Skiing in St Johann in Tirol

St. Johann’s ski area is a relatively limited 42km, but its predominantly gentle slopes make it a good destination for beginners. Those willing to travel short distances can access an additional 134km of mostly beginner and intermediate-level skiing with the Schneewinkel lift pass, including in nearby Fieberbrunn and Steinplatte.

St Johann Ski Area Overview

The St. Johann ski area is located on the north side of the famous Kitzbüheler Horn, opposite the imposing Wilder Kaiser range. The area is characterised by several wide meandering runs down through the trees back to St. Johann or nearby Oberndorf.

There are three main areas on the mountain: the Eichenhof lifts section – which can be relatively quiet although involves some long t-bars; the area around the Harschbichl and Hochfeld lifts in the middle of the mountain, which tends to be quite busy with ski schools; and the Penzing-Bauernalm area towards Oberndorf, which features some steeper slopes.

With a peak of 1,604m, conditions in St. Johann can suffer when the weather is warm. However, artificial snow-making facilities cover much of the resort, and northerly orientation usually ensures good skiing in the peak winter months.

The area is very well suited to beginners, with three gentle nursery areas for novices and children, and 8 of 19 runs easy blues. In general, runs from the mid-station down are marked blue and provide a network of easily accessible pistes where learners can build their confidence before attempting some of the more testing terrain higher up the mountain.

Above the mid-station, the concentration of red runs offers an enjoyable couple of days skiing for intermediates, with some wide easy cruisers (4a) and more challenging slopes towards the Penzing area (5a/6a).

There is, however, very little advanced skiing – the run down from the Bauernalm cable car (7a) is the only black piste. Skiers with some experience will quickly cover the slopes St. Johann has to offer and will need to go further afield to find new ground to explore.

Luckily, St. Johann is well placed within the Schneewinkel area which offers 176km of well-prepared pistes, and is also not far from the KitzSki (170km) and SkiWelt (279km) areas, although a car is needed to get to these areas easily.

Within the Schneewinkel area, the two resorts most worth a visit are Fieberbrunn and Steinplatte; both can be reached easily by car or by the ski bus which connects the Schneewinkel villages. The other villages have small ski areas.

Fieberbrunn has 43km of prepared pistes but is best known for the superb off-piste, as showcased by the Swatch Freeride World Tour and Steinplatte is a relatively compact ski area (35km of prepared pistes) with some good intermediate skiing on a dense network of wide blues and reds at the top of the mountain.

Beginner Skiing in St Johann in Tirol

Beginners are well served by St. Johann’s gentle blue slopes lower down the mountain, as well as nursery areas convenient for most areas of the town.

With nearly half its runs suitable for beginners, St. Johann is well-suited to families and others learning to ski. Children and complete novices can learn to ski on one of several nursery slopes near the village.

The main areas for beginners within St. Johann itself are either at the bottom of the Eichenhof lifts or at the bottom of the Hochfeld lifts, both of which have free t-bars to access the nursery slopes. There is also a nursery slope and some short, gentle blue runs served by t-bars at the bottom of the Bauernalm cable car, near Oberndorf.  There are ski schools based near all three areas.

Most of the runs down from the mid-station are relatively easy blue runs, providing a good range of pistes that beginners can progress on to. The blues under the Harschbichl cable car can get rather busy with ski schools, and particularly later in the day, it may be better to stick to the quieter Eichenhof area.

While the Talabfahrt-Oberndorf (6b) is a fun, interesting blue through the trees, it can only be accessed via the Penzingabfahrt red run (6a), and so is limited to those feeling confident enough to tackle slightly steeper slopes.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in St Johann-in-Tirol

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Intermediate Skiing in St Johann

There is some enjoyable intermediate skiing on offer in St Johann, although the immediate ski area is only small meaning skiers typically wish to explore other areas of the Schneewinkel after a day or two in St Johann.

Nearly half of St Johann’s 22 pistes are classified as suitable for intermediates, including a concentration of red runs above the Harschbichl mid-station and long intermediate cruisers beneath the Penzing and Jodlalm chairlifts.

Most of the skiing in St Johann is relatively gentle, with a number of forgiving and wide red runs across the ski area. The Lacknerabfahrt and Eichenhofabfahrt runs are prime examples of this – and the latter is often relatively scarce with skiers deterred by the prospect of a long t-bar back up the mountain.

Skiers searching for steeper terrain should head to the upper Harschbichl and Penzing sections of the ski area. Although none of St Johann’s reds could be deemed difficult, these sections contain some steeper and more testing skiing, most notably in the form of the Penzingabfahrt run accessible from either the Harschbichl or Penzing lifts.

