Kitzbuhel, Austria – The World’s Best Ski Resort?

Austria

Awarded the accolade of the world’s best ski resort by Skiresort.de, the world’s largest test portal for ski resorts for the third year running, Kitzbuhel, Austria certainly has great credentials. Kitzbuhel ski resort is one of the pioneers of alpine skiing ever since Franz Reisch skied down the Kitzbüheler Horn, making it the first Alpine ski run in Austria.

Kitzbuhel Ski Resort

Start your visit of Kitzbuhel with a tour round the village by Pepi, a very knowledgeable and friendly guide who will even serenade you goodbye with a bugle!

Colourful village houses in the charming ski village of Kitzbuehel, Austria

Colorful main street of Kitzbuhel village

Kitzbuhel Village Center

The brightly colored houses and cobbled streets are extremely picturesque. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe.

Kitzbuehel in Austria won the award for the world's best ski resort

A horse drawn carriage in Kitzbuhel

There are some interesting art galleries, luxury stores selling designer ski gear and Austrian traditional costumes and the all important coffee shops for a slice of sacher torte. The Aquarena swimming pool and wellness centre is a popular destination for those who fancy a change from skiing.

Kitzbuhel, Austria is considered to be an all-year round destination. It became internationally famous when the future King Edward VIII first came here in 1928 and made it popular with the British as a Summer destination.

With 4 golf courses including two 18 holes and many miles of hiking and mountain bike trails, we can certainly see the attraction. There’s even a casino!

In Kitzbuhel village center, there are lots of little architectural details to delight the eye.

The casino in Kitzbuehel, Austria

A historic building in Kitzbuhel

The Church of Our Lady or Liebfrauenkirche has a stunning baroque interior and an impressive bell tower.

The church in Kitzbuehel, Austria

The Church of Our Lady in Kitzbuhel

Cinephiles may remember the film 7 Years in Tibet with Brad Pitt and David Thewlis. The latter’s character, Peter Aufschnaiter, was one of the two Austrian mountaineers who took part in expeditions in Tibet, helped build a power plant there and met the Dalai Lama.

He is buried in the cemetery and his grave is adorned in typical Tibetan style.

The cemetery in Kitzbuehel, Austria

The grave of Peter Aufschnaiter

The Legend Park is a tribute to some of Austria’s most famous skiiers including multi gold medallist Toni Sailer who retired from skiing at age 22 and subsequently became a film star.

A memorial to Toni Sailer, Olympic ski champion, in Kitzbuehel, Austria

A tribute to Toni Sailer

Kitzbuhel Ski Review

Whether you’re an expert skier or a novice, you’ll be safe hands with Kevin from Element 3 Ski School. He will immediately put you at ease. Originally from the UK, he also speaks perfect German.

During the Summertime he’s a golf instructor, which reminds us that in Kitzbühel you can actually do a morning of ski and an afternoon of golf in April. Skiing itself is possible from at least end of November to mid April as the resort has a combination of snow canons and natural snow with an average of 180 days skiing.

In fact as Kevin says, it’s not the height of the resort that counts so much as the rocks around them keeping the snow firmly in place. He recommended Ski Rent Michael and we were very impressed with the quality of the equipment.

Michael, pictured here on the right with Kevin on the left, changes the ski boots every year and they’re state of the art.

There’s been a great deal of investment in the skiing infrastructure in Kitzbühel – around million Euros since 2000. Many of the chair lifts have heated seats and automatically opening covers.

All of this came as a pleasant surprise to us as we hadn’t skied for a few years. Some of the chair lifts are eight-seaters which means that you rarely have to queue more than a minute.

The main ski lift in Kitzbuehel, Austria

Kitzbuhel gondola lift

After a little tour on the nursery slope where thankfully we managed not to fall over, we headed to one of Kitzbühel’s more sedate blue runs to brush up on our rusty technique. Whilst it’s true that we’ve got down a couple of black runs in our time, we’d rather take it easy these days.

Kitzbuhel weather is generally very good but on this occasion visibility was low. It would definitely have been daunting to attempt much skiing without knowing the pistes so we were all the more grateful to Kevin.

Heading back on the slopes, we tackled a few more challenging runs and perfected our parallel skiing and turning. With 170 km of slopes, 780 snow cannons, 32 km of ski trails and 53 cable cars and ski lifts, there’s something for everyone – beginners, intermediates and experts.

