The Hintertux ski area is set high up at the top of the Tux valley, predominantly above the tree line. Its runs are characteristically wide, open cruisers suited to intermediates. While most pistes are classed as red runs, there are generally few steep sections and their width makes them a possibility for more confident beginners.
Many of the runs in the Hintertux area are situated in the glacier bowl itself, between the Gefrorene Wand and Grosser Kaserer peaks. Compared with many other glaciers, Hintertux offers a variety of pistes, and confident beginners and intermediates will be happy for a day or two – although the runs are fairly short and most lifts are t-bars. This area, above the 2660m station, is the limit of skiing in the summer.
The area between the Sommerberg at 2100m and the top of the Gletscherbus 2 lift at 2660m, offers only 2 red runs, although these are supplemented by a number of unprepared pistes and a range of off-piste opportunities. Hintertux boasts the longest run in Zillertal, a 12km and 1,750m descent from the Gefrorenen Wand down to Hintertux village (including the unprepared 1a from Sommerberg to the village).
Under the Tuxer Joch peak a small number of easier blue runs provide scope for beginners to find their feet in Hintertux, and the FamilyPark Hintertux provides the opportunity for children and beginners to have a go at freestyling.
While on the face of it Hintertux has little to offer advanced skiers and boarders, with only one short black run, there are a number of off-piste opportunities which can be accessed with a guide and the ‘Betterpark Hintertux’ provides the prospect of a snowsure park. Even so, with a relatively limited ski area, intermediate and advanced skiers will want to explore the other parts of the Zillertal 3000 area with 196km of prepared pistes across six peaks and taking in the ski area of Hintertux’s more famous neighbour Mayrhofen. The main area covering Eggalm, Rastkogel, Penken and Horberg peaks is mostly easily accessed from Lanersbach village, a short bus ride from Hintertux village. The free Tuxer Sportbus shuttles between the villages every 15 minutes.
The Hintertux glacier allows skiing 365 days a year, a fact the village is proud to boast. With the highest peak within the wider Zillertal 3000 area, at 3250m [check], and with most runs above 2000m, Hintertux is a safe snowsure bet. The height and exposure of the glacier can, however, see lifts closed before nearby areas when the weather closes in.
The Hintertux ski area is served by 19 ski lifts, which are a mix of shorter t-bars at the top of the mountain, a handful of chairlifts and cable cars, and the Gletscherbus series of gondolas which ferry skiers from the village to the highest accessible point, the Gefrorene Wand.
Gletcherbus 1 is the main access lift from the village to the central Sommerberg area, although it is supplemented by the 8-person Sommerberg cable car. The quickest route to the top of the mountain from the Sommerberg is taking the Gletscherbus 2 and 3 gondolas. From there skiers can access runs on the glacier, and can drop down behind the Gefrorene Wand, taking the Schlegeis chairlift back to the summit. Most lifts within this top section are t-bars which may put off some skiers and snowboarders, although they are fairly short and relatively easy to handle with few steep sections.
On the other side of the mountain, under the Grosser Kaserer, one of the oldest chairlifts in the resort, the 2-person chair Larmstange provides access to Kaserer 1 and 2 t-bars. [The resort plans to replace the older Kaserer 2 t-bar with a new 6-person chairlift in 2015 which will be a welcome improvement.]
The Ramsmoos t-bar from Sommerberg, and a small Babylift in the centre of the village serve novices and children just starting out.
For most visitors there is only really one lift pass option in Hintertux – the Zillertaler Superskipass, which covers the entire Zillertal valley, a total of 489km of pistes, taking in the Hintertux/ Mayrhofen area as well as Hippach, Zell, Gerlos and the Fugen and Kaltenbach areas. Those with a car can easily take full advantage of this extensive area – those without may find it a trek to get from Hintertux to the resorts past Mayrhofen.
