Westendorf Ski Resort

Westendorf is a traditional inexpensive Tirolean village which is part of the huge SkiWelt lift-linked ski area. Kitzbuhel's KitzSki area is also easily accessible, so Westendorf-based skiers are spolit for choice, if snow conditions are good, and thanks to artificial snow-making, they often are.

Westendorf is part of the vast SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental lift-linked ski area, but it’s one valley away from the main area, and it has its own quieter sector which it shares with Brixen-im-Thale. And it’s a good little local area with something for everyone: convenient nursery slopes and high-quality ski schools 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.

But this is just the starter, because if you ski down to Brixen, or take take the ski-bus there, on the other side is the main SkiWelt ski area stretching across to Ellmau and Soll. In total there are over 270kms of runs and 80 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 or red runs that are only slightly steeper, which is a great mix for improving novices and intermediates who like easy cruising. For experts who want to be tested there is some steep terrain around Soll, and some off-piste and ski-touring options, but not a lot.

Fortunately for keen skiers, the SkiWelt is not the only major ski area that holidaymakers in Westendorf have easy access to. At the far end of Westendorf’s SkiWelt sector, a ski bus shuttles between its Ki-West lift and the Pengelstein lift at Skirast, which is part of the KitzSki area shared by Kitzbuhel and Kirchberg, and there are also frequent trains between both resorts and Westendorf. Lift passes are available that cover both KitzSki and SkiWelt, or you can buy one-day supplements, and the two areas combined offer almost unlimited skiing for intermediates and above, with KitzSki having significantly more tough runs for experienced skiers.

And yet despite all this skiing, Westendorf is an unassuming, inexpensive, traditional village. Most of the accommodation 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 apres-ski entertainment in the mountain huts above the resort and a few late closing bars and clubs, but it’s more of a family-oriented resort than a party-oriented one.

Westendorf’s weakness is its height. All the SkiWelt and KitzSki skiing is below 2000m. Both areas have invested heavily in artificial snow making, but the snow-cannons still require cold night time temperatures, and in a warm Spring snow conditions deteriorate and both ski areas noticeably shrink.

Ski Equipment Rental 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 >

SKISET also has outlets and it too gives discounts if you book online >

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 cannons
+ Good value

– Not snowsure in warm weather
– We prefer natural snow

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Westendorf Ski Area

Westendorf sits in a prime location with direct access to the huge SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental area of 279km groomed pistes, as well as being linked to a further 170km of runs in the nearby Kitzbuhel KitzSki area. It is an ideal base for intermediates keen to cover a lot of ground, and has something to offer mixed groups with beginners.
Westendorf is part of the large SkiWelt area – one of the largest in Austria - and is a good location for beginners to strong intermediates, with 252km of blue and red runs. Although it sits slightly apart from the main SkiWelt area the Westendorf circuit offers some interesting runs and it is within easy reach of the neighbouring KitzSki area via Kirchberg, covered by the Kitzbuheler Alpen AllStarCard, as well as being directly linked to the wider SkiWelt via Brixen. Its location also means it tends to be quieter than the main ski area. 
While beginners and intermediates are well catered for, advanced skiers are limited to only 16km of black runs in the whole SkiWelt area (6% of the pistes). There are some opportunities for off-piste skiing and the nearby KitzSki area offers the chance to try out the Streif run, made famous by the annual ski race held in Kitzbuhel, but this is not the place for experts to stretch themselves.
Although the area is not particularly high, with the highest peak at 1957m, the SkiWelt gets its fair share of natural snow and over 1,400 snow cannons provide excellent snow-making capacity across more than 80% of the prepared pistes. 
The SkiWelt has been well-developed and as well as the top-notch snow-making, piste-grooming and lift system, the area has invested in a whole range of attention-grabbing activities such as extensive night skiing (particularly in Soll), three snowparks, a number of timed speed runs and numerous race tracks, and even a ski movie run. With this on top of the enormous skiing area, there is plenty to keep visitors busy.
There are three main sections to explore in the SkiWelt area, although the sheer number of pistes means that it’s a challenge to ski all of them in a week. 

Westendorf Circuit

While the Westendorf/Brixen section of the SkiWelt is set off to one side, it has some of the most interesting pistes and is considered by some to have more impressive scenery than the main area. It also boasts the Gampenkogel, the highest peak of the SkiWelt at 1957m. With good facilities for novices and children in the centre of the village, it also has some nice cruisy blue runs for beginners and intermediates to hone their technique on – the KiWest blue run (120) down towards Kirchberg is a favourite with locals. Most of the runs in this area snake through the forested slopes, providing fun terrain for intermediates – notably red run 11 down to Brixen which has some very steep sections making it more of a challenge than most. While the short black run 112 is the steepest in the whole SkiWelt, there is little else to test advanced skiers. 

