Westendorf: Come for the stunning village, stay for the incredible skiing

Sponsored post: Sat on a sunny plateau, Westendorf is one of the most stunning villages in all of Tirol. But it’s the perfect mix of tantalising pistes and powder-blanketed terrain that draws Matt Clark back year after year

It’s late November as I pull into the deserted car park by Westendorf’s Alpenrosenbahn lift. It’s been my tradition for a few years now to skin up the pistes before the resort starts up for the season, and right now the first snow is blanketing the ground like a goose down duvet. I’ve been here many times over the years on family ski holidays, and as I click into my bindings and start the slog up it’s easy to reminisce.

Expansive skiing and village charm? Yes please! |Tim Marcour

The chocolate-box village lies on a sunny plateau in the Brixental near Wörgl and was voted the prettiest in Europe in 1998, but it’s the ski area that really impresses: linked with both Kitzbühel (179km pistes) and the SkiWelt (284km pistes) there’s some expansive skiing on offer, and yet with its semi-enclosed feel it’s the sort of place where families can let the kids go off and explore without worrying about them getting lost. It’s a piste cruiser’s paradise, with long fast reds and blues sweeping down through the trees. The blue 111 and the red KiWest piste both number among the best in the Alps, with enough variety of twisting corners, rolling lips and speedy schusses to keep even the best skiers entertained for lap after lap.

It doesn’t all end at the piste markers though. While Westendorf doesn’t exactly draw in crowds of freeriders, there’s a surprising amount of fun powder lines in the trees for those willing to explore a little, and a short bootpack up to the Gampenkogel from the park opens up some genuinely gnarly steeps. The park itself is worth a visit too: with 650m of obstacles ranging from huge booters to more manageable rails and jibs it’s one of the best in Austria, and will host the Austrian Masters slopestyle comp in early March 2017.

Westendorf’s après scene belies its size. The Alte Mittelstation hut is perfect for a mid-mountain beer on the last run down, before calling in at the Bruchstall for a round of schnapps at the bottom. If you have the energy the Wunderbar pumps until the early hours, but be warned – the Jägermeister flows freely after midnight!

Today, though, it’s all about the skiing. I strip my skins off my skis and push off for my one run down in the swirling powder. I’ll be back again when the lifts open…

Find out more at kitzbueheler-alpen.com 

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