Skiing in Stubaital

Stubai Valley is a snow-sure destination that appeals to the skier’s skier and the boarder’s boarder. As well as the Stubai Glacier itself, the mellow, more family-oriented ski area of Schlick 2000 at Fulpmes, 15 minutes from Neustift, boasts stunning alpine scenery, a good sun record and a lovely mountain hut next to practically every run.

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Stubai Ski Area Overview

The Stubai Glacier

Stubai’s impressive glacier stands like a giant meringue at the head of its long, wide eponymous valley. About an hour from Innsbruck, along the route you’ll also find a few bijou family-oriented ski areas, including Hoch Serles at Mieders, the 11er (Elfer) lifts at Neustift and Schlick 2000 above Fulpmes . Though most head for the more extensive terrain of the glacier, these areas are included on the Super Ski Pass, adding variety to a ski week and especially useful on white-out days when the relatively featureless glacier makes visibility a blind joke. Apart from the small, continual clusters of hotels and B&Bs that dot the road’s edge – sleeping communities for those serious about early skiing and early nights — the primary village to stay in is Neustift, a quiet family oriented spot 20km from the valley station lifts to the Stubaier Gletscher skiing.

From Neustift, mostly Germans, Austrians, eastern Europeans and now more  Brits either drive to the huge free parking lot at the valley station gondola base for the Stubai Glacier each morning, or hop aboard the free valley shuttle bus. The better hotels also lay on their own shuttles for guests. Two side-by-side gondolas depart from the Mutterberg base station, one branching off at the middle station Fernau in two further stages to reach the top and both offering two further alternatives to ascend by different routes to the ‘Top of Tirol’ just below Schaufelspitze at 3210m..

At the end of a day peeling around a great choice of 110km of red, blue and black trails, you can conveniently ‘drop rather than drag’ your equipment at two Intersport shops on the mountain at Eisgrat (2900m) and Gamsgarten (2620m). There is also a very impressive mountain facility at Gamsgarten, which serves as the focus for children’s skiing here as well as the remarkable 2 km. cross-country track there.  This is a really practical arrangement for family skiing and takes a lot of the strain out of a parent’s lot in looking after kids’ early skiing experiences. More ambitious skiers will want to keep their skis on though, to drop nearly another kilometre in height down the wonderful Wilde Grub’n ski route back to the valley station, although this can get busy at close of play. 

Stubai Glacier ski area is snow-sure and will appeal to skier’s and boarder’s keen on putting miles under their feet during the day, not shopping or dancing them off at night. Also its combination of Kindergarten, blues, reds, blacks and off-piste genuinely offers something for everyone. Comparing Neustift to the partytown of Sölden, whose lifts are visible across the abyss from the 3,000 metre-plus peak at Schaufelspitze, “we sleep a little bit longer,” says a local instructor.

Schlick 2000

Some 15 minutes up valley from Neustift, away from the glacier, is the charming Tirolean village of Fulpmes and its ski area, Schlick 2000. This mellow, more family-oriented ski area boasts surprisingly stunning high alpine scenery, is wind-protected by limestone peaks, and has a good sun record too. While there are just 18 km of pistes, there is practically a lovely mountain hut on the edge of each of them, most with charming terraces doing a mean trade in ‘vodka feigen’ (vodka and fig drinks).

Get dragged along a pretty forest trail by snow cat and water-ski ropes to the Galthut restaurant, on the half hour between 11.30-1pm. The Sennjochhutte at the mountain top has comfy bar stools from which to watch the world ski by. If you want to drop of the kiddies first, Big Ron’s Kinderland at the top of Kreuzjochbahn1 is an adventure playground with all-day care for 3-13 year olds.

There’s a nice bit of off-piste to be had if you time it right, like the far right traverse off the top T-bar, and a couple of ski routes snaking off the blue runs. All the lovely trees and views in Schlick make a nice contrast to the open white-white-white of the Stubai glacier and the Super Ski Pass works here.

Beginner Skiing in Stubaital

The Stubai Valley is a great place for beginners to learn to ski or snowboard. Stubaital strives to please families and beginners with superb child-friendly skiing presented through its BIG Family programme.

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The BIG Family Stubai offering is a concept built around mascots B.BIG at Stubai Glacier, BIG Ron at Schllick 2000 as well as Mini B. It is specifically given material form through the BIG Family ski camp at Gamsgarten on the Stubai Glacier and BIG Ron’s Kinderland at Schlick 2000. Both these facilities are up the mountain (ie. a ride by gondola or cable to arrive from the base station) and that is a plus in not only creating a proper mountain feel for kids but also in gaining better snow through the season. Both these facilities are outstanding.

