Turn a weekend away into a unique break at a modern interpretation of alpine hut: a photo love story at 2,212-metres.
Thursday 28 February
I clicked on the website of the Summit Hut and scrolled through the description. It looked promising – overnight accommodation in a modern hut, more than 2,000 meters above sea level, in a superb ski area. I called the booking line immediately and booked myself in. At 189 euros per night for two people, including breakfast, dinner and ski passes for two days, the rates seemed very reasonable. Now all I have to do is wait!
Saturday, 9 March
By 10:30am we were already checking-in at Venet base station. We’d put our ski gear on at home so we could go straight to the slopes. The man behind the counter gave us forms to fill in while we were waiting in the queue to help speed us up – a much appreciated touch. We were given two keycards (our ski passes and room key) as well as a separate key for the ski depot.
It seemed very alien to be carrying both our ski gear and luggage on the chairlift, but we managed just fine and caught the next gondola up the mountain. Rather than going straight to the Summit Hut, we stopped at the ski depot to put our ski boots, helmets and gloves on, and to store our luggage and shoes here before hitting the slopes. Luckily, the weather was better than forecasted – foggy but not as cold as expected. The new Summit Hut really is at the top of the mountain, between the television tower and a panoramic restaurant. With a modern-looking, wooden exterior, the hut has been built with sustainability at its heart. We were intrigued as to what our room would be like.
Skiing and refreshment stops
After an hour of carving across freshly groomed slopes we were hungry, so we skied over to the Zammer Alm pasture hut. The host greeted us at the door with a menu and a warm welcome. Our overall impression was good: with a beautiful pine interior, the hut has no self-service area but the prices are extremely reasonable – Spaghetti at 8 euros, Schnitzel around €11.20, soup from €2.50. Everything was very friendly and fast with great attention to detail.
At 3.30pm we ended our day on the slopes – we were too excited about our accommodation to ski anymore. We picked up our luggage and entered the Summit Hut to find our room. We’d booked a standard room, which was simple but functional, and built entirely of wood. The best bit was the view of the mountains – we could see the Arlberg, the Zugspitze, the Lech Valley Alps and the peaks of the Kaunergrat Nature Park from our window.
The Summit Hut isn’t an Alpine hut in the traditional sense, more a modern interpretation of one, with four-star luxury. The Premium rooms on the second floor have bathtubs with fantastic views, and the large seminar room (perfect for groups and corporate events) on the third floor gives magnificent mountain panoramas. Hanging on the wall in the hallway is the ‘summit book,’ where some guests had already entered glowing reviews.
An overview of the hut’s pros and cons:
+ Spectacular views
+ Cosy, yet modern wooden architecture
+ Service-oriented staff
+ Great value
– Not enough storage space in the bathroom
– WIFI available but I was unable to access it
– No hair dryer in the room – which would have been good to know beforehand
The evening program
Dinner was served at 6.30pm in the restaurant – which involved stepping outside into the cold, to the terrace 25-metres above. Brrr! The restaurant’s interior was again very modern – lots of wood and glass, yet with an Alpine feel. We tucked into a four-course dinner of soup, salad and steak with rice and beans, followed by pancakes for dessert. Drinks are extra but we were given a bottle of champagne in our rooms, to either drink or take home. Although it was getting dark, the sunset was unfortunately hidden by fog. When the mist cleared briefly at 10.30pm, we could see down into the valley where the lights of the small town of Landeck twinkled. The rest of the evening was quiet but relaxing – I’d recommend bringing a pack of cards, or opt for an early night.
Ghosts in the night
I woke with a start in the middle of the night. It sounded like a ghost was driving past my bed. Tentatively, I peered out the window only to see the piste groomers preparing the slopes.
Sunday 10 March
The first rays of sunshine woke me just before half six. The view from my window was soooo beautiful, I had two options: enjoy the breath-taking panorama from my bed or go up onto the terrace to take photos.
A fresh wind was blowing on the terrace but the 360° panorama was so impressive that I hardly noticed my freezing fingers. The mountain peaks shone white, the sky a soft pinky-blue, but down in the valley there was nothing but grey grey grey, where a dense blanket of fog lay. Still, for this moment alone, the trip was worth it.
Two hours later we were sitting in the restaurant eating a breakfast of marmalade and bread, enjoying cappuccinos and a magnificent view of Tirol’s winter mountains.
A sunny Sunday for skiing
We checked out of our room at 10am and sent our luggage to the ski depot before setting out on the slopes again. Sunday greeted us with a comfortable 5°C, bright sunshine and freshly groomed slopes. Sliding out onto the pistes, I was impressed by the many cheery locals who were already speeding about on snowboards and skis.
My Ski Tips: Spend the morning on the south side – DSB Venet South – and switch to the northern slopes in the afternoon.
We returned to the Zammer Alm hut for lunch but, this time, we sat in the warmth of the sun – a wonderful contrast to the cold weather back home in Berlin. We spent the rest of the day exploring the resort with the help of our piste map; there’s plenty to ski here, with no lift queues to speak of. After riding all five lifts, we were worn-out by 3pm.
We collected our things from the ski depot, took the gondola back down into the valley and, with the swipe of a keycard, our ski weekend was over. Goodbye Venet, we’ll be back – but next time I’ll come in summer, so I can see the sunset!