Once you have exhausted the offering in the St Johann ski area, your next stop is likely to be dictated by your choice of lift pass. Skiers with the Schneewinkel pass typically head towards Oberndorf or Waidring Steinplatte where extra intermediate mileage can be found, while those who opt for the slightly more expensive Salzburg Super Ski Card or All Star Card might find it harder to resist the larger ski areas on offer such as the KitzSki or the SkiWelt.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in St Johann

There is a limited offering for advanced and expert skiers in St Johann with only 7km of runs classified as suitable for expert skiers. Fortunately, that does not tell the whole story – nearby Fieberbrunn is home to the Swatch Freeride World Cup and offers a challenging landscape for adventurous skiers.

A glance at the St Johann piste map is all that is needed to realise that this is a resort best suited to beginners and intermediates. The 5km-long Saureggabfahrt run is the only black run in the resort, offering some steep skiing on the run down from Penzing to the Bauernalmbahn base station, while the short Mühlalmabfahrt ski route only briefly interrupts the resort’s more customary wide intermediate pistes.

Experts visiting St Johann therefore need to look beyond the immediate ski area, either guided by the extensive lift pass access within the region or in the direction of Fieberbrunn. For visitors staying longer than 2 days, the Schneewinkel ski pass, Salzburg Super Ski Card and All Star Card all give access to vast amounts of skiing, but it is Fieberbrunn which captures the imagination of most capable & adventurous skiers visiting St Johann.

Part of the Schneewinkel ski area, Fieberbrunn is dominated by ski touring options and is regarded by freeriders as one of the best kept secrets in the region. It boasts some of the best freeriding terrain in the Tirol and it’s location in a snow pocket means it receives 50 per cent more snow than Kitzbühel in an average season.

Boarding & Freestyle in St Johann

St. Johann does not have a huge amount to offer boarders and freestylers, although those new to tricks can try their hand at the ‘Funslope’ with a range of obstacles. However, a visit to nearby Fieberbrunn is a must for freeriders.

There isn’t a huge amount to pique the interest of freestylers in St. Johann itself.  Park facilities are limited to a half pipe near the Eichenhof lifts and a ‘Funslope’ which, while good for beginners or intermediates wanting to give some tricks a try, offers little for more advanced boarders and skiers.

Boarders need to watch out for the long, and often icy, t-bars in the Eichenhof area – while challenging for intermediate and advanced boarders, beginners should really avoid these lifts. Progressing beginner and intermediate boarders will enjoy the wide and interesting pistes in the St. Johann area, although more experienced visitors are likely to have covered all the area has to offer within a couple of days so buying one of the lift passes with access to a broader area makes sense.

While the off-piste opportunities within St. Johann itself are limited, boarders and freeriders should visit Fieberbrunn, part of the Schneewinkel ski area and only around 15 minutes from St. Johann by car.  Locals favour this area when there has been a good dump of snow, and it even hosts the Swatch Freeride World Tour which takes in some of the best freeriding mountains in the world. With a range of levels catered for, from gentle slopes near the pistes, to very challenging terrain only accessible by ski touring, Fieberbrunn is well worth a visit.

St Johann Mountain Restaurants

St Johann has excellent mountain restaurants with high standards, excellent cuisine and an abundance of character all a common feature. The restaurant owners take great pride in their tradition and cuisine, and three of the mountain restaurants offer a special wine-tasting experience.

It is quite telling that St Johann has more mountain restaurants than pistes. Although this might give you a sense of the limitations of the ski area, it is also indicative of the importance of good mountain dining in this Tirolean resort. There are some special mountain restaurants in St Johann, including the oldest in the Kitzbühelerhorn – the Angereralm.

With over 200 years of history, the Angereralm is steeped in Tirolean tradition and has taken on an added sense of character since being taken over by Annemarie Foidl – the president of the Austrian sommelier association – in 1989. This cosy hut now not only offers excellent Tirolean cuisine – and overnight accommodation for those wishing to indulge – but is home to the highest located wine cellar in the Kitzbüheler Alps, with 6,000 wines from 400 vineyards across the world.

With a range of wining & dining packages, most notably including the Weinwirte am Kitzbühelerhorn package which will also see you take in the Stangalm and Penzinghof restaurants as part of a skiing and wine-tasting tour, the Angereralm should feature prominently on the to-do list of anyone visiting St Johann.

There are plenty of other good options to stop for lunch in St Johann, however, and on a sunny day many skiers prefer the sun terraces at the Harschbichl or Baβgeigeralm huts. All of the restaurants have a family-friendly feel – none more so than the Grander Schupf whose slide down to the toilets is a favourite among the kids!

For skiers looking for a livelier place to end the day, the après-ski bar Webern can become lively later in the afternoon before skiers and local guides head down to the Gasthof Schöne Aussicht sun terrace or more likely to Max Pub at the bottom of the piste.


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