A 6-day Zillertaler Superskipass is priced at €230.50 in 2014/15, with significant discounts for youths (€184.50, born between 1996-1999) and children (€103.50, born 2000-2008). Children born in 2009 or later go free. For those who might not want to ski everyday, longer duration passes come with the option of electing a certain number of days to ski, for example 4 in 6 or 10 in 14, with an appropriate discount. An additional feature of the pass is that you can check your personal descent statistics, through the ‘Skiline’ website, which automatically collects data through your lift pass: www.skiline.cc/hintertux.
Daily passes are available for the smaller Ski and Gletscherwelt 3000 area covering the Hintertux and Mayrhofen ski areas. Various options are available depending on start times, with an adult full day pass is priced at €48.50 in 2014/15.
Those chasing guaranteed snow across the season can also buy the White 5 skipass which provides access to all 5 Tyrolean glaciers, including Hintertux.
For novices and small children the babylift in the village centre provides access to a small nursery area. From there most will progress to the main area for beginners in Hintertux - around and above the Sommerberg, served by the Ramsmoos and Tuxerjoch chairlifts. Wide cruisers provide the opportunity for beginners to gain confidence and progress - blue run 17 under the Tuxerjoch is a longer but potentially more interesting test.
For variety the blue runs around Olperer 1 and 2 on the glacier are fairly easily accessed, although with only red runs from there down to the Sommerberg area most beginners will need to get the cable cars or gondolas back down the mountain.
More confident beginners may want to explore the nearby Rastkogel area, which has a number of rolling blue runs as well as a nursery area. The Rastkogelbahn in Vorderlanersbach, a short bus ride from Hintertux, provides direct access to the area.
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Hintertux provides a range of wide, open pistes well-suited to intermediates although with a relatively limited ski area, most will need to venture further afield within the Zillertal Superskipass area after a day or two. This offers a much wider range of skiing – the nearby Rastkogel and Eggalm areas are a good place to start, with fairly quiet but interesting pistes which can be accessed from Lanersbach, a short (free) bus ride from Hintertux.
In Hintertux itself over half the pistes are classed as red runs (or ski routes). The main area high up on the glacier under the Gefrorene Wand provides a number of shorter red runs, and red number 5 which drops down onto the Schlegeis glacier behind offers some fantastic views. Some of the longer runs that are possible all the way down to Hintertux village, with an altitude difference of over 1500m, provide a more interesting ride. When conditions are good the area under the Larmstange is a must, with a number of ski routes down to Sommerberg, and the whole of the Hintertux area has good off-piste potential, although on the glacier itself the presence of crevasses under the surface make this extremely dangerous, so a guide is vital.
Once Hintertux is exhausted intermediates will want to explore the larger area available between Mayrhofen and Lanersbach, with a further 135km of pistes, including a number of fairly steep red runs. The pistes under the Lammerbichl chairlift and down into the valley between Rastkogel and Eggalm areas are a welcome change from the wide, open pistes of Hintertux, and provide some interesting tree-runs – they can also be a refuge when the weather is worse high up on the glacier.
Another particular highlight within main Penken area above Mayrhofen, is the red run 66 which runs along the ridge separating the Penken from the Rastkogel before dropping back into the Penken bowl.
With only two fairly short black pistes, there is not a great deal of steep and testing runs for advanced skiers in Hintertux. In good conditions, however, good off-piste can be found on the glacier, and there is plenty of accessible off-piste in the nearby Zillertal 3000 ski area.
In nearby Mayrhofen, the terrain is somewhat more challenging – there are only another six runs classified black, although some of the many red runs are also steep in parts. Real experts will want to test their mettle on the Harakiri (black 34), the steepest piste in Austria! A more leisurely ride, although still stimulating, is black 12 under the Schneekar chairlift.
The other popular option for experienced skiers and boarders is ski touring, and there is a very good offering in this respect both within Hintertux itself and across the wider area. Visitors should always use a guide, particularly in Hinterux where crevasses in the glacier under the snow present a real danger.
