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Smugglers' trails in Ischgl are paved with prizes

The Austrian resort of Ischgl, which shares its skiing with Samnaun in Switzerland, was once a hotbed for cross-border contraband - and this winter skiers and boarders can follow the tracks of the old-time smugglers.

But this time it's all legal and above board, with great prizes up for grabs. And it will all be with the help of something that would have made life very different for the original smugglers - the iSki Ischgl App.

The smugglers, even without an app, knew their way around the mountains of the Paznaun region and packed their rucksacks with butter, cheese and furs to take over to Switzerland, returning with coffee, rice, flour, tobacco, sugar and spices to sell in Austria.

The aim for skiers and boarders will be to amass kilometres rather than merchandise and to track and record their progress by GPS via the app. There will be three well-signposted routes, gold, silver and bronze, of varying difficulty to cater for all standards. The start and finish for all three will be at the Fimbabahn lift valley station in Ischgl and at the Twinliner cable-car station in Samnaun.

The gold smugglers' circuit covers 35.7 kilometres of piste, with a total vertical of 6,463 metres. The silver route is over 24.7 kilometres of piste, with 4,745 metres altitude difference. With predominantly black and red pistes, the gold and silver tours are suitable for advanced skiers and boarders. The bronze circuit is easier, on mostly blue runs, over 19.8 kilometres of piste, and an altitude difference of 3,191 metres. Those who successfully complete their chosen circuit can enter prize draws every day, weekly and for each season. Prizes will include head bands, rucksacks, half-board hotel stays, lift passes and passes for mountain concerts.

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