SnowCardTirol - tips & recommendations

SnowKid

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Jul 16, 2020
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Tirol, Austria
Planning to live for the Winter across Austria and purchasing the SnowCard Tirol to access pretty much every resort in that region. I'll be moving around using the free ski busses to get to resorts, and living for a week, two or maybe three in certain regions to explore as much as possible. I've decided to have the month of 14.12 - 12.01 off the Austrian slopes as it gets busy around Christmas/NY period.

I'm looking for tips as to the best areas for snow/powder/off-piste (within resort). I've previously ridden the SkiWelt area from Hofpgarten for 13 days in 2018.

Currently, I'm planning on hitting these resorts: (baseline resorts but looking to add many more to the list)
> The 5 Glaciers - Hintertux, Stubai, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Solden
> Western Tirol - Serfauss-Fiss Ladis, Ischgl, Kuhtai,
> Eastern Tirol - SkiWelt, Kitzbuhel, Mayrhofen, Ski Juwel.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated - I'm a boarder & can hit pretty much anything and everything in terms of terrain, and am keen to give my powder board a good work-out if the snow gods help out.

Where would you go/avoid? Hidden gems? Over-rated places?

Don't need as much in way of apres-ski tips (Ischgl will cover that craving) but more so on the best terrain to make this winter a memorable one!

Thanks in advance!
 

Skifahrer

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Feb 6, 2021
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Dahoam
I had the Tirol Snow Card for the last 5 years. This winter I will be skiing more in Switzerland and in the Dolmites.

You have actually already listed all the major resorts.

It is particularly busy in the week after Christmas (December 25th - January 1st). From January 2nd it becomes less crowded. From January 8th quite a few people. It is the same until December 24th. Less skiers at all. Why don't you want to go skiing at this time?

I would suggest the following combinations:
Pitztal + Hochzeiger
Sölden + Hochgurgl
Mayrhofen + Kaltenbach + Zillertal Arena
Innsbruck city + Axamer Lizum + Glugenzer + Nordkette (very good public transport)
Kühtai + Hochötz
Ischgl + Galtür + Kappl

How do you travel between the different resorts?
In general, I would rather ski during the week and travel on the weekends.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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Nice plan. Look forward to when I can travel again and plan on something like that.

I'm not so familiar with the Tirol card, more the Salzburg card but I have skied quite a few places in Tirol. @Skifahrer clearly has the best recent experience being very close by and his suggestions are on the money. I can't comment on December from personal experience as my trips have been more mid to late season, but it is well known that late December is very busy and probably best avoided.

Areas definitely worth checking out from my experience.

Sölden + Obergurgl/Hochgurgl in the Ötztal
This is a good choice early or late season. Sölden has regular alpine plus the glaciers, has the World cup opening races in October. Hochgurgl has regular high alpine and good late season. I've skied there in April.

Zillertal
Several resorts in this valley and most served by a free train service which runs down most of the valley in addition to the regular ski buses. Mayrhofen is the biggest town in the valley and seems to attract quite a few English. I stayed in Ried just by Kaltenbach which is a quiet village, but that accesses the linked areas of Hochzillertal/Hochfügen - two completely contrasting areas. Hochzillertal is made for high speed wide groomers and carving, whereas Hochfügen is mostly open ungroomed terrain great for freeriders - the place to be on a powder day. The Zillertal Arena is another great area accessed from Zell am Ziller. You can traverse a number of villages.

Ischgl in the Paznaunertal
Ischgl is infamous for the Apresski scene (and Austria's initial Covid outbreak). Post Covid the Apres is going to be very much scaled back, but I'm sure not completely. But the skiing itself is awesome once you get past the bottlenecks at the base and Idalp. It is a massive area so you can quickly get away from the crowds, drop over the Swiss side for a bit of duty free if you want. I'm not familiar with Galtür + Kappl up the valley but they would also be worth checking out and could provide a cheaper base to stay and use the free ski bus.

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
This is another huge area, some big terrain on the Serfaus side. I stayed down in the valley at Ried in Oberinntal in a nice inexpensive pension and used the free ski bus to head up. There didn't appear to be much in the way of good value pensions up in Fiss or Serfaus. Also being the the valley gives you access to a few other small areas further along the valley. But Fiss-Serfaus is definitely the main game.

Innsbruck
This provides a nice change of scene and city living with several ski areas close by all served by free ski buses. I stayed just by the train station so only a short walk to the bus stops.

