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Italy or Austria for month long stay

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Geronimo, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Hi guys.
    I know a similar question has probably been asked before but after scanning the various threads I couldn't find what I was looking for. I'm looking for a village/ town in probably either Austria or Italy that has easy lift access to a large variety of skiable terrain for a month long stay throughout March 2020. My wife and I intend to find a suitable self contained apartment or condo style rental and stop in the one place for the duration. The town or village would preferably have easily accessed transport options such as a train so that we can use it for side trips. I realise that we could rent a car, and I've driven in Europe before, although only in summer, but we'd prefer not to on this trip. I'm a keen skier and have had a number of trips to Canada and the US to ski with my mates but this will be my wife's first trip OS to ski so she put down a few ground rules before we select our location. The township has to be big enough so that she's got things to do when not skiing. It will also need to have access to plenty of intermediate terrain, preferably groomed. It will need rentable accommodation that won't cost us a small fortune. I'm sure there are plenty of places in in Europe that would be just perfect but I just don't know them. We have been advised by friends to consider the Dolomites in Italy but we are unsure whether that region fits the bill for all of our requirements. Austria appears to have more options but as I said we don't really know. I'm confident that a few forum regulars have a pretty good working knowledge of the ideal locations throughout Europe and we'd appreciate any advice.
     
  2. TOFF

    TOFF Im kind of a big deal Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook! Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  4. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Abbreviated to key points...
    Hmmm you will get many different answers. Innsbruck could be one such answer worth investigating.
    You could try Italian (South) Tirol e.g. Schnalstal or Kronplatz...
     
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  5. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    I dunno what the answer is but you can’t go wrong.

    St Anton am Arlberg is on a good train line.
     
  6. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I’ll second Innsbruck. Landeck just up the road would be good too with Ischgl, St Anton and Fiss/Ladis close by.
    Aosta requires a car in my view but if you’re open to that I reckon it would be perfect. Cervinia, La Thuille (and therefore La Rosiere in France) and Coumayeur are all within easy reach and Pila is accessed from the town itself via a cable car.
    Bruneck is the town near Kronplatz and it’s a good spot.
    Zell Am See would also be worth checking out. It’s got Saalbach close by and the whole Ski Amade area is nearby. The bonus is the city of Salzburg is an hour away by train.

    Good luck. I’m envious.
     
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  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree. Innsbruck, Landeck & Zell am See would be good options. The question will be getting the balance between skiing directly on the doorstep where accommodation will be somewhat more expensive or a little further out requiring a daily commute by shuttle bus.
     
  8. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Not sure if the lift is complete yet but Zell am Zee and Saalbach are close to being linked. You can ski into saalbach but you couldn’t get back. Not sure if the lift will be ready for 2019/2020 but if this happens Zell would be an awesome spot. Easy to get to, lovely town and access to loads of skiing on and offpiste
     
  9. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    If you want Italy have a look at Claviere or montgenvre (yes France) but easy to get to from Turin this gives you cheap self-catering accom, ski access to Italian Milky Way resorts and easy bus ride to Serre Chevalier (250km pistes) for the day or the UNESCO walled city for day trip
     
  10. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Good call. I've not been to Briancon or skied this area but it is highly rated.
    The city of Briancon sounds very interesting.
     
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  11. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Would Bolzano, South Tyrol be worth considering do you think? Seems to be close to a huge amount of ski areas including Dolomites.
     
  12. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would absolutely 100% do a ski trip based in Briancon, I’ve driven through it a couple of times and got good vibes. Skiing in the Ecrins / South Alps is fantastic, @Boodwah has done more than me and raves.

    Re: Aosta - it won’t give you the ski town vibe, it’s more of a small city, but it’s really nice with some historical Roman stuff in the centre, and you have an epic amount of skiing within an hour’s drive.

    Pila which is right there is nice, La Thuile is a complete gem, Courmayeur is excellent plus a trip up the Skyway with a guide will blow your mind. Then you’ve got Cervinia which is soon to be joined to the whole Monte Rosa.

    Plus, it’s Italy!!!

    The thing with skiing in Europe is you also need to decide which cultures appeal, CG and I tend to prefer the French / Italian vibe and haven’t warmed to the food/culture etc of the Germanic eastern portion of the Alps. But that’s just us, certainly not a right/wrong thing - Austria ‘does’ skiing extraordinarily well, it’s just not for us. Switzerland is a bit sterile, has amazing skiing but is just soooooooo expensive.
     
