12 Winter Highlights in Pitztal
12 Winter Highlights in Pitztal
Holiday highlights that are a must during Pitztal’s winter!
1. Skiing at Pitztal Glacier with a stop at Café 3.440
Skiing from September to April. At Pitztal Glacier, the highest ski resort in Austria, ski fans enjoy unbelievable panoramic views as far as the Zugspitze, Allgäu Alps, the Silvretta Group, the Rosengarten Group as well as the Ötztal and Stubai Alps. You may even find yourself chatting to international ski stars in the gondola, as they get busy race training in autumn. While the glacier beckons with its wide slopes and, thanks to its altitude, with fluffy powder snow during the whole winter season, the linked Rifflsee ski resort attracts more ambitious skiers. For recreational skiers a visit to Pitztal Glacier is a must. The views from Café 3.440, the highest café in the whole of Austria, are simply stunning: marvel at over 50 three-thousanders at the roof of Tyrol. Comfortably float up in a gondola of the futuristic Wildspitzbahn and enjoy the views of the eternal ice on the Wildspitze peak, at 3,774 m the highest peak of the county, while enjoying homemade apple strudel on the sun terrace.
2. Pitztal mountain advent in Plangeross
Picture the snow crunching under your feet, the sweet smell of mulled wine and illuminated houses all around – for those wanting to experience a romantic advent Pitztal’s the place to experience it. The little village of Plangeross, nestled between towering rock giants at 1,600 metres altitude at the end of the Pitztal valley, turns into an advent calendar in December. Every evening a different house opens “its window” and according to old tradition caters for locals and visitors alike with homemade delicacies such as smoked ham, family recipe strudels, baked apples, delicious biscuits, mulled wine and schnapps. Meet at various locations to take in the special atmosphere of Pitztal’s mountain advent (in German language). There are also torch walks through the forest covered in deep snow with festive prayers on a clearing under the open night sky in the evenings.
3. Ice climbing on Pitztal’s waterfalls
They bear names like Havanna, Monsterline, Shark or Play with Fire and they describe coordinates in paradise: once Pitztal’s impressive waterfalls freeze into bizzare sculptures, ice climbers are spoilt for choice! With a total of 45 marked ice climbing areas with varying degrees of difficulty, Pitztal has long been established as an absolute hot spot of the ice climbing scene. The 455 metres tall Luibisboden waterfall, towering at the edge of the hamlet of Stillebach, is a favourite location for ice climbing courses and training camps as it allows an easy descent at almost every stage. Numerous waterfalls can be accessed quickly and easily, while others are located in remote high alpine terrain. One of the absolute highlights are the Piösmes waterfalls at the foot of the towering 3,353 metres tall Rofelewand – one of the steepest mountains of Pitztal. It is best to take a mountain guide when trudging through the white vastness to take on this icy challenge. It is generally advisable to rely on the expertise of local guides when venturing out in Pitztal for the first time, as they can read and judge the structure of the ice thanks to years of experience and they are also aware of the current avalanche risks.
4. Stamser Haus & Christmas crib exhibition
This is the oldest Christmas crib association in the oldest farm house of Tyrol and thus probably unique worldwide: The Wenns Christmas Crib Association, founded in 1860, in the homeland of this traditional folk art. Ever since then, its members have carved more than 350 artworks of which most are still preserved. Today, the club has approximately 160 members who still hold true to their motto that “every family should have a Christmas Crib”. Hence, the club also offers Christmas crib building courses all year around as well as further training that can, of course, also be booked by guests. The chairman of the association is Christmas crib master builder Peter Riml is looking forward to your bookings. Those who wish to be inspired, can visit the Museum at the Stamserhaus in Wenns The foundation walls of the oldest preserved farmhouse in Tyrol stem back to the 13th century and unique cribs of different styles are on display in its cave-like cellar. Folkloric rarities are on display on the upper floors allowing an insight into the history of Pitztal.
5. Cross-country skiing at 2,700m
Cross-country fans wanting to be sure of ample snow and excellently groomed cross-country ski tracks are just right in Pitztal with its cross-country skiing options. They will already find perfect conditions along the 21.7 kilometre long cross- country skiing track along the bottom of the valley all the way up to Mandarfen on 1,743 metres due to its high altitude even in warmer winters. Regardless of whether you are skiing classic or skating style – the panoramic views along the track that follows the course of the icy Pitze river are simply overwhelming. Cross-country skiers can enjoy altitude training with a breath-taking backdrop in autumn and spring at the top of Pitztal Glacier on 2,760 metres. At Rifflsee ski resort the average altitude is 2,250 metres above sea level.
