3rd December 2022 | James Cove, Innsbruck, Austria.
As PlanetSKI starts its season we have moved on from the Otztal Valley in the Tirol in Austria to Innsbruck. It’s the self-proclaimed capital of the Alps and for good reason. NEW
Now I should make an immediate declaration of interest.
I love Innsbruck.
In the season of 2018/19 I lived in the Tirolean city for 3-months.
In the building on the left, as you ask – 3rd floor at the back looking up at the mountains and the Nordkette ski area.
I find it hard, if not impossible, to be objective and independent about the place.
Along with Aosta in Italy it is quite simply one of my favourite cities in the Alps, and it just feels like my ski home.
And now I am back.
More on Innsbruck later, and the Xmas markets, but first my ski day in the nearby resort of Kuhtai.
It is a drive of about 40-minutes and was made even better by the snow dripping off trees on the way up on this visit.
The valley and its villages looked like a proper winter landscape.
There has been precious little early season snow, but things are now changing.
It is Austria’s highest ski resort at 2,017m above sea level.
It offers skiing alongside the neighbouring area of Hochoetz – 25 lifts and 88kms of slopes.
Kuhtai’s slopes sometimes remain open until early May.
However, today up on the slopes at the moment the inclement pre-season weather had returned.
See here for the blog on the first part of my trip to the Tirol, where conditions were a bit murky to start with in the Otztal Valley:
“Kuhtai is primarily a family friendly resort, and its great attraction is that it sits on two sides of the pass so there is skiing facing north and south, so you can chose your orientation,” said Elena Protopopow, from the Tirol tourist board, to me.
The conditions may have been less than 100% but no matter, as we just made the best of what was on offer.
I was simply happy to be back on snow and in my happy place.
I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.
Not least because I knew what the evening held in store.
A visit to the Christmas Markets of Innsbruck, a stroll around the city and perhaps a beer or two in my favourite watering holes.
There are 7 different Xmas markets in Innsbruck, including:
- Old Town Christmas Market
- Christmas Market Maria-Theresien Straße
- The Family Christmas Market at Marktplatz
- Panorama Christmas Market on Hungerburg
PlanetSKI has visited them before including the smaller ones, pretty much known to locals only:
“The Christmas markets are a very important as people see the perfect mix of urban and alpine as well as getting in the mood for Christmas,” said Andreas Reiter, the marketing manager of Innsbruck tourism, to me as we toured the city.
“Many people come to Christmas markets and see what we offer both as a city and a ski destination and then they come back for more.”
It is worth taking a little tour of the side streets too.
There is more to Innsbruck at this time of year than just the Christmas markets.
Step forward the Hofgarten and its stunning Lumagica show.
Innsbruck. Image © PlanetSKI
And the next ski resort tomorrow as we continue to test Innsbruck’s claim to be the ultimate city and ski destination is Stubai – one of 5 glaciers ski areas near Innsbruck.
It’s been open since late September and promises much.
Do check back as we continue our first visit to the ski slopes of the winter of 2022/23…