Skiing in Damuls Mellau

Situated in the southwestern part of Bregenzerwald, Damuls-Mellau is the biggest ski area in the Bregenzerwald with 89km of well-groomed pistes. The ski area is forgiving for beginners and fun for intermediate skiers and boarders who like to ski fast undulating blue and red runs.

Damuls-Mellau Ski Area Overview

Damuls-Mellau ski area and ski lift system have been significantly extended and improved by the addition of two new chairlifts between Elsenkopf and Hohe Wacht and most notably in 2009 by the addition of the new 8-person Gipfelbahn gondola which connects two previously separate ski areas.

Consequently, Damuls-Mellau is now the biggest ski area in Bregenzerwald with 89km of well-groomed skiing and a choice of two pretty villages. The ski area is best for intermediates and the mix of blue, red and black runs is 32km, 44km and 11km respectively plus a couple of ski routes (2km) and opportunities to ski off-piste close to the pistes as well as ski touring and more challenging off-piste for advanced skiers beyond the ski area.

The ski area above Damuls (64km) mostly faces south and south-east and is largely treeless making it pleasantly sunny in good weather. One of the special attractions of Damuls is the choice of ski-in, ski-out accommodation in the ski area, with restaurants, sun terraces and the occasional umbrella bar. In contrast, the ski area above Mellau (25km) on the north facing slopes of the Rostelle is not as sunny, but offers good snow conditions until late spring.

There are good panoramic views of Portla Horn (2010m), Ragazer Blanken (2051m), Hochblanken (2053m) and the iconic Damulser Mittagspitze (2092m) which dominates the landscape and, from the highest points in the ski area, you can see Lake Constance (Bodensee) to the north.

While the vertical elevation from the highest chair lift down to the village of Damuls is just 600m, the skiing is fun and the wide, open landscape makes it easy when riding the chairlifts to visualise whole of mountain possibilities and to spot good routes both on- and off-piste. The Mellau section of the ski area is smaller but includes bigger vertical from Wildgunten (1705m) down to the village of Mellau (600m).

Damuls-Mellau ski area includes the impressive Burton sponsored Snowpark Damuls and elsewhere on the mountain there are numerous jumps, both man-made and natural, that will keep boarders and freestylers challenged and entertained.

Besides skiing, other activities include a quite challenging 3.5km toboggan run beneath the SB Uga chair lift which is floodlit on Wednesday and Friday nights from 7:30-9:30 pm. There’s also cross-country skiing high on the mountain and lots of winter walking paths in the ski area.

Higher up the valley, 4km from Damuls is the small ski area at Faschina (1436m). Here you’ll find half a dozen blue runs including nursery slopes for beginners a couple of red runs and a few ski routes one of which (Hahnenkopf Nord) is described as extreme. Faschina and the main Damuls-Mellau ski area are not connected by the lift system.

Damuls-Mellau ski season runs from the beginning of December until mid-April and Damuls claims to be one of the most snow-sure villages in Austria.

Beginner Skiing in Damuls-Mellau

Damuls-Mellau ski area is very well groomed with plenty of easy skiing on wide blue runs, most of it on the Damuls side of the ski area, and a choice of easy red runs for fast-track beginners.

If you’re a second time skier able to ski a controlled snow plough or better, you’ll find plenty of good ‘beginner’ runs above Damuls, but you need to be ready to ride chairlifts as there’s not much nursery slope skiing down in the valley at base level.

The ski area above Damuls will suit confident beginners who can get good value from their lift pass starting with a choice of easy blue and progress to ski intermediate runs descending from the top of most ski lifts. And because the slopes are invariably well groomed and often exceptionally wide, beginners can traverse for longer between turns and gain confidence.

Group ski lessons are available for adults and children learning to ski from age 4 or to snowboard from aged 6. There’s also a dedicated children’s area behind Damuls Ski School with kindergarten facilities for pre-school children aged 2-4.

Over at Mellau there are short blue runs suitable for beginners at the top of the Rossstelle gondola, but not much worth writing about as Mellau’s ski runs are mostly north facing reds and blacks and less suitable for beginners.

When pre-booking lessons at Damuls-Mellau ski schools bear in mind that the majority of guests are from Switzerland, Germany, France and Benelux and ask the ski school to provide you with an instructor that speaks good English. Most ski instructors do so you shouldn’t have any problems.

Intermediate Skiing in Damuls-Mellau

Damuls-Mellau well-groomed ski slopes are great for intermediate skiers and boarders who will appreciate the many extra wide runs and for more experienced skiers and riders who enjoy skiing fast.

How you explore the Damuls-Mellau ski area depends whether you are staying in Damuls or Mellau. If staying in Damuls, ride the 4-man SG-UGA chairlift (1) to Uga Alpe (1850m) then ski blue 11 or red 12 and take the 6-man Hohe Wacht chairlift (9) to Wannenkopf (2006m) from where you can see Bodensee (Lake Constance) or sometimes just a sea of fog in the distance.

From Wannenkopf you can either whizz down red 13 or blue 14 (Damuls side) or ski a short red run to the top of the new Gipfelbahn gondola (17) at 1924m then ski Mellau’s north facing slopes beginning with red 23 then ride the 6SB Wildgunten chairlift (18) and ski red runs 25 and 29 or black runs 32-34. Return by riding the 6SB Suttis chairlift (19) or you can ski the 9km long red run 35 all the way down to Mellau and take the old gondola (20) then T-bar (16) and ride the Gipfelbahn gondola (17) back to Wannenkopf.

After skiing red 13 or 14 from Wannenkopf, ride the 6-man Elsenkopf chairlift (8) and ski across to ride DSB Hohes Licht 2-man chairlift (2) to Hohes Licht (2009m). Enjoy views right to Damulser Mittagspitze (2092m) then ski red run 4 and ride the 6-man SB Hasenbűhel chairlift (4) back up to Hohes Licht and it’s time for ski routes 4 or 5.

The ski routes are not difficult but relatively steep for the first 100m or so. If too steep for you, repeat red run 4 past (or through) the Speed Test to the bottom of the 6SB Hasenbűhel chairlift (4) or follow signs for blue run 3 and head over to the skin-ski-out Hotel Gasthof Walisgaden for lunch or quench your thirst at Heike’s umbrella bar.

Ski red run 2 from Walisgaden and ride DSB Sunnegg chairlift (3) towards Portla Horn where there are more good blues and reds running down to the SB Furka chair lift then a choice of longer blues and reds running down to Damuls.

By this stage you’ve explored most of the Damuls-Mellau ski area, but not skied all of the runs, so ride the DSB OberDamuls lift to get high again and work your way back across from left to right and check out more ski routes either side of the DSB Sunegg chairlift.

Ifstaying in Mellau, you start by riding the old 4 person gondola to Rossstelle then it’s a short but rather irritating 150m walk up a slight incline to reach the T-bar (16) which you need to use to gain enough height to be able ski to the Gipfelbahn gondola or to 6SB Wildgunten chair. This minor inconvenience is expected to be solved by building a new lift station higher on Rossstelle and extending or replacing the old gondola, but we dn’t know when this will happen.

If you have skied Damuls-Mellau fully and want to explore other ski areas nearby, there’s lots more good intermediate skiing on the Diedamskopf (44km) at Au Schoppernau and at Warth-Schrőcken (66km), which are 16km and 33km respectively from Damuls and similar distances from Mellau.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Damuls-Mellau

Good skiers can easily ski Damuls-Mellau’s groomed pistes and marked ski routes in a day or two, but there’s also plenty of easy off-piste skiing between pistes and more freeriding opportunities for advanced skiers who enjoy skiing off-piste.

The marked runs and the ski routes are fun but there’s nothing on-piste that is particularly challenging for strong skiers. Most of the ski area is wide open alpine pastures so you have to go out of your way, and make the effort to boot-up or skin-up, to find more difficult terrain. There’s a fair amount of easily accessible off-piste terrain alongside and between the pistes – good to practice your off-piste technique – but safe access to the best off-piste requires local knowledge and hence it’s advisable to hire a suitably qualified guide through the Damuls-Mellau ski schools.

The new Ragaz lift opens up more ski routes higher up on Ragazer Blanken (2081m) and above existing ski routes 1, 2 and 3. And the new Gipfelbahn gondola joining Mellau with Damuls will open up the north facing slopes running down from Wannenkopf towards Mellau.

Your Bregenzerwald ski lift pass is valid for all ski lifts and buses in the Bregenzerwald and if you have time you should also aim to visit other ski resorts nearby.

Warth-Schrőcken (33km from Damuls) has 64km of enjoyable piste skiing and strong off-piste skiers can ski off-piste from Warth to Lech (but not without a guide) and back. Nearer still, Au Schoppernau (half way between Damuls and Warth) is home to the Diedamskopf ski area which has 44km of well groomed but generally steeper piste skiing including some quite steep black runs and a 600m long ski route which is dead straight and steep.