Salven Circuit

The area between Brixen, Soll, Itter and Hopfgarten is based around the 1829m Hohe Salve peak and is primarily stronger intermediate territory. Towards the peak of the Hohe Salve is a network of wide, open red runs, leading down to a number of tree-lined valley runs which take skiers to the four villages in the ‘Salven Circuit’. 
Kaiser Circuit
The Kaiser Circuit, with dramatic views of the Wilder Kaiser mountains to the north, takes in Brixen, Scheffau, Ellmau and Going. It takes visitors from Westendorf to the furthest edge of the SkiWelt, although is still easily accessible via the cable car in Brixen, and the speedy lift system throughout the area. A mix of cruisy blues and reds, it provides further mileage for progressing beginners and intermediates who have exhausted the Westendorf circuit.

Westendorf Ski Lifts & Lift Passes

Westendorf has an excellent lift system which offers access to the whole of the SkiWelt ski area. The result is a well-connected ski area which is served by a modern and efficient lift system, helping to keep skiers spread across the mountain and hopefully avoiding too many lift queues.

Westendorf Ski Lifts

There are 91 cable cars and ski lifts across the SkiWelt ski area, including the convenient Hochbrixen gondola which connects Westendorf to the main SkiWelt area. From Westendorf, skiers will typically start the day by taking the Alpenrosenbahn up to Talkaser and, after a few runs in the Westendorf section of the ski area, head down to Brixen to take the Hochbrixen gondola into the central part of the SkiWelt ski area. Skiers wishing to head straight to the heart of the SkiWelt can also make the short journey from Westendorf to Brixen by bus or car to make the Hochbrixen gondola their starting point for the day.
Wherever you are in the ski area, the ski lifts are modern and efficient, making it possible to see all corners of the ski area on a focussed day of skiing. The ski lifts cater for visitors of all ages and ability, with a mix of gondolas, cable cars, chairlifts and drag lifts. Beginners are particularly well served by the facilities at the top of the Hochbrixen gondola, where there are a number of gentle surface lifts.
Some of the ski lifts in the area are kept open late for night skiing during peak season, meaning there is plenty of activity on the mountain late into the evening, particularly around Soll and Going.
Westendorf Lift Passes
Visitors to Westendorf have two main options when purchasing their lift pass – the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental pass which provides access to the whole of the SkiWelt (279km), or the even more generous Kitzbuheler Alpen All Star Card, which gives access to ten different ski areas and more than 1,000km of pistes.
The SkiWelt pass was priced at €219 for a 6-day adult peak season pass in the 2013/14 season, or €109.50 for children. Day passes and weekend passes are also available, priced at €44 and €110 respectively for adults in peak season.
There is no doubt there’s plenty to keep you entertained across the SkiWelt ski area, but for adventurous skiers staying for a week, the All Star Card is likely to prove the better option, costing slightly more at €241 for 6 days, but the extra €22 is certainly worth it when you consider it provides access to an additional 700+km of pistes.

Westendorf Beginner Skiing

Westendorf is a safe bet for beginners, with convenient nursery slopes and good facilities for young children. It also has some interesting tree-lined blue runs for progressing beginners, which are also near at hand, although these might be exhausted quickly by fast learners.

Beginner Skiing in Westenddorf

Westendorf has good facilities for those completely new to skiing, with a large area of gentle nursery slopes very close to the centre of the village and most of the ski schools have specially designed areas for young children. The nursery slopes are served by a series of magic carpets, as well as a t-bar and a small chairlift. It is worth being aware that at 800m this area can suffer from a lack of snow at certain times of the year, although snow-making facilities generally mean that this is less of an issue than it might be.

