The Ski Jewel Alpbachtal Wildschönau is one of the biggest interconnected ski areas in Tyrol, Austria. However, it’s not only its size which attracts skiers to the Ski Jewel’s slopes but rather the stunning winter scenery and quaint towns to retreat to off-piste. This is our Alpbachtal Wildschönau ski resort review for beginners and families.
I’ve visited Alpbach before, but never in winter. We have a Freizeit Ticket Tirol (available to residents only) which includes all the ski resorts closest to Innsbruck. Therefore, it takes some convincing to travel to resorts like Ski Jewel Alpbachtal Wildschönau. That’s why we made a weekend of it and spent the night in Gasthaus Jakober in Alpbach. Also, the local tourist board kindly gave us Ski Jewel Alpbachtal Wildschönau ski passes for the two days.
Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau at a glance
|Total piste km||109 km (26 blue, 45 red, 13 black, 16 routes)|
|Lifts||45 (9 gondolas, 7 chairlifts, 29 draglifts)|
|Different ski areas||5|
|1-day ski pass price (high season)||€49,00|
|7-day ski pass price (high season)||€272,50|
5 Reasons To Love Skiing In Alpbachtal Wildschönau
- It’s Damn Pretty – Alpbach has been named the prettiest village in Austria on more than one occasion. A municipal bylaw requires all buildings to be constructed in a characteristic stone-and-wood style. Moreover, rustic farmhouses are dotting the slopes around the village. And once you’re up on the slopes, the 360 degrees panoramic views make the Ski Juwel one of the most scenic Austrian ski resorts.
- The Red Slopes Aren’t That Hard – To me, this is a big deal. It’s a huge relief on the Wildschönau side where you have to go down the red slopes to reach the blue ones when starting from Inner Alpbach.
- Kids Love It – M loved the fun slopes and speed checks (and jumping over the moguls on a black run!). There’s more than enough variety for kids of all ages. Moreover, the lifts are fast and the queues short on most days.
- You’ll Get By With English – We heard the most English spoken in Alpbach and on the slopes of the Ski Juwel than in any other ski resort in Austria. Even the ski instructor whom I cornered outside a ski school to ask (in German) about the difficulty of the red slopes at Wildschönau, answered back in perfect British English. Moreover, she assured me they were more like blue than red slopes.
- It’s Good Value For Money – I’m not talking about the New Year’s week or the 2nd week in February (the annual school ski holiday week in Tyrol) when accommodation prices tend to triple. The rest of the time, it’s possible to get self-catering or B&B accommodation to suit most budgets. Even the ski passes are cheaper in the low season.
Skiing in Alpbach – Day One
The slopes closest to Alpbach is where we headed on the first day of our weekend ski break. One of the reasons is that this is where the largest concentration of blue slopes in the Ski Jewel Alpbachtal Wildschönau ski area is (I am petrified of unknown red slopes ?).
There are two possible ways to access the Alpbach ski runs. One is via the Wiedersbergerhornbahn down the road from Alpbach, and the other is via the Pöglbahn in Inner Alpbach.
We opted to start at the Wiedersbergerhornbahn where we arrived early enough to find parking easily.
The Wiedersbergerhornbahn drops you in the hub of the Alpbach ski resort. From here, you can ski in different directions to connect with more lifts.
Alpbach Ski Run 46 (Blue Family Run)
Naturally, this was the run to start with to get into the swing of things. M was eager to get going while I had the jitters about losing the way and accidentally ending up on a red or black slope.
Thank goodness the run is well-marked. It starts broad and even (perfect to practise your turns) before branching off onto a much narrower, but level, ski path. Easy peasy so far!
M headed straight for the first fun slope on run 46 while C and I figured out we can go left and pass in front of it. This part is quite steep (for my standards) but very broad so you can make wide turns.
Before we knew it, we reached the Kafner Ast Hütte, one of four restaurants in the Alpbach ski resort area. It was still too early to stop for a drink and snack, so we passed in front of the hut.
