Bregenz is the capital of the most western Austrian state of Vorarlberg. It lies on the eastern shore of Lake Constance, a lake shared also by Germany and Switzerland. The lake functions as a heater in the winter, so often there is little snow in Bregenz during that season. Sometimes, however, Bregenz is inundated with lots of “white gold”, and then the local mountain, the Pfänder (1064 m) is dressed up in an amazing white outfit and becomes a playground for the local people, skiing, ski touring, sledding, snow shoeing and hiking being the sports of choice.
There is a 3.5 km ski run down the mountain, the “Schlauch” (hose in English), where a downhill race was run for many years. As a kid my dream was to ski the Schlauch in “Schuss” position, with my poles tucked in for speed. Unfortunately I was not a very good skier back then, but when I found myself on top of the run one sunny morning – after returning to Bregenz decades later – I decided it was now or never.