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ENCHANTMENT AT ALTITUDE - James Rampton, Mayrhofen
Thursday December 15, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The Altitude Comedy Festival in Mayrhofen has been bringing mirth to the mountains of Austria all week. PlanetSKI has been reporting from the festival, which runs until Saturday, and we have been loving the humour in the hills. NEW

But we have found that there is much more to Mayrhofen than wall to wall laughter.

For a start, there is the Enchanted Forest, a truly, er, enchanting Christmas market.

PlanetSKI was in Berlin last December, and we have to admit that the festive markets there were far more commercial than Christmassy.

The Enchanted Forest, on the hand, has a much more appealing, down-to-earth villagey charm about it.

Enchantment in the forestEnchantment in the forest















You follow the lit torches that mark the way from the centre of Mayrhofen past a plaque reminding you that this area gave the world the celebrated Christmas carol "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night).

Wandering musiciansWandering musicians




















Within five minutes, the torches lead you into a circle of low wooden structures (including a very impressive stage), nestling in the forest on the outskirts of the resort.

Its like stumbling into a scene from Hansel and Gretel - with fewer scary witches.

Yes, you can buy such scrumptious local delicacies as ham, cheese, sausages and schnapps at this market.

But the Enchanted Forest, which is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9pm, feels more like an occasion to catch up with old friends than a retail opportunity.

As people stand around the enormous fire-pits chatting and scoffing Bratwurst, there is a very "gemütlich" atmosphere.

The international language of the fire-pitThe international language of the fire-pit




















Showing PlanetSKI around the Enchanted Forest, the local press officer Elisabeth Kroell points out that, "This is very traditional.

The focus here is not selling things, but on coming together, meeting friends and drinking mulled wine.

Here you can escape from thinking, 'Help, I should be organising Christmas!'" It's all very "echt" Austrian.

To add to the ambience, there are several wandering Austrian folk bands doing their thing.

Under normal circumstances, I would rather have all my teeth extracted without anaesthetic than listen to droning accordion music.

But in the soothing surrounds of the Enchanted Forest, it seems just right.

The other thing that seems just right in The Enchanted Forest is the Glühwein.

Usually, I view this drink as a waste of perfectly good red wine.

However, at the market, served in mugs bearing the logo "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht", the Glühwein seems to take on almost magical properties - and no, before you ask, I did not have more than one mug of it!

Heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star aniseed, citrus and sugar this Glühwein is the perfect "winter warmer."

In fact, that would be a good name for it, if the Chiswick brewers Fullers hadn't already nabbed it for their rich seasonal beer.

Kroell is rightly proud of The Enchanted Forest.

"This market is unique," she asserts.

"This ring of wooden houses hidden in the forest is really romantic. You could easily meet a partner here. Two years ago, a man proposed to his girlfriend here, and she said yes!"

You heard it here first.

Mayhofen is the place to go if you're searching for merriment and/or marriage.

PlanetSKI will be filing reports from the The Altitude Comedy Festival all week.

PlanetSKI's reporter channels Bon JoviPlanetSKI's reporter channels Bon Jovi




















 Father Chistmas makes a surprise appearance Father Chistmas makes a surprise appearance




















See here for the first blog post from James in Mayrhofen: THE HILLS ARE ALIVE TO THE SOUND OF LAUGHTER

See here for the second blog from James in Mayrhofen: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED

See here for the third blog from James in Mayrhofen: YODELLING AT ALTITUDE

The Fact Box:

The Enchanted Forest is open on Fridays and Saturdays in Mayrhofen from 5 to 9pm.

Tickets for the Altitude Comedy Festival can be found at here.

Crystal Ski Holidays (; 020 8939 0726) offers a week's half board at the Sport & Spa Hotel Strass from £662 per person including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers departing during January 2017. Departures from all major UK airports available (at a supplement starting from £25).

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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