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  13. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Innsbruck is a nice city, but its not exactly a stroll up to ski lifts. There are plenty about and ski buses to get you there each day. Bruneck is a short bus to the Kronplatz and very close to the vast offer of the Dolomites. Trains are great, bus services too, so you are never too far from larger cities or quaint villages. Alta Badia/Colfoso area is more your ski town type of feel, though never too far from main train routes and bigger cities attractions. You will enjoy any of these places, though I personally like to be close to lifts if thats the main theme of your holiday.
     
  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Schladming would be a good option also. Nice sized village, ski area right there and several others a short shuttle bus away. And it is on the main train line so can easily head off to cities in a few of hours. eg. Salzburg to the west or Graz to the east.
     
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  15. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    We were at Dolomites in Jan 2018 - in fact it's still there in my profile pic :). We stayed at Val di Fassa which is the budget option of the Dolomites, as it is a side branch off the Sella Ronda - highlight of the Dolomites for intermediates. It is a 40km loop of (mostly groomed) pistes that connecting various villages, and is a different experience in the clockwise & anticlockwise direction. Once you have done it , there are side branches off each village to explore. Our mistake of staying in Fassa tho is because it takes an extra extension to access the Sella, it didn't give us enough time to spend time in the far corner villages



    There are day excursions to places like the Hidden Valley, where you will ski past frozen waterfalls and ends with a rope tow by a horse sleigh:

    [​IMG]

    The Dolomites also has some WW2 history at the Marmolada Glacier, although I don't know if that counts as interesting stuff for your wife's perspective.

    I think you will find it a bit hard to find somewhere with easy train access - because in most Alps resorts even the lowest village would be around ~1,000m above sea level. (Austrian resorts are lower altitude than Italy, France, Swiss though), and I recently learnt from James May that trains simply can't go up hills. I never really noticed this until he pointed it out! :)

    Italy is an excellent budget option. Back in 2017 we stayed in Cervinia, which gave Swiss Zermatt access but Italian food and hospitality.
     
    #15 Shoey, Jul 19, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  16. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Guys thanks for the numerous replies and excellent tips. My head is swimming with the range of options. I want to lock this trip in ASAP so I'm going to trawl through the villages, towns and resorts mentioned and short list a few. We're leaning towards an area that is within walking distance or a short shuttle ride away from a lift system that gives us access to extensive terrain but also a township that is 'liveable'; preferably one that is on a train line. If there is an all encompassing lift Pass available that covers all neighbouring lifts and resorts then that'd be useful too. I knew you guys would come through. Cheers.
     
  17. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Okay. My wife seems to think St Anton am Alberg in Austria looks good. It's appears to be on a well used train line which seems to give reasonably good access to the east, west and north. The neighbouring lift system appears to be pretty extensive and its only about 1 hour away from Innsbruck by train. At this point the only major problem is that accommodation options are astronomically expensive. I suppose it's just like here and elsewhere. The closer you are to the snow and the lifts, the more you pay. I'll keep searching . If anyone has some ideal suggestions I'm happy to hear them.
     
  18. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you have a month, you should be able to get a self-contained apartment for a reasonable price in St A. Look in the area to the NW of the Station. A ten min walk to town but fine - a mate has Jan booked there with his missus for a similar trip in Jan or Feb next year.
    Alternatively, a bit further up the valley at St Jacob or Pettnau will be considerably cheaper. In phenomenal snow you might get stuck there, and there are less eating out options, etc.
     
  19. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Thanks Climberman. I'll see what's available in that area.
     
  20. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    Getting a whole month in a row might be hard online - check places with prices you like and once you've shortlisted maybe call or email direct - I think my mates did this. For a month's stay quite a few places will try to make it work for you :)
     
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  21. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Great tip Climberman. My wife is looking into it now. Cheers.
     
  22. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I stayed in St Jakob one season ( Gasthaus Fauner). The ski bus runs along St Jakob Dorfstrasse frequently and stops at Nassereinbahn or continue to main centre.
     
  23. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have a look at the area around hotel arlmont in st Anton. It has a lift direct to top of mountain but is away from the main village (10 min walk). It’s usually a bit cheaper
     
  24. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If I had a whole month, I would be inclined to mix up a destination or two. In January we (moi and + 0.95 Mk III) fly into Zurich, head to to Cran Montana for a week (staying with friends). Then after a couple of days in Venice have a week in Val Gardena before heading to Munich for the trip back. Virtually all travel in Europe will be by train. As much as I love skiing, I also love different destinations and the journey.
     
