Parts & Accessories

Winter Touring in Innsbruck

06th March 2024 | Marcus Leach
We wake to a soft pitter-patter on the motorhome roof. Harrison excitedly pulls the blind down and shrieks in delight before triumphantly announcing 'there’s so much snow everywhere!’ Dorothy quickly joins him by the window before a mad scramble ensues as they both dress frantically and quickly disappear out of the front door into the winter wonderland we’ve awoken to.

When we began our travels, we did so with no real intention of spending prolonged periods in conditions better suited to a family of polar bears. We’d always imagined that we would be chasing the sun, and yet, after a brief, and altogether unplanned foray into the Italian Dolomites during our first winter on the road, we found ourselves actively seeking out an all-year-round campsite in the Austrian Alps earlier this year.

Marcus and his family's adventure to the Dolomites in 2022

That campsite ended up being Natterer See, situated a stone’s throw from Innsbruck and booked through the Caravan and Motorhome Club. It would prove to be the perfect location for a variety of family winter adventures. Our plan had only been for a short stay but quickly escalated into a two-week pause, our longest stint at any site during the past two years on the road. This was in part because of the foot of snow that fell during our first night there, and in part due to the amazing array of activities available in the region.

The Adamo 75-4DL covered in almost foot of snow after the first night!

Upon arrival, we were given Innsbruck Cards, offering not only free public transport but also a complimentary ski lift pass, discounted entry to many of the region’s main tourist attractions, and a list of free snow-based activities and events being run throughout the week. Very quickly we realised three days was not going to be sufficient to see and do everything that took our fancy. However, none of that could happen without having first indulged in a schnitzel and a plate of Kaiserschmarrn. As food lovers, a region’s gastronomical delights invariably top the list of things we must do, or eat in this case, before we do anything else.

 

Opting against skiing this year, we instead made use of our free day pass to head up to Glungezerbahn, home to a designated 3.4-kilometre-long toboggan course and rent sledges for the day. It took a few runs to master the art of cornering without either stopping or ending up face down in the snow, but soon enough we had the hang of it and were engaging in family races that only came to an end for fear of missing the last ski lift back down the mountain.

Tobogganing at Glungezerbahn

Nestled in a valley at the foot of a string of jagged mountains, Innsbruck mixes the old with the new in a way that ensures the heart of the city retains its historical charm. It’s also from here that you can get a series of connecting lifts, starting with a funicular, to take you to Nordkette, also known as the ‘Top of Innsbruck’. A short walk from the cable car, we are at a little over 2300m altitude with the most mesmerising three hundred and sixty-degree views of the surrounding snow-covered Alps. Innsbruck is now little more than a toy town far below us. Dorothy assures me hot chocolate has never tasted so good as it does here with such marvellous views.

 

It’s amazing how something as simple as snow can provide endless hours of fun, with both small and big kids alike happy to spend a few days playing at the campsite before finally admitting it’s time to head on. Given how good the site is in winter, there is no doubt that we will, at some stage, make a return during warmer months.

Nordkette or the ‘Top of Innsbruck’

But what about the motorhome in such cold conditions, I hear you ask? This is a valid question given very few people will have been away when temperatures drop to -12. On the whole, it performed brilliantly and was our haven of warmth in a frigid environment. Our only minor issue was not having a thermal wrap for the front cab, so there was a little heat loss there, but we negated that to a degree by using our sofa cushions for extra insulation at the front of the motorhome. Thanks to a heating vent in the boot, we were able to dry all of our outdoor kit every night, ensuring each morning we had warm boots, salopettes, and jackets to wrap up in before heading out.

 

Both of our winter excursions into the snow have reminded us that a motorhome really is for all seasons and is the perfect way to enjoy travelling all year round.

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