Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol in Austria, is an excellent destination for a skiing holiday with a difference. Why? Because the Olympia SkiWorld includes 9 Innsbruck ski resorts totalling 300 km of slopes.
Overview of the Innsbruck ski area
The people of Tyrol like to refer to Innsbruck as the capital of the Alps. The mountains certainly have an overwhelming presence no matter where you are in or near the city. Therefore, it’s also not surprising that you can be skiing near Innsbruck within 30 minutes after arriving.
Having hosted the Winter Olympics twice (in 1964 and 1976), the Innsbruck ski area is also known as the Olympia SkiWorld. The 9 ski resorts included in the Olympia SkiWorld are the Nordkette/Seegrube, Patscherkofel, Glungezer, Muttereralm, Axamer Lizum, Rangger Köpfl, Kühtai, Schlick 2000, and the Stubai Glacier.
These Innsbruck ski resorts are all within 45 km from the city. The Nordkette directly above Innsbruck is the closest, with Kühtai (40 km) and the Stubai Glacier (45 km) the furthest away.
The Innsbruck ski season typically runs from early/mid-December until March/April. The Stubai Glacier, which is generally open from October to June, is the only exception. Always check the individual ski resort websites for up to date opening times.
8 reasons to consider skiing near Innsbruck
- The Olympia SkiWorld with its 9 ski resorts makes it possible to be on a different mountain every day.
- One Innsbruck ski pass gives you access to all the ski resorts close to Innsbruck.
- The Innsbruck ski resorts cater for all types of skiers – from families and novices to intermediate and advanced skiers.
- Different Innsbruck ski pass options allow you to combine your skiing holiday with other activities such as sightseeing, spa days, sledding or snowshoe hiking.
- A free ski bus takes you to all 9 Innsbruck ski resorts. Sometimes you are required to carry a Welcome Card (the free guest card given out by accommodation establishments) and sometimes the carrying of ski equipment is sufficient. Find the detailed bus schedule here.
- Regular flights to Innsbruck from various European destinations get you to the slopes in no time.
- The fact that you are spoiled for choice means you can go where snow conditions are best.
- Children up to 10 years ski for free in the company of at least one parent with an Innsbruck ski pass.
Shortly after moving to Innsbruck, a local told us you can’t consider yourself a good skier if you didn’t learn on the Nordkette. Maybe that’s why, even with 8 ski seasons behind me, I still feel like a beginner?
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The Nordkette may be the closest and most easily accessible Innsbruck ski resort BUT it’s not for beginners and families looking for a relaxing day on the slopes.
However, go for it if you’re an intermediate or advanced skier up to a challenge. The thrill of skiing on the Nordkette, I’m told, is that there’s a lot of safe off-piste skiing going on. The Hafelekar run, with an incline of 70%, is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe.
Freestylers will have a ball at the Skylinepark at the Seegrube, while the Cloud 9 igloo bar is a popular après ski venue. If you’re a beginner who insists on checking out the Nordkette, the short practice run at the Seegrube should suffice. Click here for my detailed year-round guide to the Nordkettenbahnen, including prices and opening times.
You can also read this excellent review by Sean Newsom of welove2ski if you consider taking your skis up the Nordkette.
|NORDKETTE AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||1 blue, 4 red, 1 black|
|Opening times||08:30 – 16:00|
|Normal day pass price||€34,50|
|Other attractions||Freeride runs, Skyline Park|
|Public transport||The Nordkette Cable Cars|
|Parking||Free parking in the Congress & City Garage when you buy a ski pass|
The crown jewel of the Innsbruck ski resorts, the Stubai Glacier isn’t called the kingdom of snow for nothing. With 35 ski runs totalling 43 km, there is enough variety to keep all types of skiers happy.
The Stubai Glacier is at the furthest end of the Stubai Valley. Even so, it’s just a 45-minute drive from Innsbruck. The beginner’s area at Gamsgarten is one of the biggest and best-equipped areas for novices in Tyrol. Here you can progress from magic carpets to a short practice slope with a button lift to a longer practice slope with a chairlift. You can find the entire ski area map here.
