Intermediates will find plenty to keep them busy in the KitzSki area, with 77km (45%) of varied red runs, from wide open cruisers to winding tree runs down into the various traditional Tirolean villages in the area including Kitzbühel, Jochberg, and Aschau. Beginners will enjoy the 69km (41%) of easy blue runs, although the nursery slopes are more limited.
Most skiers will be able to attempt the longest run in the area; at 8.3km this linked series of easy blues (16a, 16, 26, 25b) down into Kirchberg is a great run for all abilities first thing in the morning although it often becomes busy and choppy later in the afternoon.
Advanced skiers will find few challenges on piste, with only 24km (14%) of black runs, although there are one or two highlights – in particular the infamous Streif race course in the Hahnenkamm area near Kitzbühel, and the long Schwarzkogel run down to Aschau. However, it would be hasty to discount the off-piste and touring opportunities in the area, in particular the specially designated Bichlalm touring area.
While the KitzSki area is not particularly high - it has a base of 837m and peak at 2,004m and is therefore less snowsure than some of its higher rivals - it boasts excellent snowmaking capabilities. The network of 820 snowmaking facilities and commitment to piste grooming tends to keep the area skiable even when natural snow is scarce, and the area’s north-west orientation also benefits the snow conditions at all times of the year.
The Gaisberg, which dominates the horizon in Kirchberg, hosts a small distinct ski area, separated from the main ski area although still accessible with the KitzSki pass. Locals know it as the ‘sports mountain’ due to the range of activities on offer, including an exhilarating toboggan run, an ice climbing wall, as well as facilities for night skiing. Skiers should probably steer clear unless taking advantage of these activities or the two excellent mountain restaurants – with only one piste on the mountain it’s not worth the trek from the many other alternatives in the main KitzSki area.
There are 54 lifts across the KitzSki area, including the impressive 3S cable car and a number of high-capacity heated chairlifts. There is a good mix of high speed cable cars and chairlifts, many of which carry four or more people, meaning lift queues are only really a factor during peak holiday periods. There are also Wi-Fi hotspots at most lift stations - a simple but useful feature when trying to get in touch with friends elsewhere on the mountain.
From Kirchberg, there are two main lifts providing access to the KitzSki. The Maierlbahn cable car is based in town and takes skiers up to the Ochsalmbahn base station, while the Fleckalmbahn is located slightly higher up - a short bus ride from town - and takes skiers to the top of the Ochsalmbahn. From there, skiers can head over to Hahnenkamm or towards Steinbergkogel and the rest of the ski area. The Fleckalmbahn can often be closed in windy conditions - an inconvenient start to the day if you are planning to use it but the pain is relatively short lived thanks to free and regular shuttle buses to the Maierlbahn during the core part of the season.
The lift system is less contemporary in the discreet Kitzbüheler Horn section of the ski area, though with fewer skiers to contend with, lift queues are rarely too much of a problem.
There are two main options when it comes to buying your ski lift pass in Kirchberg, though we think theres only one logical choice for the keen skier.
The Bergbahn Kitzbühel pass is the lift pass for the KitzSki ski area, and is priced at €233 for a 6 day pass in the 13/14 season (€116.50 for children). This provides access to 170km of pistes, and includes an evening trip up the Gaisberg lift for those keen on good mountain food and tobogganing. Daily & other multi-day passes are also available.
The better option, however, is the All Star Card, which gives access to ten different ski areas and more than 1,000km of pistes. At €49 per day, or €241 for 6 days, the pass is only slightly more expensive than the Bergbahn Kitzbühel option and gives access to an exhaustive range of skiing.
Parents and novices should note that there are some lifts across the ski area which are free for beginners. These can change according to the time of season so visitors should ask the pass office for more information.
Novices and children can learn to ski on gentle nursery slopes accessed by the new Ubungslift t-bar, for free. While handy for the village, the area is the opposite side of town to the main ski area, making it less convenient.
Although some of the ski schools also have their own nursery areas for small children which are nearer the main slopes. The ski schools tend to progress to the area at the top of the Ochsalmbahn chairlift, in particular runs 16 and 18 providing gentle open runs for beginners to gain their confidence.
