News from the snow
A key resort in the Ski Welt and one of Austria's largest inter-connected ski areas, Ellmau is now part of the larger Kitzbüheler Alpen All Star Card. This is a traditional, attractive village of chalet style buildings that clusters around its white-washed church. It's also a good example of Tyrolean architecture and heritage, with traditions kept alive through local theatre, cuisine and architecture. The village backdrop is of meadows, then forest, then the ruggedly beautiful Wilder Kaiser (Wild Emperor) mountains rising high above. Ellmau's major modern claim to fame is Austria's longest, fastest funicular railway which ascends the local Hartkaiser mountain to the serious slope in just four minutes. The largest village in terms of bed base in the Ski Welt, Ellmau also has some excellent sports and leisure facilities, most notably its adventure swimming pool and sports complex.
A key resort in the Ski Welt, one of Austria's largest inter-connected ski areas, and now part of the larger Kitzbüheler Alpen Pass. Ellmau itself boasts Austria's fastest funicular railway to the serious slopes, with plenty for beginners by the traditional old village.
In the 2005-6 season the Ski Welt was further expanded by the Ki-West gondola which links Westendorf (on the Ski Welt pass but not quite lift linked to Ellmau) to the skiing at Kitzbuhel, expanding the nearly-lift-linked terrain available to more than 400km (250 miles).
Ellmau has wide open and gentle nursery slopes at village level, close to the resort centre and served by six drag lifts. Another beginner's area is located at the top of the funicular. There is a choice of three ski schools to get you started, and indeed for all levels of tuition up to off-piste experts. The Ellmauer Skischule, which employs about 50 teachers, is the largest, run by Herr Fuchs. Intermediates from 'second weekers' up to 'on the plateau' will enjoy Ellmau's skiing, and in particular its links in to the Ski Welt the most.
The villages of Going and Scheffau on either side of the resort can be reached by lift and piste, as can Söll, Itter, Hopfgarten and Brixen slightly further afield. A circuit which links together more than 20 category red runs is available on request from ticket and tourist offices. The newer Kitzbüheler Alpen Ski Pass covers more than two dozen ski areas with a combined total of 680km (425 miles) and 260 lifts. Many are a short drive by car, and public transport is possible if less convenient. Experts have eight blacks on the circuit to enjoy, one of the best going from the top of the Hohe Salve above neighbouring Söll down through the Leukenwald.
The Krabbelstube Max & Moritz non-skiing daycare operates in the Volksschule, mornings only (8am - noon) on Mondays to Fridays. Children's ski kindergarten and then ski school are available for aged 3 to 14 with two hour sessions in morning and afternoon and lunch cover possible. Many of the hotels have children's playrooms and other family-friendly facilities, the four star Christoph offers free supervision of children from 5 to 9pm, Mondays to Fridays.
Among the many establishments that are highly commended by user surveys are the top rated Hotel Hochfilzer and the Alte Post, which is one of several serving a weekly farmers buffet. For gourmet dining the restaurants at the five star Der Bär and Kaiserhof hotels offer the best choice.
Sleigh rides, the toboggan run, skating, swimming, bowling or billiards are amongst the many facilities available in the early evening. The local theatre group produces weekly Tyrolean theme evenings. There's late night dancing at the Otzi bar in the resort centre which has a disco or live music and organises dancing and special events.