Skiing in Westendorf

Westendorf offers easy access to the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental ski area featuring 279 km of well-groomed runs, superb lift infrastructure and charming mountain restaurants. Also, there is a further 170km of good skiing between Kirchberg and Kitzbuhel (the KitzSki area), just 10-16km east of Westendorf. 

Westendorf Ski Area Overview

Westendorf is one of eight villages surrounding the impressive SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental (‘SkiWelt’) ski area. With 279 km of well-groomed pistes of which 252 km are blue and red runs, Westendorf and SkiWelt is an ideal ski holiday destination for beginners and intermediates.

The local Westendorf ski circuit and SkiWelt offer good skiing and one of the advantages of staying in Westendorf is its proximity to Brixen and the KitzSki Area with a further 170 km of good skiing around Kirchberg (10 km) and Kitzbuhel (16 km). The Kitzbuheler Alpen All-Star lift pass covers all lifts in SkiWelt, KitzSki and more and costs little more than the SkiWelt pass.

The extensive terrain is great for beginners and intermediateS and an easy ride for advanced and expert skiers and boarders. Just 16 km of SkiWelt’s runs are black, none of the runs is particularly steep and off-piste is limited unless there is a big dump of snow while you’re there. That said, the groomed runs are great for carving and the KitzSki area includes the Streif run, made famous by Kitzbuhel’s world-renowned World Cup downhill race.

Although the ski area is not particularly high – the highest peak is just 1,957 m – snowfall in the SkiWelt from mid-December to late February is usually good enough to ensure a good base. Also, Skiwelt’s 1,400 snow cannons provide excellent snow-making capacity across more than 80% of the prepared pistes.

In addition to an excellent lift system, state-of-the-art snowmaking and piste-grooming, SkiWelt features three snowparks, several timed speed runs, slalom courses for racers and excellent night skiing. The floodlit ski area at Soll is the biggest night skiing in Austria and is well worth experiencing. Last but not least, SkiWelt has over 90 mountain restaurants.

Westendorf – Brixen

The Westendorf-Brixen circuit, which claims to be even more scenic than other parts of SkiWelt, has good facilities for novices and children near the village centre and nice cruisy blue runs for beginners and improving intermediates. Also, Gampenkogel, the highest peak in the SkiWelt at 1,957 m and the KiWest blue run (120) towards Kirchberg. Most of the skiing runs are through the forested slopes, providing fun terrain for intermediates – notably the red run (11) 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 SkiWelt, there is little to test advanced skiers.

Salven – Hopfgarten, Itter and Soll

The Salven circuit between Hopfgarten, Itter and Soll is based around the 1,829m Hohe Salve peak where the skiing is primarily for intermediates. Hohe Salve features a network of wide, open red runs leading to tree-lined valley runs which take skiers to the four villages in Salven.

Kaiser – Scheffau, Ellmau and Going

The Kaiser Circuit, with dramatic views of the Wilder Kaiser mountains to the north, takes in Scheffau, Ellmau and Going. It takes visitors from Westendorf to the furthest edge of the SkiWelt and is accessible from Brixen. A mix of cruisy blue and red runs provides good terrain for confident beginners and intermediates.

Beginner Skiing in Westendorf

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 beginners to gain confidence before venturing further. 

With gentle nursery slopes near the village centre and three child-friendly ski schools, Westendorf is a good place to learn to ski or board. Although the nursery slopes at an altitude of little more than 800m sometimes suffer from a lack of natural snow, artificial snow-making is generally good enough to ensure adequate snow cover. The nursery slopes feature magic carpet lifts, a T-bar and a small chairlift.

First-time beginners quickly progress to ski easy blue runs, such as those near the top of the Alpenrosenbahn cable car, served by a T-bar. Once these have been mastered, they will be ready to ski a handful of blue runs that wind through tree-lined slopes down to Westendorf village.

Accessing more of the SkiWelt’s beginner terrain from Westendorf involves a little more effort – either a bus journey or cable car to Brixen then Hochbrixen cable car from Brixen to the other side of the valley. At the top, however, beginners are rewarded with another large beginners area and a few wide blue runs. Skiing back from here to Brixen is more challenging – the red run (1b) can get choppy and busy in the afternoons – so beginners may prefer to take the cable car back to the village.

Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Westendorf

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Intermediate Skiing in Westendorf

Intermediate skiers in Westendorf are spoiled for choice with 135 km of blue runs, 128 km of red runs and 16 km of black runs throughout the SkiWelt, and the KitzSki area nearby which offers a further 170 km of good skiing between Kirchberg and Kitzbuhel.

The Westendorf-Brixen circuit has a variety of pistes for intermediates, from easy blue runs (113, 111) to more challenging red runs including some of the SkiWelt’s steeper slopes. Particular favourites are the long red run (11) to Brixen and the less testing option but still great fun blue run (120) which winds down towards Kirchberg and the connection to the KitzSki area.

After 1-2 days skiing Westendorf-Brixen, the Salven circuit offers a good variety of intermediate skiing including Hohe Salve and enjoyably long runs down to the villages of Hofgarten, Itter and Soll. The red run (30) down to Itter is a particularly nice tree-lined run.

Moving further across the SkiWelt, the Kaiser circuit above the villages of Scheffau, Ellmau, and Going includes a mix of easy cruising blues and reds between Ellmau and Going and more testing terrain above Scheffau. The long run (60) down to Scheffau offers superb views of the Wilder Kaiser mountains.

SkiWelt’s 279 km of pistes will keep most intermediates busy and entertained for at least one week. However, when you’re ready for a change of scene, ski the Ki-West blue run (20) and take the ski bus to Kirchberg and the KitzSki area which offers a further 170km of good skiing between Kirchberg and Kitzbuhel. Buy the All-Star lift pass.

Advanced Skiing in Westendorf

While skiing all or most of SkiWelt’s 279 km in one week would be challenging for any good skier, opportunities for advanced skiers are limited to just 16 km of black runs. None of the red and black runs are particularly challenging and opportunities for skiing off-piste depend on snow conditions.

Only 16km of the groomed pistes are designated black runs and can be found on Hohe Salve peak, along with one or two black pistes in Westendorf including black run (112) – the steepest in the SkiWelt, but not scary.

The most obvious off-piste opportunities around Gampenkogel, Hohe Salve and Brechorn are limited and well-known to locals who will likely get there before you. When snow conditions allow, the ski schools in Westendorf offer guided skiing off-piste including ski touring in SkiWelt and KitzSki.

Boarding & Freestyle in Westendorf

Westendorf is the snowboarding capital of the SkiWelt. The Boarders Playground Snowpark in Westendorf is the venue for the annual ‘Shred Down Austrian Masters’ competition.

The main attraction for boarders and freestylers in Westendorf is the Boarders Playground Snowpark (located under the Gampenkogel chairlift) with a choice of three lines – easy, medium, and difficult. The easy line has a couple of small jumps and boxes and the medium line features a 6-7m kicker, rails and boxes. The difficult ‘Big Mama’ line is for experts and a crowd-puller.

Boarders Playground Snowpark is the venue for the Shred Down Austrian Masters annual event, featuring pro-level Austrian riders in the halfpipe and slopestyle events and numerous parties with live bands and DJs.

Snowparks aside, the slopes and the lift system in Westendorf and SkiWelt are snowboarder-friendly and offer good riding for intermediates and beginners, but watch out for the flat section at the top of the SkiWelt cable car and Choralmbahn which involves lots of walking.

Mountain Restaurants in Westendorf

The SkiWelt is strongly focused on hospitality skiing with as many as 94 mountain restaurants and bars dotted throughout the ski area. That’s around one mountain restaurant or bar for every 3 km of pistes, including 18 mountain restaurants near Westendorf.

The result is choice and convenience, with a selection of restaurants for lunch or a pit stop no matter where you are in the ski area. Most establishments are authentically Tirolean, the culinary focus is local dishes and specialities, either in a cosy wooden hut or alfresco on one of the many sun terraces on offer.

Popular mountain restaurants in Westendorf include the Sonnalm near the Alpenrosenbahn mid-station. It is favoured by locals and visitors alike for its family-friendly atmosphere, traditional Tirolean food and good value. Lunchtimes are busy so reservations are recommended. Tel: +43 5334 6246. Web:

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 and the Iglu Bar at the top of the Hochbrixen gondola is well worth a visit for drinks and 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!

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