Arguably the most beautiful ski town in Europe, Kitzbuhel, basking in the backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser Mountains, attracts skiers and non-skiers from around the world, an amazing number of which descending upon the town each year as it hosts the most famous World Cup downhill ski race – the Hahnenkamm.
The Hahnenkamm directly above the town is still the highlight, but it’s just one of several mountains with runs weaving down through the trees, the others being Pengelstein, Wurzhohe, Resterhohe, Kitzuheler Horn, Gaisberg and Bichlalm.
The ski area, includes the nearby villages of Kirchberg and Jochberg. The SkiWelt, a short bus ride from its edge, opens up a further huge area to explore.
Despite Kitzbuhel sitting at only 760m above sea level, the snow is kept remarkably well during the winter season. This is primarily due to it’s predominantly north-west orientation, keeping the snow out the sun for most of the day.
800m – 2000m
December – April
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Unfortunately the local nursery slopes in Kitzuhel are slightly limited and despite the best snowmaking efforts, the snow quality can suffer. There are similar areas in all of the villages in the valley but the same issue persists. Higher up however there is a decent gentle zone on the Kitzuheler Horn, where there is also good progression on to longer blues. Elsewhere, Pengelstein is probably the best bet for gentle blues within the main ski area.
There’s a huge array of runs for intermediates in the resort, but some of the slopes can get crowded, especially on the Hahnenkamm. Despite the modest altitude, you can notch up some serious vertical on the Pengelstein sector by skiing down to Skirast and also on the Kitzbuheler Horn. Take the 3S across towards Pass Thurn for the quietest slopes, including the highest piste in the resort at the aptly named Zweitausender.
The advanced options are somewhat limited and most of the steep terrain is found by the Steinbergkogel, accessed directly from the main Hahnenkamm gondola. Two fast eight seater-chairs, both equipped with seat heating and bubbles, access a network of good blacks. Otherwise the main attractions are the ski routes, in particular 33, 34 and 51, but these rely on good natural snowfall and fresh powder.
Kitzbuhel was never known as a snowboarders’ hub, but it is growing in popularity, year on year. There is now a good park, plus some good off-piste runs and fun natural obstacles on the Hahnenkamm and around Pengelstein. All the major lifts are gondolas or chairlifts, so the area suits beginners well. But a couple of reporters have drawn attention to the many flat linking runs, on which boarders struggle, one versatile chap ditched his board after a day, and rented skis instead.
Kitzbuhel has more than 60 km of groomed trails for classic and skating cross-country enthusiasts. There is an illuminated Snow Sports Trail at the Golfclub Kitzbuehel-Schwarzsee-Reith and a unique altitude track high up at Pass Thurn.
The toboggan run at the Gaisberg in Kirchberg is the only mountain side course in the area and thanks to floodlighting it is fully operational at night. The 4-seater chairlift at the Gaisberg transports you to the top of the course with ease and the energy saved and enjoyment you experience will inspire you to make multiple runs. Afterwards you can unwind and relax in the friendly mountain huts that, even during the night, serve tasty meals and delicacies to the guests.
There is of course some luxury pampering on offer at Weisses Rossl’s delightful spa, and at the Schwarzer Alder’s rooftop pool. The Aquarena leisure centre has a number of pools along with saunas, steam rooms and mudbaths!
If you are still feeling energetic then the Sports Park has ice skating, ice hockey, curling and bowling. Tobogganing and bobsleigh are also available, as are the more traditional horse drawn sleigh rides.
Trip to Salzburg
As Salzburg is only 50 miles away and accessible by Kitzbuhel’s railway station then that is great for non skiers or those wanting a day off.
View the live snow report for Kitzbuhel here
Pistes suitable for beginners can be found throughout the ski area, which also features many family friendly ski huts and snack bars where you can take a break.
The ski schools have instructors especially trained to teach the little ones, and the schools also offer daily activities for children. The ski courses guarantee plenty of fun for children on the flat practice slope by the Maierl inn, or (for more advanced junior skiers) on top of the mountain itself. Your children will be in good hands and will be well taken care of while you tackle the challenging pistes for adults or enjoy the spa in your hotel.Are your children brave enough for the ‘Ministreif’ Kitzbuhel ski school have created an agility course located at the Ganslernbahn cable car. It takes fun on the slopes to a whole new level. Sections such as the ‘Mausefalle’ (mousetrap), the ‘Gams’, the ‘Tretorgel’ on the Seidlalm, the ‘Steilhang’ (steep slope) and the ‘Hausbergkante’ (local mountain edge) await the children. It’s all about balance, quickly adapting to different conditions, courage, agility and, of course, speed. There is also the Kitzbuhel Snowpark, terrain park and mini playground.
Hotel Rosengarten (Kirchberg)
Kempinski Hotel Des Tirol
Hotel Zur Tenne
Q Maria Theresia
Kitzbuhel is easy to reach no matter which form of transport you use. Whether you are traveling from further afield or one of the airports at Munich, Innsbruck or Salzburg, coming by train or on the roads, Kitzbuhel in the heart of the Alps is never far away.
Munich 160 km, Innsbruck 95 km,Salzburg 80 kmAbout 90 minutes with the train, bus, airport shuttle or hire car to Kitzbuhel
From Germany: Inntal-Autobahn A12 exit for Kufstein Sud. 26 km on the B173 | B178 to Kitzbuhel
From Innsbruck: Inntal-Autobahn A12 to Worgl, 30 km on the B170 to Kitzbuhel
International Train Station Kitzbuhel Direct connections from Zurich, Munich, Vienna und Graz