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Tune in next week to The Today FM Topflight Ski Trip, which is now in its 12th incredible year which leaves Ireland tomorrow – Saturday 29th January 2011 with over 460 people from all over Ireland about to hit the ski and spa resort of Bad Hofgastein in the Gastein valley in Salzburgland, Austria.
Ian’s Breakfast Show on 100/102 Today FM will be broadcast live from Monday 31st January to Friday 4th February 2011. Or log on to www.todayfm.com and listen live! This trip has seen over 3,000 participants since it started over 12 years ago, the brainchild of Ian Dempsey himself and Tony Collins MD of Topflight who made the trip a reality.
Some facts and figures, the male/female split is 50/50 and there are people from pretty much every county in Ireland. We have a couple of Irish ski instructors on the trip – one of which will teach the Irish next week. We have a Mayor who has taught our President how to ski. We have an Irish couple who run a guesthouse in the area after falling in love with Bad Hofgastein. And this is where Jean Claude Novelli has his holiday home.
The trip itself has seen many friendships, relationships, marriages and yes children. It has seen many people taking up the wonderful sport of skiing. And tomorrow old friends and new ones will meet up in Dublin and Cork Airports to head for Salzburg and then the Ski and Spa town of Bad Hofgastein. The trip which this winter is the biggest ever has 460 participants in a fun filled week of ski and craic and has become a unique event on the skiing calendar in Ireland and is possibly the biggest ever Irish stand alone ski trip.
The resort of Bad Hofgastein itself is a very famous ski and spa town, and this is the 3rd time the trip will have been to the Gastein valley itself. For the town, it means a unique experience. Apart from the business it brings to the town, the week will be a colourful one in many ways for the town’s businesses. They will see The Saw Doctors performing live on the slopes as Ian Dempsey kicks off his OB on Monday 31st January between 7am and 9am. ( A private concert for all trip participants by The Saw Doctors will follow that evening) They will see Paul Collins of Today Fm together with Damien Fitzhenry, renowned Wexford hurler, line up some would be hurlers – and even some ski instructors to try their hand at a Puc Fada – uphill on the slopes.
They will be entertained for the week by young Irish band Shadow Play and much more besides. And to end the week, Gift Grub ( aka Mario Rosenstock) will be live on Friday 4th February for a very special Breakfast Gig. So Tune in! And don’t forget they will ski and enjoy spa facilities as well! And of course they will ski as this area of Austria has over 200kms of slopes – great for all levels of skiers – and with superb conditions right now after this week’s fresh snowfalls and sunshine next week, skiing will be excellent.
The Gastein valley is unique in the world with its combination of Heilstollen Healing Cave as well as superb public thermal spas such as The Alpen Therme and the Felsen Therme. Equally many of the top hotels in the valley, especially Bad Hofgastein have thermal water and wellness areas in their hotels. Over the years the trip has been to Andorra, France and Austria – Saalbach, Westendorf, St.Johann and the Gastein Valley. .
Each year the trip has grown in size. And what has changed dramatically over the years is the skiing ability of the Irish – as more and more Irish people take to the slopes and become proficient skiers. Said Ian Dempsey who will be broadcasting live from the slopes from Monday 30th January for 5 days “ I think so many people are travelling this year because this is the trip with the reputation for great locations, amazing ski facilities for all leels and top class après ski – very important.
The people of Austria are another key to a fantastic trip – they like Irish people and they understand our boisterous yet harmless way of doing things! The trip is supported by the Gastein Tourist Board as well as Great Outdoors, and the Ski Club of Ireland. Topflight has just been voted Best Winter Ski Tour Operator for the 17th Year at the Irish Travel Trade News Awards and was also voted Best Ski Tour Operator at the Irish Travel Industry Awards inaugural event. www.topflight.ie Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and indeed You Tube during this week.