Skiing in Seefeld
The Olympiaregion Seefeld sits on a plateau at 1,200 m above sea level rising to 2,100m and averages over 500cm of snowfall each winter. Seefeld is internationally renowned for Nordic skiing with 266km of cross-country trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Additionally, the resort features 28 ski runs for downhill skiing, mostly easy skiing for beginners and intermediates.
Olympiaregion Seefeld Ski Area Overview
Alpine Skiing in Seefeld
Seefeld has 28 ski runs in total, 50% for beginners, 40% for intermediates, just 10% for advanced skiers and boarders and the longest ski run is about 5km.
Seefeld’s two downhill ski areas, soon to be connected by a new ski lift, are Rosshütte and Gschwandtkopf. Rosshütte, the larger of the two, is ideal for snowboarding, skiing, paragliding and even sunbathing. It is the hub in Seefeld’s piste network, linking via cable car to skiing on the Härmelekopf.
The Gschwandtkopf is by far the smaller of the two areas and is skiable in a morning. Spread out over three small faces, most of the skiing here is for beginners. Geigenbühel and Birkenlift is a special ski area for children and beginners which is tucked away in a corner of Seefeld village. There are no expert pistes. Neither the Gschwandtkopf nor the Rosshütte is within walking distance of most lodging properties and getting from one to the other is most easily accomplished by car, although there is a ski bus.
Seefeld’s ski season runs from early December to the beginning of April. There are 27 ski lifts transporting up to 11,000 riders per hour and the ski lifts, which are open from 09.00 am – 4.30 pm. The ski lifts also open for night skiing on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6.30 – 9.30 pm.
Cross-Country Skiing in Seefeld
Sitting on a relatively wide plateau Seefeld was the official cross-country ski venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well the Nordic Ski World Championship in 1985 and the Cross Country Skiing Cup 1999. Since 2003 Seefeld has been the base of the Nordic Combination World Cup and will continue to be so until 2011.
The valleys that make up Olympiaregion Seefeld include a total of 266km trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Many top cross-country skiers train here and Seefeld’s long-term goal is to be acknowledged as the best cross country skiing centre in the world.
The cross country (and downhill) ski area extends by Happy Ski passes to the surrounding villages of Leutasch, Mösern/Buchen, Reith and Scharnitz. Low-lying Leutasch is the starting point of the annual Ganghofer race, a 42 km cross country ski marathon. Mösern has the best views in the Upper Valley and some good nursery slopes. The old mountain-climbing village of Reith overlooks the Inn Valley while Scharnitz is a small, traditional village on the Bavarian Tyrolean border that is the gateway to the Karwendel Alpine Park.
Nearby Ski Resorts Sharing Same Lift Pass
The Seefeld Happy Ski Card is also valid for the surrounding resorts of Reith (towards Innsbruck), Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Grainau, Lermoos, Ehrwald, Biberwier, Berwang, Lähn, Billbach, Heiterwang and a number of smaller villages in between. While a number of these resorts are linked and can be reached by skiing safari style from one mountain to another, the bus service may well be the best way of getting back. Buses to other resorts go from Seefeld railway station.
By paying 10 euro for a sticker to put on your guest card (available from the tourist board and from hotels) there’s no further charge to travel to and from other regional resorts like Mösern, Scharnitz, Leutasch and Reith.
At the Apothekenplatz bus station in Seefeld you can catch the Wildmoos bus; and ski shuttle buses. Two free Ski buses work a figure of eight route from Apothekenparkplatz (Zentrum) every 20 minutes. Skibus 1 with red lettering goes first to Rosshutte and then Geschwandtkopf while Skibus 2 (Green) does the Gschwandtkopf circuit first and then Rosshutte.
There is also a shuttle bus that links Seefeld with the Wildmoos area; where higher winter walks and cross country routes can be easily reached. This shuttle link runs every 30 minutes from 9-12am and from 1-6pm.
A small shuttle bus runs round the town and links up with various winter walking/cross country routes. This completes its circuit every 30 minutes and is easily recognised by the golden unicorn horn on the bonnet of the bus. Because so many Tyrolean resorts had chosen the goat as its symbol the Seefelders opted for a unicorn.
