SEASON START & END: Open late November to early April
SKI ALTITUDE: 800-2000m / Vertical Drop- 1200m
PISTES: 54% Beginner / 35% Intermediate / 11% Expert
LIFTS: 58 Lifts (Cable Car-1 / Gondola-11 / Chair lift- 28 / Drag lifts-10 / Magic Carpet-8)
SLOPES: 233km of piste (Includes: Reith bei Kitzbühel, Aurach & Jochberg)
CROSSCOUNTRY SKIING: 70km of groomed trails LINK
SNOWMAKING: 90% of pistes are covered by snow cannons.
LIFT TICKET 2022/23 Ski Pass: Adults from 62 Euros – 1 day / From 275.50 Euros – 6 days
AIRPORT: Nearest airports are Salzburg 80km (1:15 hours) / Innsbruck 95km (1:20 hours) / Munich 150km (1:20 hours)
TRAIN: Nearest stations- Hauptbahnhof, Centre Hahnenkamm & Schwarzsee LINK
BUSES: A dense network of regional buses is available in the region LINK
SKI FACTS: 60 Mountain restaurants and Apres bars across the region / 10 restaurants in town awarded with Gault Millau Torques / 9 ski schools in Kitzbühel
Kitzbühel has arguably one of the most interesting histories of all Alpine towns. First inhabited by copper miners around 1100 BC and later ruled by the Romans from 15 BC and then eventually the Bavarians in 800 AD. During the Bavarian rule a clan or fmaily called Chizzo built a castle and settlement which they called “Chizbuhel”, now where have I heard that name before? From the Mediaeval ages the town swapped between Bavaria and the Tyrol several times, but despite the many wars across Europe the town remained untouched and the mediaeval streets and tall town-houses have retained their charm and appeal, when you visit make sure you take time to wander the streets of Kitzbühel and remember to look up at all the architectural wonders. Luckily Kitzbühel ended up staying in the Tyrol that we all love and know today.
Local man Franz Reisch was the first person to ski on the Kitzbüheler Horn in 1893. In 1905 the first ever Tyrolean downhill ski races were held and by 1928 the first gondola lift, the Hahnenkammbahn cable car was constructed. 1931 saw the first ever mighty Hahnenkamm race take place on the Streif and to this day remains the race of legend. The Hoi Polloi have frequented Kitzbühel for some time and with good reason, holidaying and shopping in Kitzbühel may not be the cheapest, but then the high-life never did come cheap. To learn more about the town and its history it is worth taking a guided city tour with Hilde Flack.
We stayed at the 5 star Grand SPA Resort A-ROSA Kitzbuehel where the breakfast and dinner buffets are outstanding, with so much choice one has to keep going back to try everything! The Spa is certainly worth a visit as well. When it comes to eating out we recommend one of the three restaurants at the 5 star Hotel Tennerhof, which has been awarded toques by Gault Millau for over 30 years. For a more modern and funky experience head over to restaurant Grief to share food inspired from around the globe.
For experiences outside of skiing and away from the hustle and bustle of Kitzbühel try booking a serene snow shoeing experience with guide Carina Brunner up to the Bochumer Hütte for some traditional Austrian fare.
Activities that are really worth exploring are Snow Biking with Ski School Koch, it is really quick to learn if you can already ride a bike and ski. Mondays and Thursdays present the opportunity to night ski using the Edelweiss chairlift and 1500m of floodlit piste. The mountains in Obertauern are stunning at sunrise, so grab yourself a local guide and ski tour up to the Hundskogel at 2238 metres for sunrise, the views are second to none. In Late April, Obertauern runs the Gamsleiten Kriterium, Austria’s biggest treasure hunt. The event has people from all over digging holes in the snow to find one of thirty treasure chests, the event culminates with a big party and a huge prize giving ceremony, with the first prize being a BMW car.