At the Stubai glacier, children have a wonderful choice of four magic carpets, wave runs, and arches. There is also BIG Family boardercross and once-a-week pistenbully rides. Recently added is the popular BIG Family Funslope, a 1km long piste with small obstacles, steep curves and jumps. Children can eat in the BIG Family children’s restaurant designed for kids. And kids can play during or after skiing in the play area, which has a climbing tower.

Over at Schlick 2000, BIG Ron welcomes kids and, just a few yards away from Kinderland itself, is the BIG Family crèche where babies from the age of 4 months can be looked after. Children from three years old, who do not ski, can also be looked after in the kindergartens in Schlick 2000 and on the Stubai Glacier.

Both on the Glacier and at Schlick 2000, as beginners and children progress, there are good blue runs accessible by excellent lifts, taking them above the BIG Family camps. And these are great Tyrolean high mountain surroundings to start to develop your skiing experience in. The Glacier has a good selection of well served blue runs right across its range from the tops of Schaufelnieder on the left (as you look at the piste map) to Schaufelspitze itself in the centre of the range and Wildspitz taking you off to the right down Piste 7 back to the camp at Gamsgarten. Beginners on the Glacier will want to take the lifts down at the end of the day, either from Gamsgarten itself or from Mittelstation Fernau, as the only marked descent to the base station is the technically challenging ski route Wilde Grub’n from Gamsgarten.

At Schlick 2000 beginners can similarly enjoy some very scenic blue descents from Kreuzjoch at 2136m and from the top of Sennjoch at 2240m all the way down to the valley station at 1000m, below a beautiful row of five peaks to the front and on your left as you ski down, the highest of which is the Schlicker Seespitze at 2804m. What a great experience for someone learning to ski and this in some seriously beautiful Tyrolean scenery, that even has a resonance of the Dolomites to its look and feel.

Families and beginners can have a great day out as well on a limited number of straightforward runs at either Elfer in Neustift itself or Serles in Mieders, lower down the valley.  

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Stubaital

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Intermediate Skiing in Stubaital

The Stubaital is a red and blue run heaven, perfect for intermediate cruising or learning to snowboard. As well as all the blue runs mentioned in our Stubai ‘Beginners’ section which are also great fun and good for intermediates to build confidence on, the Stubai Glacier and Schlick 2000 offer some great intermediate skiing.

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Up on the Stubai Glacier wide smooth runs like those off the Eisjoch draglift below Schaufelspitze and the Fernau chair below Schaufelnieder are perfectly groomed and represent great carving terrain. More challenging pitches are found on the edges of the ski boundary: number 11 off the Fernau chair either splits back to the foot of the chair to join Ski Route 19 or you can join the Ski Route 13 higher up, both leading down to the middle station at 2300m; and on the opposite side red run 9 from Wildspitz and then, from lower, red run 17 both down to Gamsgarten at 2620m put you in the neighbourhood of joining the 10km Ski Route 14 (Wilde Grub’n) all the way to valley floor at Mutterberg.

Or for some variation from Wildspitz start on blue 7 and splinter of one of two Ski Route options 15 or 18, again finishing at Gamsgarten and then ascend through middle of this range on the Eisjoch chair to Eisgrat at 2900m, giving further two red options – Piste 2 down to the middle station at Fernau or 1b back to Gamsgarten. High up on the right the Daunscharte t-bar gives you Piste 20, a shorter red joining 9 towards its end. The point is all of this easily accessible skiing opens up and connects very efficiently to provide some really excellent intermediate skiing. Coupled with numerous opportunities to test yourself in deeper snow on the edges of the pistes, in better snow conditions, means Stubai Glacier offers a significant all mountain experience but as always tread warily and preferably with a guide if you leave the safety of the pistes.

Intermediates will definitely want to spend a day over at Schlick 2000 where the combination of stunningly beautiful scenery and great long descents from the high up at the Sennjoch hut via a choice of some good reds 2, 3 and 4, which themselves divide with options as you come down make for a fun experience. Worthy of note as well for more adventurous intermediates is Ski Route 1 down through the middle from Kreuzjoch to the bottom of the Sennjoch chair. And supported by the super Zirmach chair higher on the right means you can get back up high quickly to try the different options.

