Wörthersee Edition Snow!
Years ago, when I was a kid, we’d get snow every winter. Now it’s not guaranteed but it may happen in May. Is Wörthersee the new Christmas? Great time, festivities and fun? Climate change. Dubs in snow! Wörthersee Edition Snow!
On the eve of the day we were meant to leave we sat down for the last time to a refreshing bottle of ice cold vodka. Every evening at Wörthersee, after seeing interesting cars all day and having great time driving in the Alps, we’d treat ourselves with the traditional Slavic Supper – ice cold vodka and zakąski! Delicious thing. A life hack for vodka drinking. Zakąski [zaˈkɔ̃w̃ski] or закуски [zɐˈkuskʲɪ], as Russians call it, are a form of hot or cold snacks that are intended to follow a shot of vodka. The word literally means ‘something to bite after’. Pierogies, sausages and salo after shots and after a few of them the topic of driving back home came on. Someone checked the weather forecast:
– Here lads, Google says it’s going to snow tomorrow – he laughed
– Yeah, you had enough mate, after 6 days long drinking binge you’re talking about snow now, you mad thing – someone replied and laughed – it’s nearly May!
– The only snow that is going to fall is on your man’s dashboard when he’ll be driving home – someone else added and burst laughing
We were all laughing. We were drinking but we weren’t drunk. But I remember when years ago we went on a school trip to Greece in May and we build a snowman on the beach on the morning we have arrived.
The next day I woke up it felt like Christmas. “Come on, get up it’s snowing” – Kosa shook me as he’d have seen Santa out there, descending from the sky with his whole shebang. I got up and rushed to the window but there was no fat man in red about and there was no hangover either after yesterday’s Slavic Supper. But it was snowing indeed. Easter was exactly a month ago.
So Google was right. The weather forecast was accurate and now big and wet snowflakes were falling down from the sky. “Snow isn’t going to stay, it’s too warm, but anyway we’re heading back home, Jetta’s wearing Nankang’s, y’ know” – Emir chuckled and added “we’ll catch up at home” and he jumped into his VW Jetta Mk2 R32. I went to have a look around the hotel to see stance and snow am See, an unusual view at Wörthersee Tour.
But there was no time to play around as we still had to load the cars onto trailers and Baran, who drives the white BMW E28, insisted on taking a quick tour around Wörthersee’s favourite spots before we’ll get on the motorway to drive back to Poland. Since the weather conditions were a total game changer I was up for a quick cruise around with the camera in my hand. Only my poor soviet lens didn’t like the wet snow what it notoriously manifested fogging up completely.
THE DRIVE DOWN
By the time we had all cars loaded and we were ready to set off everything turned white. Snowfall intensified and now we had a dodgy job to do, a mission to drive down the steep and curvy road from the hotel to the road leading to Turbokurve – on summer tyres and loaded with cars. But Baran, who could claim the title of the Abschleppdienst Meister, didn’t seem bothered. I’ve seen him driving a different car carrier and a trailer loaded with cars up this hill like a lunatic two years earlier, only because this was the handiest way to do it in his poor old Fiat Ducato, instead of unloading the cars. Otherwise it’d stall half way through. Once, he said, that he had to drive a similar set down some hill for many many kilometres on reverse. He’s a beast. But now we had to drive down this steep hill covered completely in snow.
The road was slippery what we have confirmed in a simple test – by sliding on the shoes like kids. Fun it was, but it wouldn’t be fun to lose control of the car carriers and end in the barriers or some bushes flipping the precious load into them. That’d be tragic. So we’ve started to very carefully drive down the hill. ABS was going mad.
As it happens with roads in the mountains – they’re not straight. They’re always full of hard tight turns. We were hoping for a clear way down but already at the first hairpin we’ve encountered some traffic struggling to drive up, spinning wheels while we tried to do everything to keep ours rolling, yet slowing down. It was tight. Adrenaline! But we cleared the turn without trouble.
Approaching the next turn I saw Baran in his MB Sprinter trying to slow down dancing on the ice. The set, loaded with Boss’ VW Jetta Mk2 and his own BMW E28 was starting to go sideways breaking the straight line between the car carrier and the trailer attached. It wasn’t looking good – but the driver got the control back just in time before hitting the barrier. It was close.
