LOCAL AREA: Brandnertal
SEASON START & END: Mid of December to the beginning of April
SKI ALTITUDE IN METRES: 870 – 2.000m Vertical Drop- 1100m
PISTES: 29 Pistes for a total of 64 km (31% Blue at 20km / 63% Red at 40km / 6% Black at 4km)
LIFTS: Total 15 // 1 Cable Car / 2 gondola lifts / 6 chair lifts / 5 T-bar lifts / 1 moving carpet
SNOW: 141 snow cannons, 70% of the slopes have snow-making capabilities
ADULT SKI PASS 23/2024: 1 day 45 Euros / 6 days 292 Euros Online Pricing
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: 11,4 km classic / 3,5 km skating
AIRPORT: Friedrichshafen 95 km / Memmingen 137 km / Zurich 163 km / Munich 274 km
TRAIN: Bludenz (17 km)
•Backyards Snowpark: One of the longest fun parks in Vorarlberg.
•Tobogganing: Three toboggan runs and one “guided toboggan safari”
•Ski touring: Various ascents via safe paths or via the ski slope. Specially signposted routes lead for the most part along hiking trails to the mountain station.
Brand the Village
Many decades ago, my parents watched the film ‘Hannibal Brooks, the story of a British prisoner of war escaping with an Elephant across the Alps, starring the legendary actor Oliver Reed! Off the back of the film, my parents decided to take the family on a summer holiday in the 1970s to one of the beautiful locations. Brand in the Brandnertal was the location that they chose, and since that holiday I have wondered what the village would look like today and whether I would recognise any of it. So we made it happen, however, my return to Brand was to take place in winter this time.
Just a 15-minute drive from the town of Bludenz in the valley, Brand sits at 1037 metres. It is possibly one of the prettiest villages in the Alps, with many well-preserved traditional alpine buildings and many new buildings that either follow the classic style or add to the village with a modern twist.
The village was originally settled by the Walliser people from Switzerland, who brought a lovely style of architecture with them, this included the classic Walliser small wooden shingles seen throughout many Vorarlberg towns and ski resorts. If you find yourself in Brand make sure to wander the streets and check out these historical buildings in all their glory. I actually did recognise some of the buildings, especially around the church, true classics of the Vorarlberg region; It was a true pleasure to take a walk down memory lane and whether it was this personal historical link, but Brand is certainly a place that I would like to spend more time in.
When it comes to accommodation we recommend the Valavier, a fantastic family-run hotel with outstanding staff. The rooms are very spacious, we had our day beds with stunning views of the mountains and our very own infrared sauna in our suite. The food offerings are amazing too with a daily menu for dinner that you can match with local wines, afternoon tea post ski and a buffet breakfast. The spa is also worth checking out with a heated outdoor pool, sauna and steam rooms plus a multitude of relaxation areas and treatment rooms.
For some fantastic evening entertainment on Tuesday nights, catch the Dorfbahn followed by the Panoramabahn up to Burtschasattel and have a drink in the beautiful architecture of the restaurant Frööd. Apparently, there are also ski touring trails open to the restaurant on Tuesday evenings as well. One can catch the ski lifts back down (last descent at 21:15) or take the illuminated toboggan run back home to Brand.
Skiing in Brand
With lifts heading up to 2000 metres Brand has skiing above and below the tree line, which makes for some fabulous skiing. Whilst it may not be the largest of ski resorts, it has some great pistes with some stunning views across the Brandnertal region.
With two modern gondolas heading up the mountain from both ends of the village one is up in the ski area pretty fast. The Brand ski area only has blue pistes and red, but some of the red pistes have some seriously steep and fun pitches. We loved riding the Glattjochbahn up to 2000 metres and skiing the various pistes back down, this chair also gives access to various itinerary routes too, so the possibilities are pretty good.
The Brand ski area is connected by the Panoramabahn to the ski area of Bürserberg, this area is mostly made up of red pistes with a few blue and one black piste. Combined these two areas make for a good-sized ski region.
The region has a splendid selection of mountain restaurants. We loved the Palüdhutte for its rustic charm cuisine, Rufana hut was great for a coffee break whilst the Goona was fantastic for apres ski drinks; happy hour between 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm with two for the price of one.
For beginners, there is a great collection of blue pistes notably 1 and 3 served by the Tannlegerlift. There is also a separate blue nursery piste number 13 in the village. Be aware that both pistes back to Brands are red pistes with some steep pitches.
A great collection of red pistes all over the mountain, intermediates will love it. Number 11 red piste is a great ride back to the valley, but be aware that the last pitch to the valley bottom is pretty steep.
Whilst on paper there are very few blacks, there are actually some fairly steep sections to some of the red pistes and the collection of itinerary routes higher up the mountain is a fun addition.
Ecology & Sustainability Facts
•Green Ticket: Climate-friendly and stress-free to the skiing area in Brandnertal by public transport! See online
•Guest Card – use the public transport in Vorarlberg for free. See online
Photos copyright of ©Brandnertal or ©Adam Attew