TEMPTED BY THE TIROL?
1st February 2019
The ski area in the Austrian Alps has had a bumper winter of snow. The Tirol tells us why this season is the time to visit.
Choosing where to go skiing can be difficult.
Kilometres of piste, altitude, variety of terrain and extra activities are all common questions asked when searching for the perfect resort.
The Austrian Tirol is home to approximately 80 ski resorts and 3,000 kilometres of pistes; we think it’s an ideal place to find the right destination.
From the incredible off piste in St. Anton am Arlberg to the family-friendly Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, there’s something for every wintersport enthusiast.
Here at PlanetSKI we were in St Anton in January as the snow fell.
St. Anton am Arlberg
Recognised as the birth place of modern alpine skiing St Anton offers state-of-the-art lift systems and exciting après ski without losing touch of the rich cultural roots the region was founded on.
A variety of gradients make up the 305 km pistes, catering to eager first-timers and snow-hardened experts.
An array of ski schools are available for the less experienced.
200 km of designated off-piste terrain and famous snow park present some more challenging options.
Returning from the slopes, visitors can enjoy a host of après-ski locations available such as the Mooserwirt, Krazy Kanguruh and Bobo’s.
For more refined entertainment, the diversity of exceptional restaurants and bars serve authentic local delicacies and exceptional international cuisine; the burgers at Galzig Bistrobar are by all accounts phenomenal.
A six-day ski pass costs from €289 / £259 per adult and €172 / £154 per child.
For more information visit www.stantonamarlberg.com/en
Tiroler Zugspitz Arena
Draped across the Austrian-German border the Tiroler Zugspitz Areana blends striking views and dramatic mountain ranges with beginner-friendly slopes and authentic Austrian villages.
Comprising seven smaller ski areas, the Tiroler Zugspitz Areana offers pistes to suit every ability.
It has a high point of close to 3,000 m at Zugspitzplatt, with 58 lifts servicing 105 km of piste.
For beginners, there are a host of experienced ski schools across the region whilst more seasoned mountain-goers can make use of the three snow parks as well as the exciting off-piste.
Those in search of some high-altitude exercise can make use of the extensive cross-country ski network.
Some of which can be used free of charge, offering an immersive interaction with the alpine terrain.
For some non-ski related entertainment, visitors to the region can explore its natural beauty via a snow-shoe hike or magical horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Guests looking to sample some of the rich Bavarian culture of the region can enjoy beers brewed at the Stald-Bräu, Austria’s highest brewery.
They can learn about the history of Germany’s biggest mountain at the Fascination Zugspitze located on the summit of the Zugspitze and stay late to enjoy a sunset fondue with musical entertainment.
A six-day ski pass costs from €247 / £221 per adult and €215 / £198 per child.
For more information visit www.zugspitzarena.com/en
With a surface area of 467 km2, Soelden is Austria’s largest municipality.
The village only covers around one km2, meaning the vast majority of Sölden’s territory is untouched Alpine mountainside.
It is this mountainside that has earned Sölden its reputation as one of the best ski resorts in the Alps.
It is the official European training base for the US Ski Team as well as traditionally hosting the first race of the Ski World Cup every year on the Rettenbach glacier.
High in the Ötztal valley, the snow is consistently good from the start of the season in October to the last lift in May.
It offers gentle pistes for beginners and an array of more challenging slopes for the more advanced.
A remote farming village until a few decades ago, the village of Sölden provides exciting après ski, exceptional local and international cuisine and a host of charming cafes.
It also remains firmly connected to its traditional Bavarian roots.
Guests can journey to the top of the Gaislachkogl Mountain for a gripping 007 Elements cinematic experience.
Based on the 2015 James Bond film, Spectre, which was shot in Sölden.
The installation guides visitors through a series of cutting-edge, interactive galleries, offering insight into how the films are made, from the striking title sequences to the thrilling car chases.
For a more relaxing excursion, visitors to the region can visit the Aquadome, a thermal spa and wellness resort.
It has seven saunas, 12 indoor and outdoor pools and four on-site restaurants and bars.
A six-day lift pass costs from €264.50 / £237 per adult and €161.50 / £145 per child.
For more information visit www.soelden.com/winter
The highest ski resort in Austria, Kuhtai is best known for its family-friendly ski area and consistently snow-sure conditions.
At more than 2,000 m above sea level, the resort stays open as late as May, meaning guests can enjoy the warmer months whilst still enjoying fantastic snow.
There are a number of magic carpet lifts and drag lifts designed with children and beginners in mind to make learning to ski a less daunting experience.
Skiers and snowboarders in search of more exciting runs can make use of the funpark and the ski touring routes of the Sulzkogel (3,016 m) and the Prichkogel (2,828 m).
Twice a week the slopes are lit up for night skiing, allowing keen mountain-goers to make the most of skiing or snowboarding until 11:30 at night.
Returning to the village, a host of après ski bars cater to visitors in search of a party and a variety of restaurants offer regional specialties and international favourites.
And with the city of Innsbruck less than an hour away, visitors can always have a break from the pistes and explore the beautiful ‘Capital of the Alps’.
It is home to designer shops, plenty of restaurants serving traditional and modern cuisine and the iconic Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) that was completed in 1500 for Emperor Maximilian I.
A six-day ski pass costs from €210 / £188 per adult and €105 / £94 per child.
For more information visit www.kuehtai.info/en
The renown nightlife and exceptional skiing means it is no surprise that Ischgl attracts mountain enthusiasts along with international celebrities.
The slopes lie between 2,000 m and 2,872 m; having good snow through the season and keeping a variety of off-piste and ski touring options available as well.
A host of gentle, wide runs are on offer for skiers and snowboarders getting to grips with the snow whilst the largest snowpark in the Alps lays down the gauntlet to more experienced skiers.
Aside from skiing, Ischgl boasts a variety of exciting events and activities.
This year sees Lenny Kravitz headline the end of season Top of the Mounati closing concert on 30 April 2019.
The exalted après-ski scene is part of the resort’s magnetism, ranging from classic piste-side bars to cosy bistros; Ischgl’s reputation as the “Ibiza of the Alps’ is rightfully earned.
Nordic walking trails lace the Ischgl mountainside whilst the village centre offers indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
Horse back riding along the trails of the Paznaun Valley and paragliding offer more serene excursions, bringing visitors closer to the natural beauty of Ischgl.
A six-day lift pass costs from €254 / £228 per adult and €152 / £136 per child.
For more information visit www.ischgl.com/en
There is a new Tirol Transfer Service that means it’s now even easier to reach Sölden/Ötztal, St. Anton am Arlberg and Ischgl from Memmingen Airport.
Bookings can be made via allgaeu-airport-express and each passenger will be driven directly to their hotel and vice versa, at the end of their trip.
Departures from Memmingen Airport are at 10.30 am. A single fare to Sölden costs from €49 pp; a single fare to St. Anton or Ischgl costs from €109 pp (with one change).
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