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  25. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Fozzie B we are now inclined to your way of thinking and so we're trying to research pretty much all of the places mentioned in these posts to come up with a couple of prime locations. I've been looking over old posts about Austrian, Italian and French ski resorts and towns and have seen the Austrian ski town of Kitzbuhl mentioned a number of times as a great spot. Can anyone recommend it or otherwise? Cheers.
     
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  26. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    The only Austrian resort I've been to is Soll. There's an interesting night toboggan activity - you hire a wooden sled and a gondola ride up. Then as you sled down there's traditional huts/ pubs on the route for you to stop and have a drink. They even give you a chain to lock up your sled whilst u are inside.

    Kitzbhuel always wanted to go. Hear it a lot on the TV in the apres pubs because it hosts the ski world cup.
     
  27. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is the thing. It is still possible to get good value accommodation directly in a ski resort but they are getting increasingly harder to find. In Austria though the free ski bus system is very good, so you can always find good value pensions a little further out but still a just a couple mins walk to ski bus stop. Then it is a few mins on the bus to the ski lift. In some cases though they start from a town up to an hour away. They can be rather crowded at times though, but you do save a considerable amount on accommodation. I stayed at a few such places on my trip earlier this year.
     
  28. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kitzbühel is of course known for the legendary Hahnenkamm downhill every January. The most famous and toughest downhill on the race calendar. Town is pretty crazy at that time with 50K+ people attending. it does however suffer somewhat from it's low altitude, so for a pure skiing experience there are better places to base.

    Agree with the idea of moving around to a few different locations over a month period. One thing to consider is one of the several multi-region, multi-day (or season) ski passes where you can save quite a bit over daily lift tickets. eg the Salzburger super ski card or several similar ones on Tirol.

    And as usual I'll post my favourite go to site for skiing in Europe. https://www.bergfex.com/ I use it to research my accommodation options. You'll find quite a few pensions there that aren't listed on the regular global booking sites and usually much better value.
     
    #28 Heinz, Jul 20, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  29. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    This is doing my head in. Heinz I looked at your recommended 'bergfex' website and found a list of 379 ski resorts in Austria. I then started to make a list of some recommended Austrian spots with a range of Italian places in the Dolomites and those mentioned in France. I then banged my head on the table a couple of times. Maybe basing ourselves in a large centre like Salzburg or Innsbruck with good transport and accommodation options and a range of ski fields around them is the go. Two weeks in one of those cities then another two in a good central area in say, the Dolomites. How does that sound to those in the know?
     
  30. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would not choose Salzburg as a base.
     
  31. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Why is that Hyst?
     
  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Innsbruck is a good base for skiing for a few days - several nearby ski areas with city life. Salzburg is definately worth visiting in between some skiing but not as good as a ski base. I visited both on my trip this year. See my blog page for that and many other reports. May give you a few more ideas. I've skied quite a few areas in Austria but still only scratched the surface. Plenty of other good ski bases for a week or more.
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/xfa-blogs/heinz.9979/
     
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  33. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    France.
    Or one of the Italian adjoining resorts.
    This.
    Also, Dolomites are v beautiful.
     
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  34. ttn

    ttn Hard Yards

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    This was our trip back in Jan 2019 - 3 weeks back to back - Sat-Sat

    Dolomites - ski in ski out on the Sella circuit - half board - very reasonable price and yes cheaper if self-contained accom. If travel to Innsbruck get a car hire from there for a week easy drive to and back. If book the car early it's not pricey at all. We didnt have a car so harder to explore the areas in the evenings

    St Anton - 2br apartment 5min walk to lift - train to and from was easy. Plenty of supermarkets to choose and easy shuttle buses

    Zermatt - 2br unit not even 5 min walk from the train. Train tickets from and to Austrian trains was cheaper than from Swiss train. Our friends stayed at a studio for 1/2 price to our 2br which is very good value imho.

    PM if you want to know prices

    There are good trip reports on here for the resorts above. Yes Swiss resort is a little bit more expensive than the others but you can always work with your planned budget. They are all good resorts. We really enjoyed our trips. Cheers
     
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  35. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Thanks TTN. What a great trip. We are now thinking 2 weeks in Zell am See or Saalbach then another 2 weeks based somewhere in the Dolomites. Of course that'll probably change.
     
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  36. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  37. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    I have not used this pass, but skied some of these areas (the pass not available when I was there).
    If I was going back, this pass and the vast area would be No.1 pick.
    Brilliant!!!!!
     