Beginner Skiing in Seefeld
Seefeld is an ideal destination for beginners with around 50% of Seefeld ski area (45km and 28 ski runs) designated blue for beginners and 40% red runs which are fine for improving beginners and early stage intermediate skiers and boarders.
The Gschwandtkopf is an ideal mountain for beginners. Almost the entire mountain is rated blue. Beginners will enjoy exploring several different faces gently rolling terrain and excellent views of Innsbruck and the Bavarian Alps.
While intermediates may quickly tire of the Gschwandtkopf, beginners will find it an ample playground for a least day or two. Because the terrain is spread out and connected by several surface lifts, it allows beginners to get their first taste of what skiing in the Alps is all about – wandering from village to village, over, around, and between the snow-covered hills.
From the Rosshütte Talstation, beginners can start easily by skiing blue descents from the lowest draglift, then work their way up the mountain and use the Rosshütte restaurant as a base. Alternatively the new Rex (Rosshütte Express) now takes beginners to a choice of blue ski runs above the restaurant.
For something more magical beginners can try the gentle 3 km night ski route dropping 400m down the Harmelkopf (accessed by the luxurious heated 6 seater Hochangerbahn lift near the Talstation). The route is illuminated 6.30pm-9.30pm every Wednesday and Friday, usually from around 20 December until 20 March.
Beginners may also enjoy the Kaiserstand Natural Toboggan Run. Toboggans can be rented for € 4.50 at the Reitherjoch-Alm (Tel: +43 (0) 664 3375 803) above Reith.
Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Seefeld
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Intermediate Skiing in Seefeld
Seefeld’s relatively small Alpine ski area (45km) is best for intermediates and beginners with some 40% of the ski area offering easy red run skiing for intermediates and also good for confident beginners.
Seefeld ski area is small, but fun for intermediate skiers who will be able to enjoy the entirety of both mountains including the two black pistes, neither of which is particularly challenging.
Intermediates will be able to ski the Gschwandtkopf area in a half day. We recommend a morning visit to the Gschwandtkopft because its low elevation can leave it slushy in the afternoons. Start with a ride up the main quad chairlift and try a red run down to the Sonnenlift Reith, a single chair. After exploring the rest of the area’s gently rolling blue runs, intermediates can ski the main face down to the base area and take a shuttle to the Rosshütte side.
The Rosshütte offers more skiing than its little brother, the Gschwandtkopf. The skiing is also at higher elevation and more varied. From the Talstation, the new 6-passenger Hochangerbahn whisks skiers to the Reitheralmbahn for access to the sporty Härmeleabfahrt. On the Seefelder Joch side of the Rosshütte, the Jochabfahrt and Sportabfahrt are popular choices. The former offers a 2,500 ft descent if taken to the Talstation.
Advanced & Expert Skiing in Seefeld
Seefeld is not an area for advanced skiers. The one black run down from Seefeder Joch towards Rosshütte is not very long, petering out into a red run halfway down.
Though picturesque, Seefeld’s two mountains have unimpressive drops. The Gschwandtkopf offers no more than 1,000 feet vertical descent and Rosshütte 2,500 feet. There are no black pistes at the Gschwandtkopf area and even the red pistes are overclassified.
On the Rosshütte side, experts will find a handful of short black pistes, such as the Jochabfahrt. However, Seefeld’s black pistes are hardly distinguishable from their reds. Both, while fun, will not challenge skilled skiers. Advanced skiers and ambitious intermediates will enjoy cruising Rosshűtte for the first day or so but will soon want to take their Happy Ski Card to find more adventurous skiing elsewhere.
Mittenwald across the border in Germany is just 15 minutes drive away. Here the foothills of the Wetterstein mountain range include the Kranzberg downhill ski area. Opposite, the sharper peaks of the Karwendel range offer the unpisted Dammkar run, providing a long and challenging descent in good conditions.
The Zugspitze, across the border, at Garmisch-Partenkirchen is 20 minutes drive from Seefeld and has more to offer adventurous skiers.
While Seefeld’s ski pistes are relatively benign, in Seefeld as anywhere else there are risks involved in skiing off-piste. The death of an experienced local skier in an off-piste avalanche between Rosshütte and Harmelekopf in March 2009 reminded everyone of the dangers of off-piste skiing even in a resort as safety-conscious as Seefeld.Ambitious freeriders in the Rosshütte and Gschwandtkopf area will find the usual warning signs declaring ‘here you leave the safety of the marked piste’ so if you are intending to ski off-piste we recommend you hire a local mountain guide.