For improving beginners there are a good number of excellent cruisy blues providing interesting routes down to the village through the trees. Piste 26 underneath the Maierlbahn is a great run but as one of the main routes down it can get very busy in the afternoon – best enjoyed first thing in the morning while the snow is still fresh and before the ski schools arrive.
The Pengelstein area is also an excellent playground for beginners progressing to easy blues. Pistes 27, 30 and 31 are long, undulating runs which are great fun and tend to be slightly quieter than the area around the Ochsalmbahn and Maierlbahn.
The nearby villages of Aschau and Reith also have nursery slopes which are generally free to access.
The Kitzbüheler Alpen tourist board sometimes offers ‘Learn 2 KitzSki Packages’ in Kirchberg, designed for beginners or rusty skiers who need to regain their confidence, offering discounts on accommodation, ski-pass, tuition and ski hire.
Looking for private or group ski lessons in Kirchberg? 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.
Nearly half of the KitzSki area is comprised of intermediate red runs, and wide open pistes are a common sight throughout the region. With the good lift system, it is easy to cover a lot of ground in this vast ski area, particularly outside of peak holiday periods, and there is an enjoyable concentration of pistes beneath the Wurzhöhe and Bärenkogel peaks such as the red 60 run which will stimulate intermediates.
From Kirchberg, the Fleckalmbahn and Maierlbahn provide access to the heart of the Kitzski ski area, giving competent skiers the opportunity to experience skiing in the famous Hahnenkamm area, while there are a number of long blue runs around the Ochsalmbahn and Steinbergkogel lifts which give less experienced intermediates an opportunity to gain confidence.
The long blue runs (25 & 26) back down to the village can unsurprisingly become busy with ski school groups and late in the day as skiers return home, but there are plenty of alternatives including the network of blue runs beneath Pengelstein and the enjoyable reds beneath Bärenbadkogel, 62 & 65 in particular. Worth noting, however, that the runs by Bärenbadkogel can get slushy in the afternoon.
Although discreet, the Kitzbüheler Horn area should not be discounted, offering a nice circuit of pistes as well as the option to test your speed on the guest race piste.
While substantial, skiers really wishing to cover some ground have the option to ski any of the nine other areas using the Kitzbüheler Alpen All Star Card, with the SkiWelt offering a proximate alternative to the KitzSki area.
Just 24km of the 170km piste network is classified as advanced, meaning expert skiers would benefit from having an appetite for ski touring or a willingness to spend part of their visit exploring the neighbouring ski areas to avoid repetition.
The Hahnenkamm area - famous for the annual downhill race - is often the first port of call for advanced skiers, offering a number of challenging black and red runs including the Streif race course - the only marked run in the KitzSki area to be marked as very difficult - and a testing mogul section on the 21a Waldehang/Seidlalmhang run.
Most of KitzSki's other advanced pistes are accessed from the Steinbergkogel lift, with the top section of the 38 Direttissima black run perhaps the most demanding of these thanks to its steepness. Local guides also speak highly of the Schwarzkogel run down to Aschau, providing there is enough snow.
The resort is investing to improve access to some of the area's expert territory, with work ongoing during the 13/14 season to complete the lift at Hochetzkogel which will give lift access to routes currently reserved for ski tourers.
There are a number of other areas only accessible by ski touring, including beneath the Kleiner Rettenstein and Schwarzkogel peaks, while local guides also favour the off piste beneath the 3S-Bahn and in the Alte Wacht area.
Coupled with this the area does have a number of flat sections which less experienced boarders may struggle with, in particular the large open area between the Pengelstein, Steinbergkogel and Ehrenbachhohe peaks. Beginner boarders would also do well to avoid the long Gauxjoch t-bar (F8) in the Barenbadkogel area. Intermediate boarders will, however, enjoy the good range of cruisy blues and reds.
The snowpark on the Kitzbüheler Horn, near the Brunellenfeld chairlift (B5) is built on natural snow, providing some nice conditions. It offers a range of kickers as well as a few boxes and rails, while the Horn Mini Park provides a gentle introduction to freestyling for beginners and ski schools.
