NewsIschgl pure

Ischgl pure

The former Corona hotspot in the Tyrolean Alps is fully booked again. The notorious party excesses should no longer exist.

In the afternoon the village street is full of people. Some have ski boots on and skis over their shoulders, others don’t. In the pubs, people drink and eat while the cabins of the Silvretta cable car whiz up and down the mountain at fast pace. This is how Ischgl is now in winter. “We currently have a load like before Corona,” says Arnold Tschiderer in an interview with the FR. He runs the noble castle hotel and the upstream “champagne hut”.

Ischgl – that is the ski resort in Tyrol with a miserable reputation among many. In March 2020, when Corona was in the starting blocks, there was a massive outbreak there, the first in Europe. It was warned too late and not closed quickly enough, were the allegations. Travelers were infected many times in après-ski bars. The hurried departure of the crowds resulted in tremendous chaos and scenes of panic.

According to a “Spiegel” study, more than 11,000 infections in Europe could be traced back to Ischgl. 30 deaths as of August 2020 are related to the outbreak. That seemed to fit, since Ischgl was already a symbol for mass tourism, partying and excessive alcohol among disinhibited people. How is the place dealing with it now, in the first ski season since March 2020?

Anna Kurz.

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Anna Kurz.

“We didn’t do everything right in the past, of course mistakes happened,” says Günther Zangerl, CEO of the Silvretta cable car. It comes from the “village”, as the locals call Ischgl. According to Zangerl, the image of the “Ballermann of the Alps” was “not entirely through no fault of our own”. He remembers well that a number of travelers had après-ski binge drinking started at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and ended at 5 a.m. the next morning. Back then, too, there was repeated discussion in the town: “Do we want this or do we not want that?”

From 10 p.m. there is now curfew in the catering trade. The 2G rule applies, guests are given a seat in restaurants and bars and have to stay there. Dancing, partying, flirting? Everything is not possible as it used to be. The place is a collection of hotels, restaurants and sports shops, grouped around the village street. For every 1,600 residents, there are 1.5 million overnight stays a year, mostly ski vacationers. The ratio of travelers to locals is often ten to one.

“No, Ischgl was never a ballerina in the Alps,” says hotelier Tschiderer. “We have a quality level that is far too high for that.” There are plenty of top hotels and top restaurants in the village. Many guests would come to ski and enjoy themselves and would also like to have a taste of it. “Après-ski is only a small part of the offer.” Ischgl has lots of regular guests who are not interested in partying. People wanted to ski and enjoy nature. “Walking along the brook from Ischgl to Galtür is like a fairy tale,” enthuses Tschiderer.

The après-ski bars are still there, but there is no après-ski anymore. The “Kuhstall” is full in the evenings, as is “Nikis Stadl”. And in front of the “Schatzi” people are queuing and waiting to be admitted. It used to be advertised as follows: “Between 4 and 7 p.m., ‘Tyrolean girls’ in short skirts ensure a good atmosphere at table dance, especially among the male guests.” Now the audience populates the bars in an orderly manner and in accordance with Corona rules.

Arnold Tschiderer.

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Arnold Tschiderer.

Famous and, in retrospect, the most notorious was the “Kitzloch” – in March 2020, a local employee passed on many infections to guests. At the turn of the year, one employee tested positive again, followed by four more. “All the rules are 100 percent adhered to,” asserts the landlord Bernhard Zangerl. The events showed that Corona could appear anywhere. He has already got used to the fact that the Kitzloch “is on the presentation plate”.

“Make guests happy”

Anna Kurz is right in the middle of it with her restaurant-bar “Fire and Ice”. The 30-year-old woman from Ischgl has been the boss for four years; she has taken over the business from her parents. “It’s our job to make our guests happy,” she says with a beaming smile. She relies on “international audiences between the ages of 20 and 50” and says: “Tourism is extremely creative.” The rooms are stylishly styled, and she takes care of that herself. In Vienna she graduated in media studies and dramaturgy.

And then returned home. She finds the fact that so many holidaymakers are there in spurts “totally exciting”. But there is also a village life with associations – “we help together”. And it hurts “that one was portrayed as greedy or irresponsible”. In “Fire and Ice” she only wanted to play quieter electro-pop. But the audience also demands the classics – Cordula Grün or YMCA. “We don’t play very primitive and sexist songs,” Kurz said. When she’s tired of the hustle and bustle, she drives out to the family’s small farm and looks after her four lamas.

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