We were nearly at the bottom of the hill and so at the end of the most difficult part of the journey but we still had to cross a railway crossing what wouldn’t be difficult at all if not the fact that just before it there was a small crest. It was steep enough to prohibit our loaded car carriers to continue after stopping to check if the crossing was clear to cross. So we have decided to slowly roll through without stopping while one of us watched in case there’d be a train approaching. Baran went first and then he looked after us crossing and as we were passing him, he pointed his finger somewhere in Turbokurve direction and shouted: “Fahren, fahren, Faaker, Faaker, we’ll catch up there”.
We slowly rolled down the hill to the main road. The views were stunning. Tree branches bowed under heavy wet snow and when we finally got the the main road we saw no snow ploughs but a few dubs acting as them, ploughing snow with their bumpers. Many front lips suffered.
SNOWY TURBOKURVE FAAK AM SEE
After an relatively easy short drive down the completely covered in snow Seeufer-Landesstraße we’ve arrived at Baran’s favourite spot of Wörthersee – Turbokurve in Faak am See. He loves to spend all days in here watching cars. I find it the most boring spot out of all around. Usually it has some sort of a dull car park feel and even the stunning mountain top in the background can’t help it, but now it wasn’t even visible. Everything was covered in snow and it felt like Narnia. In the far end of the car park someone was doing what Audis like the most and what snow covered car parks like the most.
The scenery was unreal, magical like. Snowing has even intensified and it felt like proper blizzard now. Big wet snowflakes made everything soaked instantly and shoes were longtime completely drowned. It was time to move on to the next spot and soon home.
As we drve from Faak am See to Eni Mischkulnig we passed a few cars on British number plates struggling in the snow. I’d say that 2016 was a British year at Wörthersee. Cars on white and yellow plates with a GB sticker in the back seemed to dominate the roads around the area. We were chatting about how they all must have got surprised by the snow – and we stumbled upon a fella in a Corsa struggling to drive, a Corsa at Wörthersee. The car’s number plates read: STFU. Right.
CHRISTMAS IN MAY AT ENI MISCHKULNIG
Just as we arrived at the world’s coolest petrol station, which now could claim this title for sure, an E46 convertible showed that not all British can’t make use of snow. But not much else was going on. Only a few cars were slowly ploughing through the snow or hovering above it on air and a few were parked around. Since the snow scared everyone off, or they went skiing, and there’s was nothing to see so we decided to have a tasty Wiener schnitzel at Cafe Mischkulnig.
THROUGH VELDEN AND BACK
With tummies filled we were ready to slowly head north-east towards Graz, but before we would get on the motorway we decided to take the last drive through Velden. As we entered the center of the town we saw fire brigade at the Casino Hotel. The night before we were around for a pint and now the canopy, under which it’s nice to have a sit and sip, had collapsed under the heavy snow. Only a few cars were seen around, probably owned by those who had that one too many last night. It was time to go home.
We left Velden and headed for the motorway which turned out to be closed and we got stuck in traffic. Also some mates who went earlier got stopped by the snow but on the motorway. Looking for a solution out of this snow situation we rang all the lads to see their progress and to get some tips. Only a few were lucky to be slowly moving north – heading home. Baran, the Abschleppdienst Meister, came up to us, nodded, and with a serious face said: “We’ll stay, yeah, one more night”.
We didn’t care and we didn’t even expect that we could get stuck am See so we totally carelessly spent the whole day getting shoes soaked. We turned around and drove back to Velden to look for a place to stay for the night. Thanks to a local car mechanic we left our loaded car carriers in the safe spot. The hotel was just across from it.
We found some bottles as well. We always do. After an interesting and exciting extra day at Wörthersee it was time to sit down to the traditional supper. It was time to relax and to dry the shoes. The motorway was still stuck. Wörthersee Edition Snow!
Wörthersee Tour 2016, Edition Snow, Austria
Words and photography:
Mateusz Kulik | StanceSyndicate