Skiing in Kirchberg

Kirchberg is perhaps best known for its proximity to world-renowned Kitzbühel and is a cheaper alternative location to explore the KitzSki area’s 170km of pistes. Kirchberg also offers easy access to the superb SkiWelt area with a further 279km of well-groomed ski runs.

Kirchberg Ski Area Overview

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.

Hahnenkamm/ Pengelstein

A network of 3 cable cars (Fleckalmbahn, Maierlbahn, Pengelstein) provides access to the large Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein area directly above Kirchberg. Strong intermediates and more advanced skiers will want to try their luck on the Streif run in the Hahnenkamm area, made famous by the annual downhill race. However, this area is really a playground for progressing beginners and intermediates, the highlights being the range of valley runs where beginners can build confidence and intermediates can perfect technique or simply let loose and enjoy.

Jochberg-Pass Thurn

Intermediates and advanced skiers will want to explore the Jochberg-Pass Thurn area which can be accessed by the 3S cable car, avoiding a lengthy bus journey through the valley from Kirchberg. Snowboarders and freestylers should take in the massive Hanglalm Snowpark, even if the largest kickers prove too adventurous! At 2,004m the Zweitausender peak is the highest point in the KitzSki area and between here and the Resterhohe are a variety of wide open blues and reds which are often relatively quiet. Those wanting to experience everything KitzSki has to offer should attempt the Ski Safari, starting at the Hahnenkamm, motoring through the Pengelstein area, taking the 3S across the valley, down to Jochberg before tackling the Barenbadkogel and Resterhohe areas and finally down into the Pass Thurn valley.

Kitzbüheler Horn

The Kitzbüheler Horn, a separate area accessed by the long Hornbahn cable car, is a great place for beginners to practice and offers some interesting red runs for intermediates although these are quickly exhausted. Known by the locals as ‘the sunny side’ of Kitzbühel, the Horn has only natural snow, providing some excellent skiing when snow conditions are good and also offers some stunning views when the trees are covered in snow.

Beginner Skiing in Kirchberg

Kirchberg offers a range of good skiing for beginners able to tackle easy blues. While the provision of nursery slopes for novices and children is more limited, beginners in ski school can expect to make good progress.

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 on 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. 

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Kirchberg

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Intermediate Skiing in Kirchberg

Kirchberg is an excellent destination for intermediate skiers with 170km of well-groomed pistes in the KitzSki ski area, and easy access to a total of more than 1,000km of pistes across ten ski areas locally; all covered by the All-Star Card lift pass.

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.

Advanced Skiing in Kirchberg

While there is a huge amount of skiing accessible from Kirchberg, including some steep and testing runs, advanced skiers and boarders visiting the KitzSki area are unlikely to be sustained by the pistes alone, but ski touring with a guide allows access to more challenging terrain.

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.

Boarding & Freestyle in Kirchberg

The KitzSki area has two snowparks, including one of the largest in Austria, and some good opportunities for riding off-piste, although visitors staying in Kirchberg will have to travel some distance to get to them.

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.

Kirchberg Mountain Restaurants

Kirchberg and the KitzSki ski area have plenty of traditional Tirolean mountain restaurants, with a range of options to suit either a quick pit stop or a long mountain lunch. There are 60 mountain restaurants in total, and friendly service, large portions and Schnapps are all par for the course.

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.


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