Skiing in Montafon

Montafon in Vorarlberg, Austria, offers good skiing and boarding for all ability levels. There are 219km of marked downhill ski runs, mostly between 1600-2400m and a modern ski lift system of 61 ski lifts covered by a single regional lift pass.

Montafon Ski Area Overview

Montafon ski season officially runs from early December until late April each year, but if there’s enough snow the ski lifts will open from mid November on Saturdays and Sundays. Montafon has a good snow record, boosted by modern snowmaking machines covering 40% of marked pistes to help extend the ski season and ensure good snow cover on long runs back down to villages in the valley.

Montafon ski region includes four main ski areas – Silvretta Nova, Gargellen, Hochjoch and Golm – offering family-friendly skiing with gentle beginner slopes and wide open runs for carving as well as challenging steep descents and deep snow skiing for advanced skiers including some of Europe’s best ski touring.

Silvretta Nova (1000-2400m)

The Silvretta Nova above St Gallenkirch, Gortipohl , Gaschurn and Partenen is served by three main lift systems. The biggest and best known of Montafon’s four mountain ski areas, Silvretta Nova has 114km of well-groomed trails (48% snowmaking), 7 ski routes, 25 (of 61) ski lifts, 8 mountain restaurants and 14km long descent from Schwarzköpfle (2300m) to the Valisera gondola station at St Gallenkirch.

Silvretta Nova includes excellent facilities for boarders and freestyle skiers. Silvretta’s Nova Park is the largest snowpark in Austria with a 120m halfpipe, an impressive array of jumps, kickers, rails, boxes and jibs. Nova Park is continually being improved each year to maintain its high ranking among the biggest and best snowparks in Europe.

Besides alpine skiing and boarding, Silvretta Nova has cross-country skiing and hiking at high altitude in the Bielerhöhe area which is at the foot of iconic Piz Buin (3312m) mountain with magnificent panoramic views of Verwall, Rätikon and Silvretta. Bielerhöhe is also the starting point for some of Montafon regions best ski tours, both day ski tours and week-long tours staying in refuge huts.

Schafberg (1423-2300m)

The Schafberg ski area above Gargllen – Montafon’s highest ski village – has 47km piste skiing (21% snowmaking) on wide-open meadow terrain, ideal for intermediates and beginners, 5 ski routes as well as moguls and plenty of opportunity for advanced skiers to ski deeper snow routes between the pistes and more adventurous routes such as Madrisa round tour, which involves skiing across the border behind Gargellner Köpfe (2559m) to the Swiss resort of Klosters and skiing back around Madrisa (2770m) same day.

The Schafberg ski area is served by 8 (of 61 ski lifts), including the main gondola from Gargellen (1423m) to Schafberghűsli (2130m) and 5 mountain restaurants, which are prettier and cosier than larger (but nevertheless impressive) mountain restaurants on Silvretta Nova and Hochjoch. Longest run back to Gargellen is 8km, with artificial snow-making, and opportunity to ski right down to resort level from end November through April. Although smaller than Silvretta Nova, and quieter than either Silvretta Nova or Hochjoch, Gargellen and Schafberg has plenty of good skiing and is especially good for families with young children.

Hochjoch (700-2400m)

The Hochjoch ski area is in the middle of the Montafon valley above Schruns and Silbertal. Hochjoch has 44km of groomed-piste skiing (45% snowmaking), 3 ski routes and is served by 17 (of 61) ski lifts, 7 mountain restaurants and the impressive Dreamland ski facility (5800m² outdoors and 250m² indoors) for children. Hochjoch has 1700m vertical elevation and a 12km long continuous run down to the Hochjochbahn cable car station in Schruns. The Alpin Sport Service centre on mountain at Kapellalpe is a well-equipped ski rental depot offering extensive selection of equipment for skiers and boarders including snowscooters and snowblades.

The majority of pistes are graded red or blue, with plenty of beginner runs close near the cable car station and restaurant on Kapell (1850m) and lots more beginner friendly skiing on blue runs higher up between Grasjoch (1975m) and Kreuzjoch (2395m). Advanced and expert skiers will not be tested by the marked runs, but there’s plenty of challenging off-piste including expert terrain above Herzee which is used to host extreme free-riding competitions and there are plans to cut some quite serious 50° degree trails for experts only from Freda to Silbertal.

An unusual feature and one of the highlights of the ski area is skiing the Hochjoch ski tunnel which is a 476m long tunnel through the mountain – the longest ski tunnel in the world.