Beginners can make a gradual transition to easy blue runs, trying out the runs served by the t-bar (115) at the top of the Alpenrosenbahn cable car. Once this has been mastered there are a handful of fun blue runs winding through the trees down to Westendorf village that provide further interest, although these are not extensive. 
Access to beginner level terrain in the main SkiWelt area is more complicated – either involving a bus or cable car down to Brixen and taking the Hochbrixen cable car up the other side of the valley. At the top, however, beginners are rewarded with another large beginners area and a few wide blue runs to try out. The runs down to Brixen are more challenging so beginners should get the cable car down, even if more confident, as the red run (1b) can get choppy and busy in the afternoons.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Westendorf

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Westendorf Intermediate Skiing

As part of the extensive SkiWelt ski area, Westendorf offers an excellent range of intermediate skiing, accessed via a well-connected lift system. For those who want to explore further afield Westendorf is also linked to the nearby KitzSki area which also has some interesting intermediate skiing.

With 128km of red runs in the SkiWelt area, intermediates will enjoy clocking up the miles on the many tree-lined runs. The immediate Westendorf/Brixen area offers a good variety of pistes for intermediates, with some fun easy blue runs (113, 111) as well as some more challenging red runs – some of the steeper slopes in the SkiWelt area – a particular favourite is the long run down to Brixen (11). A slightly less testing option but still great fun is the blue run (120) which winds down towards Kirchberg and the connection to the KitzSki area.

However, the immediate area is not extensive and most intermediates will want to explore the rest of the SkiWelt area after a day or so.  The section surrounding the Hohe Salve peak has a large network of steeper red runs to challenge stronger intermediates, and a number of interesting long valley runs down to Hofgarten, Itter and Soll – the red run down to Itter is nice tree run (30).   Moving further across the SkiWelt the ‘Kaiser circuit’ taking in the villages of Scheffau, Ellmau, and Going offers a mix of easy cruising blues and reds between Ellmau and Going, and more testing terrain above Scheffau. The long run down to Scheffau is a fun, interesting piste (60) with superb views across to the Wilder Kaiser mountains.

Intermediates who manage to exhaust the SkiWelt area can connect to the KitzSki area by skiing the blue Ki-West run (20) and catching a ski bus to Kirchberg, which has access to a further 170km of groomed pistes.  

Westendorf Advanced Skiing

Westendorf and the SkiWelt offer more limited range of truly challenging pistes, although the sheer vastness of the area can in itself be a challenge.
They say that it isn’t size that matters, and for expert skiers that may be true for the SkiWelt. If covering a lot of ground is the aim then SkiWelt is the primary destination in Austria and it certainly measures up, but for advanced skiers who want more of a challenge it is somewhat harder to find given the huge ski area. Only 16km (6%) of the groomed pistes are marked as black runs, with the steeper terrain being focused around the Hohe Salve peak, and one or two of the pistes in Westendorf itself – black run 112 is the steepest in the area.

The best off-piste opportunities are also centred around Hohe Salve and Westendorf, although this is best explored with a guide, and some of the ski schools offer ski touring in the neighbouring peaks. 

Experts keen to show off freestyle skills should head to the large Boarders Playground in Westendorf, which caters for a range of abilities. 

Westendorf Boarding & Freestyle

Westendorf is the home of snowboarding in the SkiWelt, and its Boarders Playground Snowpark attracts freestylers from across Austria, in particular for the ‘Shred Down Austrian Masters’ boarding competition.
The main attraction for boarders and freestylers in Westendorf is the sizeable Boarders Playground Snowpark, under the Gampenkogel chairlift, with riders coming from across Austria to test themselves on the range of obstacles. With three different lines depending on ability – easy, medium, and hard – the park is not just for pros. The easy line has a couple of small jumps and boxes, the medium line a 6-7m kicker and a range of other rails and boxes, but the major pull for experts is the ‘Big Mama’ in the pro line. The park hosts the Shred Down Austrian Masters every year, where Austrian riders battle it out in the halfpipe and slopestyle events. The competition also brings with it numerous parties, hosting various famous bands and DJs. 

For boarders yet to develop freestyle skills, the SkiWelt area offers a good range of intermediate runs and Westendorf itself offers relatively good facilities for beginners, although the section at the top of the SkiWeltbahn cable car and the Choralmbahn is very flat and can involve lots of walking, particularly for less experienced riders. 
There are some off-piste opportunities  – probably some of the best in the SkiWelt area, albeit not extensive – including some long and relatively steep lines down through the trees, and the nearby Brechorn peak offers some interesting ski touring circuits.

