Skiing in Kitzbuhel

Despite the justifiably fierce reputation of the Hahnenkamm, the skiing around Kitzbühel is enjoyable, but not particularly challenging.

Kitzbuhel Ski Area Overview

The Hahnenkamm

It is important to distinguish between Kitzbühel’s notorious ‘Hahnenkamm’ World Cup downhill (in reality, the Streif run on the Hahnenkamm) and the much more benign remainder of the Hahnenkamm area. Despite the justifiably fierce reputation of the Hahnenkamm, the skiing around Kitzbühel is enjoyable, but not particularly challenging.

Most skiers with any real experience will want to try the resort’s signature feature (not counting the Hahnenkamm) – the ‘Safari’ route which traditionally ends at the highest end of the valley, at Pass Thurn. For many years this was the end of the road, at least for skiers in Kitzbühel, since there was no way of getting back except by bus at the end of the day,  until 2005 twhen an impressive  new gondola, the 3S, was opened across the Saukaser Valley blinking the resort’s two main areas – Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein and Jochberg-Pass Thurn. This eliminated the need for the taxi link and, more importantly, now enables skiers and boarders to return from Jochberg and Pass Thurn to Kitzbühel on snow.

Kitzbühel’s Ski Safari

The main Ski Safari route begins at the Hahnenkamm gondola (but can also be accessed down the valley on the Fleckalmbahn on the outskirts of Kirchberg). If there’s a long queue at the Hahnenkammbahn, you can while away the time by studying the names emblazoned on the side: famous racers galore, with their individual national flags. Franz Klammer is the only man to have won it three years in a row – and four times in all.

At the top, before you start out on the Safari circuit, you can meander over to the start of the Streif course to see why it’s the one downhill the racers nearly all fear – and most want to win. To start the Safari tour, skiers and boarders need to aim for Pengelstein, where the impressive new gondola will take them onwards, and bring them back at the end of the day, on their return from Pass Thurn. Kitzbühel’s longest run, the Hahnenkammside Pengelstein Süd (6.8km) is also here.

The next stop is Wurzhöhe, reached either by taking the gondola across the Saukaser Valley, or the old route (including the short taxi ride) via Jochberg. Once skiers and riders have reached Wurzhöhe, the route continues in seemingly endless zigzags all the way to what sounds like a tempting resting place – the Resterhöhe area – before the final plunge down to Pass Thurn. This is traditionally the end of the Safari, but for those with plenty of energy it’s now the point at which you can turn back and head for home or perhaps at least try to get half way by skiing back to Jochberg and catching the ski bus from there.

Kitzbüheler Horn

A completely separate area, the Kitzbüheler Horn – the so-called ‘sunny side’ of Kitzbühel on the opposite side of the valley, and reached by a gondola close to the railway station – has some excellent cruising runs. The T-bars at neighbouring Bichlalm have been removed, and the area is now limited to snowcat skiing and touring – and is regarded as a special area for back-country adventure. All of Kitzbühel’s areas are linked by ski bus.

Beginner Skiing in Kitzbuhel

Although Kitzbühel is, by and large, great fun for intermediate skiers and above, it is not ideal for beginners.

Although Kitzbühel is, by and large, a friendly and unthreatening resort, it is not ideal for beginners. The main reason is that unless based in Jochberg, which has nursery slopes right in its centre, it’s a chore to get to the slopes. There are gentle nursery slopes, including a special children’s area, in meadows between the Hahnenkammbahn gondola and the Streifalm chair, at the bottom of the race area; there are also wide open and sunny nursery slopes high on the Kitzbüheler Horn.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Kitzbuhel

Looking for private or group ski lessons in Kitzbuhel? CheckYeti works with leading ski schools and ski instructors in over 500 ski destinations throughout Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Let them help you choose the right ski school or instructor for you. Qualified and experienced ski instructors and guides at 500+ ski destinations, 6,000+ offers and 24,000+ ski school reviews. View ski schools, classes, offers and discounts, and pre-book your ski lessons online.

Book Ski School Lessons Online Now >

Intermediate Skiing in Kitzbuhel

Intermediates will thrive throughout the Kitzbühel region, particularly in the Hahnenkamm area.