Golm (654-2120m)

The smallest of four main ski areas in Montafon, Golm is just 10 minutes drive from the motorway exit at Bludenz. It’s also easily reached by train from Bludenz to Vandans and therefore popular with day visitors. Golm has 32km of mostly red and blue groomed piste (56% nowmaking), a couple of ski routes and a 9km long (mainly blue) run and nearly 1500m vertical down to the valley lift station at Vandans. Golm has 9 (of 61) ski lifts the main elements of which are the Golmerbahn gondola which rises in 3 sections from Vandans to Holzschopf (1000m) then to Berghof Golm and Panorama Restaurant Grűneck (1890m) with a middle station exit opportunity at Matschwitz (1520m).

Golm’s family friendly ski area includes the large sun terrace at Panorama Restaurant Grűneck is a good vantage point for parents to observe their children’s progress on the nursery slopes at the top of the Golmerbahn. Advanced skiers and confident intermediates can ski the 70% (30 degree) Diablo black run (10), the steepest groomed piste in Montafon.

Beginner Skiing in Montafon

Montafon has plenty of runs for beginners. Nearly 50% of the groomed pistes are blue and competent beginners can enjoy long top-to-bottom descents on Hochjoch and Gargellen. The longest of these is a 12km long easy run from the top of the Hochjoch ski area in Schruns.

Hochjoch has good beginner skiing on Kapellalpe, easiest access to which is at the top of the Hohjoch cable car, which is where you’ll find Schruns Ski School, Dreamland children’s kindergarten, Alpin Sports Centre and Kapell Restaurant.

Kapell (1850m) is a convenient meeting point with easy access to a couple of nursery slopes with drag lifts for novices and longer blue runs 9 and 10. Confident beginners can ski blue 9 from Kapell then ride the 8-person Sesselbahn chairlift and ski the similarly long blue 10 past Spetcher-See all the way back to Kapell or break right down the fall-line on easy blue runs that will return you to the bottom of the Sesselbahn.

There’s plenty more blue-run skiing higher up. Confident beginners can take the 2-person chairlift from Kapell to Sennigrat (2300m) then ride another double-chair to the Wormser Hűtte (2305m) on Kreuzjoch. From there you can ski the short blue 2 or better still enjoy much longer blue runs 15 – 19 from Kreuzjoch towards Grasjochhűtte (1975m) and Hochjoch (2520m).

Ride the Platina ski lift back to Kreuzjoch then ski blue 1a which will take you through the amazing 476m long Hochjoch ski tunnel back to Kapell and can continue via blue 1b and 1c all the way back down to Schruns; it’s 12km from start to finish.

Silvretta Nova offers a good selection of long blue runs allowing competent beginners to ski more or less the whole area. There’s a nursery slope down in the valley at Gaschurn and a lovely long and easy blue trail 11/12 running from Garfrescha (1500m) down to the bottom of the Garfeschabahn chairlift or longer still to the Valisera lift in St Gallenkirch.

Gargellen also offers good beginner skiing. There is a short nursery slope with drag lift in the village and another one close to the top of the Gargellenbahn gondola. Better still are the super long blue run 2 and similarly long blue run 6 from Schafberghűsli all the way down to Gargellen; the longest run is 8km from start to finish and easily skied by competent beginners.

Golm ski area is mostly a mixture of red and blue pistes, fine for confident beginners who have mastered the basics, but not as enjoyable a place to learn as Hochjoch on the other side of the valley.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Montafon

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Intermediate Skiing in Montafon

Montafon is good for intermediate skiers and boarders. Around 35% of 219km piste skiing is graded red and 50% blue and there are long (8-14km) descents from top to bottom of each of Montafon’s four main ski areas.

Most of the groomed runs on Hochjoch are blue and the whole ski area (44km) can quite easily be skied in a day by strong intermediates. Suggested itinerary as follows … ride the cable car to Kapell (1850m), ski red 4 down, then take the Kropfen chairlift to (1335m) and ski blue 9 and reds 7 and 8 either side of the Sesselbahn lift, before heading up Kreuzjoch (2395m) to the Wormser Hűtte to sample easy but enjoyable blue runs and a a couple of red ski routes between Hochjoch (2520m) and Grasjochhűtte (1975m). Take the Grasjoch chair back to Kreuzjoch from where you can ski the 12km long top-to-bottom descent to the Hochjoch cable car station in Schruns, which includes the world’s longest (476m) ski tunnel through a mountain. Beneath Kapell you can choose to stay on easy blue 1b and 1c or switch to red 4 and 5. This lower section through the trees is worth repeating so we’d recommend stick with the blue then ride the cable car back and ski back down the reds.

