SKI RACING LIKE IN THE OLDEN DAYS

Every Tuesday evening, people tear down the slopes in Galtür on short, curved wooden planks. What’s known as barrel stave racing is traditional in Paznaun. So what is it, then?

Barrel staves are, as the name would suggest, long planks from old barrels. They’re bent on both sides, don’t have edges and are sometimes pretty mangy. It’s actually quite hard to imagine skiing down the piste on them. But you can. And the strangest thing of all is that it’s really good fun!
Although one thing should be made clear from the start: almost nobody arrives at the finish line accident-free. But then again, barrel stave racing has nothing to do with aesthetics.

People must have been a bit more skilled in the past. Some 150 years ago, mountain farmers in the Alps covered old scrap boards with leather straps and slid down the slopes on them. The boards are, if you like, a sort of precursor to our skis.
If you want to try out nostalgic skiing, the best idea is to come to the Gamepele next to the sport and cultural centre on Tuesday at 20.30. You don’t need to bring much with you, but strong street shoes and warm ski clothes are recommended.