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.
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.
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.
Looking for private or group ski lessons in Ellmau? Ultimate-Ski and partner CheckYeti work with leading ski schools and ski instructors in over 500 ski destinations throughout Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Let us help you choose the right ski school or instructor for you, and book online.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
T 0043 5358 2809
T 0043 5358 2809
T 0043 664 2793354