EASTER IN THE INNSBRUCK REGION SKIING TRADITION AND CULTURE


by Shrutee K/DNS

Easter is the time to see Innsbruck at its most beautiful. With the city basking under a radiant blue sky and surrounded by stunning snow-covered mountain peaks, you can relax in one of the lovely cafe gardens and enjoy your first cappuccino of the day in the spring sunshine. Whilst the nearby Kuhtai ski resort offers the perfect springtime conditions for skiing, the city with its colourful traditions, delightful cuisine and cultural highlights is full of wonderful surprises.

Innsbruck's Easter Spring
One of the highlights of Innsbruck's Easter Spring is the Easter market held outside the Golden Roof. It's being held this year for the 15th time, offering visitors the opportunity to savour the fresh spring air and buy some creatively designed gifts. From 22 March to 2 April inclusive, there's plenty to discover at more than 30 stalls in the Old Town: wooden toys to delight the youngest visitors, and handicrafts and Easter decorations to provide ideas for your Easter basket. Delicious food cooked in a giant pan and speciality sweets and pastries are the perfect way to fortify you for your shopping. A varied programme throughout Easter enables visitors to experience some traditional customs, some of which hark back to the time when the advent of the warm, fertile days was vital for people living and working in the countryside. Look out in particular for the "Aperschnalzer", when special whips are rhythmically swung by groups of young men, and the resulting cracks of the whips - either in the air or as they strike the ground - seek to drive out winter; and the "Grasauslauter", when noisy bells and rattles symbolically expel winter and encourage the grass to emerge. Young children can test their creative skills making Easter and spring decorations (every day), and, of course, enjoy an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday.

Easter exhibitions: The Hare and his Eggs & Smarter than the Easter Hare
If you've ever wondered why it's a hare - or bunny - that brings the Easter eggs, you'll find some interesting answers in the Easter Exhibition, and you might be surprised to learn that it's based on a 16th century German tradition. The exhibition runs from February to April in the Baroque cellar of Innsbruck's Imperial Court, and you can learn lots of interesting and curious facts about Easter traditions from more than 1,000 collectors' items.
The Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art also offers you the chance to discover lots of fascinating Easter traditions. Foreign visitors will find it interesting to compare their Easter customs with Tyrol's. What presents are given at Easter? Are there any special foods associated with Easter? Is there a traditional Easter costume? At 12 stations across the museum, selected items such as a Lent crib, a palm donkey and a rattle might answer these questions and highlight some of the differences. The exhibition is open from 8 March to 22 April.

Lent cribs, palm leaves and Easter grave decorations
The villages in the Innsbruck region also provide plenty of opportunities to experience Easter traditions at first hand. Many churches and chapels are embellished every year with Lent cribs. These artistically crafted and lovingly designed masterpieces of Tyrolean folk art show biblical Easter scenes. The centuries-old works are only exhibited during Lent in the 40 days before Easter - in Gotzens, Axams, Zirl and Telfs, for example. In many places graves are adorned with Easter decorations instead: coloured, water-filled, illuminated glass balls often frame the scene, creating an almost mystical atmosphere. The custom is especially common in the villages of Axams, Igls, Patsch, Natters, Mutters, Gotzens, Birgitz, Kematen and Oberperfuss.

Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) is a particularly colourful day of Easter, commemorating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem when people came out to worship him with palm branches. Palm trees don't grow in the Alps so, for the "palm tree" or the stately, often metre-high "palm mats", we have to make do with furry gray catkins and all sorts of alpine plants such as heather and juniper. Adorned with coloured ribbons and pretzels, they're proudly carried into church by the children, and there's often even a procession where the jewels can be admired - for example in Mutters, Natters or Obsteig on the Mieminger Plateau.

Eggs, bacon and special bread
It's impossible to imagine Easter without decorated eggs. In addition to the obligatory Easter eggs, it's mainly bread specialties that make the Easter brunch something special. On Palm Sunday, the children are often given rabbits, hens or pretzels - shaped bread made from yeast dough, baked and presented only on these occasions - by their godparents. Another very old, Easter bread recipe is the Forchaz or Fochatz (from Lat. focus = fire). This was originally a flatbread baked under ashes. Today, connoisseurs appreciate it mainly for its very special taste, created by adding a dash of anise, among other things. In Innsbruck, for example, it's available at traditional bakeries such as Moschen's - but it's a good idea to order in advance as this seasonal speciality sells like hot cakes!