The modern lift system and restaurant operations mean the Stubai Glacier is easily able to handle big numbers of skiers. This is especially important early and late in the season when it’s the only open ski resort near Innsbruck.
For the more advanced and adventurous skier, the Stubai Glacier offers 15 freeride runs and the Stubai Zoo snow park. And if you don’t like being on skis all day long, you can visit the ice cave or walk to the Top of Tyrol viewing platform from where you can see no less than 109 mountain peaks of over 3,000 m.
|STUBAI GLACIER AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||12 blue, 7 red, 3 black|
|Opening times||08:30 – 16:30|
|Normal day pass price||€47|
|Other attractions||Stubai Zoo snowpark, touring, ice cave, Top of Tyrol viewpoint|
|Public transport||Special ski bus or Bus 590 from Innsbruck|
Kühtai is both a ski resort and a village. At 2020 m, it’s also the highest ski resort village in Austria. And that a mere 30 minutes by car from Innsbruck.
One of Kühtai’s biggest attractions is that you can ski all the way to your hotel door. Not many Innsbruck ski resorts can boast with as many ski-in/ski-out hotels as Kühtai. You can even sleep in an igloo village. Click here to book your icy but warm bed in the Kühtai Igloo Village.
Unfortunately, Kühtai doesn’t have many blue slopes for novices. Then again, the red slopes aren’t all that challenging. Maybe send a more advanced skier to test them first. I once almost got stuck on a short, but very steep, part of an otherwise lovely red slope of the Drei Seen Bahn.
With over 80 km of runs in Kühtai and the neighbouring Hochoetz, there is more than enough choice. Freestylers will love all the off-piste options. Check out the ski area map here.
Finding a parking spot can become challenging on busy ski days. Arrive early if you’re not staying in the village!
|KüHTAI AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||5 blue, 18 red, 7 black|
|Operating hours||09:00 – 16:15|
|Night skiing||Yes, Wednesday and Saturday|
|Normal day pass price||€39,00|
|Other attractions||Touring, tobogganing, snowshoe hiking|
|Public transport||Special ski bus or Bus 4166 from Innsbruck|
Read more: 10 skiing tips for beginners in Austria
Axamer Lizum is just 19 km from Innsbruck near the village of Axams. It’s also called the “white roof” of the Olympia SkiWorld. I always get the idea this is the Innsbruck ski resort favoured by the “cool” local youngsters.
Most of the 40 km prepared ski slopes at the Axamer Lizum are red slopes. However, there is one very long blue slope all the way from the Hoadl mountain station to the valley station. First-timers can also learn the ropes on 3 short beginner practice slopes at the valley station. Click here for the ski area map.
Axamer Lizum was also a venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. The black Birgitzköpfl slope is a challenging black downhill run, while slalom races were held on the Hoadl.
Free WiFi, 3 toboggan runs, a photopoint and the Golden Roof Park all add to the attraction of the Axamer Lizum. And you won’t struggle to find good food either. The Panorama restaurant Hoadl House was voted the most popular mountain restaurant among skiers in the Alpine region in 2016.
|AXAMER LIZUM AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||5 blue, 8 red, 1 black|
|Operating hours||08:30 – 16:00|
|Night skiing||Only for tourers|
|Normal day pass price||€34,50|
|Other attractions||Snowpark, fun park, tobogganing, night touring|
|Public transport||Special ski bus and Bus L1 from Innsbruck|
|Parking||Free for skiers|
Schlick 2000 is my favourite Innsbruck ski resort for various reasons. It’s easily accessible, in a stunning setting in the Stubai valley, and offers a good variety of runs for beginner and intermediate skiers. Add to that some traditional mountain hut restaurants beside the self-service ones, and you are assured of an enjoyable day in the mountains.
Schlick 2000’s valley station is in the village of Fulpmes, only 15 km from Innsbruck. It’s the first ski resort on your right in the Stubai Valley. If you arrive early, you are almost certain of getting a spot in the underground parking garage. This means you can be in a cable car within 5 minutes from leaving your car.
