Posted in:

Snow much fun in Zillertal

© by Ricardo Feres

The 40-kilometer-long Zillertal extends south from Inntal (about 40 km east of Innsbruck) to Mayerhofen. I encountered excellent skiing, lovely villages and picture postcard winter landscapes.

The first stop on my winter tour through Austria by train was Zillertal, Tyrol. After a few days in wonderful Vienna I was looking forward to hitting the slopes. Late February the winter had taken a firm hold on the Austrian Alps and there was snow in abundance.

Chilly but great fun

The skiing conditions were fantastic. The slopes were very well groomed and the views nothing less than breath-taking. The only thing that I found slightly challenging were temperatures as low as -15 to -20 °C. Good, warm clothing is essential if you are going to spend hours on the mountains in these temperatures. Luckily the weather played along most days with sunshine from blue sky. For Alpine skiing enthusiasts, the Zillertal is a real ski paradise, just to use a cliché. With 179 lifts and more than 500 kilometres of slopes, that cliché is by no means an exaggeration. Furthermore, there are distinct differences between the skiing areas, depending on what kind of fun you like.

Click on the images to enlarge >>

Slopes for everyone

Zillertal has four skiing areas; Fügen-Kaltenbach, Zell-Gerlos, Mayerhofen-Hippach and Tux-Finkenberg. However, on this trip I only had time to visit two skiing areas in Zillertal; Mayrhofen and Zillertal Arena. Both great areas for alpine skiing, but still a little different. The Zillertal Arena has in general narrower slopes as they were running down lower hills, ending up in the valley. While Mayerhofen is a high mountain resort with wide open slopes. Surprisingly, and to my delight none of the places were too crowded. Even though it was holiday time in much of Europe. Nonetheless, the wide choice of slopes makes this a great skiing destination for all skiers, from beginners to connoisseurs.

Click on the image and check out our 360 ° photo from Mayerhofen
360 ° Photo: Ricardo Feres ©
Advertisements

The Harakiri Run

If you are a really good skier and looking for adrenaline kicks, head for the Harakiri. It’s supposedly the steepest slope in Austria, with a 78% gradient! Are you ready for that? Well, I was not! I’m (still) not good enough for a slope as steep as the Harakiri, but it was fun to watch skiers going down the insane hill. Some of them struggling with the slope, while others ski smoothly down the hill. There are also other areas for adrenaline-seekers. The free-style area Penken Park at Mayrhofen, with wide range of jumps and obstacles, cater to freestylers with levels of experience. Furthermore, as there also are further ski areas, I think Zillertal is a great place to stay at least one week, to get the most out of what’s on offer.

Much more than alpine skiing

Zillertal is of course not only about racing downhill, on or off-piste. There are ample possibilities for winter sports such as cross-country skiing, tobogganing, winter hiking, snow-shoe hiking, ice skating or simply relax with a hoarse drawn sledge ride through the winter wonderland. And if you are staying for a while you can always make an excursion to Innsbruck, which is only about 50 minutes away by car. Or you can go by train (Zillertalbahn to Jenbach and change to the express train to Innsbruck).

Relaxing off-piste

Before I went on the trip, I was warned that to eating at the mountain restaurants is expensive and the food is not that good. Well, at the ski resorts in Zillertal I enjoyed very good meals at prices that were not higher than restaurants down in the valley, or anywhere else for that matter. The ski resorts around the Zillertal have ample opportunities to get your helmet off and get into party mode. Although, compared to other some other ski resorts in the Alps, the party scene in Zillertal not as high pitched and rowdy. Nevertheless, we had a great time at the Krocha Alm, singing and swaying along with the crowd.

For more info, check out the official Zillertal Tourism website!

AKTIVHOTEL TUXERHOF

I stayed at the Aktivehotel Tuxerhof. It’s top notch with spacious rooms with a beautiful view towards the ski slopes, from the balcony I had. The evening dinners were the best of the hotel restaurants and I loved the excellent breakfast. Moreover, one of the best perks is the location – right in front of the Zillertal Arena ski lifts.

  • Heiligenbrunn, Burgenland, Austria

    Posted in:

    Heiligenbrunn – The cradle of the Uhudler wine

    The small village of Heiligenbrunn in Burgenland is located in the transition between the rolling hills that characterize the south-eastern Austria and the vast plains that dominates western Hungary. Forests and vineyards dominate the landscape around Heiligenbrunn. Also the architectural traditions in this part of Austria differ greatly from the well known Tyrolean style houses […]

    Read more

  • Posted in:

    Birds of prey at Rosenburg Castle

    Like so many other castles and palaces in Austria, this place has a fascinating history, a great location and is very well preserved. Hence, you really get a sense of the almost 1000-year history of Rosenburg. At Rosenburg, they focus on a varied program of activities for their visitors. One of the events that makes […]

    Read more

  • Hiker's Heaven, Austria

    Posted in:

    Austria, the Hiker’s Heaven

    Enticing hiking terrain is found throughout Austria. Although the Alps and mountain views may be on the top of your list, there are also many beautiful natural experiences in flatter areas. Although Austrian hiking trails often are associated with cows grazing on flower meadows, beautiful rugged mountain scenery and great views, you can experience much, […]

    Read more

  • Salzburger Seenland - Salzburg lake district

    Posted in:

    Discover the splendid Salzburg Lake District

    Just north of Salzburg, bordering Bavaria and Upper Austria, a charming region of lakes among farmland, rolling hills, dotted with idyllic villages forms a little lake district. The four lakes Grabensee, Obertrumer See, Mattsee and Wallersee are located in the middle of the region and are the main attraction in this delightful tourist destination. Mattsee […]

    Read more

Advertisements

Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Written by Ricardo Feres

Ricardo Feres

A professional photographer that loves nature and 360 ° imaging. 20 years of outdoor adventures has taken Ricardo to the Andes Mountains and the Swiss Alps. He has been trekking in Patagonia, bicycling over volcanic hills on Hawaii and dived with mantas off Brazil. His work has appeared in 3 books. Check out his portfolio at ricardoferes.com.