In Leutasch Moos it’s popular to climb 400m up to the Rauthhütte restaurant (the lift has been removed) and then using touring skis you can climb to the top of the Hohe Munde (1,000 metres above) and then ski back down. This area is also popular with snow walkers and those who want toboggan down.
Boarding & Freestyle in Seefeld
Seefeld is at best an intermediate area for boarding. Best routes are below the restaurant on Rosshütte and on the Harmelekopf in the area known as Rinne. Some boarders trudge out to the two saddlebacks that lie between both mountains and the Seefelder Spitze.
Snowboarderpark Crazy-hole is a small fun park between the Rosshütte and Murmelebau restaurants, with two rails and a pro-jump but it is showing its age having been built in 2000. There are also a few jumps built informally by locals in this area. The Snowboarderpark is maintained daily during the ski season.
Geschwandtkopf has three table tops on its lower slopes above the Talstation (not marked on the piste map).
Zugspitze also across the border at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (20km) is also rewarding for boarders.
Cross-Country Skiing in Seefeld
Already recognised as the best cross-country skiing destination in Europe, Seefeld’s long-term goal is to be acknowledged as the best cross-country skiing centre in the world.
Sitting on a relatively wide plateau Seefeld was the official cross country skiing venue for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well the Nordic Ski World Championship in 1985 and the Cross Country Skiing Cup 1999. The Olympiaregion Seefeld boasts a total of 266 km trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
The rolling terrain allows enough turns, dips and downhill spurts to be interesting and the forest sections, of which there are many, are enchantingly scenic.
The 266 km of interconnected trails include 156km “Classic” and 110km “Skating”. All trails are free to use with a Seefeld guest card (which comes with your accommodation) and 3km of trails are flood-lit six times a week during the winter season. Trails are set and groomed daily.
A satisfying but not overchallenging 6 km circular langlaufe trail is the B2 that leaves Seekirchl heading southeast towards Innsbruck but turning back before Reith Other routes can be found at Mosern and Leutasch. All these villages can be reached by taking the shuttle bus from the Apothekerparkplatz. Routes are graded blue, red and black for difficulty as for downhill skiing.
On select days, access to the biathlon course is also available. Be sure to call in advance for prices and availability.
A detailed cross country map can be bought at the tourist office and is worth the outlay. There is also a useful website www.seefeld-langlauf.at for those who want to plan routes in detail.
Mountain Restaurants in Seefeld
Seefeld has a reasonably good choice of mountain restaurants including a dozen gasthofs on the slopes around Seefeld and 12 more in the area between Seefeld and Reith.
The substantial and serviceable Rosshütte is unmissable with its flock of very healthy looking alpine choughs that perch above the outdoor terrace and has given its name to the mountainslope on which it stands. The sun terraces at Rosshűtte offer fill up quickly in fine weather and are popular for après ski from mid-afternoon until the lifts close.
The two huts below Rosshütte are owned by the lift company Bergbahnen Rosshütte which also owns the big restaurant up top. Murmelebau gets a lot of trade from snowboarders. Hochegg Alm is the most picturesque, a tiny log cabin overlooking a pond named, rather grandly, called the Kaltwassersee.
On Harmelekopf Johannes Marthe runs the Reitherjochalm at the bottom of a sequence of very enjoyable red runs. Good mountain après-ski can be found at the base station in the Tyrolean style Skialm.
On top of the Gschwandtkopf the Sonnenalm and the Oetzihütte are more traditional alpine gasthofs and more appealing than the shiny glass and concrete Rosshütte. There is good mountain après-ski at the Sportalm with the best hot orange punch in Tyrol.
Hochegg Alm is small and cosy and the Reitherjochalm hut is famed for its “Kaiserschmarren”, a sweet pancake. The walk takes an hour but toboggans can be rented for a quick journey back down.
Rosshütte Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Murmelebau Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Hochegg Alm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Reitherjochalm Tel: +43 (0) 664 3375803
Skialm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2416
Sonnenalm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2490 35
Oetzihütte Tel: +39 347 3867058
Sportalm Tel: +43 (0) 5212 2689