Easter Festival in Innsbruck and Hall
Innsbruck launches the "season of culture" with the Easter Festival. For its 30th anniversary, the multi-faceted festival, valued far beyond the provincial borders, will be combining, in its customary varied manner, a wide range of music: old and new, world-famous and avant-garde, regional and international. The demanding programme spans the spectrum from orchestral to dance performances, and organ concerts to vocal ensembles. In various venues in Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol, the artists comment on their vision of human existence in a variety of approaches and forms of expression under the guiding principle "uber.leben" (about.life). A special highlight will be the St John Passion which the Collegium Vocale Gent, under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe, a pioneer of early music, will be performing on Good Friday (30 March) at the Congress Innsbruck.

Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) is a particularly colourful day of Easter, commemorating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem when people came out to worship him with palm branches. Palm trees don't grow in the Alps so, for the "palm tree" or the stately, often metre-high "palm mats", we have to make do with furry gray catkins and all sorts of alpine plants such as heather and juniper. Adorned with coloured ribbons and pretzels, they're proudly carried into church by the children, and there's often even a procession where the jewels can be admired - for example in Mutters, Natters or Obsteig on the Mieminger Plateau.

But wouldn't it be nicer on the ski slopes?
For eager winter sports enthusiasts, the Easter holidays offer, of course, the perfect opportunity to experience perhaps the most beautiful skiing days of the year. In the Kuhtai ski report, for example, the lifts are in operation until 15 April. And as the days at Easter are much longer than in January, you can, of course, enjoy an extended day's skiing...


CULTURAL EVENTS
OLD MUSIC, NEW RHYTHMS AND INSPIRING SURPRISES INNSBRUCK'S CULTURAL SUMMER 2018
Between mountain and valley, at the vibrant interface between urban space and alpine lifestyle, Tyrol's state capital captivates its visitors with its lively art and culture scene. Innsbruck's Cultural Summer will also be offering an exciting programme in 2018, making the diversity of cultural activities in the heart of the Alps clear and tangible.
Music in the Giant (24 – 27 May 2018)
"Music in the Giant" will be celebrating its 15th anniversary from 24 to 27 May 2018, bringing together and exploring some key programmatic themes. The Swarovski Crystal Worlds' Chamber Music Festival, led by the Tyrolean composer and pianist Thomas Larcher, will be honouring Philip Glass, one of the most influential contemporary composers who will also be performing as a pianist. So the "Tyrol Concerto" which, amongst other things, provided the musical accompaniment for the still effective promotional film "Land in the Mountains", will be performed in Tyrol for the second time since 2000. Renaissance and Baroque vocal music as well as classical works for string quartet and quintet are on the programme in five further concerts.
Classics on the Mountain (30 June 2018)
InnStrumenti, the Tyrol Chamber Orchestra, is setting its sights high at the end of June. At an altitude of 1965 metres, the dedicated musicians will be taking Innsbruck's cultural scene up into the mountains. Under the direction of Gerhard Sammer, the ensemble will be playing a varied programme on a specially installed, temporary stage on the Patscherkofel, Innsbruck's home mountain. With sophisticated orchestration and performed to their legendary very high standards, this extraordinary concert will appeal equally to connoisseurs and newcomers to classical music and, thanks to the unique combination of the enjoyment of culture and nature, will showcase Innsbruck as major city in the Alps.
Innsbruck Proms (2 – 29 July 2018)
The impressive backdrop of the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) will become a stage again in July 2018. With its unique architectural beauty and special acoustic qualities, one might think the former Habsburg residence was purpose made for the perfect enjoyment of music. Under the artistic direction of Alois Schopf, the residents of Innsbruck and visitors to the city will be able to enjoy free access to outstanding music. First-class ensembles from all over Europe will be playing at the imperial residence over four weeks.
New Orleans Festival 5 – 22 July 2018
It's time to get grooving again. The whole of Innsbruck will be swinging at the 20th New Orleans Festival and the heart of the Alps will be beating to particularly lively rhythms. The festival opens on 5 July with a themed evening in Casino Innsbruck. On 11 July New Orleans will be the guest in ORF's Studio 3. Two days later, during the Long Night of Music, the bars in the city centre will be rocking. On 15 July the Patscherkofel invites you to enjoy the blues and the next day it's off to the legendary location of the "Bierstindl". Finally, from 19 to 22 July, an authentic New Orleans feeling with a festival atmosphere will be the hot ticket at the Landhausplatz.

