Best of Tirol Guide Tirolean Alpine Winter
Tirol / Heart of the Alps
Charter flights to Innsbruck from: 3 flights per week Birmingham Bristol 1 flight per week Dublin 1 flight per week Edinburgh 2 flights per week Leeds/Bradford 1 flight per week London 10 flights per week Manchester 5 flights per week Newcastle 1 flight per week Southampton 1 flight per week
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2 flights per week 2 flights per week up to 4 flights per day 3 flights per week
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Update: July 2013, subject to change.
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路 Best of Tirol
What is it that makes skiers and boarders return year after year to the Austrian Tirol? Could it be the allure of world-famous resorts such as St Anton and Kitzbühel, or long-time British favourites like Mayrhofen, Obergurgl and Alpbach? What is evident is that with over 100 skiing areas across the region there are opportunities for all levels from first-timers to seasoned ski veterans. Or could it be the affectionate hospitality the Tiroleans show towards their guests? The genuine welcome goes a long way and has helped sustain the authentic mountain atmosphere that awaits. Many of the villages have developed from farming communities into fully established ski resorts, without losing sight of their true mountain heritage. Or do they keep coming back because of the temptation of the legendary après-ski? The Austrians know a thing or two about apres-ski and each resort has its own unique après-ski scene. Whatever your style, from dancing in your ski boots to sipping champagne cocktails,
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you can find it in the Tirol. Nightlife is not limited to partying either, with plenty of winter activities on offer, such as tobogganing, snowshoeing and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Or could it be Austria’s reputation as an affordable skiing destination that continues to draw skiers and boarders year on year? Tour operator packages, as well as tourist board offers, include attractive incentives to contribute towards keeping the costs down, such as kids ski free deals, lift pass offers and free ski guiding. What sets Austria apart further is the lower in-resort prices, mountain restaurants serve up inexpensive options and après-ski bars offer reasonable prices. Or is it simply that it is easy to reach? Daily winter flights from the UK to Innsbruck (www.innsbruck-airport.com) means that getting to the Tirol has never been so easy. And with most resorts located between 30 minutes and 1 ½ hours away skiers and boarders can benefit from the added bonus of a short transfer. Whatever the reason for bringing you to Tirol, you can be sure the serious winter fun starts here. For the best ski offers this season: www.visittirol.co.uk/offers · www.visittirol.co.uk
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On the slopes Best for …
Best for Beginners St Johann in Tirol Kitzbüheler Alps region
St Johann in the Kitzbüheler Alps is refreshingly unassuming, offers great value for money, enjoys a relaxed atmosphere and affectionate Tirolean hospitality. Beginners have been coming here for years to learn on the gentle nursery slopes and under the careful guidance of the reputable St Johann ski school, they progress quickly. The resort’s appeal isn’t restricted to beginners, its true strength lies in appealing to those wanting to take it easy. The Schneewinkel area pass covers over 170km of pistes, across several ski areas linked by ski bus and offer an eclectic mix of effortless blues and reds. With more mountain restaurants per kilometre of piste than any other Austrian
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resort, St Johann’s atmospheric mountain restaurants provide the perfect respite after a morning on the slopes. A 7 night holiday in January starts from €375 (£322) per person in an apartment, including a 6 day Schneewinkel ski pass. For this offer and more visit the tourist board website. www.kitzalps.cc Skiing starts at home this winter thanks to Snowsport England’s new ‘Go Ski Go Board’ initiative (www.goskigoboard.org.uk). Before your skiing holiday, take a six week course at one of over 30 indoor and outdoor facilities across the country. The cost of the course is an all-inclusive price with no added extras for equipment, clothing, lift pass or instruction. Give yourself a head start before you reach the slopes of Tirol.
Best for Intermediates
Best for All-rounders
Intermediates are a diverse breed. Some make this claim after a few days on the slopes, whilst others with over 20 years’ experience still cautiously put themselves within this category. Staying in the Wilder Kaiser resort of Ellmau, with the SkiWelt’s 279km of pistes at your ski tips, means wherever you are on the intermediate ladder there are slopes suited to all. Head up the Hartkaiser, on Austria’s longest funicular railway, ready to enter the vast wide open blues and long cruisy reds of the SkiWelt.
