Above Kitzbühel, the slopes of the Hahnenkamm host the annual most thrilling downhill race. The legendary highlight of the Ski World Cup season was held the first time in 1931 and is since then known as the most dangerous and most prestigious challenge in the Ski World Cup. Despite the justifiably fierce reputation of the Hahnenkamm and it’s ‘Streif’ course the skiing around Kitzbühel is in fact hardly demanding. It’s varied ski terrain especially suits intermediates and those who love cruising.
185 kilometres of perfectly groomed pistes
The slopes offer great opportunities for all types of skier and the extent of the linked area between Pass Thurn and Kirchberg is often surprising to visitors who have assumed that the skiing is limited to Kitzbühel itself. The entire Kitzbühel ski area offers an amazing 185 km of perfectly prepared slopes and 57 state-of-the-art ski lifts. Moreover, what lots of skiers in Kitzbühel don’t realize is how conveniently close the neighboring Skiwelt is. The Skiwelt is Austria’s largest interconnected ski area, offering an additional 279km of groomed and waymarked skiing; and much of it, like Kitz, is very intermediate-friendly.
View towards the Hahnenkamm
The potential for traveling huge distances on pistes here is spectacular almost on a scale with the Paradiski area in France. But there the similarity ends. The terrain covers loads of mountains but none of them are above 2100m. Instead you get wide and easily accessible slopes, powder-bowls, tree-lined descents and amazing views on the Kitzbüler Alps.
Touring circuits : so much to choose from!
From Kitzbühel most people will want to take the convenient Hahnenkammbahn gondola, which brings you straight to the top of the Hahnenkamm ski area. From here two red runs lead directly back to the village. Alternatively you can choose the Hahnenkamm downhill course, but it is really only suitable for advanced intermediates or expert skiers. At the back-side of the Hanenkammbahn a network of runs and lifts spreads outwards to the other mountains: firstly the Ehrenbachhöhe and then on to the much more demanding runs off the Steinbergkogel.
The Steinbergkogel lift brings you to the next ski area known as the Pengelstein sector. Here is a variety of different runs for all abilities. There are some long blues which wind down the mountain finishing in the neighbouring villages of Aschau, Skirast and Kirchberg. From each of these villages a gondola takes you back up to the main Pengelstein area. In addition, the Ki-west gondola lift half-way between Aschau and Skirast provides you access to the Skiwelt, if you purchased the regional lift pass. But why should you leave the Kitzbühel ski area if there is enough to enjoy for a solid ski week?
The Pengelstein II and Steinbergkogel chairlifts on the left side of the Pengelstein opens up some challenging black runs and varied backcountry terrain. This section has usually one of the best powder-snow conditions.
Alternatively, if you are not a dare-devil or more into covering large distances, head in the opposite direction from the Pengelstein and ride the panoramic 3S peak-to-peak gondola to Wurzhöhe. Here the slopes are mainly a mixture of blue and red runs which lead down into the village of Jochberg. A set of modern lifts gives access back to Wurzhöhe from where you can continue further away from Kitzbühel towards the Barenbadkogel. Here are some challenging red and black slopes. Moreover, the Barenbadkogel offers some rewarding free-nature skiing. Generally this area has excellent powder because the slopes are mainly facing east. From the other side of the Barenbadkogel you can return to Kitzbühel (via 3S gondola) or continue further on via the Gauxjoch.
View from the Barenbadkogel
The Gauxjoch run is by any standard very easy-going. It is in fact a straight -almost flat- run over an alm at 1800m altitude. It has lot’s of clustered pine trees and -in-between- excellent views on the other end of the Kitzbühel skiarea; the Resterhöhe. The Gauxjoch is by far one of the most beautiful parts of Kitzbühel. Incidentally, it has on average the largest number of sunshine hours. The best way to enjoy the surroundings and the sun is to stop at the Jausenstation Gauxjochhutte owned by the Familie Hörbiger. The owner is very friendly and the food here is just lovelly. All meat and dairy is produced by their own farm in Mittersill. During the summer the cows graze at the Gauxjoch pastures.
From the Gauxjoch it is possible to ski to the base of the Zweitausender 8-seater chair and into the furthest-flung part of the ski circus, the Resterhöhe. The Zweitausender is offering several long challenging red and black runs. The Resterhöhe forms the end of the extensive Kitzbühel ski area. There is a good selection of traversing red and blue runs, with snow normally in very good condition. The far edge of the ski area is reached at the middle station of the Panoramabahn gondola heading up from Hollersbach in the valley near Mittersill at the other side of Pass Thurn.
Returning to the 3S-Bahn involves simply retracing one’s steps. Make sure you start your return to Kitzbühel before 14.00h otherwise you won’t be able to catch the 3S-Bahn bahn before closure time.
Back at the Pengelstein the ski safari continues via the Ehrenbachhohe above Kirchberg where you have three choices to end a great day of skiing: return to Kitzbühel via the Hahnenkamm skiarea or descend to Kirchberg via either the Fleckalm or the Maierl. The runs down to the bottom of the Fleckalmbahn gondola and the Maierl chairlifts in Kirchberg both offer great intermediate cruising.The Fleckalm run is very beautiful because it is wide, mainly tree-lined and provides a beautiful view on the Kitzbühel Alpen. If you are late in the afternoon I would suggest the Maierl instead because it has several nice bars and restaurants to wind-down and start your apres-ski.
The Schneebar Oberkaseralm is a good place to stop for a short break on the last run down. There is a beautiful view towards the Wilder Kaiser and good music
World’s best skiresort
The Kitzbühel ski area is truly a vast ski area and offers excellent value for your money. It is very well serviced and maintained by the skiresort company Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel. Lifts are constantly upgraded to speed the flow of skiers, and include the spectacular peak–to-peak 3S gondola which soars 400m above the valley between Pengelstein and Wurzhöhe. There are many comfortable 8-seater chairlifts, some with a covering hood and a seat-heating (warming) system. T-bar lifts are nearly absent. Furhtermore, state of the art grooming and snow making give Kitzbühel and Kirchberg a long season that belies the modest altitude.
In 2014 Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel was honoured as the first cable car company with the WORLD’S BEST SKI RESORT COMPANY award. Since 2013 Kitzbuehel was been voted ‘best ski resort in the world’, by Skiresort.de, the world’s largest test portal for ski resorts.
Nearest airport: Innsbruck (97km) one hour.
Several low-cost airlines operate to Innsbruck airport. Dutch airline Transavia provides frequent flights to Innsbruck from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Groningen. AirBerlin operates from Berlin. EasyJet is based on London Gatwick.
Nearest train station: In resort. All international express trains stop here.
more photos of Kitzbuhel
For more information on Kitzbühel please visit the official website of Kitzbühel