The presence of the glacier, and a remarkable 365 day skiing, means that Hintertux attracts pro-riders searching for guaranteed snow year round, and it hosts an opening party annually on the first weekend in October.
The Betterpark Hintertux, open from April to December (with a short break over August) is perched high up on the glacier, alongside the Olperer t-bars – providing snowsure opportunities for freestyling throughout the year. With a range of kickers, boxes and rails the park offers an easy, medium and pro-line, as well as a 120m Superpipe.
During the winter season the Familypark Hintertux takes over (open December to April), and offers a range of freestyle opportunities, including for families and beginners.
The presence of a number of t-bar lifts and generally limited beginners pistes, don’t make Hintertux the ideal place to learn to snowboard, although intermediates will enjoy the wide cruisers and opportunities for exploring off-piste – in particular the large area under the Larmstange chairlift.
The Tuxer Fenerhaus is one of the best mountain restaurants on the Hintertux Glacier, offering traditional Tirolean specialities as well as international cuisine. Situated at the top of the Gletscherbus 2 ski lift, the Tuxer Fenerhaus has an outdoor sun terrace, and a large indoor area comprised of a spacious self-service area or a good quality a la carte restaurant.
The Spannagelhaus is an intentionally high-end mountain restaurant renowned for its large sun terrace and champagne breakfast. The Spannagelhaus has a broad menu which offers salads, soups and a wide choice of traditional mains and deserts, while there is plenty of indoor dining space if conditions are windy.
More detail on the Hintertux Glacier mountain restaurants is available at http://www.hintertuxergletscher.at/en/summer/alpine-huts-restaurants.html.
More detail on the mountain restaurant options across the Zillertal 3000 ski area can be found at Mayrhofen Mountain Restaurants.
Hintertux has a relaxing and remote feel, with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains and walking routes for those who wish to explore them. The village is no more than a few hundred metres long, with hotels and a couple of shops situated either side of the main road which passes through the village.
The ski lift up to the glacier is a 10 minute walk or a short bus ride from Hintertux village, while there are a handful of hotels – but little else – situated by the lift base station. Visitors looking for a livelier base may prefer to stay in Mayrhofen, or even in the slightly busier villages in the Tux valley which sit between Hintertux and Mayrhofen.
The Hintertux nightlife is pretty limited, but anyone in search of some classic Austrian après ski should head immediately to the Hohenhaus in a prime spot at the bottom of the Gletscherbus lift.
Hohenhaus Tenne (+43 5287 8501) is the focal point of Hintertux après ski. A traditional Austrian bar with pumping music and beer flowing, it is always lively after a long day’s ski. Fast-food is on offer in the bar at the back and the toilets alone are worth a visit!
Papperla Pub (+43 5287 8501) the ‘cosiest living room in Zillertal’ is part of the Alpenbad Hohenhaus Hotel (not to be confused with the Hohenhaus Tenne near the Gletcherbus), and as part of its draw has Sky Sports on offer. But it can be altogether more lively, with music nights and the regular ‘Tux1 disco night’ – usually open until 04:00.
Disco Batzenkeller (+43 5287 8570) is the place to go for a late night drink and music in Hintertux, attached to the Badhotel Kirchler.
Dining out in Hintertux is primarily limited to a number of hotel restaurants, generally focusing on traditional Austrian fare. The Hotel Alpenhof is said to have the best restaurant in the village. At lunchtime the options within the village are fairly limited, although most visitors are sensibly high up on the mountain were there are a range of mountain restaurants.
Café Restaurant Kaiser-Brundl (+43 5287 8580) adjoined to the Neuhintertux Hotel is well located at the bottom of the ski route 1a, right opposite the Hohenhaus Tenne. A café bar serving food and drinks, including for lunch and dinner, the Kaiser-Brundl also caters for the après ski crowd with loud music welcoming skiers off the slopes!