In comparison the huge Hanglalm Snowpark in the Resterhohe area (near chairlift G5) has an excellent range of jumps, rails, and boxes for all levels although more advanced boarders and skiers are best catered for. More recently the addition of a huge gap jump has attracted a number of pros and fearless amateurs.
Both the Kitzbüheler Horn and the Resterhohe offer opportunities for good powder riding, including through the trees when the weather’s bad. Locals also favour the off-piste around Pass Thurn, Alte Wacht and Schwarzkogel, although most of the best routes down are away from the pistes so a guide is recommended.
With so many restaurants to choose from, you won't have a problem finding a restaurant in any section of the ski area. There are a concentration of huts and restaurants accessible from either the Hahnenkamm cable car or Ehrenbachhöhe lift, though the easy access from Kitzbühel can mean these can become quite busy, particularly during holiday periods.
Closer to Kirchberg, the Ochsalm hut is a popular option, particular for families, for whom the sun terrace, close proximity to the Maierlbahn and easy access for beginners are a welcome bonus to the good food. The restaurants around Steinbergkogel and Ochsalm typify the good value that can be found in Kirchberg, with the traditional Schutzhütte Steinbergkogel and Fleckalm notable examples. There are also a number of après ski huts on the run down to Kirchberg, including the Schneebar Oberkaser, Maierlalm and Schi-Alm,
Local guides also speak highly of the mountain restaurants closer to Aschau, singling out Gauxerstadl and Usterwies as good lunchtime stop-offs with a cosy & rustic feel.
Elsewhere in the area, the Kitzbüheler Horn boasts some scenic views from its sun-blessed huts, and an evening meal on the Gaisberg is highly recommended. The Obergaisberg is an excellent location for an evening meal, offering superb traditional dishes and a break from the floodlight tobogganing down the mountain.
Literally translated, Kirchberg means “Church Mountain”, giving a sense of the traditional history of the town. The church remains a focal point, and there are a number of sports and clothing shops for visitors to enjoy after a good day's skiing. For later in the evening, there are a number of bars and pubs around the town, from quiet hotel bars to lively pubs and late night clubs.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of the town, however, is the large number of apartments and pensions lining the streets. There is a seemingly endless number of guest houses, to the extent that the town's 9,000-strong population is nearly doubled during peak holiday periods.
For non-skiers visiting later in the season, there are other sports facilities closer to Klausen - a short walk from Kirchberg, including tennis courts and a swimming pool.
Visitors to Kirchberg should also plan a trip to nearby Kitzbühel. Although expensive, it is a stunning and charming town and can be reached very quickly if hiring a car.
With over 30 bars to choose from, Kirchberg is known for its lively après ski and is particularly popular with Dutch visitors, who know how to party! Although compared to some of the bigger Austrian resorts such as St Anton and Ischgl it is relatively tame, Kirchberg has a good selection of bars located right on the slopes which run down into the village, which provide an enjoyable way to end a hard day’s skiing!
Cafe Bar Jederzeit (+43 650 5159856) on the main street in Kirchberg is a fantastic little bar with live music most nights. It can get quite packed but this generally adds to the atmosphere. The only drawback is it can get smoky when busy.
Eis Bar (+43 664 553 3149) is a perennial favourite for lively après ski, particularly popular with Dutch visitors. Open until midnight it often has a queue of keen party-goers stretching down the street outside.
Kracherl (+43 664 6488652) is a popular après ski bar which often features live music, and also has a pool table, darts, and table football.
Maierl-Alm (+43 5357 2109) has a large terrace which gets packed when the sun shines. With reindeer-skin covered seats and heaters, this is the next level in après ski comfort, but with a resident dj outside this isn’t just a place for relaxing after a long day skiing.
Schneebar Oberkaser (+43 699 10228822) is a small but lively après ski bar, within the same group as the Fuchslochl, located right on the Kaser piste (26). A great place to stop for a schnapps or a beer on the last run home, it has an ice bar outside – the perfect spot to catch the last of the rays.
Schi-Alm (+43 5357 3282) is another alternative (or addition!) for après ski drinks on the piste before heading home. It is on the right hand side of the Kaser piste (26) and also serves food all day, with choices including Austrian specialities, pizzas and salads.
