Europe Goes For A Song
From Our Special Correspondent
Have you ever experienced the exhilarating glory of a headlong rush down a mountain track on skis? Do you remember the incomparable beauty of snow-laden pine forests with the golden rays of the sun pouring through the branches under a
cloudless blue sky? Have you felt the sheer bliss of lying, exhausted after a hard run through the dazzling white hills and slopes, basking in the blazing rays of the sun and gazing at the soaring snowy peaks around?
It's Cheaper Now These are joys which but a few years ago were denied to all save the wealthy. Winter sports meant St. Moritz, K itzbilhal, Murren and a few other haunts beyond the financial reach of the vast majority. And all that people knew of Nature's winter paradise was limited to an occasional photograph in a newspaper or passing glimpse on a cinema screen, but no more.
unspoilt little places, devoid of any artificiality.
Austria has run Switzerland very close of recent years for the favourite's place. Austria has an unusual charm and less sophisticated atmosphere than Switzerland, but is handicapped very slightly by the greater distance from England. Organisation and hotel efficiency is perhaps slightly less developed, but this is by no means always a disadvantage.
In Austria the choice is almost staggering. The Vorarlberg, the nearest province to England, has Gargellen, Zars, Lech, and many others. St. Anton, Igls-it would he
invidious to list Tyrolese resorts. The Tyrol is one vast resort, where you will find, alike north and south of the Italian frontier, the friendliest and nicest race in the world. Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, and Upper Austria are further afield and simpler, but for that very reason more attractive to many, and yield a variety of quiet mountain huts and tiny resorts where visitors will find the traditional charm and " Gemiitlichkeit " that are Austria's pride.
Italy Italy is coming more and more into the foreground. Sestrieres, for instance, at 6,600 feet, is very easily accessible from London, and ideal from every point of view. But you will find Nature at its most beautiful in the Dolomites and the TyrolCortina, Corvara, Plan, Seis, Vigiljoch, Santa Cristina, all these and many more prove that Italy yields to none.
The hotel organisation is first-rate everywhere, prices are very low indeed, and it will he most surprising if Italy does not soon rival even Switzerland and Austria.
Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and others offer excellent winter sports, too. To some extent the situation may be less reliable because of the lower altitude, but even in Switzerland and elsewhere there are occasional surprises. A safe rule is to visit a resort situated over five thousand feet if an early or late visit is contemplated, while a useful saying is the Austrian proverb to the effect that the further East one goes, the batter the snow.
Norway and Sweden
Norway and Sweden offer slightly differ ent attractions. Here long, steady runs, not sharp, steep hills are the order of the
day. Conditions improve as winter advances and are at their best in April or May. Indeed. in Lapland iN. Sweden) a ski-ing competition is held on Midsummer Night under the rays of the Midnight Sun!
There is also a country of which little has been heard until recently—Poland. Poland has some ideal 'ski-ing country in the Carpathians and deserves to be much better known in England, particularly among Catholics. It is quite unspoilt, essentially different to other countries, and for an unusual and attractive winter (or, for that matter, summer) holiday my advice would be to try Poland. There are excellent, fashionable resorts like Zakopane or Krynica, and tiny resorts to suit all tastes and purses.
A Little Advice A choice is really bewildering and almost unfair in the fairylike mountain world where there are thousands of resorts, each more lovely than the other, but if a choice be forced, here is a selection;
France. Mont Genevre — because of its great height and wonderful snow.
Switzerland. Zermatt—because of the con venient funicular that will take the lazy skier up to Europe's most wonderful snowficlds!
Austria. Kanzelhahe in Carinthia — because of its superb position overlooking the Ossiacher Lake and the views.
Italy. Corvara—because of its simplicity and primitive charm.
Poland. Zakopane—because of the delightful atmosphere and the ever-changing beauty of the Tatra mountains.
Sweden. Riksgransen—because of the possibility of ski-ing by the light of the Midnight Sun, an experience that no one who has done it will ever forget.
Fog, rain, sleet—that is our version of winter. But out there in the mountains the sun is shining. fierce and warm, from a
cloudless, blue sky. Forests and mountains are covered with a mantle of gleaming snow, while the air has the sparkle and clarity of champagne. Thousands are already enjoying the holiday of their lives, and my advice is—try it now. You won't regret it.