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Getting there

Thomas went to Westendorf with Crystal Holidays, which flies to Salzburg from Cork and Dublin (01-433 1010; crystalski.ie).

A seven-night Crystal Ski Plus stay and ski package with the operator starts from €529, while a week's stay at four-star Hotel Schermer starts from €959pps.

Try booking before November 30 for the best bargains.


• Beat those ski jams by paragliding your way down the Tyrolean Alps. Not quite Felix Baumgartner adrenaline, but it's a start (€110; para.at).

• Celebrate the bovine beauties at Hoamfahrt – Westendorf's homecoming cow festival. With heifers in head dresses, this is Austria's Lovely Girls contest meets the Puck Fair.

• Dust off your lederhosen for a traditional evening of knee-slapping and accordion playing at the Alpenrosensaal Village hall (€8).

• Jingle bell your way through Westendorf village and its snow-dusted forests with a festive horse and sleigh ride (above). You'll pit-stop for a Tyrolean fry-up (€17).

• Try your hand at Alpine geocaching, the latest in high-tech treasure hunting which involves finding clues using GPS technology. Perhaps best enjoyed between friends and not couples (€7).

For more info visit crystalski.ie or westendorf.com

Weekend Magazine