An eco-friendly stay at ‘the quietest ski village in Austria’

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In the hamlet of Fontanella in the Grosses Walsertal valley, ‘leave-no-trace’ pop-up chalets offer an alternative for skiers looking for a back-to-nature stay in the Alps

On a steeply pitched road in Grosses Walsertal valley, it was snowing – heavily – as if the heavens had shattered. I was two hours west of Innsbruck, deep in the Alps in midwinter, but the view was free from the rows of snow-laden hotels, après-ski bars and resort chalets that I was used to seeing on previous ski trips.

I’d come to the hamlet of Fontanella, halfway between Sonntag and Faschina in Vorarlberg – a place few skiers would be able to pinpoint on a map – to experience a new type of holiday at Cabinski, a cluster of affordable, sustainable huts, which opened last December. Each of the 10 cabins comes with two double bunks, an ensuite and kitchen, and minimalist yet smart Scandi vibes. That might sound familiar enough, but the twist is that this accommodation is temporary – just about pop-up – and able to vanish as quickly as it appeared. It is a counter world to the typical chalet stay.

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