[UPDATED March 2021]
The Glungezer ski resort near Innsbruck in Austria is the best-kept secret of local winter sports enthusiasts. Major upgrades to their lift infrastructure have put them up there with the best in the region. This insider’s guide will show you why you should consider Glungezer for a fantastic day on the slopes.
Glungezer at a Glance
Glungezer is a charming little ski resort in the Mittelgebirge (middle mountains) near Innsbruck. If you like skiing in beautiful terrain with hardly any lift lines, versatile skiing, and a quaint Alpine village atmosphere, you are at the right place.
|Runs/slopes||7 km blue, 15.5 km red, 0.5 km black|
|Lifts||1 gondola, 1 gondola/chairlift combo, 1 chairlift, 1 t-bar lift, 1 button lift, 1 magic carpet|
|Price for 1-day ski pass||€36,50|
|Operating times||08:30 to 16:30|
|Restaurants||3 with direct access to the slopes|
|Public transport||Bus 4134 from Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol|
8 Reasons to Ski at Glungezer
- What Glungezer lacks in size it packs in character, tucked away in an undeveloped natural area high above the Inn Valley.
- Even on a busy day, the slopes are uncrowded.
- The Glungezerbahn is included in the OlympiaWorld Skipass which covers nine ski resorts near Innsbruck.
- Winter sports enthusiasts love the natural snow covering most of the ski area. Snow cannons have only been put to use in recent years to extend the skiing season.
- On average, Glungezer boasts 72 sunny days per ski season. The season is around 116 days long, which means the resort is under the 10 sunniest in the region.
- When the snow conditions are good, the 15 km descent from Schartenkogel to Tulfes is one of the longest ski runs in Tyrol.
- If you’re a ski tourer who doesn’t rely on lifts, Glungezer offers some of the best ski touring facilities in Tirol. You can go all the way to the Glungezer summit at 2,677 m before taking a break or sleeping over in the Glungezer Hut.
- Tulfes is home to a unique winter sport called Klumpern. A Klumper is a “sled on a ski”. Your chances of seeing someone in action on one of these are exceptionally well at the Glungezer ski resort.
If it’s not obvious by now, I think this is the right time to declare my bias. Glungezer really is our local ski resort. It’s also where we learned to ski after settling in Austria in 2010.
The Glungezerbahn Lifts and Ski Runs
The valley station of the Glungezerbahn is just above the centre of Tulfes at 950 m.
The new gondola running between the valley station and Halsmarter is a valuable addition to the ski area.
Note: You must get off at Halsmarter as the lift goes no further.
From Halsmarter, you have 2 choices. You can either ski down the blue Halsmarter slope or take the new Tulfein Express gondola/chairlift combination up the wide red slope in front of you.
Easy Halsmarter Run (1)
This is where we took our first terrifying ski steps almost 8 years ago. Our efforts were so disastrous that the hill leading to the official start of the blue run has subsequently been named “wipeout hill”.
If you manage to get down wipeout hill (a walk in the park, actually) the Halsmarter run lies in front of you. It’s 2 km long, wide, and with no dramatic difference in elevation. There’s a magic carpet used by the ski schools near the top which is perfect for first-timers.
There are only two steepish (but short) hills on the blue run. The first is followed by a long, level stretch for which you need speed to get across. So, instead of making your beginner turns until you get to the bottom, put those skis together and go straight when you’re about halfway down the hill.
Where the slope forks, keep left unless you want to stop at the Tulferhütte mountain hut (in which case you stay right before turning left to the hut).
Do not continue straight past the Tulferhütte unless you want to end up back at the valley station in Tulfes. It certainly is possible to ski down to the parking lot after a good snowfall. But the conditions can be icy and it’s not well marked. You must also cross a road along the way.
Keeping left past the Tulferhütte takes you down the last little hill to the Halsmarter t-bar lift. If there are no other people around, the operator may be sitting in his hut. Call him if you need assistance to get the bar under your bum.
This lift is SLOW – a fact we didn’t complain about when we started out.
At the top of the blue run, there is also a short button lift, called the Halsmarter Express, that will take you up the hill to the Alpengasthof Halsmarter.
The area where you get off is not level. Immediately turn your skis diagonally if you don’t want to go reversing down the hill again.
From here, you can either go to the Halsmarter restaurant or ski down to take the Tulfein Express to the red runs.
Intermediate FIS Standard Run (2)
A lovely wide 5 km long slope that even an “advanced beginner” like myself can manage. FIS is the International Ski Federation, so I guess this run lives up to its standards.
To get on it, turn left after exiting the Tulfein Express (If you go right, you’ll enter the Kalte Kuchl ski area.)
The first bit of this slope is quite level and narrow before it gets steeper and wider. Fortunately, it evens out every now and again to give beginner legs a break.