Silvretta Nova’s well-groomed ski area (104km) is ideal for intermediates. The vast majority of the runs are red and blue, but there’s plenty more difficult stuff if you know where to look including a few black pistes, half a dozen ski routes and some easy off-piste for aspiring intermediates. The modern ski lift system includes three main lifts rising from the valley, busiest of which is the Valisera gondola at St Gallenkirch.

Your route around the ski area will depend on which valley lift station you start from. Most guests, including day visitors, start from St Gallenkirch and Valiserabahn gondola to Bella Nova (2100m). An easy and fast itinerary around the ski area is to start with red 22 or blue 21, ride the chairlift to the mighty Nova Stoba restaurant (2010m) and ski blue 1 down to Zur Brez’n at middle station (1480m) above Gaschurn then ride the gondola back to Nova Stoba.

From Nova Stoba ski blue 5 and ride the Schwarzköpfle chair to the Kiosk and ski north facing runs 29 and 26 and work your way back to Bella Nova. Red 23 is fun skied fast then take Jochle T-bar, ski long blue 25 or 25a to Gassbarga at middle station (1600m) above St Gallenkirch and continue along blue 25 and ride the Vermiel chair then ski down through Garfrescha and ski red 11 then long blue run 11 back to St Galenkirch.

Gargellen ski area (47km) is quieter but well worth visiting. The groomed pistes, mostly blue and red, offer relatively easy but enjoyable skiing on wide open meadow terrain, which includes plenty of easily accessible deeper snow either side of the groomed pistes. Additionally, there are half a dozen ski routes for confident intermediates and Gargellen’s mountain restaurants are cosier than the invariably big restaurants on Silvretta Nova, which is another good reason to visit.

Golm is the smallest of Montafon’s ski areas (32km) and made up almost entirely of red and blue trails except for the steep Diablo black run. Golm also has a ladies’ Worldcup run and is home to the toboggan like Alpine-Coaster ride – which is good fun for thrill seekers.

Advanced Skiing in Montafon

Montafon ski pistes are mostly red and blue, with black runs amounting to only 15% of groomed runs, but with 80 peaks over 3000 metres there are some excellent off-piste possibilities including some of the best ski touring in Europe.

Hochjoch, has one relatively short black run (3) from Sennigrat to the top of the Kapell chairlift, and although the marked runs are best for intermediates and beginners, there are good opportunities for skiing with a guide off-piste above the tree line including the wide open area to the right of the Sennigrat chairlift and between and around the pistes in the wide-open area between Kreuzjoch (2395m), Grasjoch (1975m) and Hochjoch (2520m). The steep couloirs above Herzsee are used to host extreme ski competitions, but otherwise are out of bounds. The lift company hopes to be allowed to cut some new trails off-piste from Freda to Silbertal which will be seriously steep and for experts only.

Golm has one black run, the Diabolo, which is the steepest groomed black run in Montafon, and an enjoyable balck ski route. On a powder day it seems there’s good skiing to be had off-piste below Sonna Hűsli, but otherwise there’s not much for advanced skiers on Golm.

Silvretta Nova has more to offer advanced skiers including 4 black runs, 5 black ski routes and lots of opportunity to ski off-piste with guides. Best of the black runs is number 20 from the top of the Madrisella chair lift (2200m) to Alpe Nova (1720m). Ski routes 2, 3, 4 and 5 are fun and it’s also worth checking out the red ski routes above Gaschurn. The local Ski School organises ski safaris with authorised mountain guides from Bielerhöhe to Galtűr (not visible on the ski map), then on via Zeinis, Kops and through the Ganifer valley back to Partenen.

The local Ski School organises ski safaris with authorised mountain guides from Bielerhöhe to Galtűr (not visible on the ski map), then on via Zeinis, Kops and through the Ganifer valley back to Partenen. There’s good off-piste skiing on north facing slopes beneath the line marked on the map by the ski touring route between Madrisella (2466m) and Berg (2247m) and more difficult off-piste on steeper slopes beneath the Gampabing drag lifts and ending in the valley between St Gallenkirch and Gargellen.

Alpinschule Montafon offer 1-day and 3-day trips deep snow skiing off-piste in Montafon or further afield in Graubunden and the Arlberg.

