With 100-plus kilometers of slopes and 46 lifts, along with some charming traditional architecture, Alpbach makes for the perfect skiing getaway in Tirol, Austria.
Alpbach, a small Tyrolean village sitting just under 1000 kilometers above sea level, offers unique traditional architecture in combination with access to some of the best slopes in Austria. It’s indeed a very special skiing base; it is both quiet and charming, with just 400 inhabitants, and has been dubbed the “prettiest village in Austria”. And this isn’t just a shameless attempt to attract more tourists! Without a doubt, it is the most romantic mountain village I have visited. Together with my boyfriend, we spent a full week there.
Staying in a traditional B&B in the heart of Alpbach, we could enjoy the quietness of the picturesque village as well as the 109 kilometers of groomed slopes just a short bus ride away. Without wasting much time, we could always easily reach the magnificent peaks. As we got to experience, there is actually a lot to do there apart from skiing, including a four-kilometer toboggan ride.
The best time to visit Alpbach is from the end of November to the beginning of April, when all the lifts are open. In this article, you will learn everything you should know before planning your ski holiday in Alpbach Ski resort.
GETTING TO ALPBACH
We travelled there by car from Bavaria. Unless you are lucky enough to travel there from a neighboring region like we did, the easiest way is to go by plane. Innsbruck is the nearest Airport; use Kiwi.com to book your flight. You can check the lowest fares here.
Alpbach is 90 minutes by bus and train from Innsbruck, or it takes less than one hour from the airport by taxi. It is a good idea to stop first and enjoy the beauty of Innsbruck if you have time; the city center is lovely and you can see a lot within just one hour.
Alpbach Ski Resort: Up in the Slopes
Alpbach is an amazing playground for skiers. The Alpbach ski area is in a valley that was connected to the neighboring Wildschönau Valley back in the 2012/2013 season, making what is now called the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau. With 109 kilometers of groomed slopes, this is one of the largest ski areas in Tyrol. According to the Guardian, Alpbach is one of the best ski resorts in all of Austria.
Skiing in Alpbach is actually cheaper than in many other Tyrolean resorts (for example Kizbuehel where I skied last year). In Alpbach, a day pass in high season costs €45,50 for adults and €22,50 for children. A six-day ski pass is €228,50 in high season and €206,00 in low season. The ticket includes bus transfers; the connections from Alpbach to the lifts are pretty amazing. I didn’t have to spend much time waiting for the bus.
Starting from Alpbach, there are three gondolas to help you discover the winter paradise in the two valleys. At the Alpbach site, you can use the Pöglbahn and Wiedersbergerhornbahn. Then there is the gondola up to the Schatzberg, the highest peak on the Wildschönau side, at 1,898m. Be aware that the marking of the slopes varies slightly within the resort; some of the red slopes I tried in Alpbach were more difficult that the black slopes across the valley.
Amazing mountain panoramas
There are a lot of great views everywhere, but there is one place that stands out as the best: on Wiedersberger Horn, at 2,127 m above sea level. It is quite accessible, although it does require some effort; you can climb there from the upper station of the Wiedersberger Horn gondola.
The trip there and back take about 45 minutes and requires climbing a steep hill. Taking into account one has to do it in ski boots, you have to be fit to manage it. There is a big cross at the top and on a clear day you can see very far. It’s my favorite place in the whole Ski Juwel area.
For thrill seekers, there is another attraction you can add to your skiing day: the Alpbachtaler Lauser-Sauser, a new Alpine Coaster that can reach a speed of 40 kph. The track covers 1,5 kilometers and features two steep descents, waves, and two 360° twists. It’s free for the ski pass holders. The coaster starts at Wiedersberger Horn and goes in the direction of the Kohlgruben ski lift. There are places to leave your skis while on the coaster.
Ski Juwel: Our skiing experience
The slopes here are ideal for intermediate skiers, so it was a great fit for Mathias and I. We made use of most of the gondolas and slopes, and we were pleasantly surprised about the waiting time at the lifts; it’s pretty much non-existent!
The Ski Juwel was pleasantly uncrowded during most of our visit, it’s not like those packed slopes where I am always afraid to make a turn for fear of bumping into other skiiers. Also, the slopes are clearly marked so you always know where you are.