Shortly after leaving Kafner Ast ski hut, the 46 joins up with red run 44. This is, in my opinion, the most challenging part of the family run. You must cross it to enter either 46b (another kids’ run) or 46a, which runs parallel with 46b.
The boys opted for 46b, while I skied further down to access 46a. Maybe it’s because of the snow turning softer, or maybe I just hadn’t found my ski legs yet, but I found this short stretch on the red 44 very strenuous. And then I didn’t enjoy skiing the 46a either. I was glad to reach the Gmahbahn chairlift!
NS: It went better the second time around when I took the 46b kids’ run instead. In fact, many adults opt for this run instead of the 46a.
Alpbach Ski Run 62
As usual, the boys soon got tired of waiting for me, and we parted ways at the top of the Gmahbahn. They were ready for the red slopes, while I headed for blue run 62, also called the Mulden run.
Accessing the 62 by crossing over the 60 Kohlgruben run isn’t a good idea if you’re a slow coach or unsteady on your skis. I tried this and had to take my skis off and walk half the way after coming to a standstill on the slope.
The problem is that the crossing isn’t level, so you find yourself at an awkward angle to manoeuvre ahead. A better idea to access the 62 from the top of the Gmahbahn is to take your skis off and walk the short distance to the top of the Kohlgrubenlift.
Anyway, after surviving the crossing, I made my way to the Muldenlift II draglift to start the 62 from the top.
|Best advice for Alpbach ski beginners|
The stretch of slope adjacent to Muldenlift II is the place to start your day. It’s wide and has a very easy gradient – perfect for practising your parallel ski moves before taking on more challenging runs.
Now I had enough confidence to tackle the rest of the 62. Most of it is more of a ski path (probably a road in summer), but wide enough to make a turn if you wanted to.
I’m proud to say that by the time I came down the 62 the second time, I took a shortcut via the red 62b. Nothing very challenging there! (And if there were, it’s short enough that your ordeal is over before you notice it ?)
I did the 62 and variations of it a couple of times (even managed the first bit of the red 60 before joining up with the 62).
This lift arrives quicker thank you think. It knocked me off my feet the first time (fortunately, I just fell back onto the chair). Later, I heard the same thing happened to C.
Now I was ready to try the 46 again to meet the boys for a late lunch at the Asthütte. Afterwards, it was time to call it a day for me and let them explore the Hornbahn 2000 side of the Alpbach ski resort area. There are no blue slopes there!
How the boys landed on a black slope
There’s a reason why I don’t like joining the boys on new slopes. And boy, was I glad I didn’t follow them to the Hornbahn area that afternoon.
They were happily skiing down red runs 53 and 56, not keeping an eye on the time. Can you imagine their alarm when the Hornbahn lift attendant told them it’s closing for the day. Moreover, if they didn’t want to miss the last Wiedersbergerhornbahn valley ride, they’d have to take the black Wiedersberg run.
C says there wasn’t time to panic. They just went for it. His legs killed him, but at least he didn’t have to worry about M who was thoroughly enjoying jumping over the moguls on the steep run.
Skiing in Wildschönau – Day Two
If I was apprehensive on the first day of skiing in Alpbach, my nerves were even more shot on day two. The reason is that the Wildschönau piste map showed no blue runs to be reached by a lift from the Alpbachtal side.
Luckily, we had Babsie with us. I very gallantly offered to look after her while the boys did some reconnaissance.
Getting To Wildschönau from Alpbach
The J2 Alpbachtal-Wildschönau gondola is in the village of Inneralpbach, a 10-minute drive away from Alpbach. (You can also reach the Alpbach ski area from here with the J1 Alpbachtal-Wildschönau gondola.)
From the gondola ride, it’s obvious that the Wildschönau side of the Ski Juwel is even more beautiful than the Alpbachtal side.
About halfway up the mountain, there is a middle station for skiers completing the red 13 Wurmegg run to join those coming from the valley.
