Ellmau Ski Resort

Ellmau is a quiet, beginner-friendly, family-oriented ski resort that is also part of the huge lift-linked SkiWelt ski area so intermediate skiers can ski new pistes every day. Kitzbuhel, which has more challenging runs for stronger skiers, is also within reach. None of the slopes are very high but the artificial snowmaking is effective.

As the second biggest ski resort in the SkiWelt, Ellmau is large enough to cater for most its visitors needs and yet small enough to retain a village atmosphere. It is popular with the British, the Dutch and, of course, the locals. It's a quiet, family-oriented resort mostly composed of small hotels and cozy restaurants, so whilst there are apres-ski bars up the mountain and late night bars in the village, those seeking a more vibrant party scene would be better off in Soll or Kitzbuhel. The village is rather stretched out: much of the accommodation is a long walk or a short bus ride away from the main lifts.

There is a lot of skiing in the SkiWelt - over 284kms of runs and 90 lifts - and a staggering 81 mountain bars and restaurants. Most of the pistes are short, treelined, gentle blues and red runs that are great for novices and intermediates who like easy cruising, and this is very true for the slopes above Ellmau and neighbouring Going. The Ellmau ski schools have a good reputation and there are decent nursery slopes on the edge of the village and up the mountain.

Ellmau is therefore definitely more of a beginners' resort than an experts' resort, but there are just enough challenges for advanced skiers who come here in a mixed ability group for a week. There are a few local black runs and ski routes like 'East', and more in the SkiWelt, most notably around Soll; there is also some proper off-piste that can be explored with a guide; and lastly, Kitzbuhel which has steeper terrain is less than half an hour's drive away; or you can ski into its KitzSki area via Westendorf  with the help of a short ride in a ski bus that connects the KitzSki lift at Skirast with the SkiWelt lift at Ki-West. There are various lift passes that cover both ski regions, such as the KitzAlps AllStarCard and the Super Ski pass, or you can buy day passes.

The SkiWelt is very low for a ski area - all the slopes are below 2000m. 90% of the pistes, however, now have artificial snow-making, and this plus Ellmau's orientation (its runs mostly face North) and vigorous piste-grooming mean that its runs remain skiable, provided night time temperatures are cold enough for the snow canons to work. That is unlikely to be a problem in January but in a warm Spring the ski area can contract or become very slushy.

Ski & Board Hire in Ellmau

There are plenty of ski rental shops, but you are unlikely to get a good deal if you just walk into them when you arrive. ALPINRESORTS.com works with several shops in Ellmau and the SkiWelt and offers discounts of up to 35% if you book online in advance here. 

SKISET also has outlets in Ellmau and it too gives discounts if you book online.

Ellmau Pros & Cons

+ Family-friendly quiet village
+ Large lift-linked ski area
+ Good resort for beginners
+ Impressive artificial snowmaking
+ Stronger skiers have access to more challenging slopes at Soll and Kitzbuhel

- Resort is rather stretched out
- Lifts can be far away from accomodation
- Too low to be snowsure in warm weather

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Ski Welt Ellmau Ski Area

The SkiWelt boasts 284km of pistes and is a haven for beginner and intermediate skiers. While there are relatively few black runs – 33km in total – there is enough easy ungroomed terrain between the pistes to entertain the more advanced skiers in a group.

Officially there are 122km of easy pistes and 129km of intermediate runs though the piste grading sometimes seems to have more to do with quotas than with degree of difficulty. A confident intermediate will find some of the blues quite challenging and a developing beginner will be able to get down the reds.

The Ski Welt has over 1,700 snow cannons covering around 229km of the pistes and they work hard at overcoming the challenges of being lower than some of the other major ski regions. Our snowsure rating for Ellmau and the SkiWelt is based on natural snow rather than man made snow. The snow canons will, however, ensure that Ellmau remains open until late in the season.

One of the recent features introduced to the SkiWelt is night skiing. This is available on the slopes above Sőll, Westendorf and Brixen im Thale.

Ellmau Ski Lifts & Lift Passes

From the village of Ellmau, it is possible to start the day on the shorter drag lifts and work over to the main lift to Astberg out of Going. From there it’s a run down to the bottom of the furnicular back in Ellmau and then up to the Hartkaiser hub. A bit of a palaver. Most people ride the free ski bus to the furnicular and head straight on up.

Once at the Hartkaiser hub, the full system of 51 lifts and 41 drags is open. The pistes are numbered relative to the lifts they service and the signposting is, on the whole, excellent. One or two runs are, effectively, cul-de-sacs but this is only an issue if you're approaching the end of the day.

The SkiWelt lift system connects all the way across to Kitzbuhl but that is on a different lift pass. To ski back to the main accommodation in Ellmau at the end of the day, it's easiest to ski to the bottom of the furnicular and then ride the adjacent 90 lift up again giving you the choice of 100d or 84 back to the nursery slopes in the middle of the village.

Ellmau Beginner Skiing

The Ellmau beginner slopes are in the heart of the village barely 5 minutes walk in boots from the village centre. There is a wide range of activities for kids and the more mature beginner will not be embarrassed by cutting their ski teeth on these slopes.