And back in Neustift at the charming Elfer area you can drop 1000m through runs 1, 2 and 3, all red and through the trees, to the valley below. Good for whiter days perhaps when you want to get out for a bit and the Glacier is invisible. And likewise over at Serles there is some relatively easy intermediate skiing through the trees. Very useful indeed in mid season for these conditions.

Advanced & Expert Skiing in Stubaital

The Stubai Glacier has seven marked ski routes for experts including the 10km Wilde Grub’n all the way down to the valley station at 1750m and loads of opportunities for freeriding. On piste, the opportunities for experts are more limited; just a few black runs on the glacier and a couple or more so over at Schlick.

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Glaciers being glaciers – fairly flat as snow features go – there are just a few black runs, and pretty light black ones too. Piste 7 is a short steep pitch off Widspitz; to its skier’s left is an ungroomed bump run. A longer run weaves off the four-man Rotadl chair.

Looking at the piste map for Stubai Glacier to the right will indicate the Daunjoch chair ascending to below the Daunkopf at 3225m which gives you Piste 22 a relatively narrow and steep descent back to Gamsgarten, which can usefully be connected to Ski Route 14 – Wilde Grub’n (see below here). Perhaps more interestingly, there are four marked ‘proline’ ski routes to explore, none of them groomed or patrolled according to signs.

The ski route Wilde Grub’n is a twisting and varied off-piste route that winds through a dramatic open bowl and finishes down at the base station, covering a vertical drop of over 1 kilometre with snowmaking the entire way. If you connect this to for an easy start from blue 7 from Wildspitz at 3000m you have a great and varied descent over 10km to the valley station. More challengingly, strong skiers can head down under the Gamsgarten gondola to get first tracks in the morning avoiding Wilde Grub’n crowds at the day’s end – as the ski instructors do.

Over at Schlick 2000, a couple of shorter black runs accessible from the Zirmach chair probably don’t make Schlick ideal for advanced skiers, but together with the long Ski Route 1 from the Kreuzjoch, they do spice up a good fun day’s skiing in this most beautiful area.

Off-Piste Skiing & Freeriding in Stubaital

Stubaital offers excellent opportunities for high snowsure skiing off-piste mainly at the Stubai Glacier where the Powder Department has designated 15 runs, the conditions on which are regularly updated and safety information provided.

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Freeriding in Stubaital

Stubai have taken their off-piste skiing to a new level with the 15 designated off-piste runs on the Glacier from their Powder Department. Essentially these are all lift-accessed (some with a little climbing) and they can all be seen in video form online and through GPS downloadable and trackable form.

With names like Hard Rock, the Wall, Cannonball and North Face, the level of information provided in Stubaital has put off-piste skiing more transparently (and more safely) on the agenda. But it is important to remember that freeriding is only for advanced and expert skiers and that’s is just the start of it – preparation and safety are essential however good you may be: Stubai should be applauded for making it much easier for skiers to obtain the correct and up to date information.

The Stubai Glacier website contains all the relevant details so freeriders and powder hounds are recommended to read up and prepare for their trips here as well as the ‘outdoor activities’ app, available to download to your mobile. Visit the Freeride Checkpoint at Gamsgarten where the latest mountain and avalanche information is displayed in digital info panels. Transceivers can also be checked there.

There are more opportunities for skiing with guides as well. For example, it is possible with a bit of ski-touring to ski off-piste to Solden in the Otztal. See our page on Stubaital Ski Schools & Mountain Guides or contact Stubai Tourism for more information.

Off-piste group classes can be booked at the Freeridecenter in Neustift at three different levels: Rookie, Advanced and Pro. They meet at Zum Steinbock bar and café at Eisgrat high up on Stubai Glacier and, subject to conditions, ski between 9 am and 4 pm only stopping for a short lunch.

Ski Touring in Stubaital

Stubaital is also popular for ski touring. Most ski tours, with 30-45 minutes of up-work, end up back in the resort or at a hut with taxi back.

For extremists, the couloirs to the right of the Gamsgarten gondola are only a few metres wide and make even the resident mountain goats nervous. From the top of the Schaufelspitze, 3333m, which takes about 45 minutes to reach on foot, there’s a steep 45 degree couloir.

Easier, less threatening and more accessible powder runs can be found off the double chair Wildspitz and the four-man chair Rotadl. There are lovely touring runs off the top of Daunkopf, accessed from the top of the ski route Wilde Grub’n. 

