comSysto Offsite Meeting and white-water Rafting in Oetz, Tirol

I wanted to use the opportunity of writing my first post on our corporate blog about something absolutely not related to technology, CRM, business, SCRUM,  JEE, Intelligence or whatever “usual” topic you have read and will read here.  It should be some kind of smooth start for my blogging career…

Here is what I want to share with you – my impressions of our offsite meeting in Tirol, Austria on 26. and 27.9.2009. It was a get together for all “comSystos”, regardless of their role, position, education, business and technological background, sex, nationality, hair or skin colour. More ambitious people like Maxim would even call it “comSysto Open World”, I want to stick to something simpler like offsite meeting or get together.

We planned it as a work-fun weekend in a relaxed atmosphere and magnificent Tirol mountain and river scenery. And that’s the way it started on Saturday. We arrived to “Nature Resort” in Oetz and had our lunch with Tirol specialties on the terrace enjoying the late summer sun and glorious Tirol mountains. The work part began in the afternoon with the goal to share thoughts, informations, ideas and impressions around comSysto – projects, clients, people, planning, tools, processes, financials, strategy, goals, objectives, … Seems like it was interesting since our guides who were supposed to show us the way to the restaurant waited more than 40 minutes until everybody showed up.

Quite late and even more hungry we started our walk to the restaurant following a trekking route through Tirol forrest. After 45 minutes and right before it got very dark we arrived to a lonely small restaurant located next to a nice mountain lake. Extremely friendly Tirol people served good food, loads of beers and home-made liquor while singing some for us not understandable and probably traditional Tirol songs. Few hours later our way back to “Nature Resort” was leading us through complete darkness, which can be experienced only in wild nature or at deep sea. Our guides had a solution once again – one real old-fashioned torch for everyone since fire is not only providing light but also keeping wild animals off! The biggest challenge was to hold the torch properly and not to burn yourself or people next to you, which is no surprise given the amount of beers and “schnapps” for dinner. Once we finally reached the resort with no losses or injuries, few of us decided to have some more drinks while the rest was smart enough and went straight to bed.

While the smart rest was having a breakfast Sunday morning, few of us were slowly waking up and trying to fight the hangover. We had to hurry since our guides were waiting again. The fun part of our weekend was straight ahead – rafting on the Inn river! Inn has its source in a “gletscher” near St. Moritz (Switzerland). It ends in Passau (Germany) joining famous Danube. Several other smaller streams also coming down from icy and snowy mountain tops join Inn when it’s passing Tirol (Austria). A fact that Inn’s water temperature even in hottest summers hardly exceeds 7° C is not a surprise but we didn’t think about it before.

After pressing ourselves into neoprene suites and feeling literally like “presswurst”, we had to prove our guides that everybody is smart enough to row. Sounds silly, but half an hour later I was sorry we didn’t excercise more. Dry rowing finished and we had to get wet.  Probably not less than 5° C (it felt like -25°) did the rest to our hangover – even in neoprene.

We were split into 4 groups on 4 boats, 2 bigger ones for 6-8 people and 2 smaller ones for 4 people. Getting into the boats and starting in slow water was easy. First white waters were managed easily and we got carefree. Our route on the Inn is rated with rafting severity degree of 3 – 4. Then it happened – a white water spot not much worse than the ones before turned our boat upside-down. The guide was shouting “row, row”, some of us thought they were doing it, some of us already panicked and didn’t do it. The result was a “flip” our guide called “nice”, 1 pair of glasses lost, 1 pair of sunglasses (playing cool when rafting!) lost and 4 guys swimming around in panic. We managed to get into our boat again after a while and were completely frozen. But after all it was a good thing – we took rafting, our guide and his commands more seriously and everything went well.

At the total of approx. 1,5 hours our rafting ended when we reached the final stop where showers, dry clothes, food, drinks and our cars were waiting for us. Few Tirol sausages, beer, Almdudler and afternoon sun helped us recover and start our 2 hours drive back to Munich.

Ötz, “Nature Resort”, many thanks, everything was perfect, we’ll be back! But next time we will raft on “Ötztaler Achen” (severity 5 – 6) 😉 Meanwhile we’ll try some sailing!

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