Off-Piste Skiing in Montafon

Montafon’s above-average snow record and long ski season offer good opportunities for skiing off-piste. Montafon is best known, however, for its excellent ski touring including ski touring on glaciers and difficult high-altitude ski touring.

Gargellen is the starting point for the Madrisa tour (to Klosters in Switzerland and back) and there are also a few ski routes and some relatively easy off-piste skiing in the main Gargellen ski area on Schafberg.

Day ski touring routes with guides include the relatively easy Madrissa Tour from Gargellen (Schafberg) around Madrissa (2770m) to Klosters (Switzerland) then back; and easy-medium ski tours from Bielerhöhe to Breitfielerberg (2417m), Kromerscharte (2793m), Winterberg (2832m), Seehorn (3089m) and Rauher Kopf (3101m).

There are more difficult higher altitude ski tours in the Rätikon mountains to Sulzfluh (2817m), Drei Türme (2830m), Vergaldner Schneeberg (2832m), Heimspitze (2685m) and Rotbühelspitze (2853m) and high touring in Silvretta to Dreiländerspitze (3197m), Piz Buin (3312m), Jamspitze (3178m), Schneeglocke (3223m) and Silvrettahorn (3244m) which include ski touring on glaciers.

Mountain Guides in Montafon

Alpinschule Montafon offer one-week (7 days) high alpine ski touring trips including the Montafoner High Route (Sivretta – Rätikon) from Silvrettasee via Rauhkopf – Wiesbadner Hütte – Piz Buin – Silvrettahütte (CH) – Schneeglocke – Saarbrücknerhütte – Seehörner – Hotel Vergalden (Gargellen) – Sulzfluh – Lindauer Hütte – Drei Türme – Hueter Hütte – Schesaplana and ending up at Vandans.

Alpinschule Montafon – Bergfűhrer Montafon
Tel: +43 (0) 664 431 1445

Montafon-Guides Silvretta
Tel: +43 (0) 664 102 6028

Mountain Restaurants in Montafon

Montafon has over 20 mountain restaurants in four main ski areas, ranging from the unusually large, but satisfying, Nova Stoba restaurant in Silvretta Nova to small traditional huts in Gargellen, nearly all of which have sun terraces, sometimes with live music.

Silvretta Nova ski area has around a dozen mountain restaurants, the biggest and most popular of which are Bella Nova, Valisera Hűsli and the seriously big, yet impressive Nova Stoba with a major sun terrace and open-air disco. Also Brunellawirt, which is a traditional and cosy mountain hut lower down at Garfrescha.

It would be hard to find a seriously big mountain restaurant that delivers better than the Nova Stoba. With seating for 1400 downstairs, 420 upstairs, a corporate dining room for up to 120 guests and a small army of staff, it’s hard to imagine a mountain restaurant bigger than Nova Stoba, but it’s a fun place for lunch in spite of its considerable size. There’s also a special play area for children in the basement.

On 26 December each year Nova Stoba has been the venue for a massive party; known locally as Swiss Day with upwards of 4,000 Swiss coming to Silvretta Nova – many of them just for the day – to party at the Nova Stoba. Apparently 1,000 or more ride the gondola up from Gaschurn for the party without ever bothering to ski.

Brunellawirt and the Alpenhotel at Garfrescha are good lunch venues, especially if you prefer somewhere smaller and quieter than Nova Stoba. Brunellawirt is also a fun place to stop for a drink later in the day when skiing blue 11 from Garfrescha down to the valley stations in St Gallenkirch – Gortipohl. If you like ski-in, ski-out accommodation, note that besides Alpenhotel many of the chalet style buildings nearby are available for rent on a self-catering basis.

Gargellen’s mountain restaurants on Schafberg are typically much smaller, traditional and cosy; Schafberghűsli, Oswald Hűtte and Kesselhűtte are among the most characterful mountain restaurants huts in Montafon.

Hochjoch offers a choice of six restaurants. Kapell Restaurant is a quite large but family friendly restaurant at the top of the Hochjoch cable car, which is convenient for mid-mountain beginner slopes and the Dreamland children’s area. Wormser Hűtte (2305m) and Grasjochhűtte (1975m) serve good food with great views and Gasthaus Kropfen (1335m) on the run back to town is also popular. There’s also a restaurant at each of the valley lift stations in Schruns, Urmonti and Zamangbar which are also popular venues for après ski.


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