Greetings from Oberstdorf, Germany and the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy, which is the third event in the ISU Challenger Series.  This is Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit and we are thrilled to be blogging once again for!  As you may recall from our previous blogs, since we write as a team and don’t want to confuse our readers, we refer to ourselves as “we,” “Ellie” or “Alex.”  We also work from a theme for the week to tie our blogs together and hopefully provide some local flavor for the readers, but we had some difficulty in choosing just one for Oberstdorf.  Why?  Simply because in the skating world, Oberstdorf has a very deep history with a global reach, but the village is also known for its famous cows.  Faced with the decision between skating history and Bavarian bovines, we opted for a Cow Tales theme, but don’t worry, we will also include some interesting skating facts too!

We started our Oberstdorf experience on Monday evening at DTW.  We flew with 3 of the Detroit-based dance teams that will be competing at Nebelhorn, and arrived on Tuesday morning in Munich.  The city’s Oktoberfest celebration started on Saturday, and the airport was filled with dirndl-clad women and men dressed in lederhosen, presumably arriving to enjoy the party.   After a 3 hour bus ride through gorgeous countryside, we arrived in Oberstdorf in the Allgau region of the Bavarian Alps.  Surrounded by higher mountain meadows and lush lower pastures dotted with dairy cows, the village is primarily closed to cars and buses, meaning that we will walk to the rink each day.

We checked in to the Hotel Mohren, (which ironically is the same hotel that Alex’s mom was housed in as a Team USA ice dancer at the 1981 Nebelhorn Trophy), walked to the Eissportzentrum (rink) to register, and found our first cow!  Okay — it was actually a statue… but we were happy nonetheless for the photo op!  Alex savored some awesome-tasting, locally-produced ice cream on the way back to the hotel, before we headed to our Team USA dinner.

The dinner was organized by Team Leader Lorrie Parker, known for her unbelievable cache of patriotic goodies, and she did not disappoint with her table décor!  We had a great Italian dinner and shared some laughs and camaraderie, before heading back to the Hotel Mohren for the night.  We’ve been told that the church bells peal at 7am and that the cows leave the village for the lower pastures a little earlier than that.  Hopefully we will still be sleeping at that time tomorrow, but our intention is to experience this sight later in our trip.  In the meantime, we will drift off tonight, dreaming of the iconic dances that were skated by teams that made Oberstdorf their home…..the Duchesnays’ 1991 “Missing” FD, Rahkamo & Kokko’s 1995 Finnstep OD, and Torvill & Dean’s 1984 “Bolero” FD. 

Gute Nacht!

Ellie & Alex