Ask most visitors to name some of the resorts in the Zillertal and Mayrhofen will be repeated time and time again. What may surprise most is that the Zillertal far exceeds its reputation with four skiing areas, including the First Zillertal skiing area with Kaltenbach and Hochfügen, the Zillertal Arena with Gerlos and Zell am Ziller, the Glacierworld Zillertal with Hintertux and, of course, Mayrhofen’s skiing area on the Ahorn and Penken. With access to 487km of pistes, the Zillertal Super Skipass covers all the ski areas in the Zillertal, offering slopes for beginners and timid improvers to adventurous intermediates and seasoned experts. The Zillertal Arena is best for families, couples looking for something special could stay in one of the amazing mountain huts in the First Zillertal skiing area, while Mayrhofen delivers plenty of pistes and après-ski parties and Hintertux offers guaranteed year-round skiing. A sample 7 night holiday costs £551 per person at a 4* Hotel on half board, including a 6 day Zillertal ski pass. www.zillertal.at
Ellmau – Wilder Kaiser region
When you are ready to rest your legs there are over 70 ski huts worthy of providing that well-earned break. Aside from the skiing and snowboarding, there is no shortage of downhill action in the form of tobogganing, with 16kms of prepared tracks. A 7 night holiday in January starts from £305 per person in a guesthouse on half board. For this offer and more visit the tourist board website. www.wilderkaiser.info · www.visittirol.co.uk
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Best for Off-Piste
Best for Experts
Regarded as one of the big names of the ski world, Kitzbühel’s fame is, in part, thanks to the most famous 3.3km stretch of snow in the world, the Streif. Taking place every January, the Hahnenkamm downhill race is the victory every Alpine skier dreams of and is one of the most fearsome on the ski circuit. With its strong skiing heritage spanning 120 years, the resort is one of the most cosmopolitan in the Alps with a wonderful, cobbled old town, great hotels, award-winning restaurants, cosy cafés and trendy bars. There is great inter-mediate terrain but possibly Kitzbühel’s best kept secret is the amount of accessible off-piste terrain, a whopping 230km2/56800 acres of hidden routes and untracked backcountry. New for January 2014 are Kitzbühel’s Freeride weeks which will include free testing of new freeride skis, as well as film screenings and a special backcountry guiding programme.
With challenging skiing, spectacular scenery, reliable snow, legendary après-ski and firstclass cuisine, it is easy to see why St Anton is regarded as one of the best ski resorts in the world. Home to the oldest ski school in the world founded by Hannes Schneider in 1921, St Anton has nurtured skiing from its very beginnings. The whole Arlberg ski area covers 340 km of slopes and 200 kms off-piste run accessible by 94 cable-cars and lifts. Competent intermediates will get plenty of enjoyment on the wonderful reds around Rendl, the quieter north-facing slopes down to Stuben or exploring the ski routes in the Valluga bowls. Offering some of the world’s finest off-piste skiing, St Anton is the Holy Grail for expert skiers thanks to the sheer diversity and consistently high snowfall records. St. Anton lives up to its reputation as the cradle of Alpine skiing and attracts enthusiasts from around the world.
Ski Safari (01273 224 060; www.skisafari.com) has 7 nights at the 3* Hotel Strasshofer on half board, with prices starting from £759pp, including flights and transfers. www.kitzbuehel.com
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Inghams (01483 791 114; www.inghams.co.uk) has 7 nights catered accommodation at the 2 Chalet Arlhof with prices starting from £344 per person, including flights and transfers. www.stantonamarlberg.com · www.visittirol.co.uk
Best for Taking it Easy
Best for City Skiing
With easy flight access, a convenient transfer, good value accommodation and of course plenty of skiing for all abilities, the Wildschönau valley is an attractive destination choice in more ways than one. Stay in one of the charming ski resort villages of Niederau, Oberau and Auffach in the Wildschönau valley as a base to access the newly created ‘Ski Juwel’ skiing area. Now joined with the Alpbach valley, the new skiing area covers a total of 145km pistes and has become one of the Top Ten resorts in Tirol. Take your time to comfortably explore Niederau’s local slopes on the Markbachjoch, before heading to the wide, open and sunny slopes of Auffach and then over the side of the Schatzberg to ski Alpbach’s slopes.
