There’s usually nothing I want to do more than get on the snow-covered slopes when I arrive on a ski holiday. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible, as we discovered during our trip to Pettneu, just outside of St Anton.
After an impressively smooth landing in Innsbruck, we were shocked to see a snowy runway – something we’ve never encountered before. It was then an absolute mission to get to Pettneu before the snow conditions shut down our access to the village. A scary journey that we won’t forget anytime soon!
This meant that after heavy snowfall, we couldn’t access the ski resort of St Anton for two days due to road closures. No skiing for us. What else could we do?
If you have a no-ski day like us or you’re heading on a ski holiday as a non-skier, then read on for some of the best things to do without attaching two planks to your feet.
Go For a Walk
Groundbreaking, I know, but this was the first thing we did in Pettneu when we realised skiing was off the cards.
Grab your walking/snow boots, ski jacket, local area map and just get out there. The Alps are full of scenic walking trails, most of which you can still do in the winter months.
This was a great opportunity for me to take lots of photos on my DSLR too, without having to risk skiing with an expensive & bulky bit of kit in my backpack.
Just be wary of any avalanche warnings and stay safe. We only got to explore a little when it was super snowy, but other days were absolutely fine as the avalanche risk was very low.
Have a Spa Day
With all those achey muscles, ski resorts naturally have the best spa selection. If there’s not one in your hotel, head to the resort’s leisure centre and spend the day getting massages & mani pedis and loafing around in the sauna.
To be honest, you should do this even if you do ski and the conditions are great all week. I love a mid-week chill day on a ski holiday!
If you’re staying in St Anton or the surrounding villages in January, get hold of a ‘Ladies First’ booklet from your hotel/chalet/apartment host and you can also get some amazing discounts on spa treatments (as well as loads more). Ladies only though, sorry fellas.
Enjoy Some Après Ski
Arguably the best part of a ski holiday is the après ski! Just because you’re not skiing doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun.
Get the ski lift or gondola up to the mountain’s best bars and join in the dancing and (responsible) drinking. In St Anton that usually means Krazy Kanguruh or MooserWirt, where you can expect a weird but funny mix of tunes and plenty of dancing on tables in the snow.
If the conditions are bad and you can’t get up the lifts, you can always enjoy the après ski vibes at one of the bars at the bottom of the slopes. Head there at around 3pm, once everyone is finished skiing for the day, to get the best atmosphere.
On our walk up a long and winding trail in Pettneu, we saw toboggans at the bottom of the trail and a few people dragging them up to the top.
We didn’t realise, but I think they were free for anyone to use on the trail. Such a shame as it looked like so much fun but we did give them a little ride down the bottom part of the slope. For the ‘gram, of course.
Most resorts have their own toboggan-friendly trails, so if you fancy a rush of adrenaline, find out if you can hire or borrow one. Let me know if there’s a better way to stop them than just sort of dragging your heels and crashing into something!
Try Some Local Cuisine
Obviously a little tricky for me now I’m vegan, but the food in the Alps is usually extra tasty and comforting. Wear your loosest pants and hit up some of the local restaurants and cafes.
In Austria, I’d recommend finding a really good Kaiserschmarren dish, which is basically shredded sweet pancakes served with an apple, cherry or stewed plum sauce.
Somebody please veganise it for me!
If you have any tips for non-skiing activities on a ski holiday, let me know in the comments below!