I particularly love the long blue Panorama run at Schlick 2000. It’s a very long blue run going all the way from the Kreuzjoch mountain station to the Froneben middle station. M and C leave me to do my (slow) thing, while they take the Sennjochbahn to do some of the red runs. Click here for a map of all the runs.
Although there is no night skiing at Schlick 2000, the resort is famous for its “Night of Colours” event held on different Wednesday nights throughout the ski season. On these evenings the 3 km downhill valley run is also floodlit for tobogganers.
For the most authentic lunch or beer spots at Schlick 2000, try the Zirmachalm or the Galtalm. The latter is not on a ski run, so it has the added attraction of getting there by holding onto a rope behind a tractor.
|SCHLICK 2000 AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||4 blue, 6 red, 3 black|
|Opening times||8:30 – 16:30|
|Night skiing||No, but tobogganing and “Night of Colours”|
|Normal day pass price||€38,50|
|Other attractions||Touring, snowpark, paragliding, snowshoe hiking|
|Public transport||Special ski bus or Bus 590 from Innsbruck|
|Parking||Underground garage at a fee or free open parking|
I know many local families who favour the Muttereralmpark for a day on the slopes. It’s also a popular resort for school ski courses (yes, every school in Tyrol closes for at least 3 days in winter for the children to hit the slopes).
The Muttereralmpark, like Patscherkofel, is one of the Innsbruck ski resorts that overlook the Inn Valley and the Nordkette mountain range. It’s a small ski area above the town of Mutters, which is only a 10-minute drive from the city.
For a small resort, there is a lot going on at the Muttereralmpark. While the prepared slopes range from 700 m to 4,200 m in length, there are also some nice freeride runs. Modern lifts and a big children’s ski area make for a fun and relaxing day on the slopes. Click here for the ski area map.
Muttereralm is a great place to combine skiing with tobogganing. There are both a sport and a family toboggan run. It’s also one of the few Innsbruck ski resorts geared for fat- and snowbike riding.
|MUTTERERALM AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||3 blue, 3 red, 1 black|
|Opening times||09:00 – 16:00|
|Normal day pass price||€34,50|
|Other attractions||Fat- and snowbike parkour, touring, tobogganing|
|Public transport||Bus L3 or special ski bus from Innsbruck|
We have a special affinity for Glungezer. Not only is it where we learned to ski but the bottom lift station is walking distance from our home in Tulfes. On busy skiing weekends and holidays, Glungezer is also one of the ski resorts close to Innsbruck most favoured by the locals.
Why? It has beautiful wide and long red slopes covered in natural snow. These are red slopes that even I can manage. When there is enough snow, the downhill run from the highest mountain station to the valley station is a whopping 15 km. Find the Glungezer ski area map here.
Glungezer’s big drawback is the antique lift system. No matter whether you want to ski the excellent blue slope or get to the top of the first red slope, you must take at least one very long drag lift. This is not an issue for the experienced locals, but children and novices find it tiring.
The good news is that the old, open 2-seater lift from the bottom to the middle station will be replaced by a cabin lift before the next ski season (2018/2019). The plans are to invest in snow canons the year after and to replace the long drag lift with a seat lift another year later.
Glungezer has somewhat of an old-world charm. You’ll find no horrible self-service ski resort food here. Excellent Tyrolean food is served in two traditional wooden mountain huts – the Tulfeinalm and the Tulferhütte. At the middle station, the bigger Gasthof Halsmarter makes a good pizza.
For a great day of skiing near Innsbruck, Glungezer is only 20 minutes away by car or 35 minutes by public bus from the main train station.
|GLUNGEZER AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||2 blue, 5 red|
|Opening times||08:30 – 16:30|
|Normal day pass price||€29,50|
|Other attractions||Great ski touring area|
|Getting there||Bus 4134 from Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol or free ski bus from Wattens, Volders, and Fritzens|
As the second closest Innsbruck ski resort, Patscherkofel rose to fame during the Winter Olympics of 1964 and 1976 when it was the venue for the downhill competitions. Patscherkofel, also called Innsbruck’s Hausberg (resident mountain) is situated above the little town of Igls. The ski bus or public Bus J drops you in front of the new multi-million Euro ski lift.
