As mentioned last week, the ski conditions in the Alps have dramatically improved in the last few days. This weekend we visited Patscherkofel near Innsbruck, Austria, and Ski Welt which is closer to the German border. Originally we had planned to visit Stubai Glacier, but due to the near perfect conditions at almost all resorts in Tyrol, Austria, we decided to reduce the time in the car and increase the time on the slopes by going to Patscherkofel instead.
Skiing near Innsbruck – Patscherkofel
Patscherkofel is about 15 minutes outside Innsbruck, and was the location of the 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics. As resorts go it is a little smaller, but perfect for a day trip. It boasts 18km of slopes, all with amazing views into the Innsbruck valley, 1 gondola, 2 chair lifts and 5 drag lifts. The main slope, named O, for the Olympic run, offers challenges for intermediate and advanced skiers. We tested out our speed, and made it in 11 minutes. Franz Klammer, the winner of the 1976 mens downhill in 1976 did it in 1 minute and 45 seconds ! The run itself is just less than 3km long.
For improving skiers, there are 3 nice slopes, U, F & S, which can be challenging depending on the lines you take. There is also a small snowboard park with some rails & boxes for snowboards at the top and a few opportunities to explore some off piste slopes for those of you seeking powder. A day ticket at Patscherkofel cost about €32.
Hotels in Innsbruck
We stayed at reasonably priced Hotel Central (www.central.co.at), which boasts a steam room, gym & sauna, which is perfect for after a day on the piste. The hotel is in the middle of Innsbruck and has an extensive underground carpark right underneath it. For food, we can only recommend Dengg www.dengg.co.at, which has been in operation since 1969 but still offers fresh modern cuisine.
Skiwelt – Scheffau
On Sunday, we moved to Ski Welt, which is one of the largest resorts in the world. We started at Scheffau, due to the abundance of parking (some of it is even covered) and the fact that there are 2 fast gondolas up to the top of the mountain. From Scheffau it’s straight forward to get to most of the main areas that are connected in Skiwelt. We opeted to start our day heading to Soll & the Hohe Salve.
The Hohe Salve run is almost 6km long, and is best done before lunch. The key to a fun day in Skiwelt (unless you are a beginner) is to avoid the blue runs, many of these are very flat, to the annoyance of snowboarders, and can slow down your progress. Some of our favorite runs included #2, #51 & #71. We did attempt the run into the valley at the end of the day, which is labelled a blue, but was quite narrow. After 2 hard days on the slopes we decided to only do 1/2 the run, and get back on the fast gondola at the middle station.
A day ticket at Skiwelt cost about €42.