Wetterleuchten Festival (14 – 15 July 2018)
The mountains in sight, the beat in your heart. Hardly any other event showcases the young, urban Innsbruck as well as the Wetterleuchten Festival. For two days, the finest electronic music is played against the breathtaking backdrop of the Seegrube. DJs and turntable artists delight their audience with their sets at over 2,000 metres above sea level. The dress code at the Wetterleuchten Festival is unconventional and at the same time typical of Innsbruck. Because where else do you dance in mountain boots and hiking trousers?
Innsbruck Festival of Early Music 2018: Eventful Worlds (17 July – 27 August 2018)
A unique soundscape of timeless beauty is created when old scores discover new life, the works of almost forgotten masters continue to resonate today, and a musical arc stretches over the centuries. In summer 2018, with the motto "Eventful Worlds", Alessandro De Marchi, director of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, will once again be taking us on an extraordinary journey. The 42nd edition of the first-class Festival of Early Music will be placing the instrument maker Jacob Stainer, who was born in Absam/Tyrol around 1618, at the centre of a series of concerts, and maestro Jurgen Flimm will be staging Mercadante's "Didone". De Marchi sums up the festival's unique position perfectly: "The Innsbruck Festival 2018 combines music, styles and sounds from five centuries. Our only constant is to perform the music in sound and structure based on our historical information and using instruments matching the originals used at that time".
Tiroler Volksschauspiele Telfs (21 July – 31 August 2018)
Telfs has been hosting the drama festival "Tiroler Volksschauspiele" since 1982, performingcontemporary popular theatre in extraordinary venues ranging from workshop to old barn to the circus tent in which "The BrandnerKaspar and the Eternal Life" was performed last year. People can't wait to find out what programme chairman Markus Vollenklee will be presenting over a number of weeks this summer.

Alternative art and independent scene
Innsbruck enjoys an excellent reputation not only for "classical" art and culture, its alternative scene has no need to fear international comparison. Stages such as the Kellertheater, the Westbahntheater or the FreiesTheater Innsbruck enhance the summer schedule with productions ranging from light-hearted to challenging. The Treibhaus, p.m.k. and the Backerei.Kulturbackstube are just some of the venues that reflect a vibrant spectrum of alternative, contemporary culture with exhibitions, concerts and workshops. pmk.or.at, treibhaus.at, diebaeckerei.at
Stams Abbey – new museum in historic walls
Stams Abbey is situated in the village of the same name some 40 km west of Innsbruck. Founded in 1273, the Cistercian Order and its basilica are, even today, impressive places of monastic life and, at the same time, one of the most important educational institutions in Tyrol. The recently opened museum enables interested visitors to gain a real insight into eight centuries of everyday monastic life. The highlights include precious sacral treasures and curiosities such as an astronomical table from 1425 and the almost completely preserved monastery pharmacy. But Stams Abbey is also one of the most important venues in the Upper Inn valley for music lovers. Extraordinary concerts are frequently performed in the Bernardisaal, its impressive architecture also providing a very special acoustic. For example, as part of the OBERTONE Chamber Music Days, which will take place from 12 to 16 September 2018.

Tiroler Landesmuseen
The Tyrolean State Museums are always worth a visit. In 2018 the renowned Tyrolean institution which incorporates the Volkskunstmuseum (Regional Heritage Museum), Ferdinandeum and Zeughaus (Arsenal) will once again be demonstrating its outstanding cultural role in the Alps. Curator Helene Perana and her team have developed a compact, multi-layered programme with socio-political references. The "Art 1938 – 1945" exhibition casts light, for example, on the years of Nazi rule from the point of view of the visual arts. The "Forum Migration" is seen as a meeting place of art and everyday life, offering the chance to join in discussions and workshops in January and February. Other highlights include eight special exhibitions dedicated, for example, to Lucas Cranach as a painter of nature, and the 2018 UCI Road World Championship. The Bike Show is being held from 4 May and, with the title "Frischluft? Freiheit! Fahrrad" (Fresh air? Freedom! Bicycle), will highlight, among other things, the technical, cultural and historical aspects of biking.
BIG EVENTS
This is going to be world class: Innsbruck is hosting Crankworx and the Climbing and Road World Championships. Innsbruck is once again demonstrating its outstanding position as a host city for major sports events. Over the next few months and years there's one event after another. The Bobsleigh World Championships are being held in Innsbruck at the end of January 2017, followed by Crankworx, the largest gravity mountain bike spectacle in the world, in 2017 and 2018. And then it's the Climbing World Championships and the Road World Championships in 2018.

Crankworx: Mountain bike action   (13 to 17 June 2018)
In 2017 the biggest mountain bike freeride event in the world was held in Innsbruck for the first time. Crankworx means plenty of action with the best bikers in the world, and there's a supporting programme with a festival atmosphere and an expo area showing off the latest trends in the bike scene. The programme features 5 competitions from 13 to 17 June: Downhill, Slopestyle, Dual Speed & Style, Whip-Off and a Pump Track contest. The Innsbruck Bike Park (Muttereralmpark) is the central event location.
In parallel to the professional competitions, there's a series of side events which visitors to the Crankworx can look forward to enjoying in June 2018. Crankworx first took place in 2004 in Whistler Mountain in Canada and other stops on the tour are Rotorua in New Zealand and Les Gets in France. Top rider Marcelo Gutierrez (top 10 UCI downhill ranking) can barely contain his excitement, saying: "I'm just so pleased that Crankworx is coming to Innsbruck. Innsbruck already offers lots of opportunities for biking and, with Crankworx, that's going to get even better. The event's good for the local scene, for the quality of the provision for bikers, and it's also a chance for Crankworx to become even bigger."

UCI Road World Championships 2018: spectacular backdrop and exciting course
Up to 350,000 spectators and 1,000 riders are expected from 22 to 30 September 2018 for the challenging Road World Championships. The International Cycling Association (UCI) chose Innsbruck primarily for the challenging course. Whilst course details will be finalised during the next couple of weeks, what's now quite certain is that Innsbruck, capital of the Alps, will be setting the stage with its magnificent backdrop. Innsbruck will be drawing on its expertise in hosting the Olympics three times, and a vibrant atmosphere is assured when, in September 2018, the world's physically strongest riders with nerves of steel will be competing for the title of world champion in a total of twelve races. The absolute highlight will be the elite race for which an altitude gain of some 5,000 metres is being planned. Such a course is unprecedented in the history of the Road World Championships! Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana, and also the Austrian "Climbers" will be delighted. Thanks to TV coverage, 200 million spectators in 150 countries will be able to savour the atmosphere.

Climbing World Championships 2018 in Innsbruck and Junior Climbing World Championships 2017

The Innsbruck region offers the best conditions for climbing fans: whether rock climbing outdoors, climbing in the brand new climbing centre or at the world championships. After the Bouldering European Championships in 2010 and 2015, the best climbers in the world will once again be competing at the World Championships in Innsbruck in 2018. The juniors already held their World Championships in 2017.
The Climbing World Championships will be held from 6 to 16 September 2018 in the Olympiahalle and at the new climbing centre, that opened in spring 2017. With a climbing area of 5.500 square meter, the innovative climbing facility ticks all the boxes; be it indoors or outdoors, rope climbing or bouldering, for competitions or the general public. For Jakob Schubert, the double Lead Climbing World Champion and two-time Overall Climbing World Cup Champion, this is where the best training conditions are to be found. 700 participants from 70 countries are expected at the Climbing World Championships in 2018, which already promise to be one of the greatest Climbing World Championships in history. The Paraclimbing World Championships will be held at the same time. The year before - from 30 August to 10 September 2017 – some 1,400 juniors will be meeting for the Junior Climbing World Championships in the capital of Tyrol.

UCI Road World Championships 2018: spectacular backdrop and exciting course
Up to 350,000 spectators and 1,000 riders are expected from 22 to 30 September 2018 for the challenging Road World Championships. The International Cycling Association (UCI) chose Innsbruck primarily for the challenging course. Whilst course details will be finalised during the next couple of weeks, what's now quite certain is that Innsbruck, capital of the Alps, will be setting the stage with its magnificent backdrop. Innsbruck will be drawing on its expertise in hosting the Olympics three times, and a vibrant atmosphere is assured when, in September 2018, the world's physically strongest riders with nerves of steel will be competing for the title of world champion in a total of twelve races. The absolute highlight will be the elite race for which an altitude gain of some 5,000 metres is being planned. Such a course is unprecedented in the history of the Road World Championships! Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana, and also the Austrian "Climbers" will be delighted. Thanks to TV coverage, 200 million spectators in 150 countries will be able to savour the atmosphere.

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