a professional technical staff, the center is able to
satisfy skilled skiers and beginners alike. The trails wind through the
plateau's beautiful woods, as well as the spectacular mountains of the Latemar
chain and the Dolomites. The enchanting sight from the pass, the natural
environment surrounding the tracks, the sun shining on most of the circuit, and
the many alms along the way where you can enjoy a drink make this a skiers'
paradise. When our skiing is done we will head to our hotel where you will have
time to unpack before our evening's events.
The Hotel Maria, situated with a magnificent view amidst the
timeless beauty of the Val di Fiemme, is owned by the Braito family who have
been proudly serving their guests for over 30 years. On arrival you'll be met
with a smile and welcomed into the beautiful surroundings. The warmth of the
hotel is reflected in its use of traditional materials -- fir and spruce, larch
and wool, stone and water, with bright light flooding in through the windows.
In winter there's the warmth of the Green Stube Room with the traditional stube
(decorative enclosed fireplace) and the delicious aromas from the kitchen.
Tonight we will enjoy dinner at the hotel's lovely
After dinner, move into the warmth of the Stube to share a
glass of wine or grappa with your fellow skiers, or curl up in the comfort of
your inviting room.
Day 7 - Predazzo/Discover
Lago di Tesero/Ski Jump Stadium/Strudel Cooking Class
This morning we depart from the hotel on the ski bus to the
Cavalese tram station and enjoy the scenic tram ride to the bottom of the
valley. Choose to ski the long option to
Predazzo or short option to the Lago di Tesero ski stadium, home to the 2013
Nordic Ski World Championships.
Perhaps you’ll stop for a snack along the way, at the
renowned ski center at Lago di Tesero, where the Nordic World Ski Championship
for both 1991 and 2003 were held and where they will again be hosted in 2013.
The center offers over 11 miles of beautifully groomed trails and connects to
an expanded and more challenging network of trails.
We will end our ski here in Masi where you may enjoy lunch
on your own. Explore a bit after lunch, or return on your own by ski bus or
gondola back to Cavalese, where you can spend time browsing in town or hop
another ski bus back to our hotel.
Alternate option for marginal snow conditions: Spend
Thursday morning skiing in Passo Oclini with spectacular views of the Bolzano
In the afternoon, we’ll have a strudel cooking class with award-winning
hotel chef, Monica Braito. Dinner is on
your own in Cavalese, where there are a number of fine local restaurants and
lively spots to dine. A shuttle will be provided back to the hotel after your
evening on the town.
Day 8 - Ski to Passo Lavaze plateau/Discovery in Cavalese
In the morning, after our breakfast and route review we depart for a morning ski in Passo Lavaze, with the option to walk on the paths as well. Ski to one of several mountain refugios on the Passo Lavaze plateau, all ranging from about one to five miles from the trailhead. After lunch on your own we ski back to the trailhead and return to the Hotel Maria in the afternoon.
Tonight we have our farewell dinner at the Tito Speck restaurant in Daiano, where the meat and the sparkling prosecco wine are as fresh as the air. Before our dinner of locally raised and prepared specialties, you may choose to take a tour of the facility. The restaurant is renowned for its speck, a distinctively juniper-flavored ham from this region combining the arts of salt-curing and smoking. The production of speck has been taking place for over half a century on the family farm, located on the plateau of Ganzaie, above the village of Daiano.
Day 9 - Transfer to Verona/VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests: your tour ends at our Verona
hotel today. As a group we will leave from Cavalese after breakfast and head to
Verona (2 hours, or about 100 miles.)
Your tour ends at our Verona hotel. You are responsible for your own
transfer to the airport for your flight home. You can take a taxi on your own
to the Verona train station and continue on to the airport (or to many other Italian
cities.) Taxi fare to the Verona train station is approximately 10-15 Euro and
the ride takes about 10 minutes.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, say goodbye to your
Trip Leaders and board the coach for your transfer to Verona (2 hours or about 100 miles). You will arrive in Verona around lunch time and have time
on your own to walk around the city and explore on your own with VBT's City
Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide. If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip
extension to Verona, you remain at this hotel.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
Early this morning, transfer to the Verona Airport for your
flight back to the U.S. VBT recommends that you check the transfer time in your
“Transfer Reminder” the night before your flight. The transfer is prearranged
and prepaid by VBT.
Please note: For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.