I haven’t skied at Patscherkofel, but C and M have. On both occasions, they were home within 2 hours. The reason? Icy ski runs. Unfortunately, the artificial snow that Patscherkofel rely on when there isn’t enough natural snow doesn’t make for the best conditions.
Another reason why Patscherkofel isn’t our first choice is that the runs are quite narrow and steep in parts. Combined with lots of ice, this is no fun when the runs are busy.
Even so, with 4 blue runs, Patscherkofel is more suited to beginners and families than the Nordkette. Admittedly, two of these are very short practice runs. Being next to the old valley station of the ski lift in Igls, the Kaserer Lawn (11) is technically not part of the general ski area.
One of the blue practice runs is known as the children’s park. This is where the ski schools train and look after your kids while you hit the more challenging slopes. Patscherkofel is also home to 4 red and 3 black ski runs. Find the Patscherkofel ski area map here.
|PATSCHERKOFEL AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||3 blue, 4 red, 3 black|
|Opening times||08:30 – 16:00|
|Night skiing||17:00 – 21:00 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday|
|Normal day pass price||€37|
|Other attractions||Snowshoe hiking, slalom race tracks, bobsleigh track|
|Getting there||Special ski bus or Bus J (schedule here)|
|Parking||Free upon presentation of ski pass|
Rangger Köpfl or Oberperfuss
Just after we learned to ski, our landlady sent us to Oberperfuss. According to her, this little Innsbruck ski resort is the best place for beginners to practice their newly-learned skills. It’s small and quaint, with one long blue slope its main attraction. Or maybe it’s the 10 km long toboggan run?
If you don’t take skiing that seriously, Rangger Köpfl provides the perfect opportunity for laid-back skiing near Innsbruck. Bergfex provides this ski area map.
Rangger Köpfl is popular among local families. There is a small kids park with a magic carpet where children can attempt their first ski runs in a fun fashion. A short run of 2,5 km is floodlit on Tuesday and Friday evenings, as well as 8 km of the toboggan track. The track is open until midnight, leaving you enough time to enjoy a hot drink or meal in one of the restaurants.
|RANGGER KöPFL AT A GLANCE|
|Ski runs||1 blue, 3 red, 1 black|
|Operating hours||09:00 – 16:30|
|Night skiing||Yes, Tuesday and Friday|
|Normal day pass price||€29,50|
|Other attractions||Tobogganing, touring|
|Public transport||Bus 4165 from Innsbruck|
|Parking||Small free parking area|
The Innsbruck ski pass prices
The Innsbruck ski pass, called the OlympiaWorld ski pass, is one of the best value for money ski passes in the European Alps.
Covering 300 km of ski runs in 9 resorts, you won’t easily find a more varied and affordable ski holiday in Europe. The Innsbruck ski pass is flexible, easily obtainable, and it gives you instant access to more than 90 ski lifts.
I listed some of the different Innsbruck ski pass options, based on the prices for one adult, below. Children up to 10 years get a free pass when at least one parent buys a ski pass at the full price. Click here for the full list of combinations and prices.
|OlympiaWorld Skipass including all 9 resorts|
|3 of 6 days||€145|
|Where to buy||All 9 resorts as well as the Innsbruck Information Office, Axams Tourist Office, and Götzens ski school|
|Combined Patscherkofel & Stubai Glacier Ski Pass|
|Special conditions||Valid for 1 day only on the Stubai Glacier. The first day of skiing must be at Patscherkofel|
|Where to buy||Patscherkofel only|
|Combined Axamer Lizum, Muttereralm & Nockspitzbahn Ski Pass|
|Where to buy||Any of the 3 lift valley stations|
Read more: For an overview of some other skiing regions in Austria, also read this post by fellow-blogger Dorota of Born Globals.
Ski rental in Innsbruck
Ski equipment can make or break a ski holiday. You don’t want ski boots giving you blisters after a few hours on the slopes. And what if your skis are too long or too short? Renting from a reputable and knowledgeable provider is crucial.
All 9 Innsbruck ski resorts included in the OlympiaWorld ski pass have shops or ski schools where you can rent equipment. If you’re staying in the city and plan to ski in more than one resort, then I recommend an Innsbruck ski rental company. Die Börse in Leopold Street is a good option.
