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.