Jour Fixe: Winter Park Adventure

Ready for a Winter Park Adventure on February 12th, 2023?

You like trains and skiing or hanging out in a Ski Town for a day?
Then join our first JOUR FIXE on February 12, 2023 on the Amtrak Winter Park Express.
Departure from Union Station Denver: 02/12/23 at 7am
Departure from Winter Park: 02/12/2023 at 4:30pm

We will enjoy a 2 hour train ride together with Austrian goodies! After arriving in Winter Park you have the day to yourself, whether you like to go skiing or just hang out with a warm cup of coffee, the choice is yours. Upon arrial, volunteers are available to direct you to rental shops for skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing or anything else you are looking forward to doing. At the end of the day we will all gather again and take the train back to Union Station Denver.

To be part of the Austrian Group on the train kindly register you and your family members or friends so that we can make sure we all are seated together. PLUS: don’t forget to also purchase your Amtrak train ticket.

We are looking forward to seeing you.

All Aboard the Amtrak Winter Park Express

All aboard the Amtrak Winter Park Express — your ticket between Denver and the foot of the slopes at the Winter Park Resort, voted North America’s best ski resort and Colorado’s top adventure town.

The ski train will run each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, beginning Friday, January 13 and ending Sunday, March 26. One-way fares start at $34, with kids fares (aged 2-12) starting at just $17.

Pack your skis as a carry-on for no additional charge. During boarding, skis will be placed in a dedicated baggage storage.

While onboard, you’ll enjoy a trip in Coach class — featuring wide, reclining seats with a big picture window, ample legroom and no middle seat. Be sure to visit the bi-level Sightseer Lounge — offering panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and Moffat Tunnel from upstairs and café service with snacks and drinks for sale downstairs.

The Winter Park Express travels between Denver Union Station (DEN) and Winter Park Resort (WPR).

Austrian company pewag produces traction chains in Pueblo, CO

The Austrian Honorary Consulate sat down with Florian Oppenrieder, head of pewag Traction North America to discuss this fascinating company, which operates a facility in Pueblo, CO.

Florian Oppenrieder, born and raised in Graz, Austria, came to the US in 2018. He was being tasked with the brand new production and manufacturing facility in Pueblo (built in 2014). The previous four years, Florian worked as the assistant to the owner, Aegyd Pengg, at pewag and focused on business development . Being asked to take over the plant in Colorado, the first non-European pewag manufacturing facility, was a big professional and also personal step. His wife and son were immediately on board and so the family relocated to Colorado with little hesitation. The Opps were very positively surprised by the warm welcome they received in Pueblo and quickly found a community of like-minded people. They are now really enjoying life in this small, industrial city in the middle of Colorado. Pueblo was chosen as pewag’s main US traction headquarter because of its location, in the middle of the US, in a state with lots of snow, with reasonable labor costs and costs of living. In addition to that Pueblo offered with its Economic Development Corporation, PEDCO, huge assistance in building/starting, the first North-American pewag manufacturing facility to the City of Pueblo, and creating new jobs for Pueblo. Plus… a steel mill right in town and a city that is very accommodating to businesses to relocate to the area. It made sense to pick this location for pewag!

About pewag
pewag is an Austrian company with a very long history of producing chains, going back to 1479. There are rumors that Christopher Columbus used some pewag (anchor) chains on this oversea travels, but this is hard to proof of course. 😉
pewag is considered to be one of the leading chain producers in the world. It originally was a 2-family owned business, family Pengg and Walenta. Hence, the name pewag (with AG coming from Aktiengesellschaft, the German word for stock corporation). Today it is a non-public company managed by the owner, Aegyd Pengg. It’s biggest traction chain plant is in Brückl, Kärnten, but has several other facilities throughout Europe.

pewag has two different divisions:

1) Industrial chain division – lifting, conveyor, tire protection chains and components
with manufacturing facilities in Europe and distribution facilities across the world – as well in North-America (pewag Inc. – in Bolingbrook, IL)
2) Traction chain division – with focus on:

a) Passenger market focused on selling chains to individuals, who only need their chains for their private vehicles. These chains are produced in Europe and imported to the US under the brand name KONIG. Actually, pewag with their KONIG chains are the recommended supplier for Tesla.
b) Professional market that uses chains for companies who rely on traction chains as part of their job performance.
c). Forestry market focused on providing traction solutions for the forestry industry

Florian is tasked with not just managing the facility in Pueblo, but also increasing sales within the traction chain market throughout North America. He appreciates to work in a company that is family-owned, values sustainability and he is very proud of producing a high quality product. In fact, the quality of pewag chains are far superior than other chains, but the quality comes with a price tag.

pewag traction chains sold here in the US are 100% manufactured in the US. This in turn means higher quality steel, better manufacturing as well as higher employee costs, which results in higher prices versus a typical Chinese traction chain. But, according to internal tests, a typical Chinese traction chain lasts 45 miles on bare pavement while a Pewag chain outperforms it tremendously by lasting 800 to 1000 miles. This outperformance at a higher costs is very much appreciated by municipalities operating a fleet of snow plows as well as the transportation industry (CDOT, Caltrans, etc). These entities understand the advantage and are willing to pay the higher price for a much better quality product from pewag. It’s clear why pewag is already the market leader for chains world-wide in any category.