Reserving and paying for your ski rental online is even more convenient. Alpinresorts.com offers ski rental at discounted prices at most resorts. Intersport.at has shops with ski rental facilities at the Stubai Glacier, Patscherkofel, Kühtai, Axamer Lizum, and Schlick 2000. You can also book online with them.
Innsbruck ski accommodation
Most hotels in Tyrol are geared for skiers in the form of special rooms where you can store and dry your equipment. Normally, this comes at no extra charge. Also, be aware of signs asking you not to walk in the passages, lounges and dining rooms with your ski boots on.
Of course, not everyone wants to stay in a hotel. Self-catering apartments are plentiful, as well as private rooms in the homes of locals. I did some homework to find you some of the most popular hotels and apartments in each of the 9 Innsbruck ski resort regions.
Note that the price of ski accommodation in Austria can almost double over Christmas and New Year. During the 2nd week in February, when it’s the Tyrolean ski holiday, it sometimes even more than doubles.
- Closest to the slopes: Hotel Grauer Bär – A hotel with a 5th-floor swimming pool with a panoramic view. And that a 3-minute walk to the Congress station of the Nordkette cable car. In the evenings, the restaurants of the Innsbruck old town are only 2 to 5 minutes away. Click here to book your room at the Hotel Grauer Bär
- Best budget option: Hotel Goldene Krone – A family-run 3-star hotel with views of the Triumphal Arch and the Bergisel ski jump, only 300 m from the train station. The walk through the Innsbruck old town to the Nordkette cable car won’t take longer than 15 minutes. Book your room in Hotel Goldene Krone now
- Self-catering apartment: Appartement Anich – This spacious apartment is a 10-minute walk to the Congress station of the Nordkette cable car. On your way there, you can marvel at Innsbruck’s famous Golden Roof. If you don’t feel like cooking, the very good traditional restaurant called Gasthaus Anich is around the corner. Click here to book Appartement Anich now
- Closest to the slopes: Alpensporthotel Mutterberg – A traditional Austrian hotel only steps away from the Gamsgarten cable car station. There are an indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi to soothe your sore muscles after a day on the slopes, and an après ski bar and disco will keep you entertained until late into the night. Click here to book your room at the Alpensporthotel Mutterberg now
- Best budget option:Ladestatthof – This guest house is a 15-minute drive away from the Stubai Glacier, but who cares when the stop for the free ski bus is only a 2-minute walk from the hotel. You will get to taste local farm produce and even meet some farm animals. A bonus is a spa area with Finnish sauna and a steam bath. You are also only 10-minutes away from Schlick 2000 if you want to try a different resort. Click here to book your room at the Ladestatthof now
- Self-catering apartment: Gästehaus Barbara Apartments — Near Neustift in the Stubai Valley, and about a 25-minute drive to the glacier. But hey, you can see the glacier from its windows. And if you fancy some tobogganing in between skiing, the Elferlift that takes you to the top of an 8 km toboggan run is only 700 m away. You can also opt for the buffet breakfast or order fresh rolls to be delivered in the mornings. Click here to book your room at Gästehaus Barbara now
- Closest to the slopes AND best budget option: Adler Hotel Pension – This little hotel offers great value for money only 500 m from the Schlick 2000 parking area. The indoor swimming pool makes it even more attractive. Click here to book your room at Adler Hotel Pension now
- Self-catering apartment: Zinner-Pale Apartments – Modern and traditional meet in these very neat and well-equipped apartments. One of them even has its own sauna. The best thing about Zinner-Pale Apartments for skiers is that the free ski bus stops right in front. Click here to book a Zinner-Pale Apartment now.
