News from the snow
Hopfgarten im Brixental Austria
Hopfgarten-Kelchsau is a picturesque resort located in a wind-protected and fog free basin at the foot of the majestic "Hohe Salve" mountain. It also has a reputatriuon for being one of the sunniest spots on the SkiWelt. The resort's skiing is part of the SkiWelt, Austria's largest lift linked ski area with more than 250km (157 miles) of runs, itself joined - more or less - to Kitzbuhel's ski area by a gondola link from Kirchberg to Westendorf in 2005/ The areas share a lift ticket covering more than 400km of trails, claimed by some to be the world's third largest lift-linked ski area. Hopfgarten has a delightful cobblestone square, narrow lanes and an attractive baroque church. It is famous for musical concerts, cultural events and traditional festivals staged throughout the year as much as for its winter sports. The town is about an hours´ drive from Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck, and easily accessible by bus, car and/or train. Thanks to its central location Hopfgarten-Kelchsau makes in ideal touring base.
A pretty village with local skiing best suited to beginners and intermediates, but part of the huge inter-connected Ski Welt pass giving easy access to skiing for all standards. This has now been expanded further in the new Kitzbüheler Alpen Pass, one of the world's five largest.
There are good beginner slopes by the village and intermediates have almost limitless terrain.
The SkiWelt Wilder - Kaiser Brixental, of which Hopfgarten is a part, "guarantees snow", thanks to its huge snowmaking arsenal. The big range of runs is underlined by the area's motto, "the right slope for all inclinations." A KeyCard giving hands-free access to all ski lifts, including those of the linked Kitzbuhel ski area, is included in ski passes valid for three days or more.
Advanced skiers have eight blacks on the circuit to enjoy, one of the best from the top of the Höhe Salve above Söll down through the Leukenwald. There's also the option of signing up with ski school for a powder class.
Cross country skiers have more than thirty kilometres of cross-country skiing tracks to enjoy locally and a total of 170 kilometres of tracks in the surrounding "Wilder Kaiser -Brixental" region. Neighbouring Kelchsau has a high altitude circuit at 1300m.
Ski school is available for children as young as three or four. Professional "snow instructors" teach first technique by taking children between fairytale characters, slalom poles, play equipment and bob sleigh runs. Helmets are essential as safety takes first priority in the SkiWelt.
Other attractions for families off the slopes are the local leisure pools, children's discos, torch-lit walks, toboggan races, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice skating and snow parties.
In resort Hopfgarten has a better choice of restaurants than the Tyrolean norm with morew than 20 options including an Italian, the Chinatown Chinese and for gourmet lovers, s´Platzl on Brixentaler Strasse.
There are half a dozen bars and two night clubs - 02 and Cin Cin - in the resort.
The Ski Welt resorts go that extra mile to try to keep après ski fun and friendly. One unique initiative is the Ski Bunny scheme which allows women looking for friends to advertise the fact by taking one of the free ski bunny stickers and putting it on their ski suit. Ski bunnies have meeting times and places on the lifts and recommended bars and cafes to meet in. There's also a special chat room on the SkiWelt web site.