How many cities can you name where you can be on the slopes within an hour of landing? Not many. The Olympic city of Innsbruck was made for skiing and a quick ride on the Hungerbergbahn can take you up to the slopes of the Nordkette. The Tirolean capital is surrounded by a total of nine ski areas and 285km of piste, making up the Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck. From the Olympic slopes of the Axamer Lizum to glacier skiing on the Stubai, all the ski areas are easily accessible using the free bus service and covered under one lift pass - the Innsbruck Glacier Ski Pass.
Wildschönau Ski Juwel
A 7 night holiday at the 3* plus Hotel Tirolerhof starts from € 630 per person on half board. For this offer and more visit the tourist board website. www.wildschoenau.com
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Of course, it’s not all about the skiing. Take time to explore Innsbruck’s historic Old Town and its well-known landmarks. Ski-Weekends (023 8020 6971; www.skiweekends.com) offers 4 nights half board at the Hotel Maximillian starts from £410 per person based on two sharing and includes return flights to Innsbruck. www.innsbruck.info
Best for … Family fun
With so many family-friendly resorts in the Austrian Tirol it can be difficult to choose which one is best for your family. Take a look at these top picks, offering the perfect holiday to inspire them for years to come. Scheffau – Wilder Kaiser region As one of the four resorts making up the Wilder Kaiser region, Scheffau has direct access to Austria’s largest interconnected skiing area, the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental, with 279 km of slopes. Convenience is key for parents and the exceptional Kinderkaiserland ski school enjoys a prime location directly at the top of the Brandstadl gondola. From the age of 4, children can take group ski school lessons, and even toddlers from the age of 2 can attempt a 45-minute taster on skis with full-day child care options available at the ski school and down in the valley. A top choice for families is the 4* Hotel Land Alpin, with the the dedicated Pepi Penguin Club offering full day care from 6 mths to 4 yrs. Crystal Ski (0871 231 2256; www.crystalski. co.uk) has 7 nights on half board with prices
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starting from £1953 for a family of 4, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers. www. wilderkaiser.info Alpbachtal region - Ski Juwel Alpbach has held a special place in the hearts of British skiers for over 50 years and as parents introduce their young families to the slopes of Alpbach, this tradition looks set to continue. The well -positioned nursery slopes, dedicated ski school instructors, welcoming village centre and selection of additional winter activities contribute to making this an ideal all round family resort. Last season Alpbach was linked to the Wildschönau valley, opening up 145km of pistes within the new ‘Ski Jewel’ skiing area. Families with young children need look no further than the 4* Kinderhotel Galtenberg (www.galtenberg.com), where parents and children are looked after in equal measure with doorstep skiing, soft play, cinema and pool with spa. All-inclusive prices start from €160 per adult per night in a family room, prices for babies and children (up to 16) range from €35-68 per night, including up to 56hrs childcare per week. www.alpbachtal.com · www.visittirol.co.uk
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl - Ötztal region Situated high at the end of the Ötztal, Obergurgl owes its place as one of Tirol’s top family resorts thanks to its snow-sure slopes, generous beginner pistes and welcoming ski instructors. Owing to the ultra-modern and high-speed lift system, parents are able to make the most of 110km perfectly groomed pistes. Head over to Hochgurgl on the ‘Top Express’ gondola, admire the view at the ‘Top Mountain Star’ restaurant at 3080m, enjoy the long valley run down and you still have time to get the gondola link back to Obergurgl to collect the children! Making sure the children are well cared for is a top priority and family ski specialists Esprit Ski have got it right with age-appropriate childcare, from 4 months onwards. Esprit Ski (www.espritski.com; 01483 791900) offers the Chalet Verwall and Chalet Alpenblume in Obergurgl, with prices starting from £669 per adult (some free child places are available), including flights, transfers, catered accommodation and free ski hosting. Childcare starts from £199 with ski school lessons. www.obergurgl.com