My anxiety levels continued to rise the longer I watched the Wurmegg run from the gondola. It was continuously steep (according to my standards) with no level resting parts. Moreover, it was still in the shade and looking very icy.
I asked the skiers who joined us how they experienced the run. The answer was that they wouldn’t recommend it for even advanced beginners until the snow had thawed a bit.
What did the boys do as soon as we left the gondola? Go straight down the Wurmegg run twice! (C says it was still a bit icy the first time, so he suggests waiting until later in the morning before attempting it.)
Wildschönau Ski Runs
There are several short red runs on the Schatzberg. As it turned out, the ski instructor in Alpbach was right. If you know which ones to take, they’re not hard at all.
After taking a long hard look at the surrounding runs from the comfort of the Gipföhit Restaurant, I left Babsie in C’s capable hands and set out to do some exploring of my own.
Wildschönau Ski Run 10
It looks like one big, wide ski run straight down to the Hahnkopf chairlift from the Gipföhit. However, if you look at the map, it’s made up of both the red runs 9 and 10. I tried to stay on the No 10 that leads to the Gipfelbahn chairlift.
My verdict? The red run 10 is a piece of cake, even when you’re doing it for the first time. It’s wide, allowing for big turns, and not that steep.
Wildschönau Ski Run 12
My success on red run 10 gave me the confidence to attempt another unknown run. The views where you exit the Gipfelbahn are incredible, and I wanted to see more of it from the red run 12.
First, I asked a fellow skier what to expect (yes, I do that to my son’s embarrassment 😊). She gave me a tip to stay right and continue straight where the run splits. Invaluable advice, because the scenery is stunning if you stay wide and the run wide before it enters a level ski path.
|We were lucky (and unlucky) to be in Wildschönau on a gloriously sunny spring day. That meant slushy snow from early on, which hampered me a bit. I would love to go back in “colder” conditions when there’s fresh powder on the slopes. I think Wildschönau may just become one of my favourite ski resorts in Tyrol.|
More Wildschönau Runs
C and M crisscrossed the entire ski area on the Schatzberg in Wildschönau and loved it. The only part we didn’t explore is the valley runs to Auffach. For that, you need much more time.
Eating And Drinking In The Ski Juwel
There are too many huts and mountain restaurants in the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau ski area to try them all in 2 days. These are the two we did try.
Kafner Ast Hut (Alpbachtal)
Kafner Ast is a self-service restaurant which is easily accessed from the blue 46a and red 44 runs. There is lots of outside seating. Inside, the queues were manageable.
The food is standard Austrian ski resort food and the prices comparable too. Not cheap, but not overly expensive either. Our Wiener style pork schnitzel went down well after a morning of skiing.
I spent a long time in this restaurant (inside as it was too hot outside) nursing a beer while looking after Babsie. It’s light and airy with a traditional wood interior, and even the waiters are in traditional dress.
After our huge breakfast in Alpbach, we ordered a Kaiserschmarrn (thick, fluffy, pancake pieces) with apple puree to share. The portions are so big; it filled us all up.
The Gipföhit on the Schatzberg is the perfect base to meet up if you’re skiing with a group who aren’t all on the same level.
Alpbach is the perfect base for a ski trip to Ski Juwel Wildschönau Alpbachtal. It’s great to come back to the pretty little village after a day on the slopes and join in the apres ski scene.
There is accommodation to suit every budget and preference in Alpbach. Although we live only 40 minutes away, we decided to stay in the village one night to experience the atmosphere and to be back on the slopes as early as possible the next day.
We were lucky to find a room in the Gasthaus Jakober. It suited our budget and is dog-friendly. Moreover, it’s right in the centre of the village opposite the church.
The Gasthaus Jakober has an interesting setup. In the actual Gasthaus, you’ll find the restaurant and Irish pub (which is packed with skiers after a day on the slopes).
The Gasthaus rooms are in adjacent buildings – some in Haus Kramer and some on top of the Pizzeria Messner, where breakfast is also served.
Our triple room with ensuite bathroom and balcony was basic but comfortable and spotlessly clean. We needed nothing more. Dinner in Gasthaus Jakober (we booked half-board) is a 3-minute walk away, and breakfast in the pizzeria a 4-minute walk.
The Irish pub was packed and full of smoke when we arrived after our first day of skiing. Therefore, we opted for a drink in the nearby Postalm.
Our 3-course dinner in Gasthaus Jakober was plentiful (huge salad, schnitzel and dessert dumplings). The dining area is also non-smoking, which we welcomed.
However, it’s the breakfast in Pizzeria Messner which is something to write home about. Like the British, we love our bacon and eggs for breakfast, and this is what we got (together with smoked salmon and lots of nice Austrian breakfast goodies). Great cappuccinos too!
A hearty breakfast in the Pizzeria Messner in Alpbach is a good way to start a ski day in the Ski Juwel.
More Alpbach Accommodation Options
If Gasthaus Jakober sounds too basic for you, the Hotel Böglerhof a few metres up the road has four stars and a spa and wellness centre. Alternatively, you could try the Hotel Zur Post (three stars) with a spa area (including outdoor sauna).
All guests booking into Alpbach accommodation receive an Alpbachtal Seenland Card. This is a free guest card with great benefits in winter and summer. For example, it includes free entry to the WAVE Wörgler Wasserwelt (indoor swimming complex) for 2,5 hours on weekdays. Or you can participate in guided snowshoe or torchlight walks.
Getting to Alpbach
Alpbach is just under 60 km east of Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol. Getting there by car is the easiest and fastest, while public transport takes a bit longer.
Nearest Airport To Alpbach
Innsbruck also has the nearest airport to Alpbach. In winter, there are regular scheduled flights from London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt, Vienna, and even Russia and some Nordic countries.
Other airports from where you can reach Alpbach in around 2 hours are Munich and Salzburg.
Innsbruck To Alpbach By Car
The fastest way to get from Innsbruck to Alpbach by car is via the A12 motorway (direction Munich). Take the Rattenberg exit and follow the signs from there. Here is a link with directions. The journey takes around 45 minutes.
Innsbruck To Alpbach By Public Transport
The closest train stations to Alpbach are Jenbach (for express trains) and Brixlegg (for regional trains).
Regional Bus 4074 goes from Jenbach via Brixlegg to all the villages in the Alpbachtal, ending in Inner Alpbach.
Alpbachtal Wildschönau Ski Rental And Ski Schools
There are several ski schools and ski rental shops throughout the Ski Juwel area, some in the villages and some directly at the ski resorts. Those who struggle with German will be glad to know many of the ski schools have English instructors. Most of them also rent equipment.
For ski rental only, the Sport H&N Easy Rent Ski Shop is conveniently located on the slopes near where you get off the Wiedersbergerhorn gondola in Alpbachtal.
Practical Tips For Skiing In Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau
- There are many WiFi hotspots to upload your ski photos on your social media, especially around lift stations.
- The ski buses are free for everyone with a valid ski pass.
- Night skiing is possible every Friday and Saturday at the smaller ski resort of Reith im Alpbachtal, which is also part of the Ski Juwel.
- If you want to take a break from skiing, there are four toboggan runs in Ski Juwel Area as well as one Alpine Coaster, the Alpbachtaler Lauser-Sauser. The latter is in the Alpbachtal ski area and only open when snow conditions allow it.
Having fun in Austria and then writing about it is hard work 😀 . That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase for your upcoming trip. It’s totally cool if you don’t use them. I love to help anyway 😆 . But if you do, we’ll probably blow it on another family excursion in Austria. Which isn’t such a bad thing, because it will most certainly result in another blog post for you to read.
Although our ski passes for the two days in Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau were sponsored by the Alpbactal Seenland Tourism Authority our opinion of the ski area is entirely our own.
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