In the US market things look a bit differently. pewag is definitely the 1st choice for professional users, that means people who are relying on traction chains to perform their job. Traction chains are a highly seasonal product, which is dictated by some states with traction laws. In Colorado, for example, commercial vehicle operators need to carry chains with them from beginning of September to end of April to be prepared for any potential snow storm. Since they potentially can wait out any winter storm and only use traction chains sparingly, those type of users usually tend to gravitate towards cheaper, low quality chains from China. The same applies to individuals in passenger cars.

Traction chains, however, do not only have applications in snow. Industries with heavy machinery that needs to operate in mud or half frozen ground or rough surfaces like forests begin to understand the advantages of traction chains and are becoming another important market for pewag. A good example is the forestry market in Wisconsin that is heavily dedicated to cutting and harvesting trees.

While pewag cannot compete with cheaper raw material costs and labor costs of chains produced in Asia, it definitely had an advantage during the Pandemic. By not relying on any supplies from Asia, the supply chain was able to operate without interruptions.

In the US pewag employs about 55 people with 40 at the factory in Pueblo and another 15 people in the distribution center in Rocklin, CA and across the USA and Canada. pewag’s sales & tech support team is offering training classes, chain mounting support and repair throughout the NA. With sustainability being a hot topic, the pewag facility in Rocklin, CA also offers chain assembly and repair. Depending on corrosion and life cycle, cross chains can be replaced and so new life can be breathed into those chains by using replacement parts and manually fixing chains. Chains are heavy and so any repair is not a simple task.

We here at the Austrian Honorary Consulate wish Florian Oppenrieder and the entire pewag company a lot of success in the US market!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Florian Oppenrieder.

Finding an Austrian, Alpine Heart in Vail and Aspen

In December of 2016, a new restaurant named Almresi opened at the top of Bridge Street in the heart of Vail Village in Vail, CO. German, Swiss and Austrian fare was nothing new in the Village; this ski resort town was already known for its European roots. After all, the ski resort’s founders were inspired by their time in the Alps and wanted to recreate the Bavarian look and feel when they developed the area in the 1950s. But when Almresi welcomed guests into the completely renovated space, locals and visitors alike knew that this was something new and special.

Created by the Thoma family, who originally hails from Germany’s Black Forest region, Almresi’s differences start in the design. The walls, ceiling and beams are covered in rustic wood panels reclaimed from farms in Austria and Germany before being shipped to and installed in Vail. The result is a warm and welcoming feeling like you’d find in a mountain hut in the Alps without an overload of antlers. Faux fur throws, cow hides and small stools reaffirm the mountain chalet atmosphere and almost everything comes from Austria or Germany, carefully chosen with Diana Thoma’s impeccable eye.

Everything in Almresi is a family affair. Franz Thoma, the patriarch, first lived and worked in Vail in the 1980s and provided the first tie to the area; he and his wife, Diana, own and operate two restaurants in Germany. Daughter Alyssa worked at Sonnenalp in Vail for two years and helped find the space where Almresi resides and agreed to manage the new restaurant. Her brother Joshua soon joined her in running the operation, with direction from their parents.

Featuring not just German fare but also Austrian and Swiss flavors, Almresi’s menu is thoughtful and concise. Conjured directly from the Alps, classics like Schweinshaxe, a pork shank with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, and Resi’s Schnitzel are featured beside new favorites like Resi’s Lachs (steamed salmon with a light butter-lime sauce served with spinach and rosemary potatoes), Alpengnocchi with chestnut truffle filling and tomato-gorgonzola sauce, and foie gras bratwurst. An Austrian original is also a new tradition in Vail: Hutessen is a favorite with families that enjoy the hands-on experience of cooking beef and veal to their own preference along with salad, potatoes and various dipping sauces.

“It’s food for your heart,” Joshua Thoma said.

Almresi is an unparalleled success: Almost four years later, reservations are required for most weekends. However, the Thomas weren’t finished feeding the skiers, hikers and other mountain lovers who visited Vail.