Kids love to explore the forest paths branching off to the right of this slope.
The Schartenkogel and Tulfeinalm Runs
When exiting the Tulfein Express, an easy run (3) takes you past the Tulfein Alm (on your left) before it joins up with the runs coming from the Schartenkogel.
There are a number of interweaving runs between the bottom and the top of the Schartenkogel lift, with lots of opportunities for off-piste skiing in between.
The runs are all relatively easy red ones with one short black run branching off to your right just after the Schäferhütte.
The Schäferhütte is a small mountain hut near the Schartenkogel. A friendly local called Stefan Mumelter keeps beer and Schnapps handy for those who care to stop by for a chat or relax in the sun.
If you’re done skiing in this area, take the no. 6 Schartenkogel run until it joins up with the no. 2 FIS standard run to get you back to Halsmarter.
Eating and Drinking at Glungezer
We love stopping here for 2 reasons – the magnificent views from the terrace and the very friendly hosts.
Expect to find traditional Austrian food like Schnitzel, dumplings, and sausages on the menu. And remember they are on a mountain without road access in the winter which means it’s hard to get extra hands to help on busy days.
- This guide about ski food in Austria will give you a better idea of what to expect from ski resort kitchens.
Alpengasthof Halsmarter is the biggest of the three restaurants with direct access to the slopes in the Glungezer ski resort. The menu is varied, with really good pizza with a super-thin crust.
The Alpengasthof Halsmarter is conveniently situated between the blue Halsmarter run and the FIS Standard run.
The Tulferhütte at the bottom of the blue Halsmarter run is the most charming of all the Glungezer restaurants. And the food isn’t bad either. It makes the trip with the t-bar lift back to Halsmarter totally worth it.
Technically not on the slopes but below the parking area of the valley station, the Lärchenhittl is perfect for having a drink or early dinner before going home. The menu isn’t big but there are great daily specials worth a try.
Where to Stay at Glungezer
There are a number of holiday apartments and guesthouses in Tulfes for easy access to the Glungezer slopes. Two of them can probably pass as small hotels.
B&B Appartements Glungezer
Perhaps closest to the slopes in Tulfes, the B&B Appartements Glungezer are just 300 m down the road from the Glungezerbahn. They are also conveniently located next to the local supermarket and bank.
B&B Appartements Glungezer offers different-sized self-catering apartments. However, as the name says, they also serve a great breakfast buffet. Prices start at €84 for a double room.
This traditional Tyrolean house offers three well-equipped upmarket holiday apartments only one bus stop away from the Glungezerbahn. You can even walk if you want to.
Haus Flörl has a one-bedroom apartment that sleeps three people, a two-bedroom apartment sleeping five people, and a three-bedroom apartment that sleeps seven people. All have fully equipped kitchens. There is also adequate free parking on the premises.
Next to the village church, this small hotel/guesthouse has its own restaurant. There is a bus stop only a few metres from the door, with the next stop being the one at the Glungezerbahn.
Technically, Gasthof Neuwirt is also walking distance if you don’t want to wait for the bus. The price for a single room starts at €45 Euro.
A charming country hotel halfway between the villages of Rinn and Tulfes. There is a bus stop in front, but the hotel also runs a shuttle service to the Glungezerbahn.
This is the only hotel close to Glungezer that also offers attractive half-board options. Winter prices start at €74 per person per night. As a bonus, there is a sauna and a jacuzzi.
Glungezer Ski Rental and Schools
There are two ski schools that also rent equipment conveniently located at the valley station of the Glungezerbahn. Both offer private as well as group lessons.
They can arrange English-speaking instructors if you let them know in advance. Just be aware that they may require a minimum number of participants for group lessons. The longer you learn or rent, the cheaper it generally gets.
Schischule Glungezer — Adult courses start at €96 for two hours a day for 5 days, and you can rent skis and poles from €21 per day. Find all the details and the pricelists here. The Schischule Glungezer is next to B & B Apartments Glungezer near the M-Preis supermarket in Tulfes.
Skischule Total — To the left of the cable car station, the Skischule Total offers group lessons (minimum 3 people) from €105 for 2,5 hours a day over 3 days. Ski rental starts at €25 per day for adults. Find all the details here.
Getting to Glungezer
By car – From the Inn Valley, take the Hall Mitte exit on the A12 highway. Tulfes is about 6 km from Hall in Tirol. There is a big free parking area below the Glungezerbahn valley station.
By bus – Bus 4134 from both Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol stops in front of the Glungezerbahn. Travelling on the bus is free with ski gear.
Special bus – For residents and tourists staying in the villages of Wattens, Fritzens, and Volders, there is a special free ski bus over weekends and holidays.
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