Big names, ski pioneers and the high society – but also Tyrolean down-to-earthness, Gemütlichkeit and hospitality: these contrasts are what make Kitzbühel one of the greatest ski resorts in the Alps. Between the mountains Kitzbühel Horn and the Hahnenkamm, winter sports enthusiasts can notch up 170 kilometers on world famous ski runs: on slopes that have witnessed the talents of legends such as Toni Sailer, Anderl Molterer, Ernst and Hansi Hinterseer. The Hahnenkamm Races (24–26.01.14), with the famous Streif descent, are as ever the sporting-social highpoint on the international World Cup calendar. After dark, the 700-year-old “Old Town” with its typical après ski bars and pubs becomes the social hub of the world. Kitzbühel has the highest concentration of Gault Millau gourmet restaurants and the most luxurious hotels in Tyrol. With a range of international designer boutiques and Kitzbühel fashion addresses, traditional Tyrolean handicrafts and souvenir shops, shopaholics are utterly spoiled for choice. The “town of the chamois”, as Kitzbühel is affectionately known, is easily accessible by road and by rail. From the airport cities Munich, Salzburg, and Innsbruck, it takes a maximum of one and a half hours by car to get to Kitzbühel. The ski lift company, Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel, together with the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railway), offers the “ÖBB winter sports combo ticket” with discounted return rail travel and vouchers for a discounted ski pass. South German ski fans from Munich, Holzkirchen, and Rosenheim can commute daily to Kitzbühel on the daily direct shuttle bus service KitzSki X_Press (30.11.13–23.03.14). The KitzSki X_Press also departs from Augsburg, Landshut and Ulm/Ehingen.
The Kitzbühel Slope Hit List
With 51 cable cars and lifts, connecting 170 kilometres of ski slopes, Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel is one of the largest cable car companies in Austria. In addition to the spectacular “Streif”, Kitzbühel trumps with a variety of ski runs suiting all sizes and ski styles. In fact, the vast and snow-reliable ski resort boasts an above-average number of family runs (69 km easy, 77 km intermediate, 24 km difficult). The “flagship” run is, of course, the Family Streif, which elegantly snakes its way around the extremely steep part of the downhill course, before returning to the original racing track at the Seidlalm, dodging the “Hausbergkante” ridge on the incline Ganslernhang and ends up back at the usual finish. Anyone looking for a real test of fitness should head to the KitzSki Extended run. It takes you from the Steinbergkogel at 1,972 metres, down 1,100 vertical metres to the bottom lift station of the Fleckalmbahn:
8.3 kilometres on the legs to the finish. The favourite stomping ground for fans of carving is in Kirchberg, since the lower section of the Kaser run was extended to its “full turning radius”. The widest carving slopes in Kitzbühel can be found, however, at the “Kasereck” chairlift on the Pengelstein and the “Zweitausender” chairlift on the Resterhöhe. Situated between the two is what many ski fans consider the most spectacular lift in the world: the 3S-Umlaufbahn (tri-cable gondola). It spans the 2.5-kilometre wide and 400-meter deep Saukaser Valley between the mountains Pengelstein and the Wurzhöhe. Snowboarders will also find their perfect playground on the Resterhöhe. The experienced QParks team lead by Franz Lechner is responsible for the setup of the Hanglalm Park as well as for the park on the Kitzbüheler Horn, including all kicker, rail, jib and tree lines, picnic tables and chill-out areas. Skiers and boarders keen to head off-piste will love Kitzbühel’s 230 km2 backcountry. Around the 32 kilometres of ski routes there are endless opportunities to ride through perfect deep powder snow. And if the 170 kilometres of slopes in Kitzbühel is not enough, the AllStarCard offers 1,000 kilometres across all ten ski resorts in the Kitzbühel Alps: between the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, Kitzbühel and the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, true piste professionals can cover a huge number of kilometres in one day without ever taking the same run twice. TransKITZalp is the name for this, the longest ski tour between Itter in the Tyroelan Lowlands and Mittersill in the Salzburg Pinzgau region.
The most Stars and Chef’s Hats in Tyrol
In Kitzbühel, the “All Stars” are not just found on the slopes. With six five-star hotels, three four-star “superior” hotels and a total of 22 four-star hotels, they are in abundance down in the valley too. Kitzbühel and its holiday villages of Jochberg, Aurach and Reith, can thus lay claim to the most luxury hotels in all of Tyrol for their 13,000 inhabitants. Here we find many long-established hotelier families running their traditional businesses alongside large international chains such as A-ROSA, Kempinski and Austria Trend. Moreover, Kitzbühel is proud to boast the highest concentration of award-winning restaurants in Tyrol: Experts in their fields, such as Andreas Senn, Stefan Hofer, Christian Winkler, Lois Stern, Stefan Lenz, Jürgen Bartl, Andreas Wahrstätter and Anton Aufschnaiter, bring a superior culinary quality to the “town of the chamois”. In the current Gault Millau 2013 restaurant guide, Kitzbühel is represented by eight award-winning establishments with a total of 12 toques (chef’s hats). Current leaders are “Heimatliebe” at A-ROSA Kitzbühel (3 toques, 17 points), Neuwirt in the Hotel Schwarzer Adler (2 toques, 15 points), and Restaurant Schwedenkapelle (2 toques, 15 points). Typical Kitzbühel hospitality and first-class dining is also on the daily menu at the many rustic Tyrolean inns and guesthouses, likewise in the traditional Austrian coffee houses. Despite its international and often celebrity clientele, the row of après ski bars between the Hahnenkamm and the town centre is well known for its unpretentious Tyrolean atmosphere. The party scene at the Londoner, Take Five, or Belluna Bar has even gained a cult status. In addition, Kitzbühel and its holiday villages offer undoubtedly the most beautiful “outdoor shopping centre” in Tyrol.
Fashionistas will be in their element hopping between international designer addresses, from Bogner and Boss, Gucci, D&G and Moncler, to Prada and Louis Vuitton. And between them, classic Kitzbühel “fashion originals”, such as Sportalm, Frauenschuh, Franz Prader and Helmut Eder, add a traditional element to the vibrant collection.