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Top 5 Resorts In The Tirol for Powderhounds

With most of us turning our attention to next winter it’s time for PlanetSKI to help you decide where to go. If you love your freeriding, read on.

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Who’s not dreaming of powder days?

Floating through deep fluffy snow, making fresh tracks away from the crowds and under a bright blue sky.

Your idea of heaven?

Ours too.

Here’s our guide to five of the best freeride resorts in the Austrian Tirol.

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis

The three lift-linked ski resorts provide a mass of options with 12 top notch freeski runs, three trails and three info points that provide a lot of epic terrain for all abilities from little groms to the pros.

The 2 kilometre Skyline route keeps good snow conditions thanks to its eastward orientation.

On the 1.7km Adlerroute you’re surrounded by the the North Side of Fiss. Strong thighs are definitely an advantage.

With a 70 per cent downhill gradient, the Kamikaze route really lives up to its name.

At 2,600 metres above sea level, start the route right at the Almbahn top station. The view of the village of Fiss and the surrounding mountains are the icing on the cake.

Freeride tip for Pros: The Shleifplattenroute has a gradient of 78 per cent. This challenging route leads you down the upper Scheidabfahrt descent and then branches off to the south-eastern steep slope. 

On the north side, it becomes undulating terrain.

A high level of fitness and endurance are required.

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis – photo © Sepp Mallaun

St Anton am Arlberg

The popular resort of St. Anton has some 200km of gnarly backcountry terrain that make it perfect for those seeking the deep and extreme.

Safety measures are taken very seriously.

The Arlberg Bergbahnen AG cableway company has set up Freeride Safety Training in partnership with Ortovox avalanche trainers. 

A short training course at Salzböden am Rendl featuring five buried transceivers is free of charge for all interested winter sports enthusiasts, especially skiing mountaineers and freeriders.

St. Anton – photo © Tirol Werbung/Mallaun

Freeride checkpoints: There are information panels on Galzig, Gampen and Rendl for freeriders and ski tourers.

They give information on the avalanche risks and weather, the rules of conduct in the back country and final checks before you set out.

SAAC Basic Camps: These are free 2-day avalanche camps with background information and practice for off-piste enthusiasts.  State-certified ski and mountain guides provide information about alpine dangers away from the secured slopes. 

St Anton (St Christoph) – photo © Tirol Werbung/Josef Mallaun

Stubai Glacier

The glacier is at the very end of the Stubai valley.

The ski resort extends up to 3,210 metres above sea level and is the largest glacier resort in Austria. 

Snow is guaranteed from October until June.

Stubai Glacier – photo © Tirol Werbung/Gregor Sailer

The Powder Department has a freeride map with 13 runs in near limitless sidecountry, complete with GPS tracking.

  • 13 freeride runs in the open ski area that are listed on an off-piste map and are available as GPS tracks.  The downhills on the GPS are integrated in the Stubai App.  A printed version of the Powder Department Off Piste Map is available at the base station‘s ticket counter, at the Neustift ticket office, at the Eisgrat information and at the glacier’s Intersport shops, or you can download it here.
  • Route videos demonstrate the route details visually.
  • Freeride Checkpoints at the Eisgrat and the Gamsgarten have info panels with route descriptions, transceiver check and avalanche information.
  • Free practice area for searching for buried people at the Gamsgarten.  Introductory courses are available on request.
  • Safety equipment can be rented from the Intersport Shops on the Stubai Glacier.

Hochfügen in Zillertal Valley

The high alpine terrain of Zillertal Valley offers countless opportunities for extreme skiers.

There are more than 300 kilometres of freeriding terrain.

 The Big Mountain in Hochfügen is renowned for its deep snow. 

At 1500 to 2500m fresh tracks can be found even days after the last snowfall. 

Hochfügen – photo © Tirol Werbung/Josef Mallaun

The Freeride Info Point Hochfügen in the 8er Shop (8-seater Jet lift valley station) is the central point of contact and information for freeriders.

They know the backcountry in Hochfügen like the back of their hand, and are the first point of contact for groups as well as providing help and advice to all freeriders. 

You can find out everything you need to know about the avalanche situation, weather reports, equipment hire, maps, information on tours and courses.

On several weekends a year Ski Friends Powered By Dynastar are on the slopes acting as free guides on freeride terrain. Contact the local  Zillertal freeride experts of the skiCHECK ski school in Hochfügen for more information.

The large freeride information panel at the Freeridepoint Hochfügen has at-a-glance information.

If you’re trying deep snow for the first time there’s the Hochfügen starter area. 

A Zillertal Freeride Map is available for €19.50 at the Freeride Into Point Hochfügen (8-seater Jet lift valley station).

There is also the ISKI X app that gives information on Hochfügen, the best freeride runs, what to do in an emergency and safety tips. 

The Snowhow Map has slope coding to help you assess the terrain.  It provides information on dangerous areas – for example sheer drops – as well as infrastructure facilities, such as avalanche beacons, Wi-Fi hotspots, the avalanche transceiver training area and the freeride checkpoints when entering open terrain.

Fieberbrunn in Pillersee Valley

When a ski area is host to the Freeride World Tour, you know it’s going to be good. 

The out-of-bounds skiing is superb, which is why it’s a favourite for international freeride competitions, with challenging terrain and excellent powder on the Wildseeloder mountain. 

There’s a Freeride Park at the Lärchfilzkogel mountain in Fieberbrunn where skiers and snowboarders can work on their jumps. 

The Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn offers a range of freeriding as one combined package, with extensive freeride routes of all difficulty levels, as well as freeride parks, info points, a self developed snow information and avalanche warning system (LO.LA*), avalanche beacon training parks & checkpoints powered by ORTOVOX, camps and top events, such as the FWT.

FWT Fieberbrunn, photo © Freeride World Tour/D Daher

There are no long walks to access the freeriding terrain. It’s “easy up & wild down”. 

Taking the lift, or sometimes a short hike in Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, brings you very easily into unsecured, unpatrolled terrain so comprehensive off-piste knowledge is essential.

The Skicircus holds camps and workshops, with local ski schools and mountain guides offering freeriders of any age and ability the chance to prepare for off-piste adventures. 

Fieberbrunn – photo © Lackner Helmut /TVB PillerseeTal

*Don’t forget to follow the safety rules if you are venturing off piste, carry all the necessary safety equipment and know how to use it.

MAIN PHOTO:  Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis – © Sepp Mallaun 

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