Boarding & Freestyle in Damuls-Mellau

Boarders and freestyle skiers are especially welcome in Damuls-Mellau where much effort is made each winter building jumps in the ski area and maintaining the Burton sponsored Snowpark.

The marked runs are invariably well-groomed and often very wide so you can travel longer distances between turns, which is good for beginner and early intermediate boarders as well as for more experienced boarders carving big turns. And there’s lots of off-piste terrain between the pistes which doesn’t get tracked as fast as it would in better known resorts.

The Burton sponsored Snowpark Damuls (German language website) is professionally constructed each season by a dedicated crew of ten boarders and three snow cat drivers. You’ll find it close to the Walisgaden chairlift.

Snowpark Damuls is shaped daily from mid-December until mid-April. Features include Mainpark with Staircase, 8m Downrail, 12m Kinkbox, 8m Straightbox, A-Frame, 8m Bocoloco Straightrail, 8m Roller Kicker, 12m Roller Kicker and a Chillout Area in the middle in the park plus 4m Straightrail, two 5m Picknicktables, 5m Skatebox, 6m Rainbowbox and the popular all Mountain-Line with Woop Woop Line, Corner and more new snow elements.

Nearby, there’s steeper terrain and yet another excellent terrain park on Diedamskopf at Au Schoppernau, which is about 16km from Damuls-Mellau villages, and easily reach by car or free bus service. Warth-Schrőcken is also nearby (33km) and worth visiting for riding on- and off-piste.

Mountain Restaurants in Damuls-Mellau

Damuls-Mellau ski area offers a good selection of mountain restaurants to choose from, the better ones are on the slopes above Damuls, mostly with sun terraces and the occasional umbrella bar for quick pit stops and easy refuelling.

Damuls-Mellau ski area includes eleven mountain restaurants, nine of which are on south facing slopes above Damuls. Their positions are clearly marked on the ski map by knife and fork symbols, but unfortunately the ski map doesn’t yet name them.

Restaurant menus are offer traditional Austrian fare and are quite reasonably priced. Soup dishes average €3-4, local sausage and fries €5 and main course dishes €10-13. Expect to pay around €20 per person for lunch with drinks, unless investing heavily in the wine list.

Damuls Mountain Restaurants

Elsenalpe Stube is a busy self-service restaurant at the top of UGA-Alp chair lift, which also provides family friendly accommodation and has a popular sun terrace. The popular Hotel Gasthof Walisgaden restaurant (next to the umbrella bar) is worth visiting as is s’Landle where they serve a healthy chicken (fitness) salad, which is recommended. You can reach these restaurants easily via the UGA-Alp chair lift then ski red run 2 in the direction of Walisgaden chair. Downhill next to the valley station of Hohes Licht the Uga Alp is a large self-service restaurant with accommodation.

There are more mountain restaurants worth visiting on the left-hand side of the ski area alongside Portla Horn blue and red runs, including Gasthof Sonnenheim and stylish Hotel Alpenstern, both of which have sun terraces.

Gasthof Elsenalpe Tel: +43 (0) 5510 297
Hotel Alpenstern Tel: +43 (0) 5510 513
Gasthof Sonnenheim Tel: +43 (0) 5510 257
Bergrestaurant Uga Alp Tel: +43 (0) 5510 318
S’Ländle Hotel Tel: +43 (0) 5510 610
Jausestation Sunnegg Tel: +43 (0) 676 783 7858
Eisbar Herte Hof Tel: +43 (0) 5510 27
Berggasthof Walisgaden Tel: +43 (0) 5510 214
Almstűble Tel: +43 (0) 5510 307

Mellau Mountain restaurants

Mellau has two on-mountain restaurants at Rosstelle close to the top of the gondola, both include outside terraces, but neither of them can be recommended.

Restaurant Simma is cosy and has seating for 150 with waiter service. Alphof Rossstelle is an impersonal self-service establishment with seating 400 people but the food is disappointing. A red run above the restaurants is often used for slalom racing and although a couple of hundred Austrian teenagers racing slalom gates is an impressive sight, it’s not quite so appealing when they all pile into Alphof Rossstelle at lunchtime.

Restaurant Simma Tel.: +43 (0) 5518 2761
Alphof Roßstelle Tel.: +43-5518 2310 or 2751


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