Apres Ski in Au-Schoppernau
Au-Schoppernau is two conjoined villages in the heart of the Bregenzerwald ski region with 44km of piste skiing locally on Diedamskopf and plenty more nearby at Warth-Schrőcken (66km) and Daműls-Mellau (89km), all covered by a single lift pass.
The villages of Au-Schoppernau are situated on a flat valley floor on either side of the Bregenzerach River and are surrounded by the rocky limestone peaks of Hochkünzelspitze, Zitterklapfen, Annalper Stecken and the striking Kanisfluh massif. Au and Schoppernau village centres are about 3km apart. Both villages are pretty and dominated by attractive buildings built almost entirely of wood in the traditional Bregenzerwald style, demonstrating high levels of craftsmanship and wonderfully clad on the outside with pretty Schindeln wood panels.
The village buildings are lovingly maintained and it would be hard to distinguish old from new except that the newer buildings are lighter in colour for a few years until their wood is darkened by sunlight and often successfully combine timber and modern building materials, big impact glass windows and glass walls which blend well with the traditional style. A strong sense of ecological awareness is also evident.
Bregenzerwald communities benefit from increasing numbers of winter sports visitors and tourism generally but they are not overly dependent on tourism. The communities derive their income in roughly equal proportions from crafts, tourism and agriculture and hence villages like Au and Schoppernau are unspoiled. It’s not uncommon to see large yet pretty farm buildings in the centre of villages which characteristically include a farmhouse, stable or dairy and hay barn under one roof and farm animals visible outside as well as inside.
Given that the villages are traditional and completely unspoiled, it’s not surprising that Au-Schoppernau doesn’t offer much in the way of retail therapy. Nor are there many après ski bars, but as the Bregenzerwald regions appeals mainly to families and couples attracted by the good choice of affordable accommodation the lack of nightlife is not a problem.
The Tourist Office website lists about 20 shops, including three supermarkets and four schnapps distilleries as well as bakeries, organic food stores, a few snowsports shops and, surprisingly, the internationally renowned lingerie brand Wolford has a factory outlet shop in Schoppernau which is well visited.
The Diedamskopf ski area has 44km of pistes skiing and 1190m vertical elevation from 2060m down to the valley lift station at 850m on the edge of Schoppernau where there is plenty of free parking. Next to the gondola are nursery slopes for complete beginners and the main ski area is suitable for all ability levels, but best for intermediate and advanced skiers who can test their technique on some of the steeper black runs.
With plenty more skiing nearby at Warth-Schröcken and Damüls-Mellau – both are no more than 20km drive by car or bus from Au-Schoppernau – there’s a total of 199km piste skiing to enjoy and Au-Schoppernau is a good place to stay if you want to spend 1-2 days skiing each of the three ski areas. Getting to Au-Schoppernau is easy as it’s only 2 hours from Zurich airport and if you plan your journey well you can easily ski same day as arrival and departure.
Bars & Restaurants in Au-Schoppernau
Other Activities in Au-Schoppernau
Au-Schoppernau offers lots of winter activities to choose from including cross-country skiing, winter walking, sleigh riding, tobogganing and snowshoeing, para-gliding and hang-gliding and ski touring.
Cross-country skiing in Au-Schoppernau
Many guests come to Au-Schoppernau in winter for cross-country skiing. There are 62km of cross-country ski trails at 850m including 50km of classic cross-country ski runs and 12km of skating runs to choose from. Cross-country ski runs are open and prepared daily from mid-December until Easter.
Cross-country ski lessons are available from the Au-Schoppernau Snow Sports School and equipment can be hired at Sport Gorbach and Sport Fuchs in Au or at Sport Matt in Schoppernau.
The Au-Schoppernau “village cross-country run”, which is 13.6km in length and 85m difference in altitude, is “easy to difficult” in parts and takes you on a route around and between the two villages with the chance to stop off for a drink or lunch in Au or Schoppernau.
There’s plenty more cross-country skiing nearby at other villages in Bregenzerwald including the more difficult Falkenkopf cross-country ski run at Warth-Schrőcken which is 8km in length and 100m difference in altitude, between Salober car park at Hochkrumbach and the frozen lake Kőrbersee where you can enjoy lunch at the popular Hotel Kőrbersee or outside on the sun terrace.
Winter walking in Au-Schoppernau
If you’re not a skier but enjoy winter walking, there are 35km of well-marked winter walking paths in and around Au-Schoppernau including the well-prepared path running from Au (800m) along the northern edge of the Lug to the Boden mountain pasture, a rural settlement with chapel, at 1200m, where you can enjoy good food and a drink at the Bergkristall hut. The difference in altitude is 400m up and down and total hiking time is about 3 ½ hours or, if you wish, ride a toboggan from the Bergkristall hut back down to Au. Contact the tourist office (+43 (0) 5515 2288) to check opening times and conditions for tobogganing.
There are lots more opportunities for winter walking at other Bregenzerwald villages nearby including the hiking path from the Hochtannbergpass (1676m) up to the Wittelesattel (1750m) then down to the Hotel Kőrbersee for lunch. The difference in altitude is 90m and the total hiking time is about 2 hours.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides in Au-Schoppernau
Wrap up warm in a blanket and enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the romantic winter landscape around Au-Schoppernau, with views of the Kanisfluh. Sleigh rides are available locally in Au-Schoppernau from four coachmen. Contact the Tourist Office (+43 (0) 5515 2288) for more information.
Tobogganing in Au-Schoppernau
There’s a small children’s toboggan run with a moving walkway at Hotel Gasthof Post in Au and special toboggans can be hired for use on a 650m toboggan run at the Grunholz drag lift in Au, which is also open for nighttime floodlit skiing from 7-10 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Bregenzerwald Tourist Information lists half a dozen more toboggan runs in Au-Schoppernau ranging in length from the 300m Schrannenbach to the 5.5 km toboggan run down from Neuhornbach to Schoppernau, Toboggans can be rented locally at Sport Gorbach and Sport Fuchs in Au or at Sport Matt in Schoppernau.
Snowshoeing in Au-Schoppernau
After an early evening dinner, your hotel will arrange a taxi to take you to meet your guide who will equip you with snowshoes and a head torch to light your way through the snow-covered winter landscape at night. The guided tour takes about 2 hours and is rewarded with an ice-cold drink of water from a natural source and a warming shot of schnapps provided by your guide. To book a snowshoe tour contact the Au-Schoppernau Snow Sports School (Tel: +43 (0) 5515 2133)
Paragliding and hang-gliding on the Diedamskopf
Adventure sports enthusiasts may like to try paragliding. The Diedamskopf is known for its laminar upwind and forgiving thermal conditions, which makes it an excellent venue for training paragliders. Flyers take off in a south, south-easterly and easterly direction across steep slopes from 2070m down to 850m. Also, there are two take-off ramps for hang-gliders. For information about tandem paragliding or to learn to fly solo contact the Moosbrugger Air Taxi (www.bestofdiedams) or Bregenzerwald Flying School (www.gleitschirmschule.at).
Au-Schoppernau Tourist Offices
For more information contact the Tourist Office
Tourist Office Au
6883 Au, Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg, Austria
Tel: +43 5515 2288
Email: [email protected]
Tourist Office Schoppernau
6886 Schoppernau, Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg, Austria
Tel: +43 5515 2495
Email: [email protected]