Intermediates will thrive throughout the Kitzbühel region, particularly in the Hahnenkamm area. The whole area is littered with long blue runs. There are numerous runs worth trying at Pengelstein. The problem with circuits like Kitzbühel’s Safari tour is that it can be difficult to gauge how much time to spend checking out other tempting runs en route which are not going to take skiers any nearer their destination. Yet any over-eagerness to get to Pass Thurn means there’s a risk of missing out on some good skiing.

Apart from the Safari route, which is a good day out for reasonably experienced intermediates – who can still always call it a day when they get to Pass Thurn without making the return journey on snow – there’s a wealth of easy skiing on the western flanks of the Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein massif. There are wonderful long blue runs from Pengelstein and Ehrenbach-höhe down to Kirchberg, a large satellite resort which also has its own little ski area on the Gaisberg (1264m). The Kitzbüheler Horn also has some scorching intermediate runs.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Kitzbuhel 

Once the Hahnenkamm races are over, you can usually ski the whole course, but the steep sections are pretty savage.

The celebrated Streif run on the Hahnenkamm course is out of bounds to the skiing public from the start of the season until after race week in mid-January. Once the races are over, you can usually ski the whole course, but the steep sections are pretty savage, even at snail’s pace: the first section is so steep and icy that World Cup racers accelerate like a racing car to 60 mph within a second or two. Diving down to your left you only have a split second to correct your line before becoming airborne in the Mousetrap. To spectators, cheering and clanging huge cow-bells, it looks almost vertical.

Although Kitzbühel is not particularly celebrated for its off-piste skiing, it has plenty. It’s just a question of finding it. The obvious way, of course, is to find a guide. The Hahnenkamm area has some good off-piste skiing in the trees. On the Kitzbüheler Horn, there’s usually good ungroomed snow near the Eggl draglift (B9). Bichlalm, once a non-descript little ski area overlooked by the Kitzbüheler Horn has been transformed into a memorable off-piste-cum-touring area where a snowcat takes up to 14 skiers or boarders into exhilarating back-country powderfields. It’s well worth seeking out the off-piste high above Pass Thurn, where the altitude means there’s a good chance of powder remaining in good condition.

Boarding & Freestyle in Kitzbuhel

The Kitzbüheler Horn, with good freeriding terrain, is the main focus for freestylers, freeriders, and riders on alpine boards.

Some serious snowboarders swear by the off-piste at Pass Thurn, the highest part of the region. But the Kitzbüheler Horn, with good freeriding terrain, is the main focus for freestylers, freeriders, and riders on alpine boards. A special snowboard area near the Brunellenfeld chairlift (B5), complete with 100 metre-long halfpipe and permanent boardercross track is the main attraction. There’s a music system and on-mountain bars, and you can clock your speed on the radar course. Some sections of the Hahnenkamm and Bichlalm are also popular with snowboarders. The Rote-Teufel (Red Devils) Snowboard Academy offers snowboard lessons, freestyle and alpine camps, and snowboard World Cup training.

Mountain Restaurants in Kitzbuhel

Kitzbühel and the surrounding region have a vast choice of mountain restaurants and huts for pit-stops, ranging from frugal simplicity to full-on dining; 41 moutain restaurants and huts in all.

The Hochkitzbühel, a modern full-service restaurant is within easy reach of the top of the Hahnenkammbahn gondola – but a little pricey. There’s a sun terrace, umbrella bar, and a ski museum incorporating a Hahnenkamm race simulator. You can enjoy a candle-lit dinner here on Friday and Saturday nights too, including the gondola ride up and down.

The Pengelstein Bergrestaurant, a large self-service restaurant, with a good choice of home-made dishes, has magnificent views of the biggest mountain on the horizon, the Grosser Rettenstein (2,366m/7,763 ft) and a big sun terrace. The Kasereckhütte is ideal for a quick pit-stop before you drift down from Pengelstein to Jochberg. The diminutive Bruggeralm, which also has a sun terrace, is an old family-run hut serving traditional dishes like Tiroler Gröstl (a delicious fry-up of potato, onion and bacon).

Jochberg has a handy choice of restaurants around the base area near the Wagstätt lift. There are numerous restaurants along the final stretches of the Safari route between Bärenbadkogel and Pass Thurn. As its name suggests, the Panorama-Alm, high on the Zweitausender, has exquisite views. At Kirchberg, the Gasthof Maierl at the top of the Maierl lift specialises in Tirolean dishes like Blutwurst, Gröstl mit Spiegelei or Kasespätzle mit Röstzwiebel.


Back To Top