Vis a Vis bar (+43 5357 4422) is a cosy, pub-style bar which can get quite lively and is open until 03:00 most nights. Its nearby ‘Dreick bar’, a typical Austrian après ski tented bar, is open from 13:00-22:00 and is the perfect place to warm up for a night out in Kirchberg.
There are a similar number of restaurants in Kirchberg, mostly offering traditional Austrian cuisine although more international tastes are also catered for.
Asado’s Steakhouse (+43 5357 2973) does what it says on the tin. Generally gets very good reviews for the food on offer, although service can be slow.
China Restaurant Aurora (Tel: +43 5357 35005) offers an alternative to the ubiquitous Austrian cuisine.
Hotel Bechlwirt (Tel: +43 5357 2205) has a restaurant serving traditional Austrian fare. It’s not the most atmospheric restaurant in town, but the food is very reasonably priced and they do an excellent goulash soup. It’s also a favourite with locals.
Kupferstub’n (Tel: +43 5357 2335) is frequented by locals as well as visitors and one of the best restaurants in town although still reasonably priced. The menu offers a wide choice, including a range of Austrian specialities as well as more international, though traditional, dishes. However, it is the service which really sets the family-run Kupferstub’n apart, with a genuinely charming atmosphere created by the owner Hildegard.
Pizza per Tutti (+43 5357 20064) is one of a number of pizzerias in Kirchberg. They’re all relatively similar, but locals recommend this one and the large pizzas can also be ordered for delivery.
Der Tiroler (+43 69 917 123 917) on the main street into Kirchberg is the biggest night club in Kirchberg and offers fun après ski and late night partying until 04:00.
Fuchslochl (+43 699 1022 8822) is open from 21:30 every day and is popular with locals and visitors alike, featuring a mix of house, electro, chart and live music.
The Gaisberg toboggan run is a must-do for all families and fun-seekers visiting Kirchberg. While the run, accessed by the Gaisberg chairlift, is open every day (09:00-16:00) it is also open Tuesday-Saturday evenings from 18:30-21:30 and makes a great night time activity for skiers and non-skiers alike. A single ride is included in the ‘Kitzbuhel area’ ski pass, but it is well worth the extra few euros for an evening pass. Toboggans can be hired at the bottom of the lift and tobogganing can be combined with a hearty dinner at either of the excellent mountain huts on the Gaisberg – the Gaisbergstuberl at the top of the lift, also accessible to non-skiers/tobogganers, or the Obergaisberg half way down the toboggan run.
For those who can’t put their skis away, the Gaisberg chairlift is open Thursday and Friday evenings offering floodlight skiing – although limited to a single short red run.
The Gaisberg also hosts Kirchberg’s ice climbing park offering the opportunity to climb one of the biggest ice climbing towers in Europe and an ice-climbing wall. Beginners can have a go at scaling the ice every Friday evening (18:30-21:30).
Snowshoe hiking offers the possibility of getting ‘off the beaten piste’ and experiencing parts of the landscape around Kirchberg which would otherwise be inaccessible. The tourist office in Kirchberg offer guided snowshoe hikes for a range of abilities.
In winter visitors can rent skidoos and try out the 800m professional course. Alternatively try an ATV (quad bike) – which are also available for kids. For more information contact Local Motion - www.locationmotion.at.
Traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides are offered in the winter, offering a magical way to see the landscape and including a cosy meal at the Skirast Inn. Rides can booked at the tourist office in Kirchberg.
The KitzSki pass offers 50% discount at the fantastic Aquarena Spa Centre in Kitzbuhel, which offers indoor pools with water slides, steam room, saunas, solarium and massage. For more information contact Aquarena Kitzbühel.Closer to home a number of hotels in Kirchberg provide access to their indoor pool and sauna facilities. Calling in advance is recommended.
While Kirchberg has a number of small boutiques and tourist shops it is well worth the short trip to Kitzbuhel to experience the charm of this historic town and the excellent opportunities for retail therapy!
For more information on activities in Kirchberg contact the tourist office: