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Travelling in Europe with Skis

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I hope someone out there can give me some tips on travelling in Europe with skis. I am going to St Anton in January (see my other thread on the trip planning: Travel post)
I am planning to travel from Munich by train but I have no experience travelling by train in Europe especially with skis. Will I be able to check the skis as baggage from Munich to St Anton or will I have to lug them on and off every time I change trains?
Would it be better to rent skis when I get there?

Any other tips on travelling with skis in Europe?


post #2 of 21
Hope you do not mind a work out. You will have to carry everything Bags/Boots/Skis between train changes...so give yourself enough time to make each change. You might want to check with the tourist info office at the Munich train station, because there is alot of tour companys that offer bus tours to different ski areas that include transportation, lodging & discount lift tickets. It's a great way to party with the locals. Have a Great time...!!!
[img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] Steep and Deep is were everyone should be...!!! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #3 of 21
NErx, I would not take my skis if were you. I travelled to Europe last March (France) and I rented locally. For not much money (about $25-28/day if I remember), you can get high-end skis (Atomics SX-11s) and insurance. Rental skis were grouped in 3 different categories (beginner-advanced-expert) and there weren't many models I didn't see. Plus everybody seemed to have the "rent 5 days, get the 6th day free" deal. Now boots, that's a different story - I would never leave without them.

[ December 16, 2003, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: Raz ]
post #4 of 21
If you're taking several pairs of racing skis, then it is possible to freight them in advance.

Or you can get a large 2-ski-bag with wheels into which you can also pack your clothes etc - requires some packing expertise. Then you only have one piece of large luggage to worry about on the train, and you can wheel it!!!

It's started to snow in that area, and I'm looking forward to Innsbruck!

Excess weight on the plane - beware of costs!!
post #5 of 21
We have always rented skis in Lech and St. Anton. They asked us to drop them back every day after skiing and they imediatly tune them and you can either take them with you or leave them reserved for the next day or even reserve another brand. The retal place in Lech was only 50 feet from the lift, it saved us hauling skis around. Take your boots.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
I think I'll look into renting skis. I like my skis but this trip is really a business trip with a couple of days of skiing worked into the schedule.
Does anyone have suggestions on a good rental shop in St Anton?
post #7 of 21
They are all over and all good. Pick one nearest the lift you intend to use.

post #8 of 21
Renting skis is certainly easy in Europe, though the service can be variable depending on where you shop.
If you do end up taking your skis... yes; you will have to do the carrying yourself... but on the plus side trolleys are usually to hand and just about every carrige on the trains has ski racks.
I travelled from Zruich to Wengen then to St Anton using trains and carting all my gear with no problem. Travelling through the awesome scenary, eating a nice meal with a bottle of wine is definitly THE way to arrive in a resort.
post #9 of 21
A small backpack with clothes and boots and a soft ski bag with your ski clothes packed around the skis & poles, settle in, enjoy the ride and travel like a local ... toooo easy. Plenty of trolleys, train stations at airports, plenty of fellow skiers (some in full gear), ski racks in all trains, comfy seats, food and wine off the roaming refreshment cart and trains that are clean and on time ... too easy. Hop off at train changes and have a cold beer in the Bahnoff. Do Europe like the Europeans.
post #10 of 21
Oz, he said:

>>>>I think I'll look into renting skis. I like my skis but this trip is really a business trip with a couple of days of skiing worked into the schedule.<<<

Even Europeans require better dress at business meeting than would be provided by clothes packed in a backpack or around skis [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #11 of 21
Ott let me expand my thoughts.

The business is in Munich and the skiing is a side trip from Munich. Munich is the trip “hub” so to speak.

For a short trip the business rig should fit in a carry on suit bag for the international leg with his skis and ski gear in the ski bag as checked luggage. He should be able to check his ski bag straight through to St. Anton on arrival in Munich. On completion of the Munich business gig the business rig get stashed in a locker at Munich Station, he jumps on the train with a change of socks and jocks and away we go to St Anton where his ski gear is waiting in the baggage check at the station which is in the heart of St Anton. Toooo easy and saves money for après ski with all the beautiful European girls he will find in St. Anton\Lech\Zurs etc.

Or of course if he hires a car then just stash the lot in the car. Trouble is with car hire is the expense of petrol, driving, parking, which can be a major hassle and the drop off and pickup.
post #12 of 21
OK, Oz, since Munich is my home town and we visit often, renting a car at the new airport which is way out of the city is the way to go in my opinion because it is such an easy way to go and you don't waste five or more hours with the train. If he has two days he will spend a half day to get there by train and ski a couple of hours in the afternoon and have to leave in the early afternoon to get back and to the airport.

Two things if he rents a car. At the border of Austria buy that little sticker that goes on the windshield, I think a two week permit is the shortest you can buy, which lets you drive in Austria.

And there is no filling station goint TO the airport, so fill up the tank well before getting there to save on the gas charges at the rental station.

With a car his suitcases can travel with him and he can ski two full days.

But if he chooses to go by train, your scenario is good.


edit: I also think it will cost less or equal to train travel to rent a car for a couple of days.

[ December 20, 2003, 07:22 PM: Message edited by: Ott Gangl ]
post #13 of 21
Skiing embedded in biz trip, I always take a rental car. Unless it's a multi stop trip, I take my skis, and ask for a car with folding back seats.

Driving in Austria:
1. You need a "Pickerl". That's freeway toll (german: "Maut") , and sticks in the windshield. Get them at the border, e.g. near Kufstein, or in an ADAC shop. The Arlberg tunnel and other tunnel and bridges have extra toll.
2. Ask for current closures of passes. In Germany, call 0 180 5 10 11 12 or check out http://www.adac.de/Verkehr/Alpenstrassenbericht/default.asp?ComponentID=6289&SourcePageID=68044%23 1&MSCSProfile=589F5C6DB83ADBA41DAD47C9EEF9786D2C4C 69612BF26D59A6C617075110F026A0BC 77A87D5F95CC3E55A65B09E332B8BB609202F01D594FB25614 99E410E9F9DB431CD8B7D740317FD16EA73FD6F1E7EDEE11FE 5B89B5766F7A4487F67E492D0625D6E1AF575CA1BAC765DE99 3D45924CA8D0B993CB3065AB7F9470 CB77C6CB45FA3A1E80EB7450
Klick on Oesterreich and "Abfrage starten" to get a current list of open and closed passes

post #14 of 21
Wow, the URL is really that long... Paste it together in an editor, and copy it in your browsers URL field.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help guys!!

I have been looking into train travel and it seems to be difficult to book tickets/reservations from the US, so the car rental idea seems to be more attractive. I'm not too worried about packing. All I need is a suit, shirt and tie for a one day meeting in Ulm (on Tuesday after the weekend skiing). I'll probably pack most of my ski gear in my ski bag and bring a duffel bag with my boots and casual clothes and a small garment bag for my dress clothes.
I will be heading straight to St. Anton from Munich on Friday afternoon after the flight from Boston. If I can find some kind of locker in Munich to leave my business clothes then I might leave them there for the weekend. Are lockers available there? (most have been removed in the US after 9/11) Then I will either drive or take the train to St Anton. After skiing for the weekend I will return to Munich on Monday and then I need to get to Ulm (planning to take the train). My flight back to the US is from Frankfurt on Wednesday because of the high speed train service from Ulm to the Frankfurt airport.

It might be worth renting a car to get the St Anton quicker on Friday. I'll still have to travel with my skis from Munich to Ulm and then to Frankfurt. Is parking a problem in St Anton?

All the tips are very helpful. If anyone has any ideas on making the trip easier please let me know.


post #16 of 21
Hmm, hopefully you have travelling 1st class on the high speed train (ICE) in your budget. They do not have as much space for luggage (skis, sigh) as the traditional trains do. You might get hussled by the guys which cart beverages and snacks through the train if you decide to drop off the skies in the isle, which used to be your only option in 2nd. If you have/anticipate another biz trip in the summer, it might be better to ditch the ICE ride, which BTW for the Ulm-FRA route is truly high speed between Stuttgart and Mannheim only, and get a rental car on a weekly rate.
post #17 of 21
Ok. I read through this thread quickly. I checked the German rail homepage:


It looks like the trip is on Euro City trains and not ICEs. Most Euro Cities (although not all) are older trains and therefore more spacious--i.e. GREAT for skiers.

On fridays in January, there are many trains from Munich to St. Anton (over 12 a day), but the one's that will probably be most convenient are the morning trains from Munich East Station to STANTON via Innsbruck. You can either take the S-Bahn from the airport to Munchen Ost or cab it from the airport to the train station. If you take S-Bahn, the trip will take four hours and 49 minutes door to door. There will be one transfer in Innsbruck. Both the Austrian and the German EC trains have restaurants and the Austrian train has a panoramacar--perfect for those mountain views.

My recommendation, for what its worth, is to forget driving and go by train. By the time you rent the vehicle, get your gas and highway vignettes, you'll have wasted more time than the total train trip. Also, traffic can be miserable between Munich and St. Anton--especially if it snows. Finally, after a long flight, you'll sleep for most of the train ride--something you cannot do in a car.

You can check excess luggage at the Luggage Check at the Munich Airport for 2-3 Euros a day depending on the size of your luggage.

Munich Airport Luggage Service

Also, forget about train reservations or buying tickets in the US. You rarely need them on slower, more spacious EC trains. Also, tickets purchased locally are about half the price. Your total trip should not be much more than $50 RT, 2d Class. In the ABSOLUTE worst case scenario, you may have to wait for the next train if the one you want to ride is full but if this happens, I will be EXTREMELY surprised.

Also, first class is not worth the money. The biggest difference between first and second class in Europe is beverage service. In first class, a dude comes around with drinks and snacks. In second class, you need to go down to the dining car and consume your food or drink there. This is no problem because you may end up meeting Julie Delpy (see Before Sunrise if you do not get this joke). Seats really are not much bigger in first class unless you get a sleeper compartment for an overnight train. 2d class unreserved gives you more of a chance to move around if you do not like your seat. It will also give you more of an opportunity to chat with local skiers about conditions and terrain. First class is filled with Americans with Eurail passes--2nd class is much cooler.

The newly re-designed St. Anton rail station is extremely convenient to the Galzig tram and many hotels. It rocks. You'll enjoy it and feel like a Euro ski bum. If you are tired getting off the train, splurge and take a cab to your hotel--it won't cost much because the hotels are so close. Also, some hotels will arrange a pick-up right from the train station. If you have a GSM phone, you can arrange a pickup either from the hotel or via a cab while you are traveling--just tell the cab what number train you are arriving on. The St. Anton Web site has listings for local cab companies:

St.. Anton

Finally, don't bother with a SportsTube--it's too big for the overhead bins of most trains. A padded Dakine will suit you just fine. It will also serve as a second suitcase.

PS Once you know the number of your train, do a Google search under the number. Inevitably, some trainspotter site will have pictures of the interior and exterior of the trains and describe everything from seat layouts to the food service. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ December 25, 2003, 07:12 AM: Message edited by: West Virginia Skier ]
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. If I can leave luggage at the airport then I might take my own skis and other gear instead of renting. I don't want to waste time finding a rental shop, renting skis etc.
It sounds like travelling by train will not be a problem. I am looking forward to the trip and will try to post photos when I return.

post #19 of 21
When my wife and I went to Zermatt, we lugged our bags from train to train. On the return trip to Zurich, our hotel staff told us we could have our bags shipped to the airport for a reasonable fee (something like $3-$5 per bag.) It was fairly easy, fill out a form, get a claim check and voila! We had to get them to the train pretty early 3:30-4:00 pm) our last ski day, but we had stopped skiing anyway. If I had it to do over, I would have shipped them out on our in-bound leg and not skied the first day. If you have a day or two in Munich, it might work perfectly. Just a thought.
post #20 of 21
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by skimoore:
yeah...I was just going to say:



Is there any equivalent service provided by German railways?
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