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.

Ellmau is part of the large SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental ski area. It’s a quiet, family-oriented ski resort, mostly composed of small hotels and cosy restaurants, so whilst there are apres-ski bars up the mountain and some late-night bars in the village, those seeking a more vibrant party scene would be better off in lift-linked Soll or nearby Kitzbuhel. The village is still attractive but rather stretched out, and most 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 270kms of runs and more than 80 lifts – which is more than enough for a week’s ski holiday. Perhaps the most impressive statistic though, is the number of the mountain bars and restaurants, known as ‘mountain huts’: at the last count there were about 80 of them! Most of the pistes are short, treelined, gentle blues, or red runs that are only slightly steeper. These are great for novices and intermediates who like easy cruising. And Ellmau is a good resort for beginners too, with nursery slopes on the edge of the village and also up the mountain. The Ellmau ski schools have a good reputation for those who want to learn or improve.

Experienced skiers who want to be tested will soon grow tired of the few local black runs and ski routes like ‘East’. There are some steeper slopes in the SkiWelt above Soll but not enough for a whole week. Fortunately Kitzbuhel’s more challenging ski area (called ‘KitzSki’) is less than 30 minutes away by bus or car, and there are various lift passes that cover both ski areas, or you can buy one-day supplements. You can also reach KitzSki by skiing across the SkiWelt to Westendorf, where a short ride in a ski bus connects the KitzSki lift at Skirast with the SkiWelt lift at Ki-West, but if you’re coming Ellmau this is a long journey and getting there and back will take up most of the day.

The SkiWelt is very low for a ski area – all the slopes are below 2000m and Ellmau itself is sited at just 820m above sea level. Over 90% of the SkiWelt pistes, however, have artificial snow-making so its runs remain skiable if night time temperatures are cold enough for the snow cannons to work. That is unlikely to be a problem in January, particularly around Ellmau where most of the runs face north, but if the weather is warm in the run up to Easter, the SkiWelt ski area will noticeably contract or become very slushy.

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Ski Equipment Rental 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 accommodation
– Too low to be snowsure in warm weather

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

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