Hinterglemm, Austria 2019 / by William Bryan


My sister, Ryan and I took the 6 o’clock bullet train from Berlin to Munich after work on Friday and darted south at 300 KPH on our way to our first Fasching family ski trip. After arriving at my aunt’s house later that night—and waking up early to try and beat the holiday traffic south—we made it to the rental shop by 9 a.m.

After getting our boots fitted we waited for skis. When Ryan got to the counter the shop owner asked him the super official skill-level question:

“Bist du sportlich?” he asked. (Are you sporty?)

“Ja,” Ryan replied, not knowing why he was asking.

The owner then grabbed next seasons demo skis off the rack and handed them to Ryan.

“Viel Spaß,” he said, with a smile on his face.

After collecting the rest of our gear and signing absolutely nothing we clopped outside and hit the slopes with my mom, cousins, and another ten family friends.

Later that afternoon we collected our skis outside an Alm and stepped inside for a drink.

“Next time we stop somewhere on the slopes we should all swap skis with each other so no one steals them,” my mom said.

But we didn’t think to go back outside and swap skis, we wanted a beer. Post après-ski, we hobbled back outside to collect our gear except Ryan’s demo skis were nowhere to be found.

He circled around the Alm, getting excited about any red pair of Head skis, to no avail. It was around this time that we started to question not having signed a contract of any kind for the skis.


Without skis Ryan had no way to get down the mountain so my cousin Marius threw him on his back and lugged him down the hill. At the rental shop the owner seemed unsurprised by stolen skis and admitted that they don’t insure their skis—because then people steal them—but he handed over another pair for Ryan so the eight-day ski marathon could continue.

Five days later with tired backs and sore knees we woke up to a powder-coated landscape that couldn’t be ignored. We rushed to suit up and take advantage of the fresh snow before the masses tore it up.

We surfed on the clouds all morning until all of the snow was chopped and churned and our jackets were soaked from inside and out. With knees more beat up than when the day began, we trudged back into the hotel for warm showers, hot food, and a good night’s rest for one more bout of skiing the next day.