Westendorf Mountain Restaurants

Mountain restaurants in Westendorf are certainly not lacking, with 18 in the immediate part of the ski area and 94 mountain restaurants and bars across the whole of the SkiWelt.
The result is choice and convenience, with a selection of lodges to choose from for either a meal or a pit stop wherever you are in the ski area. The majority of the lodges have an authentic Tirolean feel, with a focus on local dishes and specialities, either in a cosy wooden hut or in the open air of one of the many sun terraces on offer.
Within the Westendorf section of the SkiWelt, the Sonnalm is a favourite among many of the locals. Situated by the Alpenrosenbahn mid-station, the restaurant is run by the Gossner family and has a friendly family atmosphere, offering traditional Tirolean food and good value. It can become busy during the holiday season due to its convenient location, but if you can get a table it is a good bet for an enjoyable lunchtime stop.

There is an abundance of choice across the SkiWelt and your choice will depend on where in the ski area you are. The Tanzbodenalm at the top of the Brandstadl ski lift has a great sun terrace and good local food, making it a good option on sunny days. There are also a number of cosy huts dotted around the ski area, including a charming hut by the Hexen6er run.
Although not strictly a mountain restaurant, the Iglu Bar at the top of the Hochbrixen gondola is well worth a visit for an unusual mountain experience. The bar, made entirely from ice, can become lively towards the end of the day and is a novel experience if nothing else!

Westendorf Village

Westendorf is a traditional Tirolean village situated 9 miles west of Kitzbuhel in the Brixental valley. Once a traditional farming village, Westendorf has not been taken over by modern developments and has retained its authentic Tirolean character.

The village is relatively small, meaning the resort’s amenities are all conveniently located within short walking distance. The ski lifts are a short walk from the village centre, and with a population of under 4,000, there is not the same hustle and bustle in some of the larger nearby resorts. The village is set on a sunny plateau, and at 783 metres is relatively low lying, meaning it can become mild in the later months of the ski season.

The numerous hotels are a prominent feature of the village, and make up a significant portion of the evening activity as guests typically eat in their hotel restaurant. There are, however, also a number of shops and bars, including the Village Pub and the lively Karat for visitors wishing to explore Westendorf’s night life later into the evening.

There is a relatively limited offering in terms of shops in Westendorf, but the close proximity to Kitzbuhel means visitors don’t have to go far if they feel they have seen all there is to be seen in Westendorf.

Westendorf Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants

Westendorf has a number of hotel restaurants, generally offering traditional Tyrolean dishes, although this is more or less the extent of the cuisine on offer. Apres ski can be lively although it is not extensive and comes Dutch-flavoured!
Westendorf is a fairly small place and the number and range of restaurants and bars reflects this fact. While there are around 20 restaurants most of these are hotel restaurants serving traditional Austrian cuisine, and this is where most visitors tend to dine. A handful of cafes and snack bars provide some nice places to stop for a coffee and cake, but otherwise there is little variety on offer. In terms of nightlife Westendorf is again more limited, and geared more towards families, although being popular with Dutch visitors there are a few bars which can get surprisingly lively and a number have live music and DJs on most nights. 

Westendorf Après Ski Bars

Karat (+43 676 422 8222) can get surprisingly lively early on in the evening, probably due to its happy hour 4-5pm. With a number of lounge/bar areas and DJs on most nights this is a popular après ski bar for Dutch visitors.
Kibo bar (+43 664 8901134) is a cosy bar/pub located on the main street through Westendorf, serving drinks until 03:00. 

Gerry’s Inn (+43 5334 6334) is a popular bar and restaurant located right on the nursery slopes near the Schneeberg chairlift. During the day it serves a range of international and Dutch cuisine including burgers and schnitzel, as well as breakfast. It really heats up at the end of the day when many skiers descend for the lively après ski, accompanied by live music and DJs every day. A favourite with Dutch visitors, it also has a large terrace which is packed on a sunny day.
Moskito Bar (+43 5334 6269) is known throughout the SkiWelt area for its energetic après ski and features Dutch-leaning live music and DJs every night, until 03:00.
The Village Pub, in the centre of Westendorf on the main street, prides itself in serving Guiness and often shows sport on TV. 
Wunder Bar is the discotheque in Westendorf where visitors and locals come to party. During the winter it offers live music from predominantly Dutch artists earlier on in the evening, and later on DJs get the dancing going. 

Westendorf Restaurants

Cafe Konditorei Elisabeth (+43 5334 8940), part of guest house Elisabeth in the centre of Westendorf, serves an excellent range of cakes as well as drinks and snacks. It has a small outdoor terrace which is a very pleasant people watching spot when the sun is shining. 

Dorfcafe (+43 676 4030640) is a cosy cafe offering snacks and drinks as well as breakfast. A nice place to stop to warm up and have a coffee. 

