10 Reasons You Should Head To Kitzbühel, Austria, This Season

Julia Schneemann |
Ski Kitzbuehel
Skiing in Kitzbühel, Austria, picture: Kitzbühel Website

Kitzbühel has been part of the Ikon Pass since 2021. Ikon Pass and Ikon Base Pass holders get seven or five day access respectively to the Kitzbühel ski area. Here are 10 reasons why you should head to Kitzbühel this season:

1. In the heart of Europe:

Kitzbühel is located a mere 90 minutes from Munich airport. There are several companies running dedicated shuttle services from the airport to the Austrian ski resorts, such as AlpstriaTaxi for only USD 249 (EUR 249) or you can rent your own car if you prefer the flexibility and mobility. Salzburg and Innsbruck are also just a 75-minute drive away if you feel like exploring Austria. While in Kitzbühel, you won’t need a car however, the resort provides complimentary busses for skiers and riders.
Leopoldskron castle and Hellbrunn castle in Salzburg, Austria, picture: Julia Schneemann

2. Ultra-modern lift infrastructure:

The resort possesses one of the most modern lift infrastructures in the world. There are 57 state-of-the-art gondolas and lifts servicing 145 miles of downhill runs, 119 miles of which are marked and groomed: 47 blue (66 miles), 32 red (41 miles), and 17 black (12 miles). The resort lifts are equipped with bubbles and seat heating and transport skiers and riders at record speed up the mountain, making queues minimal even at peak times.

Chair lift
One of Kitzbühel’s several Leitner ‘business class’ chair lifts with ergonomically designed, heated leather seats and bubble, picture: Kitzbühel Website

3. Hahnenkamm/Streif:

Every year the resort is home to the famous Hahnenkamm race, the world’s most challenging downhill ski race. Roughly 100,000 people come every year to watch the spectacle live and millions tune in on TV as the world’s best alpine skiers race down one of the steepest race slopes in the world, the “Streif.” You can ski down this run, which is open to the public most days, or watch this spectacular FIS World Cup event if you happen to be there from January 16-22, 2023. The Streif starts at an elevation of 5,463 ft (1,665 m) and goes along 2 miles to the finish at 2,641 ft (805 m). The steepest part, the “Mausefalle”(or mouse trap), has a gradient of 40.4° and FIS athletes are known to hit speeds of over 75–80mph. Tickets for spectators go on sale this month.

The Finish Area of the Hahnenkamm race, picture: sponsor Helly Hansen Website

4. Incredibly cheap skiing:

If you have an Ikon pass, you get 5 days on the Base Pass and 7 on the full pass. You must go to a ticket window at the resort to collect your daily or multi-day ticket. For those without Ikon Pass or who want to ski for longer, a day pass starts at only USD $51.50 (EUR €51.50) and if you buy 14 consecutive days, the price comes down to USD $30 a day. Season passes start at USD $743 (until December 8, 2022). Unlike many US resorts, the Austrian resorts do not have extortionate day pass prices, as there is simply too much competition in the European Alps.
Beautiful Kitzbühel in the winter, picture: Kitzbühel Website

5. Strong US Dollar:

The Euro is the weakest it has been in 19 years and is currently trading around parity with the US Dollar. In other words, your money will go far and prices are easy to be compared. Also, remember, advertised prices in Europe always include the GST and tipping is not compulsory.

EURUSD 20-year chart, source: TradingView

6. Child-friendly:

Austria is well known for being child-friendly. After all, an Austrian founded the Kinderhotels chain. Kitzbühel features several child-friendly hotels with child care and spa and other amenities, like the A-Rosa Resort, a 5-star resort hotel situated in a castle, which has family suites for 2 adults and 2 kids starting at $800, breakfast and dinner included.
All practice lifts in the valley can be used for free, unlike some resorts where practice lifts are only accessible with a ski instructor. Speaking of ski instructors, the Rote Teufel (‘Red Devils’) Ski School, Kitzbühel’s largest ski school, charges only $85 for a full day and the price comes down to $60 per day if you book six consecutive days. When it comes to lift tickets, kids under 6 years of age ski for free and kids under 13 are half price.
A-Rosa Resort Hotel
Stay at a fairy-tale hotel: the child-friendly A-Rosa Spa Resort Hotel in Kitzbühel, picture: A-Rosa Website

7. Dessert for Lunch:

Hands down my favorite thing about skiing in Austria is that it is perfectly acceptable to have all forms of dessert as your main course for lunch. I mean, what’s not to love about that? So earn some turns and then treat yourself to some delicious apple strudel with custard sauce, Germknödel (a yeast dumpling filled with plums and served with poppyseed and icing sugar sprinkle on top), Palatschinken (which is a stuffed crêpe), Salzbuger Nockerln (a sweet souffle), or Kaiserschmarrn (a pancake with raisins). The resort has over 60 mountain huts and restaurants, so you surely won’t go hungry.

If you fancy cake for lunch, why not try Austria’s specialty, a Germknödel, a yeast dumpling filled with plums and served with custard and poppy seed – sugar, picture: Küchengötter

8. Après-Ski:

Austrians have hands down perfected the art of après-ski. The scene in Kitzbühel is probably a bit more refined than in St. Anton or Sölden, but not any less fun. There are a few great bars on the bottom of the slope, like the Streifalm at the bottom of the famous Streif run or the Sonnenalm next to the Hartkaser chairlift. There are plenty more watering holes in town. The most famous spot is probably ‘The Londoner’ with live music and a party atmosphere every night.

Apres at The Londoner, Kitzbühel, Austria, picture: The Londonder Instagram Page

9. Shopping:

Kitzbühel is home to several winter sports fashion brands, including the exclusive Sportalm and Frauenschuh brands. Sportalm was founded in 1953 by Willi Kruetschnigg and has grown over the years into a multi-national company with $60 million in sales. Aside from ski clothes they also sell traditional Austrian clothes (think Dirndls) and other sportswear.

Frauenschuh was founded in 1950 as a leather manufacturer. The founder’s son Kaspar Frauenschuh turned the business toward fashion retail in the 1990s to design their own line of clothing. Both companies still have their flagship stores in Kitzbühel. Use the opportunity of picking up some amazing quality ski clothes you don’t find readily available elsewhere.
Frauenschuh’s signature style, combining typical Austrian fabrics like Loden cloth with state-of-the-art ski clothing technology, picture: Frauenschuh Instagram

10. Something for every budget:

While Kitzbühel is probably the most glamorous ski village in the Austrian Alps, lined with fancy shops and luxury hotels, you can stay for a lot less at Kirchberg, on the other side of the mountain range, with the exact same access to lifts but a more low-key atmosphere. You can find decent 4-star hotels here for as little as $150 while being in the same ski area.

Video by lift manufacturer Leitner about their gondola and six-chair in Kitzbühel
Kitzbühel trail map
Kitzbühel Trail Map, picture: Kitzbühel Website

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