  38. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is a very nice town and close to Schladming, Wagrain, Flachau, ect. but other places like Kitzbühl, Westendorf, Brixen im Thale can as easy be reached by the Inntal motorway, but you would spend a lot of time on the road and face parking problems.
    But if skiing is not the only purpose of your trip Salzburg is nice for touristing.

    However as you have decided for St. Anton it has got terrain for you and is large with other resorts around - Ischgl (with visit to Italy), Schruns, Serfaus and many more.

    But for me to many young partying people.

    But Heinz and Kletterer are the specialists.
     
  39. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    That sounds good - Saalbach/Hinterglemm before Zell am See.
    For self contained try "tatmanstours" on snowheads, he has some apartments in contact to others. PM if you want his mail or try via Snowheads.

    Stayed here here last winter(northern) ski in ski out - very good food. Nice place. For party stay choose Saabach - for quite stay Hinterglemm.
    https://www.hotel-johanneshof.at/de/#
     
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  40. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    Good tip Hyst. We're past the party hard every night age. Hinterglemm sounds good. I'll check your recommended contacts and see what I can find and will be checking out the super ski card Heinz referred to. Cheers
     
  41. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think Hinterglemm maybe quiet in comparison to Saalbach but still has party eg. Goaßstall (although I've not stayed in the middle of either). If you can find something there that fits your budget then fine, otherwise maybe look at Vorderglemm or Leogang.
    Maria Alm where I was as well this year is not far away and much less publicised but has access to the large Hochkönig ski area.
     
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  42. Geronimo

    Geronimo Hard Yards

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    OK I'll have a look at those areas before I book anything. Cheers
     
  43. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Heinz is right Saalbach Hinterglenn is very touristy and the only place we felt deep in the mountain was on the runn over to Fieberbrunn.
    Now we have seen it and don't think we will return.
    Might no be challenging enough for you I am afraid.
     
  44. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Saalbach Hinterglemm has plenty of challenging terrain - has a world cup downhill and Zwölferkogel nord abfahrt and Shattberg nord are very serious. And staying in either of those towns would be very convenient. I was merely suggesting that inexpensive accommodation in those locations might be hard to find - depending on what you are happy to pay for convenience. Fieberbrunn is part of the freeride world tour circuit. You can also have a go at the Challenge. Allow yourself 7 hours and suggest packing some lunch to eat in the gondola on the way as you won't have time to stop at a hut for a leisurely lunch on the way.

    The Kings tour circuit from Maria Alm through to Mühlbach and back on the Hochkönig is also fun, not nearly as long though, so you have plenty of time to stop for lunch and rerun several runs.
     
  45. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's not a proper Euro skiing thread until Heinz links to https://www.bergfex.com/.
    It took me too long to realise the amount of data that lurks there.
     
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  46. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I love Innsbruck, as long as your not trying to eat on a Sunday. Personally, I find food Austria's biggest challenge, but Innsbruck gives your more options than staying at a smaller ski town / village.

    So many quickly accessible areas not mentioned here, some are big mountain riding too. The train & bus network is very efficient.

    Nordkette is little spoken about here, but it is a challenging mountain with some burly terrain, lifted right from the city centre. Axamer has some great side country very close, including long, icy runouts down rodelbahn tracks. Patcherkofl has some fun cruising & trees. Stubai is super reliable with it's altitude. Kuhtai is a whole lot of fun & less threatening than some places. Then there is the south west glaciers if you want some big vert.

    I guess one of the biggest pluses is it's central location - whatever the snow system direction, you can chase it from Innsbruck, dash south into Dolomites for an Adriatic Mediterranean systems, dash north to the German border for a northern tickler or west f into Voralberg area for the standard north west arc snow magnets.

    And if a Russian bear happens along, you can go east easily. You can go to a different ski area each day easily for a month from Innsbruck. Not sure when the new Brenner tunnel opens, but that will speed up things getting to the Dolomites.

    Shots below all a short flux capacitate from Innsbruck.











     
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  47. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    you get a great keepsake mug for completing the challenge. Its actually really fun to do and good for a day when the sun is out and no fresh snow. I was there in Jan 2019 and loved it. The offpiste options were vast and awesome
     
  48. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Possibly - haven't stayed there myself.
     
  49. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Bolzano is home to Otzi the Iceman.
    http://www.iceman.it/en/the-iceman/
     
  50. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, got my mug, although was a little disappointed that it was a standard Saalbach mug rather than a special Challenge one.
    Mine was fun for the first half of the day but was a bit of a struggle through the spring slush later in the day.