6. Tobogganing fun at Hochzeiger ski resort
Fancy a rustic tobogganing evening? Then head for the Tanzalm. Every Thursday is tobogganing night at Hochzeiger with regular lift service between 7.30pm and 9pm. Hire a toboggan at the valley station and easily glide up to the intermediate station on 2,000 metres and look forward to a fast adventure. The floodlit natural toboggan run winds through a fairy-tale like snowy pine forest back down to the starting point over a distance of six kilometres and descending over 550 metres in altitude. Those who wish, can recover their strength with delicious spare ribs at Tanzalm mountain hut. While guests at Hochzeiger ski resort can already speed down the slopes through the day, the slopes at Rifflsee are only theirs in the evenings: every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm the ski run from Pitztaler Skihütte down to Mandarfen turns into a toboggan run. Those who don’t fancy the 15-minute walk up, can get a lift with a snow groomer. Stop at Pitztaler Skihütte mountain hut beckoning with specialities, then toboggan down the 1.5km track to Pitztaler Alm where you can return your toboggans. Incidentally, there are seven toboggan runs in Pitztal.
7. “Spielplatz Schnee” programm at Hochzeiger family ski resort
With the “Spielplatz Schnee“ program the Hochzeiger-Pitztal snow sport school has developed THE perfect offer for families with pre-school children. There are skiing classes for children aged between three and six that are very playful and focus on fun and games instead of putting pressure on the kids. As smaller children do not last a whole day on skis, there are always things to do off-piste in the “playground snow”. Snowball fights, building snowmen, tobogganing or playing in the ZirbenPark together with professional ski instructors and the two mascots Pitzi and Gratsch. What’s more, there is a stamp collection card recording the children’s skiing progress that can be continued the following winter.
8. Tyrol's Highest Breakfast
A true one-of-a-kind experience is scheduled at Café 3.440 every Saturday in winter. At 8:30 am in the morning, the Gletscherexpress lift takes you up to 2,840 m altitude. Then you proceed to Café 3.440 with the Wildspitzbahn gondola. Once on top, Sepp and his team serve Tirol's highest breakfast starting from 9:30 am. The varied buffet comprises many wonderful delights and coffee specialties. What's best, the restaurant offers awesome panoramic views. Optionally you can climb the steps leading to the vantage platform on top of the peak where unrivaled views of the Alpine scenery await you.
9. Cool freeride runs in Pitztal
Freeriders and snowboarders can look forward to wide slopes, endless powder and unspoilt lines in Pitztal. Regardless of your level of ability – the roof of Tyrol has something in store for everyone. The mountain railways of Pitztal glacier express and Rifflsee help on the way up. The most beautiful and safest off-piste runs can be explored with certified mountain and ski guides from the Freeride Center Pitztal. The scene’s top event is the legendary “Pitztal Wild Face“, a 2-star-qualifier event of the Freeride World Tour.
10. Winter hiking at Kaunergrat Nature Park
Go explore 590 km² of the snowy natural world of Kaunergrat Nature Park together with nature park guides, biologists, huntsmen and farmers. Hiking in the silent wintry landscape of this nature park region offers a refreshing change to those who wish to escape from the hustle and bustle of the ski runs at least for a while. Here, you can simply be, switch off and recharge your batteries. Kaunergrat Nature Park shows the Tyrolean mountain winter in all its magnificence and diversity with special themed walks, Christmas crib hikes down in the valley, horned sledges or a huntsman hike including wildlife feeding. A top tourist attraction even in bad weather is the “3000m VERTICAL“ exhibition at Kaunergrat Nature Park centre.
11. Ski touring to Wildspitze peak (3,774m)
There are countless ski touring opportunities all around the Pitztal glacier and Rifflsee resorts waiting to be discovered in best snow conditions all winter. Rositzkogel (3,394 m), Schluchtkogel (3,471m) or K2 (3,253m) are only some of many rewarding high alpine summits with a breath-taking glacier backdrop at the roof of Tyrol. An absolute must for ski touring fans is, of course, a climb up to the highest mountain of Northern Tyrol, the Wildspitze peak at 3,774 m. The route down leads via the Taschachferner glacier to Mittelberg. Our excellently trained local guides ensure a safe mountain experience – including insider tips for pristine downhill runs.
12. Horse-drawn sleigh rides with Fredl Eiter
Fredl Eiter is your coachman on these horse-drawn sleigh rides and his Haflinger horses know the route and the place to stop for compulsory mulled wine by heart. Fredl gives some insight into the harsh mountain life of the olden days and the ski stars that share gondolas in Pitztal today. Time flies while you are listening to these interesting local facts and stories. Snowy winter landscape in Pitztal, snorting horses, an earthy coachman and you, all wrapped up warm in blankets, gliding along to the jingling sound of sleigh bells… a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride is a must during your winter holidays in Pitztal.