Innsbruck Olympia SkiWorld lets you stay in the beautiful historic city of Innsbruck, and commute by bus or car to 9 different ski areas that surround it: Nordkette, Patscherkofel, Axamer Lizum, Muttereralm, Kühtai, Glungezer, Schlick 2000, Oberperfuss/Rangger Köpflnd, and the snowsure Stubai Glacier.
Innsbruck’s location is a natural crossroads in the Alps. Just to the South of it is the Brenner Pass connecting Italy to the rest of Europe, whilst East to West lies the strategic Inn Valley. It’s therefore not surprising that the city’s history dates back to Roman times, or that its still thriving university was founded in 1669. If the Alps has an intellectual and cultural capital, this is it – a place where Hapsburg imperial buildings are framed by snowy mountain tops, and where even a ski jump can be designed by a world famous architect (Zaha Hadid) and made into art.
Innsbruck therefore offers skiers and boarders a very different winter holiday experience from a normal ski resort. From the airport, the transfer to your accommodation (by bus or taxi) should only take about 15 minutes, so you can arrive in the morning, spend the afternoon skiing, then instead of the normal apres-ski, you could visit ancient churches or cutting-edge art galleries, or just stroll around the traffic-free historic centre, browsing the high-end shops and stopping off in a traditional beer keller or café or one of the many student bars, before moving onto a high-class restaurant.
But you should not stay up too late if you are to get the best out of the skiing, because there is a lot of it, and certainly enough to keep most holiday makers entertained for a week. The Stubai Glacier in Stubaital is one of the best glacier resorts in the world and fully deserves its separate entry in the Ultimate-Ski guide. On the way to Stubai, and too often bypassed, is Schlick 2000. Nordkette is the closest ski area to the city: in fact you can even walk to its base station from some parts of the city. There are some gentle pistes here but it’s known for the freeriding on its steep, North-facing slopes. There is also freeriding at Axamer Lizum Olympia Park and Kühtai but these are modern high-altitude resorts, with mostly intermediate-friendly pistes. Oberperfuss/Rangger Köpfl and the Muttereralm Playground are oriented towards children – especially beginners. Patscherkofel and Glungezer are small, quiet resorts with a just a handful of lifts and runs.
There are free ski buses from the city to all these ski areas. And alpine skiing is not the only sport on offer when you get there. Mutteraralm has almost as many toboggan runs as ski runs, Glungeezer is a major centre for cross-country skiing, and there are plenty of ice rinks all around. Nor is skiing purely a day-time activity. There is after-dark floodlit skiing at one or two of Innsbruck’s ski areas every niight of the week except Sundays. So Innsbruck’s many historical, cultural and culinary attractions might not get the attention they deserve after all.
Where to stay in Innsbruck?
Romantik Hotel Schwarzer Adler 4-star
Hotel Sailer 4-star
Hotel Innsbruck 4-star
Hotel Goldener Adler Innsbruck 4-star
Hotel Maximilian Stadthaus Penz Innsbruck 4-star
Nala Individuellhotel Innsbruck
The Penz Hotel Innsbruck 4-star
Austria Trend Hotel Congress Innsbruck 4-star
Hilton Innsbruck 4-star
Hotel Grauer Bär Innsbruck 4-star
Hotel Kapeller Innsbruck 3-star
Weisses Rössl Innsbruck 3-star
Ramada Innsbruck Tivoli 3-star
Hotel Goldene Krone Innsbruck 3-star
aDLERS Hotel Innsbruck
Gasthof zum Schupfen Innsbruck
Haus der Begegnung nr Innsbruck
Sporthotel Igls 4-star nr Innsbruck
Innsbruck Pros & Cons
+ Wonderful historic city and nine diverse ski areas
+ Just 15 minutes from airport to city centre
+ Efficient free ski bus services during the day
+ Skiing for all abilities across a wide area
+ Plenty of accommodation
+ Lots to see and do
+ Perfect for short breaks
– Commuting to ski areas will be an issue for some
– Strong Fohn wind can cause lift closures