Beginner skiing in Ellmau

It is advisable for beginners to get their turns mastered before heading up the mountain. Some of the blues higher up are either a little steep or a little narrow which can be difficult especially when the slopes are more congested. But this is no reason not to try.The runs back to Ellmau involve time on red pistes so discretion might dictate riding the furnicular down at the end of the day.

Ski schools at Elmau and throughout Ski Welt provide excellent tuition for novices and beginners and as well as improving your skiing, your ski intructor's knowledge and experience will prove invaluable when navigating the ski area (270km) and finding the best runs and the best mountain retsaurants.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Ellmau

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Ellmau Intermediate Skiing

The SkiWelt, as said before, is a haven for intermediate skiers. The vast majority of the area is blue and red runs and there are 3 defined ski circuits. They can all be skied either clockwise or anticlockwise.

There is more than enough skiing above Ellmau to pick an area and ski it for a day.

From Ellmau, it takes about an hour to work over to the slopes above Brixten and Westendorf allowing plenty of time for a leisurely return to Ellmau with perhaps a stop for a spot of Gluwein on the way.

For the longest run, start from Hopf Salve and there are 7kms of non-stop cruising on the reds 20, 21. Keep your eyes open for the sign posts though; there are those who have managed to lose their way!

While these things are rather subjective, we suggest the nicest intermediate skiing is arguably around the 87, 97 & 98 lifts off the back of the Hartkaiser.

Ellmau Advanced Skiing

SkiWelt offers only 10% of its skiing as advanced. But to be fair, this is just the pisted element.

The locals head up the 11 lift to the Choralp above Brixten and find themselves fantastic powder when the snow is new. It's probably best to hire a guide and get them to show you the hidden areas.

Ellmau Ski Boarding & Freestyle

There are three terrain parks in the SkiWelt – The Intersport Kaiserpark above Ellmau (lift 99), the Snowparka nd Funslope Area above Soll (lifts 46 & 47) and the boarders playground above Westendorf (lift 119).

Generally, intermediate boarders and above can get around the SkiWelt circuit with ease but beginners might find some parts of the network challenging purely because of flat areas between the lift systems. The wide open terrain includes opportunities for boarding in deeper snow between the marked runs and there are massive amounts of riding to be enjoyed throughout the SkiWelt.

Ellmau Mountain Restaurants

There are nearly 100 mountain restaurants in the SkiWelt and, much as we would like, we haven’t yet visited them all. Yet. This is pretty much a restaurant every other piste and very few of them will require a reservation.

The style, on the whole, is functional rather than cosy and the space age toilets at the Panoramarestaurant Bergkaiser are worth a stop on their own.

The prices on the mountain are eminently reasonable. Lunch and a drink need be no more than €15 and, in true Austrian style, you won't leave hungry.

It is, of course, completely unfair to single out any particular mountain restaurant so perhaps look out for those with panoramic views from sun kissed balconies.

Ellmau Village

The earliest mention of Ellmau dates from records of 1155. The feel of Ellmau today is actually quite modern. There is no high rise development but the sprawl of a modern ski resort has been inevitable. The end result is a pretty if not charming, a large if not imposing village.

While the base of the funicular is a bus ride, the rest of the village is all within walking distance and there are a collection of boutiques and more practical shops to keep you interested; Ellmau is not, however, a shopaholics paradise.

There are, as in any ski resort, a plethora of ski rental outlets and deals to be had. Intersport offer the online booking service through the three Winkler outlets.

Although you wouldn't know it in the winter, half the village is three interwoven golf courses.

Ellmau Restaurants & Bars

Typical of many Austrian resorts, dining and later evening entertainment in Ellmau tends to happen in the hotels . A throbbing metropolis of e-crazed nightlife this isn’t. And that’s good; especially if you’re over 22 and a half.

That said, the restaurants are charming and the few bars are lively and friendly.

For some late night disco action, check out Otky.

Apres ski can be found all over but Bar 66, where it is not unknown for the locals to enter on horse back, Memory and Apres Ski Bar Fabels all have music and an atmosphere.

Ellmau Other Activities

Snow shoeing, sledging, snow tubing, cross country skiing, night skiing and horse drawn sleighs are all available in Ellmau although in this ski resort the emphasis is very much on skiing.

Horse Drawn Carriages

Go for a ride

Austraße 31
6352 Ellmau
T 0043 5358 2809

Horse-drawn carriage rides Achlhof

Austraße 31
6352 Ellmau
T 0043 5358 2809

Horse-drawn carriage rides Danzerhof

Dorf 26
6352 Ellmau
T 0043 664 2793354

Ellmau Rating
  • Ski Area star rating
  • Snowsure star rating
  • Advanced star rating
  • Intermediates star rating
  • Beginners star rating
  • Ski Lift System star rating
  • Lift Queues star rating
  • Scenery star rating
  • Resort Charm star rating
  • Apres Ski star rating
  • Non-Skiers star rating
  • Getting There star rating
  • Ellmau Statistics
  • CountryAustria
  • RegionSkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental
  • Base620 m
  • Peak1957 m
  • Vertical1137 m
  • Beginner43 %
  • Intermediate45 %
  • Advanced12 %
  • Number of ski lifts90
  • Gondolas16
  • Chairlifts35
  • Surface lifts39
  • Riders per hour137800
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