Five Undiscovered Gems in the Tirol
20th December 2020
Last modified on May 20th, 2021
Thinking about heading to the Tirol in Austria once conditions allow? Well, how about avoiding the well-known resorts and going for somewhere less-crowded. Somewhere you have probably never heard of. Until now…
The resort is sometimes overshadowed by its more famous neighbour of Ischgl, but it has much to offer.
It is in the heart of the Silvretta mountains and is the highest ski resort of the Tirolean Paznaun region and claims 100% snow reliability from early December until end of April.
Though it may be smaller than the neighbouring Silvretta Arena, it still has plenty to offer both families and freestylers.
Some of the slopes cross over into the neighbouring province of Vorarlberg.
The Silvapark is divided into five sectors and at least twelve stations.
The “Zwergerlwelt” and the “Abenteuerland” is great for children learning to ski, while teenagers can work on their tricks in the “Actionpark”.
Most of the runs in the resort are rated red.
The piste network ranges from 1,600m all the way up to 2,300m.
In the “High” and “Nordic” sectors there are trails for cross-country skiers as well as ski touring routes and snowshoe hiking areas.
Several mountain huts serve traditional Tirolean food and once a week there is night skiing on the floodlit pistes.
One other highlight definitely worth trying is the world’s first ski safari in a piste-grooming machine – the chance to explore the resort in one of the powerful machines which prepare the slopes for skiers.
See here for more details: www.galtuer.com/en/
The village of Jochberg is nestled among the mountains in the Kitzbühel Alps, halfway between Kitzbühel and Thurn.
It is a great back door way into the ski area of Kitzbuhel.
The village is overlooked by the 3,000+m Großvenediger mountain.
The Kitz 3S-Bahn cable car connects Jochberg to the Hahnenkamm/Pengelstein ski area in Kitzbühel making its wide range of pistes of up to an altitude of 2,000m quickly accessible.
Meanwhile, the modern Wagstätt-Bahn gondola lift gives skiers the opportunity to ski towards Kitzbühel or back to the Pass-Thurn ski area where there’s some interesting off-piste terrain around the Bärenbadkogel and Zweitausender.
There are also plenty of cross-country trails that lead from the centre of the village.
There are winter hiking trails to enjoy the natural surroundings with some fabulous mountain restaurants along the way.
See here for more details: www.kitzbuehel.com
The Steinplatte/Waidring resort sits across the Tirol-Salzburg-Bavaria border.
It has 14 lifts, with nine in Austria and four in Germany.
It has 42kms of slopes that go up to 1,860m.
Most are for beginners and intermediates though there are a handful of more challenging reds and blacks.
There’s a snowpark too.
Wide slopes offer plenty of space for carving fans and freeriders are also catered for.
For kids there’s the “Triassi-Kinderland” in Waidring and the “Hausberg-Arena” with its fun rollers and easy slopes.
And no trip is complete without a visit to the Triassic Park.
The petrified corals and prehistoric fossils at this adventure park high above Waidring are 200 million years old.
Today’s 1,869-metre peak was once buried by Tethys, the primeval sea.
There are dinosaur casts, real dinosaur fossils, interactive displays and hands-on exhibits.
Outside, animatronic dinosaurs and an awesome theme-related playground round out the experience.
The winter trail is about 1km long, visitors can walk past life-size dinosaurs or take in the panorama from the viewing platform.
See here for more details: www.steinplatte.tirol
Osttirol – Kals-Matrei
It is Osttirol’s largest ski resort lies at the foot of the Großglockner, Austria’s highest mountain, with some fabulous views of its eastern flank.
This resort is particularly popular with families.
More than 60 peaks over 3,000m can be seen from the resort’s slopes, including the “King of the Hohe Tauern”, the Großglockner, which at 3,798m is the highest mountain in Austria.
The small but diverse piste network can be accessed from both the small town of Matrei and the nearby village of Kals.
It stretches up at an altitude of 2,426m and forms the largest ski resort in Osttirol.
Facilities include a practice area in Kals and several easy blue pistes on the slopes above Matrei.
Kals-Matrei claims plenty of snow throughout the season.
And for those few times when there is a shortage there is a comprehensive network of snowmaking machines covering most of the pistes.
See here for more details: www.osttirol.com
Locals and guests alike often refer to Steinberg am Rofan as the “most beautiful end of the world”.
It is a small village with just 300 inhabitants and lies in a high valley in the Rofan Mountains near the Rofan ski resort and Lake Achensee.
Perched high above Lake Achensee, the small Rofan ski resort is the ideal place for a relaxing day’s skiing.
Its sunny location also makes it popular with ski touring enthusiasts.
It is just a five-minute cable car ride from the village of Maurach on the southern shore of Lake Achensee up into the heart of the Rofan ski resort in the mountains high above.
The top of the cable car at 1,840 metres above sea level is the highest point in this small, family-friendly ski area.
The experts head off piste and there is a network of well-groomed trails catering for all abilities that will keep beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders entertained.
The sunny descent all the way down into the valley is particularly popular with beginners.
Like many of the alpine villages in the Tirol it offers winter hikes, ski tours and snowshoe walks.
There are dedicated practice areas in Maurach and next to the top of the cable car. Children will enjoy the “Ski-Kinderland”.
The Rofan Mountains provide countless ski touring options from Steinberg, ranging from short, leisurely tours to long strenuous tours where there are over 1,000 metres of elevation to conquer.
See here for more details: www.aschensee.com
The Tirol has introduced a series of initiatives in these coronavirus times.
You can see here for the full details.
And there is more here about Safe and Enjoyable Holidays in the Tirol
Here is a video about safety in the ski resorts themselves:
And we have more at the end of this article; Arrival at hotel, Gastonomy, Accommodation, Eating Out, Ski Rental and Spa & Wellness.
In the winter of 2019/20 PlanetSKI was based in Innsbruck for much of the winter and some of the highlights were visiting the small less well-known resorts.
Our editor, James, visited Glungezer, Nordkette, Patscherkofel, Muttereralm and Axamer Lizun in the busy half-term week.
Although the slopes weren’t busy where he went and he barely saw a soul.
See here for a taste of what small resorts can offer offer:
And our chief reporter Jane Peel has reported on a few other gems in the Tirol:
And as promised, here are more safety videos from the Tirol explaining the Covid-19 measures in place for a safe & enjoyable holiday: