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"Our Dutch are coming!"

"Our Dutch are coming!"

They have a well deserved reputation. When the Dutch pair Marja and Pim arrive for skiing at the Diedamskopf ski resort with their enormous entourage, the locals have to be well prepared. By the way, a pair of “jet pants” from the 1970s is always a sight worth seeing.

Every day, no matter the weather, they appear on the slopes at 9 am. And though they have skied all the resorts in the Bregenzerwald, they prefer the natural snow at the Diedamskopf ski resort.

Every year at the end of February, without fail, my sister announces “Our Dutch are coming!” Meanwhile, her friends make mental notes in their calendars. Why? Because it’s well worth waxing the skis, doing some thigh exercises and stretching, and taking a day off. After all, a day of skiing with the Dutch is not for the fainthearted (they cycle 15 km to work every day!). But who are these famous Dutch family celebrities? Marja and Pim, of course, with their three young adult kids… plus or minus all their friends, parents, siblings and partners as part of a changing cast of secondary characters. Ever since Marja worked as a speech therapist at Lebenshilfe (a social services centre) almost thirty years ago, she has associated Vorarlberg with one thing: the perfect ski holiday! The journey begins in the far north in the pitch dark as their ancient Opel Zafira, a seven-seater, leaves Amsterdam at midnight and drives until early morning. Meanwhile, back at our house, every ski holiday starts with my sister constantly peeking out of the kitchen window. “They’re coming!” Every year, we’re surprised by how many people the Dutch can fit in a single car. After breakfast, they hurry to stock up on a week’s worth of food at the local grocery store. Not to mention a few bottles of wine and some sunscreen, of course. Promptly at noon, they move into their holiday apartment in Au.

As the tourist traffic begins to roll towards the Pfänder tunnel, high above it all at the summit, the group from Amsterdam are already breathing in their first taste of crisp mountain air. But how best to describe the gorgeous panorama? “Geweldig?” “Mind-blowing?” Enough with the view, it’s time to ski! With practiced ease they cruise down their first black slope. The couple’s son Arris trained as a ski instructor last winter. By now, everyone is familiar with Marja’s friend Audrey, who still wears her “jet pants” from the 1970s, when she herself was a teenager. Audrey is in her mid-fifties. “Our Dutch” know all the ski instructors at Diedamskopf and they have for years. Every day at 9 am they arrive at the slopes and ski until closing time.No matter the weather.

And though they have skied all the resorts in the Bregenzerwald, they prefer the natural snow at Diedamskopf ski resort. At noon, they hurriedly eat a pea soup or a Germknödel yeast dumpling at the panorama restaurant. After that, they rush off to the next slope and ski without a break until the lifts come to a standstill. The highlight of the day comes at the very end: the forest descent through the trees. Afterwards, they enjoy a beer or an Aperol Spritz from deck chairs in front of the Schrannenhof inn. In the evening, Pim cooks chicken stew with mango chutney and old friends stop by for a visit. And at the end of an eventful week, Marja books their accommodation for next year. Our skiing Dutchmen will be back. We can’t wait.

Author: Irmgard Kramer
Travel Magazine Issue: Winter 2022-23