FeinSinn (+43 5334 30111) has a large and varied international menu, and while the decor is somewhat clinical the food is surprisingly good, with a home-cooked slant to dishes from ribs and burritos, to pizza and meat.   

Mund.art (+43 5334 20018) is a small pizzeria/ cafe bar serving a range of snacks until 02:00.  

Hotel Mesnerwirt’s (+43 5334 6206) restaurant offers a mix of traditional Austrian cuisine and more international dishes in the centre of the village. 

Westendorf Other Activities

There are some activities for non-skiers in and around Westendorf – the Alpeniglu igloo village in nearby Brixen is a highlight – although these are largely based around getting out and about in the surrounding landscape in one way or the other. There is little in the way of culture or shopping in the village itself, although nearby Kitzbuhel is worth a visit.

Cross-country skiing in Westendorf

There are a few cross-country pistes in and around Westendorf, although they are mostly gentle terrain suitable for beginners. For those new to cross-country skiing a two-part taster course is on offer through the tourist offer, which teaches the basics of cross-country skiing over two sessions – you’ll have to hire equipment beforehand.

Hiking in Westendorf

For those keen to explore the mountains on foot there are a good range of guided hikes on offer in and around Westendorf, which take in wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. With hikes offered for a range of abilities this is an activity the whole family can enjoy, particularly the torch-lit hike, which at 45 minutes long, is suitable for children and is a very atmospheric way to see the village and surroundings. Hikes can be booked at the tourist office (details below).

Horse drawn sleigh rides in Westendorf

A unique way to see the village, traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides through Westendorf are a magical experience. Tours can be booked at the tourist office and include traditional Tyrolean ‘Grostl’ for dinner at a cosy mountain hut. Horse-drawn sleigh rides can also be combined with a more energetic snowshoe hike – hiking for around an hour and a half and riding back to the village in the sleigh.  

Igloo Village in Westendorf

The Alpeniglu igloo village, located near the top of the Hochbrixen lift, is well worth a visit, either to have a tour of the village and the skilfully crafted interiors or, perhaps more impressive, in the evening when a programme is on offer including dinner inside the main igloo and drinks in the ice bar. The really adventurous can even stay the night in one of the igloos – in specially crafted ice beds covered in reindeer skins and top of the range sleeping bags. Alpeniglu can be reached via the ski lift system during the day from Westendorf, or from Brixen in the evening. For more details contact:
Bockern 87
6365 Kirchberg
Tel: +49  711  34 16 90 – 90 (Booking office Germany)
Web: www.alpeniglu.com

Local tours in Westendorf

Culinary-minded visitors will want to take advantage of the tours of the village, which include sampling locally produced hay milk cheese and the ubiquitous local schnapps. Tours can be arranged through the tourist office in Westendorf and provide an insight into the local customs and traditions.

Night skiing in Westendorf

While night skiing is on offer in Westendorf, only the nursery slopes (Schneeberg chairlift) are floodlit so it is best suited to novices, although it is a fun night time activity for families with small children. For visitors with a car, nearby Soll offers much more extensive intermediate level night skiing.

Paragliding in Westendorf

Westendorf is a popular spot for paragliding, particularly for those learning to paraglide. But for the inexperienced, the local flying school also offers tandem flights, for more details contact:

Flugschule Westendorf
Bergliftstraβe 22
Tel: +43 676 847 617 400
Web: www.para.at

Shopping in Westendorf

The shopping in Westendorf itself is relatively limited, but shopaholics can make the trip to nearby Kitzbuhel , around 20 minutes by car. This historic and charming town has a much larger range of shops, although can be hard on the wallet!

Snowshoe hiking in Westendorf

The tourist office in Westendorf organises various guided snowshoe hikes pitched at a range of levels, offering the opportunity to see the scenery around the village at a more leisurely pace. Those with a moderate level of ability and fitness can join tours higher up the mountain, while beginners can even combine snowshoeing with a horse-drawn sleigh tour (see above).

Tobogganing in Westendorf

A 7km run down from the Alpenrosenbahn lift provides an exhilarating activity – the tourist office organise tours although they only recommend it for experienced tobogganers. You’ll also need to rent or bring your own toboggan. 

For more information on activities in Westendorf contact the tourist office:

Westendorf local tourist office
Schulgasse 2
6363 Westendorf
Tel: +43 5357 2000-300
Web: www.kitzbuehel-alpen.com

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