Free-riding, or snowboarding off-piste, is extremely popular too with extensive back country and deep snow. One of Kitzbühel’s most famous ski runs is the three-and-a-half kilometer Hahnenkamm. It’s just as popular in Summertime with hikers and mountain bikers.

Kitzbuehel Austria ski domain

Ski runs at Kitzbuhel

Yet arguably Kitzbuhel’s main attraction is the world famous Streif downhill ski-run, scene of the infamous Hahnenkamm downhill race. It certainly looks pretty steep from the top!

With high speed jumps, exhilarating bumps and gliding sections, it’s an extremely diverse terrain for expert skiers. The race itself attracts 80,000 visitors every year.

Having said that, there are sections that can be tackled by intermediate skiers and there’s even a wacky uphill race held in February each year! Kitzbuhel, Austria also plays host to the largest snow polo tournament in the world, the Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup.

Talking of wacky activities, we couldn’t resist trying a Segway tour in the snow. It’s surprisingly easy when you get the hang of it – just remember to wrap up warm.

We cruised through some stunning countryside – check out the video for a glimpse. It’s a great Summertime activity too.

Weather in Kitzbuhel

The weather in Kitzbuhel varies from an average temperature of -4°C (26°F) in February to 12°C (53°F) in July. Surprisingly, July is also the wettest month, with 180mm of rain on average, and February is the driest month.

Good times to visit are June, July and August for hiking and end of October to February for skiing. It’s also interesting to note that the Hahnenkamm ski run’s average temperaturehas been getting colder for over 20 years!

Restaurants in Kitzbuhel, Austria

You’ll be spoilt for choice for dining in Kitzbuhel and the surrounding area. You’re sure to enjoy the haute cuisine at Neuwirt, whose slogan is “Life is Better When You’re Eating”.

A place after our own heart where we particularly enjoyed the salmon trout with creamy spinach, white truffle cream and Austrian “Grüll caviar”. They also do a fine line in wine including this Opitz One Austrian late harvest wine.

In nearby Aurach, We’d highly recommend Hallerwirt, with a cosy traditional decor. They serve up local specialties and delicious red fruit sundaes.

Dessert at traditional Tirol restaurant Hallerwirt in Kitzbuehel, Austria

Dessert at Hallerwirt Kitzbuhel

Berghaus Tyrol is a great option for a tasty lunch on the slopes. Try the tender beef schnitzel or the grustl, a great combination of fried egg, sauteed potato and beef.

A tasty dish at the Berghaus restaurant in Kitzbuehel, Austria

Grustl dish at Berghaus

Where to Stay in Kitzbuhel, Austria

There is a wide selection of hotels in Kitzbuhel with some very luxurious options. The A-Rosa Kitzbuhel is the cream of the crop, with a huge 3,000 m² spa and 9 hole golf course.

Designed in the style of a Tirolean castle, it has 151 rooms and suites, plus a 600 m² conference centre, it has all the amenities you could hope for. Our suite had a lovely balcony overlooking the grounds and it’s own telescope to watch the night stars!

The A-Rosa is a great place in which to enjoy the delicious Tirol cuisine and relax in the spa afterwards.

The A-Rosa Kitzbuhel Hotel, Tirol, Austria

A-Rosa Kitzbuhel

For those looking for a budget option, the comfy yet casual Hotel Gamshof should suit your needs. Some of the rooms have large balconies with great views towards the town and the breakfast will set you up for the day.

Hotel Gamshof, Kitzbuehel, Austria

Hotel Gamshof Kitzbuhel

Getting to Kitzbuhel

Easily reached by plane from Salzburg or Munich, there’s also a railway station located conveniently next to the main ski lift. Another good idea is to combine a Kitzbuhel skiing trip with a city break to Innsbruck or Vienna in Winter.

The capital city of Austria has a huge array of cultural attractions and some charming Christmas markets. If you visit, you’re sure to fall in love with Kitzbuhel, Austria.

From the charming village centre to the state of the art skiing facilities and great après-ski, it’s somewhere that you’ll want to return to time and time again and a hot contender for the title of the world’s best ski resort.

By: luxurycolumnist.com

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