In 2018, the Thomas purchased Alpenrose, a popular restaurant that had been serving up German fare and favorites for almost 40 years. The family provided a breath of fresh air for the beloved establishment while retaining its best features, like the expansive deck that invites guests to indulge in après.
Like Almresi, the menu at Alpenrose showcases Austrian, German and Swiss dishes that will chase the chill from your bones. Warming soups like potato soup, pea stew with sausage and a ravioli-filled consommé are on offer, as are hearty entrees like our Bavarian Pork Schnitzel or Bratwurst with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

A few favorites from Almresi, like the Rösti and the crispy pork shank, have migrated to Alpenrose (“because they’re too good not to have them,” Joshua Thoma said), but the menu also features new dishes like the Walliser tomaten-kasefondue, a tomato cheese fondue that the Thomas discovered in Zermatt, Switzerland. Duck, lamb, veal, pork and chicken are presented in dishes both familiar and new, but there are vegetarian options as well.

The Thomas weren’t quite finished, though: In December 2019, the family opened Almresi Aspen in the Dancing Bear’s mountainside building. Like the original Almresi in Vail (a second location can be found in Stuttgart), this third Almresi location offers a menu that also includes dishes from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. And as with the other locations, practically everything in the space—from the wooden tables to the recycled barnwood paneling to the red-checked curtains to the dishes—was imported from Germany.

As the 2022-23 ski season approaches, the Thomas are in the midst of hiring for the winter season. As a family-run business, everyone who works at Almresi or Alpenrose becomes part of the Thoma family. If you’re interested in working as in either Vail or Aspen this winter, contact Alyssa Thoma at for more information. Check out Almresi’s or Alpenrose’s website.

Elections in Austria in 2022

Federal Ministry Republic of Austria European and international Affairs (Bundesministerium Europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten) issued a letter explaining the 2022 elections.

October 9th: Federal Presidential Election in Austria: “Bundespräsidentenwahl”

WHO CAN VOTE: Austrian citizens, 16 years and older

Already registered in the Election Registry?
For Austrians, who are registered in the Election Registry, the Absentee Ballot will be sent out beginning September 13, 2022. A second envelope will be included for a potential 2nd round on November 6, 2022.

Not yet registered in the Election Registry?
If you haven’t registered, you can still apply to be included in the Election Registry until SEPTEMBER 8th. Please be aware that in this case you need to apply separately for the absentee ballot as well.

Election Registry – Application Form

Absentee Ballot – Application Information

September 25th: State Elections in Tyrol: “Tiroler Landtagswahlen”

WHO CAN VOTE: Austria citizens, 16 years and older, main residence in Tyrol.
Austrians abroad Tyroleans with their main place of residence abroad (“AuslandtirolerInnen”). The prerequisite for this is that they have Austrian citizenship, had their main residence in Tyrol before moving their main residence abroad, have reached the age of 16 at the latest on election day and are not excluded from the right to vote.

In order to be able to vote, Tyroleans abroad must be entered in the electoral register for those entitled to vote abroad (“Auslandstirolerevidenz”). This requires a corresponding application to the municipality of last main residency in Tyrol.

Tyroleans living abroad who vote abroad always need an absentee ballot to cast their vote, since only postal voting is possible. This must always be applied for at the municipality in whose electoral register you are registered. With the application for registration in the electoral register for persons entitled to vote abroad, an application can also be made to have an absentee ballot card issued ex officio for participation in every state election for which the right to vote exists (“voting card subscription”).

Mozart Snapshots with pianist Katie Mahan

Katie Mahan, born and raised in Colorado is partnering up with Colorado Public Radio to bring you the Mozart Snapshots! Katie is an award-winning concert pianist pianist who studied at CU Boulder and in France with Pascal Rogé, who is living now in Salzburg, Austria.


Listen every Wednesday to Midday Mozart at noon for highlights of the latest “Mozart Snapshots” episode that you can see at

Mozart Snapshots # 1: Mozart: Organist of the Salzburger Dom | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshots # 2: A Visit to the House where Mozart was Born | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot # 3: A Taste of Mozart’s Favorite Meal | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot # 4: Leopold Mozart and the Salzburg Bull | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot #5: Mozart and the Diary of a Family Friend | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot #6: Mozart the Fashionista | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot #7: When Haydn Beat Out Mozart | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot #8: Mozart in the Home of the Prince Archbishop | Katie Mahan 

Mozart Snapshot #9: Coffee with Mozart at Café Tomaselli | Katie Mahan

Mozart Snapshot #10: Wolfgang and Nannerl’s Little Hideaway | Katie Mahan

Thank ou Katie for those wonderful insights into Mozart’s life!

Don’t forget to follow Katie on Youtube!