Didi’s Pizzeria (+43 5287 87329) provides a bit of a change from the traditional in Hintertux, with a wide ranging Italian menu including a large selection of pizzas, as well as pasta, soup and salads. Take-away is also available.
Hotel Alpenhof (+43 5287 8550) is highly thought of in the village and serves a five-course dinner every evening. The only drawback is that the restaurant is not open for lunch, although an afternoon snack is on offer for guests of the hotel.
Hotel Badhotel Kirchler (+43 5287 8570) serves traditional Austrian fare within one of the larger hotels in the village. A children’s menu is also on offer.
Hotel Hintertuxhof (+43 5287 8530) is one of the few restaurants in the village open for lunch. Serving mainly Austrian classics, they do a mean goulash soup! Also well set up for children, and in good weather a large playground area outside keeps little ones busy.
Piazza Restaurant (+43 5287 87490) is located in the Hotel Kossler, and as well as serving a range of food and drinks from 15:00 onwards, also has Sky Sports on offer.
There are a number of natural landscape features in and around Hintertux that are worth a visit, for skiers and non-skiers alike, particularly if the weather is bad.
The Ice Palace, a stunning ice cave, with stalactites, frozen waterfalls and a glacial lake, is open all year round and has daily guided tours available. The Palace can be accessed on foot from the top of the Gletcherbus 3 gondola, where visitors can also appreciate the 360 degree views from the Panorama Terrace at the Gefrorene Wand.
An alternative is the Spannagel cave, which claims to be the highest publicly accessible cave in Europe. In winter guided tours are available on Tuesdays and Fridays (call in advance +43 5287 87251), although more extensive tours are also available on request, where cave trekkers can go deep into the 12.5km system. The cave is accessed via the top of the Gletscher bus 2, and walking or skiing down towards the Spannagelhaus restaurant.
Whilst not extensive there are cross country facilities near to Hintertux, with a 14km classic cross country track, from Vorderlanersbach to Madseit (near Hintertux), and a 14km skating track in Madseit. The tracks can be used free of charge, and lessons are available from some ski schools in Hintertux.
An alternative to speeding down the mountain, a number of companies nearby Hintertux offer ice climbing on waterfalls running off the glacier. Guides can cater for beginners as well as more experienced climbers and most companies will provide all the required equipment, including crampons and ice picks.
While there is no ice rink in Hintertux itself there are a number in the nearby village of Lanersbach, as well as in the larger Mayrhofen. At the large ice rink in Lanersbach, which is nearest to Hintertux, visitors can skate or try their hand at ‘Bavarian curling’ (ice stick shooting)! The rink is open from 15:00-22:00 daily except Monday, for reservations call +43 5287 87385.
A number of the hotels in Hintertux have swimming and/or spa facilities. The most notable is the Hotel Badhotel Kirchler which draws the water for its facilities from a natural hot spring, one of the highest in Europe. As well as the thermal pool, the hotel offers saunas, steam room and massage, perfect after a long day on the slopes.
Public swimming baths and wellness facilities are also on offer at Erlebnisbad in nearby Mayrhofen, and are well worth a visit for families – the large pool is complemented by a Jacuzzi, water slides and inflatables. The Green line buses run between Mayrhofen and Hintertux and are free, although only with a ski pass and if you show ski gear.
There are a number of cleared trails in and around Hintertux that offer a more serene way to see the area, either on foot or using snowshoes for the more adventurous. Many of the ski schools rent snowshoes, and snowshoe tours can be organised by RocknSnow Alpine Guiding (+43 664 406 5650).
There are a couple of maintained toboggan runs in and around Hintertux, although visitors have to walk up to both (or taxi). The 3km Bichlalm run starts from the mountain hut of the same name, approximately 50 minutes walk from the village. The Bichlalm hut has live music most nights of the week, and a fondue night on Fridays. The Grieralm run, starting from the Grieralm hut, is a longer 5km illuminated run, but with an hour and half walk up to it from Juns village a taxi might be a better option.