- Closest to the slopes AND best budget option: Sporthotel Schieferle – Only 500 m from the Muttereralmpark cable car, this hotel in the quaint Alpine village of Mutters is also easily accessible to Innsbruck. The interior may not be the latest, but guests love the location, the food, and the friendly staff. And yes, there is an indoor pool. Click here to book your room at Sporthotel Schieferle
- Self-catering apartment: Apartment Pittlanderhof – Some more Tyrolean-style apartments to make you feel at home in Austria. They are close to the shops and restaurants in Mutters and Innsbruck is only 10 minutes away by tram. There’s a ski storage room for when you return from the slopes. It’s a 5-minute drive to the Muttereralmpark cable car. Click here to book a Pittlanderhof Apartment
- Closest to the slopes: Hotel Gruberhof – With ski-to-door access and an on-site ice skating rink, the Hotel Gruberhof is perfect for families. The bus to the Patscherkofel cable car and Innsbruck stops 100 m away. If you love staying in scenic surroundings, the mountain views from Hotel Gruberhof is hard to beat. Click here to book your room in Hotel Gruberhof
- Best budget option: Hotel Pension Leitgebhof – In a stunning natural setting, the Hotel Pension Leitgebhof is a 7-minute walk from the center of Igls. Here you have access to a variety of restaurants, supermarkets, and the free ski bus. Book your room in Hotel Leitgebhof here
- Self-catering apartment: Apartment Gisi – Guests love Apartment Gisi’s location in Igls. It’s a spacious 1-bedroom apartment with dining area and kitchen. When it snows, the area around Apartment Gisi is a winter wonderland. Click here to book Apartment Gisi
- Closest to the slopes: B&B Apartments Glungezer – This cozy little aparthotel is only a 5-minute walk from the valley station of the Glungezer ski lift. While you can cater for yourself for lunch and in the evenings (the supermarket is 30 m away), a buffet breakfast is usually included in the price. Book B&B Apartments Glungezer now
- Best budget option:Gasthof Neuwirt — A small hotel in a beautiful setting next to the church on the Tulfes town square. The ski bus stops at the front door. However, the ski lift is only a 10-minute walk away if you miss the bus. It’s possible to have dinner in the Gasthof Neuwirt restaurant most evenings. Click here to book your room in Gasthof Neuwirt
- Self-catering apartment: Ferienwohnung Alpina – This large, well-equipped holiday flat in the centre of Tulfes is perfect for big groups of up to 8 people. However, you can also book it for smaller groups at a reduced price. Depending on how fast you are, it’s a 5 to 10-minute walk from the ski lift and right behind the supermarket. Book the Ferienwohnung Alpina now
- Closest to the slopes: Pistenhotel Lizumerhof – The name says it all – it’s a hotel on the slopes. If you book into Pistenhotel Lizumerhof, there’s no need to go anywhere else. There are an après ski bar and a restaurant in the hotel, as well as a spa area. Click here to book a room in Pistenhotel Lizumerhof
- Best budget option:Lizum 1600 Kompetenzzentrum Snowsport Tirol – The cheaper of the 2 ski-to-door hotels at the Axamer Lizum valley station. It’s a modern hotel with simple room décor, an après ski bar, a gym, and a spa. Book your room in Lizum 1600 Kompetenzzentrum Snowsport Tirol
- Self-catering apartment: Appartement Sailer – In the neighbouring village of Axams, these apartments have enough to keep you busy when you get back from the slopes. There are an indoor pool and table tennis room. Clich here to book the Appartement Sailer
- Closest to the slopes: Mooshaus Winterresort – If you like to have every comfort nearby on a ski holiday, look no further than Mooshaus Winterresort. It’s right next door to one of the Kühtai ski lifts. That means you can be relaxing in the huge spa area with an indoor pool and a heated outdoor pool within minutes from leaving the slopes. They even look after your kids in the evenings. Click here to book your room in Mooshaus Winterresort
- Best budget option AND close to the slopes:Hotel Sonne & Schnee – A reasonably priced ski-to-door hotel opposite the beginner’s slope and the ski kindergarten in Kühtai. Actually, it’s an aparthotel with little kitchenettes in the room. However, a buffet breakfast is also served. Book your room in Hotel Sonne & Schnee here
- Self-catering apartment: Landhaus Ostermann – It’s not in Kühtai, but for the price and the facilities it’s worth driving the 10 km. Also, if you don’t like to spend every day on the slopes, the famous Aquadome thermal baths are close-by. Click here to book an apartment in Landhaus Ostermann
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