ON THE ROAD - 5 DAYS IN ZILLERTAL
- Enormous resort with something for everyone
- Reasonably priced compared to France and Switzerland
- Lively nightlife and lots of action in Mayrhofen and a more exclusive feel in Hochfügen
- All year skiing on the Hintertux glacier
- Especially enjoyable with flexibility of having a car
- Delicious Austrian food at family run restaurants
In collaboration with the Zillertal tourism board, Club Snow spent 5 days in this booming holiday destination in the Tyrol region of Western Austria. Although many of you may associate Zillertal with the lively nightlife of Mayrhofen and the famous Snowbombing festival held there every year, you may not realise just how diverse this part of Austria is. Comprised of numerous ski resorts crammed within a 30 mile stretch of the valley, the area boasts an incredible 179 lifts and 515 kilometres of piste! So, whether you are a seasoned back-country skier or still finding your feet, it’s fair to say that you’ll find plenty of options adapted to your needs.
What sets Zillertal aside from other large resorts is without a doubt the way the locals go about their business. I was amazed to hear that despite the area containing over 50,000 visitor beds, not a single hotel chain has managed to buy property and set up here. Almost every guest house, hotel and restaurant is family owned and many have been around for several generations. This connection and respect for the region and its visitors is best seen in the fair prices charged by business owners. Almost all menus, even in the mountain huts, have an option for less than ten euros, and with beers and mulled wine averaging between 3.50 and 5 euros, you can enjoy your holiday even more!
If you have purchased a Zillertal Superskipass, the use of a vast network of ski buses is included in the price. This means you can try out the numerous resorts included in your pass during your stay. For info regarding getting around by bus, check out this link: https://www.zillertal.at/en/tips/winter/skiing-snowboarding/ski-bus.html . If you are situated in the central location of Mayrhofen, using the buses is quick and easy. However, if you are a little further away from the action, the easiest way to get around is by car, with all resorts in the region providing free parking right next to the lifts!
Given the fact that Zillertal has over 50,000 beds to choose from, you are quite frankly spoiled for choice. The most traditional Austrian experience would be to stay at a traditional Pension, a family run B&B. If you have something a little more luxurious in mind, we can recommend Hotel Eder in Ramsau (http://www.hotel-eder.com/). There’s nothing better than a dip in the jacuzzi or an alpine herbal sauna after a hard day’s skiing! If you are looking for a place to stay, we recommend the tourist board’s booking site https://www.zillertal.at/en/book.html, as a lot of hidden gems don’t have their own website. As a tip, if you are flexible regarding dates, it’s worth ringing the individual tourist offices last minute and asking about free rooms. Depending on the time of year you can get some great deals.
If wide empty pistes are your thing, then we recommend the Mayrhofen-Hippach region. Take the cable car up from either Mayrhofen or Hippach and you will find slopes for all abilities. Test out your speed in the new “Racing Paradise” with 3 timed giant slalom courses at piste number 15. If you like it wild, the 78% decline of the Harakiri is the steepest slope in Austria. If you can, wait for the sun to shine on the mountain before heading down as it can get very icy! If all of this sounds a little too challenging, don’t worry. There are loads of gentle, wide blue runs more suited to beginner’s or kids. If you want to beat the crowds, we recommend getting the skibus to the Hintertux glacier, one of the only places in the world with year-round skiing. This is where many national skiing teams put in their summer training. So if you fancy a summer trip to the mountains with a couple of days’ skiing as an added bonus, this is the place for you!
If you feel comfortable on challenging black runs, we highly recommend taking your skiing to the next level by trying backcountry skiing. Get away from the hustle bustle of the crowds and lifts and make your mark on untouched powder. Our guide Bernhard set up his own freeride skiing school in Zillertal and specialises in sharing the best spots in the region with his guests https://www.mountain-sports-zillertal.com/en/. Be prepared to work up a sweat to reach the best spots but the view is always worth it! If you’re already an experienced back country skier, head to Hochfügen – A resort which specialises in freeride snow-sports.
Aside from the reasonable pricing of food in the region, the local restaurants have plenty of tasty regional fare on offer. If you’re in Austria for the first time, a Germknödel is a must try. This fluffy yeast dumpling has a jam filling and is served with custard and a sprinkling of poppy seeds. If you’re thirsty, the Austrian national drink Almdudler, a herbal lemonade, is perfect for sunny days outside a rustic hut. Our personal tips for eating in the area include the Schneekarhütte http://www.schneekarhuette.at/en/ , an actual working farm in the shape of a pyramid with unbelievable mountain panoramas. Additionally, the Metzgerwirt in Laimach offers traditional Austrian cuisine with a modern twist. http://www.metzgerwirt-zillertal.at/
- Innsbruck (50km)
- Munich (170 km)
- Salzburg (150km)
- Get up early! If you’re an early riser, make sure to get up the mountain as soon as possible. You will beat the crowds at the cable car and spend the first hour practically by yourself!
- With the large 150 person cable cars, they don’t set off until they are full. So If you see an empty cable car, wait 5 minutes in the fresh air. You will thank me later.
- Take an early or late lunch! Especially when the weather is bad, the huts can get very crowded. The locals will often
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more reviews and travel pieces on the On The Road section of our website at http://clubsnow.co.uk/