General tips.
As I mentioned above if you want to save a few Euros look for pensions that may be a little down the valley but served by the ski buses as some of the hotels right by the lifts can be quite a bit more expensive.
Getting around between the resorts is pretty easy either by train (ÖBB) or the Postbus network.
As mentioned expect Apres won't be quite the same as years past, but the great thing about Austrian ski areas is that there are always a plenty of huts at the bottom of ski runs where you can sit inside or outside have a beer and table service meals.
And not forgetting my go to website for ski trip planning in Austria. https://www.bergfex.com/
Good luck!
 

Kletterer

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I found Zell am Ziller/ Gerlos / Konigsleiten to be a good option good in bad weather. Fiss / Serfaus has huge off piste terrain and some areas have that real big mountain feel when you venture out = underrated and on par with St Anton but less traffic oob.
 

Skifahrer

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Feb 6, 2021
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Dahoam
Yes, really a great idea.
@Heinz: have summarized that very well.

I can't contribute that much to the subject of transport as I always travel by car. But there is a free ski bus in any area (also included in the Snow Card). When booking your accommodation, you can ask how does it work with the connection of the ski bus.

The most expensive (and most crowded) weeks in Tirol are during the school holidays:
24.12 - 08.01.22 (Christmas, Weihnachten)
26.02 - 05.03.22 (Carnival, Fasching)
09.04. - 23.04.22 (Easter, Ostern)
During this time I would head for smaller areas.
The further from the gondola, the cheaper the accommodation.

Personally, I think the best time is from mid-February to the end of April. I am always in Ischgl in April. It is then no longer that full. The valley run is still possible until the end of April.

Serfaus, on the other hand, is only recommended until the end of March due to its location and orientation.

Due to the low altitude, I would only go to Skiwelt until the beginning of March, better January and February.

Zillertal is good due to cheap accommodation. Public transport is also very good. You can travel to all areas by bus and train, including the Hintertuxer Glacier.
Disadvantage: no valley run in Mayrhofen, all other valley runs will probably have no more snow at the end of February or beginning of March, except in Gerlos / Königsleiten.

Another possibility: Ski Safari in Landeck (this has already been described here in the forum). Some hotels offer this ski safari, i.e. you can take a minibus to Ischgl and Serfaus for € 5.
St. Anton is also offered, but this is not included in the Snow Card.
 

SnowKid

Hard Yards
Jul 16, 2020
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Tirol, Austria
Many thanks for all your replies and useful information @Heinz @Skifahrer @Kletterer

I'll be travelling solo for the most part - if anyone has recommendations on good/cheap places to stay, that would be great. Happy to stay off-mountain as mentioned above to save costs, especially with the free ski bus and the need to buy groceries for cooking.
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
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Oct 14, 2005
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Here is my TR from my most recent trip to Austria in 2019. Covers a few of the relevant areas - Innsbruck, Fiss-Serfaus &, Ischgl.
 
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Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
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Getting around is pretty easy with public transport with combination of the Austrian railways (ÖBB), the Postbus which are operated by the ÖBB, private railways like the Zillertalbahn and the free ski buses.
You can check schedules and buy tickets in advance here: https://www.oebb.at/en which includes the bus connections
You can often get good discounts on train travel purchasing online a few days in advance.

Examples:
Sölden - train to Ötztal then bus
Mayrhofen - train to Jenbach then Zillertal train
Ischgl - train to Landeck then bus
Fiss - train to Landeck then bus

Here is an example for Innsbruck to Sölden (note you need to type it as Soelden on an english keyboard)
1632266540363.png
 

Heinz

Fully vaccinated but nowhere to go
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
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Adelaide
As mentioned before I have found as a solo traveler that small family run pensions provide the best value for money. The key is finding ones that are close to a ski bus stop. A good example of one is this place https://www.haustirolried.at/ at €36 / night. It is in the valley below Fiss, but a short walk to a ski bus stop. There seem to be few of these type of places in Fiss-Serfaus itself and typically on the mountain you'd be paying €100+.

The bergfex site provides good info on accomodation. Filter on pensions and check for places that report being close to ski bus stop.
https://www.bergfex.com/sommer/oesterreich/unterkuenfte/
You can fire off an email inquiry to the pension via bergfex initially.
 
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Skifahrer

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Feb 6, 2021
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Dahoam
I always book the accommodation through the tourist information. With a direct inquiry you will always receive more offers than on the homepage of the ski area.
In most cases the prices and cancellation conditions are better than on a booking platform.

For example:



Since I prefer ski in / out, unfortunately I cannot give you any advice on cheap accommodation. I always live in Serfaus and Ischgl directly.
 
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