If you are looking to enjoy the Ski Juwel as a complete skiing beginner, it is handy to practice some basic moves on the beginner slope right in Apbach town (ideally, with a ski teacher). In the Ski Juwel, beginners should stick to the blue slopes, comprising 26 kilometers in total (28% of the whole area). This isn’t much area, so I would recommend planning your routes for the day before you arrive.
Mathias’s skiing accident
Although the conditions for skiing were excellent and we were looking to make the best of our six days ski passes, the accident completely changed our plans. Shit just happens.
On the second day of our holiday, Mathias had a major wipeout; he was skiing down a black slope and failed to make a correct turn. He fell immediately, and continued rolling down the slope, losing his skis and poles. I had to watch it in horror from below.
At first, it seemed like Mathias was going to be okay; it seemed like no bones were broken ,so we went down on the gondola. But his shoulder was still in pain, so I drove him to the nearest hospital. It was only about 40 kilometers, but the trip seemed to take forever. The emergency room took him in immediately and the verdict was out very soon: a dislocated shoulder. And no sports for the coming 6 weeks.
Although this was a very sudden change to our plans, we decided to still make the best of our trip to Aplbach. We did winter walks, some après-ski and I still got back to the slopes by myself on a few days. We realized that there were so many other things to do that it makes for a separate post about it.
Where to sleep and eat in Alpbach
Although Alpbach is a small village you can find lots of accommodation options there and enough places to eat well. We stayed in Chalet Enthofer, a B&B situated in one of the beautiful traditional timber houses.
One popular accommodation option for couples is Böglerhof, a four star hotel situated in the historical building dating back to the 15th century. It features a spa with a sauna. Should your budget be more restricted, you can try Appartements Zellner near the gondola. You get a whole apartment including your own kitchen, and fresh baked goods are delivered upon request
Our favorite restaurant in Alpbach is Jakober, where they’ve got all the Tirolean specialties such Tiroler Gröstl, Käsespätzle and Kaiserschmarrn. I recommend their creamy garlic soup, too. Besides the restaurant, Jakober has an Irish pub that is pretty popular among expats, you can sleep there, too.
Another lively place is Post Alm, a typical pub popular for the après-ski experience. This is where everybody goes after they are done on the slopes. Have some aperol or try one of the many flavors of schnapps.
You should also not miss the vintage coffee house Café Genuss, where they have a daily breakfast buffet and a cute gift shop. Their homemade cakes are pretty amazing.
During the ski day you definitely want to eat at one of the mountain huts. Our favorite place to eat in the Ski Juwel is Wurmegg Hut on Schatzberg Mountain. The food there is amazing, especially the giant Wiener schnitzel. The restaurant features a terrace and the views on a clear day are awesome.
Practical tips for a trip to Alpbach ski resort
After one week in Alpbach, I was easily able to find my way around the village. I have prepared a few tips to make your planning stress free.
Make sure to get the handy Alpbachtal Seenland Card. You are entitled to it automatically when booking accommodation in Alpbach. It includes many discounts and all transportation; if you are arriving by train, just show your booking conformation and your ride is free. Once you reach the hotel, you will get your card.
SLOPES FOR BEGINERS
If you are completely new to skiing, it is good idea to spend some time learning with a ski teacher. For complete beginners, there is a small gondola right in Alpbach town where is possible to practice basic moves and also the process of getting on and off the lift.
LEARN SKIING FROM THE BEST
Learn how to ski or snowboard at Ski Schule Alpbach. Their office is located near the bus stop, in the center of the village. We have spent a day with one of their guides, Ian, and we would totally recommend him. They also have a couple of snowboarding guides, too.
RENT YOUR SKIS
Next door, at Conny’s Sport Alpbach, you can rent your ski equipment. You register there with your personal info and the staff is very helpful in advising you on what equipment you need. I personally don’t have my won skis and always rent them on the spot. There is a 12% discount when booking online.
ENJOY THE EVENINGS
Pick up a weekly program from Alpbach Tourism office; here you can also book some of the activities included on your card, such snowshoeing or a torch-lit walk. It will help you make the best of your stay and find many other things to do beyond skiing.
I have done my best to include all the tips, accommodation information and prices to help you plan your trip. If you enjoyed my article or have any further questions about Alpbach, please get in touch via my Facebook site.
Thanks for reading!
My trip to Austria was part of #BlogVille project in cooperation with iambassador and Tirol Tourist Board. All opinion are, as always, my own.