What happens when you put 10 like-minded people together in a hut in Saalbach Hinterglemm? Content creators, photographers, Instagrammers, professional mountainbikers, bloggers and adventurers. Give them food, 2 BMW’s, lift tickets, drinks, a hot tub and a hall pass to try all the best things to do in Saalbach Hinterglemm. This is Storybase Saalbach summer edition 2018.
This annual returning marketing event is organized by tourism board Saalbach Hinterglemm in a summer edition and a winter edition. Last winter I was also invited to participated, but in the end went on a trip to Bangladesh so I could not join. I promised to back for the summer edition of Storybase 2018.
After all my adventures on my Balkan road trip it was time to head back into Europe. This may sound weird because isn’t Balkan also Europe? Yes it is! But because it is so off the beaten path and different than Western Europe it feels different to me. No highways, no toll roads, coffee for 0,50 cents, no traffic jams. You get me right? My Balkan road trip was an amazing success, but it all came to an end by driving back into the mountains of Austria for Storybase Saalbach Summer 2018.
Arriving at Storybase 2018 base camp: Unterschied Alm Hinterglemm
It was Monday late afternoon and actually some decent weather when we all came together at the Unterschiedalm high up on the mountain in Hinterglemm. It was not a standard holiday hut, but one far away from the village, almost next to the top of a gondola. Perfect I thought when I arrived, I could easily spend a week here relaxing, enjoying the view and the tranquility of life in the mountains. But I was not here for that! Saalbach Hinterglemm has so many cool things to do in summer that although there was a free program, the next days I would probably be hiking, mountainbiking, flying, getting to viewpoints, go-karting or doing many other cool activities in Saalbach.
At the openings dinner we all got to know each other while a professional chef was preparing local dishes. Someone made the joke that this was going to be the best meal of this week, cause from now on we had to cook ourselves. The Storybase concept is all about freedom. You are free to do whatever you want during the time of the event. So if you wanted to enjoy the good life up here in the mountains you can. Cook your own meal or go out to a restaurant for dinner everything is possible during Storybase.
And we started with.... SCHNAPS! Typical Austrian way of welcoming you.
Storybase Saalbach Hinterglemm Summer Edition 2018
Normally openings evenings tend to get out of control, right? No one really knows each other, there are many stories to be told and there are is a lot of alcohol involved. This time I did not drink that much and was intended to go to bed early as we had to get up at 3.45 in the morning to go for a sunrise hike.
As predicted the weather was not really that good, but we still did an effort to get up to the top of a mountain. It was freezing cold and wet, perfect conditions. No! You know I am a good weather traveler, so I only have Nikes and short pants. I strapped on my Qatar Airways pyjamas (got them for free on my Qatar Airways QSuite First Class flight) and joined the group. Within 2 minutes my Nikes were completely soaked. Outside temperature? 8 degrees! Weather conditions? Dark grey clouds, overcast sky. Hours of proper sleep? 3! Sunrise? 0%! I asked myself many times, while my hands and feed were freezing off: why am I doing this?
At some point the sun peaked through the clouds a tiny little bit!
This was still at 6.00 in the morning and you know how much I am NOT a morning person. But it looked suddenly beautiful. Luckily the other group members were good fun and a dog was following us. They cheered me up and on our way back around 7am there were some blue patches in the sky, but I could barely take my hands out to shoot a photo.
After we had our first coffee back in the hut we saw it was beautiful weather outside and since we had an outdoor hot tub I thought it would be a good idea to go for a morning session. You probably cant see it in the pictures but the water was freezing cold. Just a couple days before my trip to Saalbach, I stayed overnight in a hut with a private hot tub as well while Glamping at Lake bled. Watching shooting stars from a hot tub is cool, click the link to read more!
The weather forecast for this week was extremely bad, but today was kind of a good day and we tried to squeeze in as many activities as possible. Where other tried to go paragliding, which eventually got cancelled because of the wind. I enjoyed a lunch high up on a mountain. Almdudler, good views, sun in my face… I was a happy man! Life up here in the sun was gooooooood!
Because of my eardrum surgery (read about it in my first time in Paris blog) I was not able to fly the helicopter. Damn it no paragliding for me, no helicopter ride for me! Saalbach in summer has many cool activities for adrenaline junkies, but I just sat on the side watching everyone coming off the helicopter with the biggest smile ever.
