Although it's part of the vast SkiWelt lift-linked ski area, Westendorf is one valley away from the main circuit, and it has its own North West facing slopes which it shares with Brixen-im-Thale. And it's a good little local area with something for everyone: convenient nursery slopes for beginners, a few blues for novices to progress onto, plenty of reds for intermediates and one of the steepest black runs in the SkiWelt for experts (piste 112).
But this is just the starter, because you can ski down to Brixen and on the other side lies the main SkiWelt ski area stretching across to Ellmau and more than half a dozen other villages. In total there are over 280kms of runs and 90 lifts in the SkiWelt. And if that sounds exhausting there are also 80 mountain bars and restaurants for a bit of rest and relaxation along the way. The majority of the pistes are short, treelined, gentle blues and red runs that are great for improving novices and intermediates who like easy cruising. There is a limited amount of steeper terrain around Soll and some off-piste and ski touring options for those who want a sterner challenge.
Whilst Westendorf might be a little bit out on a limb as far as the SkWelt is concerned, it's right at the crossroads of Tirolean skiing because Kitzbuhel's KitzSki area is easily accessible too. Just ski down from the Gampenkogel mountain to the bottom of the Ki-West lift then take the ski bus to the Pengelstein lift at Skirast, and you're in the heart of it. For experts this significantly increases the number of testing runs available. There are various lift passes that cover both ski regions, such as the KitzAlps AllStarCard and the Super Ski pass, or you can buy day passes.
And yet despite all this skiing virtually on its doorstep, Westendorf is an unassuming, inexpensive, traditional village. Most of the acommodation is in affordable guest houses and pensions, although there are a few 3-star and 4-star hotels, and a good choice of self-catering apartments. There is some boisterous apres-ski and a few late closing bars and clubs, but it's more of a family-oriented resort than a party-oriented one. The local ski schools are excellent.
Westendorf's weakness is its height. All the SkiWelt and KitzSki skiing is below 2000m. Both areas have invested heavily in artificial snow making, and now over 90% of the SkiWelt's pistes are reinforced this way. The snow canons still require cold night time temperatures though, so in a warm Spring both ski areas can contract to narrow, slushy ribbons of snow on otherwise green and brown mountains.
Ski & Board Hire in Westendorf
There are plenty of ski rental shops fot a small village, but prices will be high if you just walk into them the nearest one. ALPINRESORTS.com works with several shops in Westendorf and across the SkiWelt and offers discounts of up to 35% if you book online in advance here.
SKISET also has outlets and it too gives discounts if you book online here.
Westendorf Pros & Cons
+ Part of the huge SkiWelt ski area
+ Access to Kitzbuhel's tougher skiing
+ Good easy cruising red and blue runs
+ Efficient and effective snow canons
+ Good value
- Not snowsure in warm weather
- We prefer natural snow