The mountains surrounding Kitzbühel are mostly covered in grass so the slopes require a lot less snow than most ski resorts with rock covered slopes, this means Kitzbühel can jump into Winter mode far sooner than most resorts at this altitude. The skiing area comprises three main areas: Kitzbüheler Horn which is mostly south facing, Kitzbühel over to Kirchberg with its seemingly endless pistes and the mountains above the Jochberg region.
Once you arrive at the top of the mountain the views are long and wide, with no one particular mountain stealing the view, this is where a guide comes in handy to point out the various peaks. The Hahnenkamm mountain mountain which sits above Kitzbühel has some of the most famous racecourses in the world. For lunch in this area try the Berghaus Tirol for the biggest dumplings you will ever see!
If heading over to the Jochberg area via the D9 tricable Gondola try to avoid the 10am rush hour. However, once over in the Jochberg ski area we found it to be a little quieter and we loved the feel of the big long sweeping pistes; head over to the modern yet rustic style restaurant Bärenbadalm for lunch.
Of course we can not write about Kitzbühel without mentioning Dave Ryding, British winner of the Hahnenkamm World Cup Race in January 2022, which means that as of May 2022 Dave Ryding has a gondola with his name on it, so when you next ride on the Hahnenkamm lift, see if you are lucky enough to catch a ride in Dave Ryding’s gondola.
The practice lifts in the valley are free of charge. No ski pass is required at the Rasmusleiten, Mocking, Ministreif (Kitzbühel), Hausleiten (Jochberg), Pass Thurn, Aschau and Reith practice lifts. If one ventured further up the mountain, there is the potential to ski back to Kitzbühel via piste #20 Asten, however be warned that it is long and if the temperatures have been in the plus figure the going can get tough with slush and ice.
There is a lot of fun to be had throughout the mountains surrounding Kitzbühel, in fact without knowing where you are going one could easily lose your sense of direction, so be sure to take a map. Make sure to ski the world famous World Cup Downhill racecourse ‘The Streif’ on the Hahnenkamm mountain to experience one of the most challenging downhill slopes in the world. One of many favourite pistes is piste #71 Resterkogel; there is a reason that the piste is used by many up and coming Austria skiers and various teams to practise slalom training, go check it out and discover the practically perfect slalom piste.
Head to the C1 Steinbergkogel for a selection of Black pistes, however our true favourite because it was not that populated was the Black piste #55 Hochsaukaser serviced by the D8 Hochsaukaser lift, we could carve this all day long. For an outstanding experience, when the snow allows follow the long Route #34 Pengelstein-Süd down the mountain past the Kasereck hütte, down to the valley bottom and along the river, note that you will need to book a taxi to meet you at the end of the journey.
ECOLOGY & SUSTAINABILITY
– Heat generated with renewable raw materials (pellets), e.g. Pengelstein mountain restaurant, Streiteck centre.
– Heat recovered from lifts are used to heat buildings e.g. mountain and valley station of the Fleckalm cable car
– E-filling stations in selected KitzSki car parks
– The ski bus network has a fleet of Electric buses.
– Kitzbühel makes use of green electricity, about 85% of the energy is generated from hydroelectric power, 11% from wind energy – the remaining energy sources are solar energy and other green energy.
For more information on Kitzbühel please visit online.
Kitzbühel is located in the region of Tyrol, for more information on the region including other ski resorts such as Hochzillertal and Mayrhofen please visit their website online.
The Bespoke Black Book travelled with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to get to the Austrian Alps. Book your trip with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from as little as £87 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) each way for a Short Stay Saver ticket (valid for 5 calendar days) or £110 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a Standard ticket (for any duration). Alternatively travel in style with one way £269 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a Flexiplus ticket, turn up any time and get on the next available train, and access to the club lounge (for any duration). You can also take your pet from just £22 each way. For more information or to book see online at www.eurotunnel.com
Photographs supplied by Kitzbühel and copyright © Kitzbühel Tourism & Michael Werlberger