The day was not over yet and since we didn't catch the sunrise this morning we tried to catch the sunset. We started hiking uphill again to another mountain peak passing some mountain lakes. It looked like we were going to be lucky and the views on our way to the top were amazing.
Unfortunately by the time we reached the top the sky was overcast again but the views were still spectacular.
A couple others in the group were well trained professional downhill mountainbikers who took me under their wings for today. Join us it will be good fun they said! Sure why not! You know me! I am always up for an adventure. Adrenaline rush? Yes please! Ok, lets go ride some lines! Fine, just give me a bike and I will do it.
I went down to the rental shop and the fun started. You want a DH or Enduro bike? Uh what? No clue! What is the difference? While everyone was laughing, they asked: sure you want to go riding with the pros? There is also a beginners group leaving!
Yeah right, give me a bike please! They probably had never read my 30 crazy adventures while traveling blog! LOL
A couple minutes later I looked like the Terrminator with all my protection gear, but anyway I was ready for this! At least I seemed like…
Riding downhill was new for me! I mean I did a mountainbike tour in Nepal but this seemed like the real shit! Damn it, this was not that easy! Coming back down at the lift after my first run, I could barely stretch my fingers. They were cramped already! Holy shit this was hard.
We did a couple more practice runs before we moved on to another mountain for a 12 kilometer downhill track! Although the weather was awful, I was totally soaked and full of dirt it got more and more fun the longer we were on our way. It was freezing, the visibility was shit, my goggle fogged up constantly and still we had a blast. My first time downhill mountain biking was an amazing adventure. Keep on reading for the video…
Well deserved beer after a whole day in the freezing cold rain! Good view over Saalbach Hinterglemm and a hot tub, that was all I needed then!
What about this day? All I can say is rain, rain, rain and rain. We organised an extremely tasty breakfast in a mountain hut nearby. I ran to it, because of the heavy rain, but still got drenched on the way. The breaky was lovely, but everyone was still hungover from the party last night. Most of us just slept for 3-4 hours.
Nevertheless there was not much I was going to do today because of the weather. In the end I got back to our hut, took a hot shower, lit the fireplace, grabbed my Macbook and started working. For me as a full time professional traveler (click on the link to see my story or read how I make money travel blogging) it felt great. I looked outside and it was raining and cold and I sat inside with a tea in easy clothes and was able to create this video about the MTB Downhill yesterday. Great fun reliving those moments again!
It was already our last day on the mountain and sadly when we woke up it was again raining. The third day in a row! We tried to make the most of it and got up in a gondola to have a coffee up in one of the many mountain huts in Saalbach.
Bad luck this time, but in the late afternoon it seemed to clear up. We got permission to drive up all the way to the top of a mountain with our BMW. It took a long time as we first went the wrong way but with 4 ladies in the car I had great fun listening the their interesting choice of music.
When we finally arrived on top of the mountain, it was misty! We could not believe our eyes, please clouds move away.
We waited a long time and yes we finally got lucky. The views were fabulous and we were all super happy we had the patience to stay up here so long in the cold.
Time to say goodbye to Storybase 2018
Most of the people left really early and believe it or not, but when we all got up around 6.30am it was clear blue skies. Why now? The weather Gods were playing a game with us, but ok we were still in Saalbach Hinterglemm. So I quickly packed all my stuff threw it in the car and drove up the mountain as I high as I could get.
This looked like what I had been imagining Saalbach in summer would look like. The hut I drove up to was not even open, but I sat in the morning sun staring at the view. A little later the hut owner came and offered me a coffee, sat next to me and we had a little chat about how unlucky we had been with the weather at Storybase 2018. End good all good! I said goodbye to Saalbach with a smile!
Best things to do in Saalbach in summer
Although I still had an amazing time at Storybase 2018 we were all really sad to have experienced Saalbach Hinterglemm in such bad weather conditions. It rained for almost 3 out of 4 days. Life in the mountains is absolutely breathtaking when the sun is out, but when the clouds roll in and it starts raining, things are different!
My intention was to write a blog post about the best things to do in Saalbach in summer and included many cool activities, just like I did for winter in Saalbach in my blog 25 things to know when you go (apres) ski in Saalbach Hinterglemm. I guess I will have to come back again…
A big thanks to the Saalbach Hinterglemm Tourism Board for organizing such an amazingly smooth event and for having me. Thank you all for keeping up with my adventures and stay tuned for more cool adventure travel this summer. What about visiting Sweden on a survival canoe trip or rafting in Siberia? Soon on my blog...