Dusseldorf The days when skiing followed a rather simple process are long gone. It was essentially about the most frequent shooting trip down the slope, the midday Huttskehr to Leberkäs, hot soup and a burned as well the evening collective crash during après-ski. Not only is climate change more and more setting natural limits on outdoor mountain enjoyment. The demands of skiers have also grown in hedonistic holiday periods. If you want to keep up as a ski resort, you have to come up with a few other things in addition to snow-making systems.
The Austrian state of Tyrol has at least some advantages compared to other ski resorts in the Alpine region due to the geographical conditions. Downhill runs are possible here on a total of five glaciers, none of their highest runway starts below a height of 3000 meters. And because 80 percent of the total precipitation falls down there as snow – at 500 meters it is only ten percent – what is required is what ski fans and tourists like to hear in their ears: guaranteed snow.
No wonder, then, that in many places on the Kaunertal, Pitztaler, Stubaier, Hintertuxer and Sölden glaciers the snowpack is up to six meters thick. And no myth is that the weather is better there. It is the inversion weather patterns in autumn and winter that make the sun shine at the top and envelop the lower regions in a fog cover.
Five snow-sure glacier ski areas in one federal state with a total of over 300 km of slopes and 75 cable cars and lifts – it should be possible to create a connection. So in 2016, the Tyrolean marketers invented the “White 5”, a ski pass that allows all glaciers to travel. It is valid for a total of ten days and soon ski junkies wondered if all five could not be done in one day.
It would probably take a helicopter – only the car trip to the respective base stations takes around seven hours. Five glaciers in five days sounds challenging enough, and with the White 5 it's twice possible. In addition, the glacier regions have also upgraded enormously for the current season again. What is possible on Kaunertaler, Pitztaler & Co. also off the piste:
Austria's largest glacier ski area with 64 kilometers of slopes is only 45 minutes by car from the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. Reason enough for the Stubaier to combine skiing with sightseeing: With the new “Ski plus City Pass Stubai Innsbruck”, which allows you to ski in twelve other Stubai and Innsbruck ski areas and free admission to 22 adventure offers and three swimming pools in and around Innsbruck.
Culinary it goes high on the glacier. The gourmet restaurant Schaufelspitz awarded the restaurant guide Gault Millau this year two hoods, which stands for 15 out of 20 possible points and thus high quality and creativity. Since the Schaufelspitz lies at 3210 meters, it is also the highest crowned restaurant in the world. Chef David Kostner serves upscale Austrian cuisine, and on the gourmet night “Dine & Wine” on January 10 and 11, 2020, he shows what he can accomplish in three kilometers of altitude.
The Pitztal is Tyrol's highest glacier – and has a few other superlatives to offer. At an altitude of 3440 meters is the highest point that can be reached in Austria with a cable car. The Café 3440 of the same name offers the best views of the Wildspitze and the surrounding peaks. Cakes and pies of the café are made 600 meters lower in the highest confectionery in Austria at the valley station of the Wildspitzbahn. Romantics can even marry up in the café – clearly that it is home to Austria's highest registry office.
The café can also be reached as a ski tourer, a trend that is gradually increasing on the slopes of the Alpine region. A ski touring park, the first of its kind in the Tyrol, offers three different difficult ascent routes. Beginners have the opportunity to make the first attempts with mountain guides and test skis.
Skiing without a break: The Hintertuxer Gletscher is Austria's only ski resort, where the boards can be strapped on 365 days a year. When the entire area of the ski and glacier world Zillertal 3000 is open, 202 km of slopes can be covered. Under the glacier, a cave system with stalactites, crystals and frozen waterfalls can be explored in the “Nature Ice Palace”. The last meters are covered in the boat.
The frozen-wall peaks are two peaks in the Tuxer Kamm mountain range, and in a gondola of the Frozen Wand cable car, late risers can enjoy a hearty breakfast with coffee, prosecco, cereals and fruit. If you can not make it on a ride, you can pass the valley station several times. Spartan is the Bavarian gondola breakfast: For white sausages and pretzels there is a cool wheat beer.
Especially the snowboarder scene uses the Kaunertal Glacier for skiing and partying; The Kaunertal Opening in the Snowpark took place for the 34th time this year. New in the Snowpark, which is one of the longest in Europe at almost two kilometers, is the “Nature Run”, which adapts to the terrain. Skiing and snowboarding are possible until the 7th of June next year. A new cable car is also on offer: the Falginjochbahn cable car leads from the parking lot at the Gletscherrestaurant 2000 meters up to the highest point of the ski area at 3113 meters altitude.
“Ice Q” sounds kinda dangerous anyway; the eponymous fine single-award-winning restaurant at 3,000 meters above sea level, which belongs to the five-star Hotel “Das Central” down in Sölden, was the scene of the James Bond film “Specter” a few years ago along with Gaislochkoglbahn and Gletscherstraße. Reason enough to open the exhibition “007 Elements” last winter. The building was specially built into the mountain, all year round are now original props, installations and film clips to see.
In Sölden, the professionals of the World Ski Cup start this season, for the amateur ski junkies is more the “Big3 Rallye” a keyword: Three three-thousanders can be driven in a day. The connection is made easier by the new Rotkogl lift from Hochsölden to the top station of the Giggijochbahn. If you drive off Schwarze Schneid (3340 meters), Tiefenbachkogl (3250 meters) and Gaislachkogl (3058 meters) in succession, you have made 50 kilometers of pistes and 5200 meters in altitude at the end of the day – and truly deserve the après-ski.
More: In St. Anton, experienced skiers can let off steam in the “Run of Fame” and start a race against time. There are 85 hard piste kilometers waiting.
. (tTTranslate) Agenda (t) Skiing (t) Glacier (t) Tyrol (t) White 5 (t) Sölden (t) Hintertux (t) Snowboarding (t) Winter sports (t) Tourism (t) Holidays