Skiing is well and truly back in the Tirol this winter, and with one of the longest seasons in the Alps there’s plenty of time to explore
After 18 months away from the slopes, Austria’s magnificent Tirol region is welcoming skiers and boarders with open arms this winter. In fact, it’s already possible to ski there right now on the glaciers above Zillertal, Sölden and Stubai. Just think, right now as you are reading this, you could be carving deep trenches into a perfectly pisted red run, the sun blazing overhead, just you, your skis and a mountain of possibilities…
Sound tempting? Besides its glaciers, the remaining high-altitude, snow-sure mountains of the Tirol will be open earlier than most other regions of the Alps. By the end of November/early December all the Tirol’s ski areas will be firing on all cylinders and offering some of the best and most varied skiing in Europe.
Each of the area’s ski resorts has also developed multi-layered plans to keep visitors Covid-safe both on and off the slopes, so you can be sure of a carefree winter holiday in the Tirol.
Here are some of the highlights on offer this season in the Tirol:
With 363km of slopes, 90 lifts and six ski areas literally on the doorstep of your accommodation, Ötztal is perfect for skiers and boarders of all levels of ability. The whole region is covered by a single ski pass – the appropriately named Ötztal Super Skipass.
And super it is. The lift system is second to none and will have you up on the mountain tops in no time at all. This includes the Rosskarbahn cable car in Obergurgl, which has just been renovated and transports 2400 passengers an hour to the summit of snow-sure Festkogl mountain.
This is the only ski area in Austria with three three-thousanders: Gaislachkogl (3058m), Tiefenbachkogl (3250m) and the Schwarze Schneid mountains (3340m). These guarantee truly spectacular panoramas to go with the fantastic terrain.
And when the action on the slopes is over you’ll find a superb range of accommodation, restaurant and nightlife. New for this season is The Secret in Sölden, a luxury apartment hotel with 44 residential units, an opulent golden entrance and the spectacular ‘Vue’ skybar with its glass ceiling, which can be seen glittering in the sunshine from the ski slopes above. Which means, of course, that you can also view the mountain while you chill out with your favourite après-ski tipple.
Ischgl’s ‘Silvretta Arena’ ski area is one of the largest linked ski areas in the Alps, with 239km of carefully maintained, snow-sure slopes that even offer the chance to ski into neighbouring Switzerland.
The resort is particularly famed for its freeriding terrain, with several areas set aside specifically for powder hounds; the combination of high altitude and regular dumps of super-light powder ensure great riding.
In addition, Ischgl has one of the biggest and best interconnected freestyle parks in Europe, along with excellent ski touring and cross-country options, so whatever you like to do on your planks you’re covered.
Ischgl’s must do’s for action fans are the 2km-long zip-line, Skyfly, a night-time toboggan run including fondue at Videralp, which goes on late into the night. Or ski the famous Smuggler’s circuit, with three different routes and the opportunity for duty-free shopping in Samnaun.
All that excitement have you feeling peckish? Why not visit one of Ischgl’s 10 award-winning restaurants? And the quality continues with the accommodation. The town has the highest density of four- and five-star accommodation in Austria.
Whether you’re skiing, dining, sleeping or just having fun with family and friends, it’s fair to say Ischgl has it covered.
Zillertal is all about skiing – the Zillertal Superskipass guarantees fantastic terrain whatever your ability in the area’s four extensive ski areas of Hochzillertal-Hochfügen-Spieljoch, Zillertal Arena, Mayrhofner Bergbahnen and Ski & Glacier World Zillertal 3000.
The pass gives you access to 542km of perfectly groomed pistes served by 180 ultra-modern lifts, taking skiers from 650m up to 3250m – at that literally breathtaking altitude light, fresh snow is guaranteed all winter.
The area’s wide range of pistes and terrain offers everything from challenging black and red runs and untouched powder, to wide, sunny pistes for families, beginners and those looking to just chill out in the majestic mountain atmosphere.
On top of all that, Zillertal boasts a range of snowboard fun parks, racing pistes and areas set aside specifically for high-speed skiing, along with top quality ski instruction.
It’s especially worth checking out the selection of ‘day tours’ that really let you explore the area’s fantastic range of skiing. The ‘Genussrunde Hochzillertal-Hochfügen’ tour, for instance, focusses on relaxed skiing and even more relaxing restaurant stops. These vary from exclusive mountain restaurants – such as the award-winning Kristallhütte – to chill-out lounges and traditional rustic huts.
Meanwhile, the Arena Champion’s run is an unforgettable adventure through the Zillertal Arena for the whole family, crossing two Austrian states and offering 14 highlights, including SkiMovie and Speed Check courses as well as snowparks.
If you’re looking for a challenge, how about the ‘Höhenmeter-Fresser-Runde’, aka the ‘Altitude Eater’ tour? This will see you amassing 13,000-metres of vertical and taking on the famed ‘Harakiri’, the steepest ski slope in Austria, with some sections offering a daunting 78% gradient.
And then there’s the magnificent Glacier Circuit, which as the name implies takes in high-altitude glacier slopes, incredible mountain panoramas and a demanding 15,000m of vertical spread out across 60 downhill kilometres on runs varying from blue to black.