Behind the Blades with Paul Poirier: Nebelhorn Trophy 2016

My dearest Oberstdorf, where to begin?

It was my first week back to the charming alpine town in nearly 10 years (last time was for Junior Worlds in 2007); I was not disappointed. After many hours on the plane, a few in a van, there she was, as quaint as I remembered. We were lodged at the Hotel Mohren, across from the church. Oberstdorf can easily be navigated via landmarks: “turn right at the ice cream shop,” or perhaps “walk towards the ski jump and eventually you’ll end up at the rink.”

poirier-pic1In all we were a Canadian team of six ready to trek up the cow-dung-laden streets to the Eissportzentrum where we began our international season. Everyone was provided with two practices on Wednesday, and an ample time to get oriented. Our coach Carol, Piper and I completed our day by meeting the ISU committee to clarify details on our pattern dance (which is slowly coming along, name still TBD).

Competition days are rather boring. Besides the odd bit of skating we spend most of our time couped up in a room being nervous, napping, or going for a walk to avoid cabin fever.

The competition was a success for both Piper and I, and the Canadian team as a whole; we brought home the Nebelhorn Trophy for best overall team. Luckily, as we were the first to finish, Piper and I had the opportunity to enjoy the performances of our teammates stress-free.

poirier-pic2In way of celebration on Friday night, Carol and our dear friend Ingeborg brought us to a restaurant above the rink for some Bavarian käsespätzle (egg noodles with sharp cheese and fried onions). Piper and I also managed to hike the Nebelhorn (foghorn) mountain via cable car on Saturday to enjoy the view before hustling back down to skate in the gala.

After a full week of rich memories, it was already time to go home. To end I’ll share with you a few things I learned about Oberstdorf during my stay:

  1. There are approximately 19 cows in Oberstdorf. On Wednesday there was a big celebration as the cows were brought back into town from the mountains – alas, I was sleeping in!
  2. The cable car crosses into Austria and then crosses back into Germany.
  3. Oberstdorf continues its reign for having the #1 breakfast (because I must write about food).
  4. Oberstdorf is the only place I’ve been to where I can wear lederhosen in public and not get stared at – yes, I tried!

More to come!


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