Photo: TVB Stubai | Stubaier Gletscher | Andre Schoenherr

Boarding & Freestyle in Stubaital

The Stubaital Glacier’s fabulous Stubai Zoo snowpark is a must for keen boarders and freestyler skiers and there’s also plenty more opportunities for snowboarding off-piste, particularly the Powder Department’s 15 designated freeride runs.

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Stubai Zoo is one of the highest and largest parks in the Alps and it is serviced by its own lifts. It is open from October until late April or early May. Hardly surprising therefore that it is popular with the international freestyle and boarding scene.

Stubai Zoo offers much to slopestyle riders with four levels of snowpark experience from pro-line down to easy-line on bumps and jumps, which are shaped daily. This is a really excellent facility accessed from the Top of Tyrol, Schaufelspitze all above 3000m.

Lower down the valley, the family-friendly Schlick 2000 ski area above Fulpmes includes the Stubaipark Schlick 2000 offering numerous kickers and rails.

Photo: TVB Stubai | Stubaier Gletscher | Andre Schoenherr

Stubaital Mountain Restaurants

The Stubai ski area offers an excellent choice of mountain eating and drinking from haute-cuisine to good quality self-service and coffee and snack bars. The star turn is the Schaufelspitz restaurant at Eisgrat on the Stubai Glacier.

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Stubai Glacier Mountain Restaurants

This is the Tirol and standards are, as you would expect, high at almost every level. Add to that traditional and modern Tirolean charm and you have here in Stubaital a really good offering of mountain huts.

At Stubai Glacier for Alpine character a must-visit is the Dresdnerhutte, a lovely old mountain hut by the Fernau middle station that serves decadent hot chocolate with rum, apple strudel, as well as real Tyrolean food. This also has some accommodation- there are bunk rooms, hot showers, an internet computer and atmospheric taxidermy snagged from the surrounding mountains. The cozy wooden out-hut serves snacks and drinks, and is a perfect suntrap.

For modern table service or out on the sun terrace, Zur Goldenen Gams restaurant in Gamsgarten mid-station is an attractive, large post and beam restaurant — handy for ski school meeting and the Intersport Gamsgarten, where you can drop your skis and boots at the end of the day. Also good childrens dining facilities in the Gamsgarten’s self-service restaurant.

Eat and drink at Jochdole on Top of the Tyrol, the highest mountain restaurant around. It’s a chic and modern counter service restaurant that juts out of the glacier over a precipice. From one gondola to another, up here at 3,150 metres they claim you can see “almost to Venice”, so hands up if you spot St Mark’s!

Top marks though goes to the Schaufelspitz restaurant set at 2900m at Eisgrat. This is evolved Austrian cuisine of a very high order (Gault-Millau have awarded a Toque) accommodated in a slick modern interpretation of wood glass and steel. Very stylish indeed and as good as anywhere else in the Alps at this end of the spectrum .

Nextdoor the equally stylish Zum Steinbock café serves up coffees, pastries and schnapps. As pleasant a pit-stop as you can get in the high Alps. The Kaiserschmarren here is to die for. Also here is the Eisgrat self-service restaurant, which is as nice as self-service gets in the Tirol.

The Bodelehutte above Fernau on the way up to Schaufelnieder is another good pit-stop venue for a snack and a drink. The Schneekristall Bar on the Gamsgarten terrace upstairs is a popular après ski hangout. Outdoors and surrounded by a glass rondel, on a sunny afternoon this is a great spot.

For an apres drink, an absolute gem on the road back below Stubai Glacier is the Tschangelairalm  – an old wooden pasture Alm that has not been brought into the 21st century yet. Stop for a drink or a simple meal and you are transported back in time to the rural origins of these beautiful hills.

Schick2000 Mountain Restaurants

And over at Schlick 2000 as well there is a good choice of mountain huts and self-service restaurants. Of particular note the Sennjoch hut is as nice place to chill outside on a sunny day or snug inside on a more wintery one.

The Panorama restaurant at Kreuzjoch is a large self-service facility which serves big hearty tirolean mountain fare and, as its name suggests, commands fabulous views from its perch above 2100m. Lower down above the middle station and adjacent to Big Ron’s Kinderland, the Bruggeralm serves rustic local fare with charm and ambiance.

Photo: TVB Stubai | Stubaier Gletscher | Andre Schoenherr


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