A frugal Trip to the Mountains

View from our hut, 7:00 am. (Mountains "Wettersteingebirge", Bavaria)

View from our mountain hut, 7:00 am. (Mountains “Wettersteingebirge“, Bavaria)

Again Woodpecker had an excellent chance to see how disconnected money and fun often are in life:

A year is gone and so Woodpecker+old friend’s annual winter mountain tour returned.

This time to a mountain hut in the Wettersteingebirge, some mountains not too far from Munich.

We stayed there for 3 days, and boy, as always it was an absolutely  great time. This year’s hut was located in the middle of a ski-area, so we took advantage of a lift card to do a day of downhill skiing plus a day of our usual ski-touring activity (uphill climbing with skis).

Hope you have a good fire in the oven! The hut - with a cold night approaching.

Hope you have a good fire in the oven! The hut – with a cold night approaching.

The hut is owned by German alpine club and costs only 11 EUR per night for members (Membership 90 EUR p.a.). For this cheap a price you obviously have to bring your own food, cook yourself, heat the stove with fire wood and make some compromises on luxury. E.g. there are typically no showers. This time we had the extreme luxury of hot water, but typically you just pick freezing cold water from an external fountain, sometimes you even have to use gas-lamps as there is no electricity.

I told this to a non-frugal colleague and guess what his answer was?

“Well, interesting. However: without a shower? I wouldn’t do that, because you know, I really work hard enough and earn enough money to deserve my shower each day!”

Oh my god, how wrong he is!

He will never find out the pleasure of the crackling wood-fired stove after a day of physical work out on a ski touring through cold, untouched mountains covered by 2 meters of snow.

He will not smell the gemütlich fume of burning wood far away from any polluting cars.


Germany’s highest peak – the Zugspitze – in the morning sun. (on the left)

He will not taste the fantastic flavour of some simple fried eggs in the clear, crisp and thin air of the Alps.

He will not enjoy the total silence under a deep black and star sprinkled sky when you step out of the hut at night to take a leak at minus 10 degrees Celsius.

He will not have the fun and good talks with random, but mostly interesting and open people who stay at the same hut.

He will not have the pleasure of waking up from dawn’s first light glancing into your window (that you hopefully shoveled free of snow the evening before), just to peer out and see the morning sun burning the mountain tops in fierce red.

And then – so much fun and stimulation for your senses for so little money!

Let’s compare:

Simple Mountain hut Decent Hotel
Cost for 2 nights p.Person 22 EUR 200 EUR
+ 4 great tasty meals 24 EUR 80 EUR
+ 2 bottles of wine 10 EUR 40 EUR
+ nice drinks 10 EUR (byo) 40 EUR (quickly adds!)
Skiing 0 EUR (touring) 70 EUR ski pass
Transport 15 EUR 15 EUR
Nature experience Incredible Fair
Health effect / Sports Great Fair
Shower Poor Great
Total Trip 3 days fun 81 EUR 445 EUR
Be careful not to sit below this!

Be careful not to sit below this!

I mean, there is nothing wrong with a nice comfortable hotel, and every now and then it’s fine to enjoy one if you wish – but five times the costs, only for a good shower with other things being equal or superior in the hut?!

I don’t know…




2 comments on “A frugal Trip to the Mountains

  1. Anonymous says:

    As an old man with experience in skiing huts, I really appreciate the enthusiastic outcries of newbies – new to cold water.
    With that background: Enjoy the period of enjoying chiiillllyyy showers…

    • mrwoodpecker says:

      Thank, will do!

      Nothing against a hot shower btw. But then, if I have to renounce it for three days, the fun is the greater once I am back home!
      I think this is one of the secrets of the moderate way of downshifting that I prefere. Voluntarily produce some scarcity and then enjoy a bit of luxury every now and then.


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