When I first arrived at SkiWelt in Tirol Austria it took me a while to get my head around the sheer size of the resort and the amount of skiing on offer.
Just reading the piste map was a challenge. It is easily the largest ski resort I’ve ever been to, and I’ve skied in a variety of places in Austria, France, Italy, Andorra, Switzerland and Canada. It’s largely due to the fact that 40 years ago six villages linked up to create SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brexantal (the full name). SkiWelt is accessed from the villages of Brixen im Thale, Ellmau, Going, Hopfgarten, Itter, Kelchsau, Scheffau, Söll and Westendorf. So, you have plenty of choices for where to stay.
Unlimited Skiing in SkiWelt
It’s not just the size that’s impressive, the modern-day lifts and infrastructure are what makes this resort so successful, and that’s down to millions of pounds of investment over the years. SkiWelt also invests time and money on the environment, with environmental experts advising on what colour the buildings are, so as not to impair the natural beauty of the surroundings. It boasts the Brixen “Sonnenlift” (sun lift), the first solar powered lift in the world, built in 2008. And the impressive ‘green’ list goes on with electric cars, heat recovery systems, renewable energy, GPS snow management and smart water solutions. It’s no wonder SkiWelt was named “Ecological Ski Resort of the Year” at the World Snow Awards in 2017, a hugely impressive achievement.
Experiencing the slopes
With all of this in mind, it felt like the best thing to do was set ourselves a challenge, to ski for 3 hours and complete 25 runs, without repeating any of the runs! It was a challenge I couldn’t have done without our guide Janine. Janine is a local to SkiWelt, an experienced skier who knows the mountains well, and most importantly she’s competitive and loves a challenge! Janine also loves a race, which I was foolish enough to challenge her to, and consequently lost. If you’re interested where, we took on the Red Viper Crossline, located at Rinnerabfahrt lift (46). Up to 4 people can race along a downhill crossline with a free video and timings of the race, which you can find using your ski-pass number on Skiline.
To start the challenge, we took one of the 90 cable cars and lifts from Söll, nearest to where we were staying. We completed a few runs on the Söll side of the mountain on the way up, before heading to the top of Hohe Salve, one of the most stunning views in all the Alps. From here you have panoramic views of 70 peaks, Kitzbüheler and Zillertal Alps, the Hohe Tauern and the Wilder Kaiser. It’s the highest point of SkiWelt and is simply breath-taking in summer or winter. It’s here you’ll find my favourite restaurant in SkiWelt, the Gipfelrestaurant Hohe Salve, which has Austria’s first panoramic revolving terrace!
From Hohe Salve we completed a couple of beautiful runs before making our way over to the Zinsberg peak via the Hochbrixen station. There were 7 or 8 short red and blue runs on the way, and we really had to pick up the pace to complete the challenge. Although, if you do have time, you can stop at the AlpenIGLOO Village and the ice bar for a quick drink, or even book an overnight stay if you fancy an adventure. It’s a snow village made up of 18 igloos, and next to the gondola so accessible to non-skiers too. Everything inside is made from ice, including the tables and the glasses, and there’s an impressive selection of sculptures on display from local artists.
The skiing from Zinsberg is equally as impressive the Söll side, with views over the other side of the mountain. There are mostly red and blue runs and so many to chose from. I really believe we could have skied all day without repeating a single run. And that’s the appeal for many people, to enjoy different routes, runs and scenery. To go on a ski holiday and have a unique experience every day. With 284km of ski runs, 77 Alpine huts and Après Ski bars, and modern state of the art high-speed ski-lifts, here is the place to do it.
We completed our challenge as we skied down towards the town of Scheffau. There are beautiful long winding blue and red runs all the way down, some of the longest on the map, a perfect place to stop for lunch. Getting to SkiWelt in Tirol is easy, it’s approximately one hour away from Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich. We hired a car and travelled from Munich, which made getting around very easy for the entire trip.
For more information on SkiWelt, check out my other article The Ultimate Guide to SkiWelt in Tirol.
Travel tip shared by Scott for Travel Dudes.