Dolomiten Lauf

32. Getting Acquainted with the Austrian Police

by Ben Mitchell –

I love how traveling for Worldloppet races can lead to such memorable experiences on and off the trails…

This past winter I was excited to catch up with my parents and two brothers for the Dolomittenlauf and Marcialonga as we have long wanted to ski both races and since my parents live in Vietnam, my brothers in Utah, and I in Kenya, it would also serve as our annual family get-together! After meeting in Munich, we rented two cars (due to our absurd amounts of luggage and ski gear) and drove down to Sillian, Austria for the first weekend of racing. We got there a day early to get some time on our skis as snow is hard to find in Kenya and Vietnam. On Friday morning as we headed up to the beautiful Obertilliach for our warm-up ski, we found ourselves getting acquainted with the Austrian Police.  

Only one car had directions to where we were going, so my father drove the lead car while I rode along with my brother, Andrew, in the second. Andrew and I were quickly deep into conversation before we realized that the car in front of us no longer looked familiar and was traveling rather slow, leading us to believe the car with the rest of our family must be further ahead. As we finally had an opening to pass, my brother Andrew stomped on the accelerator (thanks BMW) and passed the slow car only to be confronted by the Police with a radar gun flagging us down. The Austrian police officer approached us and requested our paperwork. After a sweat inducing pause, he informed us that driving as fast as we were was a serious offence. On top of that, we did not have the proper vehicle documentation and he informed us that Andrew’s US license was not valid in Austria. In a deep Austrian accent, the officer said, “I see you are from Utah. What happens in Utah when you drive without a license, no vehicle documentation, and are going way too fast?”.  Anxiously, my brother couldn’t help but give a sheepish grin and reply a simple “Not good”. The Officer also laughed and said, “Not good is right! Lucky for you, we are pretty laid back in Austria and I’ll let you off with a warning. But let me tell you that you won’t find the rest of your party up ahead, you missed your turn to Obertilliach about six kilometers back!”. After thanking him for his understanding, we turned around, found the rest of our family and spent the afternoon on picturesque ski trails with some good laughs reminiscing about our encounter with the Austrian Police. It was certainly a memorable trip both on and off the trails.

Josh, Andrew and Ben Mitchell at Dolomitenlauf
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