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Westendorf – Kitzbüheler Alps region Unspoilt villages, like Westendorf in the Kitzbüheler Alps, have developed from traditional farming communities into fully established ski resorts without compromising their unique appeal. Situated in the wide Brixen Valley, the resort finds itself in an optimum location, connected by ski bus to the 279km of slopes in the SkiWelt and linked to Kirchberg and Kitzbühel’s slopes via a short bus journey and a ride on the Ki-West gondola. Most families are unlikely to cover such distances, which is just as well Westendorf’s local slopes offer perfect beginner territory. Children, from the age of 3, can enrol in ski school and will have immense fun on the wellquipped area with its magic carpets, children’s carousel, a camel hump run and bambini lift. Meanwhile older children can bring out their competitive side at the ski school race day or have fun off the slopes ice-skating or tobogganing. A 7 night holiday starts from £1169 for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children under 15) in an apartment including a 6 day Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard. www.kitzbuehel-alpen.com
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Off the slopes
5 of the best non-ski activities Away from the slopes you can find a huge variety of activities, including traditional pastimes, like tobogganing or horsedrawn sleigh rides, refreshing snowshoeing or winter hiking routes and revitalising spa treatments. 1. With Tirol’s scenery at its winter best, snowshoeing or winter hiking allows you to enjoy the stunning landscape along the wellsignposted trails. · www.visittirol.co.uk
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2. Tobogganing is one of those pastimes with fun guaranteed. From fast descents to family friendly floodlit runs, there are toboggan rides for every level. 3. Wrapped up in a warm blanket and surrounded by glistening snow, a horse-drawn sleigh rides epitomises the winter wonderland experience. 4. The ultimate way to wind down after a day on the slopes is a late afternoon session in the spa. Many hotels have excellent spas, equipped with relaxing baths and invigorating treatments. 5. If you feel the need for speed, then try the Olympic bobsleigh run in Igls for an exhilarating ride, achieving speeds of up to 115 km/hr.
Top Events in Tirol
24th – 26th January 2014 Hahnenkamm Men’s Downhill, Kitzbühel Regarded as the most demanding race course on the world cup circuit, the world famous Hahnenkamm will attract the world’s best skiers and thousands of visitors. www.kitzbuehel.com · www.fis-ski.com 30th January – 2nd February 2014 SWATCH Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn The world’s elite freeriders meet at Austria’s most prestigous freeride competition in Fieberbrunn, Tirol‘s ultimate backcountry mecca. www.freerideworldtour.com 1st March 2014 Billabong Air & Style, Innsbruck The world’s best snowboarders converge on Innsbruck’s outdoor Bergisel ski-jump for a day of intense competition at the Air & Style show. www.air-style.com
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March/April 2014 Altitude Comedy Festival, Mayrhofen Where better to stage this perfect mix of skiing, comedy and music than in one of Tirol’s leading resorts, Mayrhofen. John Bishop and Eddie Izzard were among last year’s stellar line-up and 2014 won’t disappoint. www.altitudefestival.com Nov 2013 - April 2014 Electric Mountain Festival, Sölden Over in the Oetztal, Sölden hosts a fantastic mix of music, mountains, snow and skiing over several weekends throughout the season. www.electric-mountain-festival.com 3rd May 2014 Ischgl Top of the Mountain Concert Following tradition, Ischgl will host their famous Top of the Mountain concerts at Easter and at the end of the season. Big names like Kylie Minogue, Pink and Elton John have all performed here. www.ischgl.com · www.visittirol.co.uk
24 specialist shops nationwide 2 inspiring winter catalogues www.ellis-brigham.com www.snowboard-asylum.com
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Tirol / Heart of the Alps
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