News from the snow
Kirchberg in Tirol Austria
Kirchberg, on the other side of the mountain from Kitzbühel, 6km (4 miles) away by road, is a great choice for anyone wanting access to the famous skiing without the queues, crowds or prices. It is not a rural idyll during the season either, however, as it has a lively centre with plenty of 'happening' nightspots and a busy feel. In many ways it is the mirror of Kitzbühel without the sometimes pretentious side of its neighbour's cosmopolitan clientelle. It is perhaps a good illustration of the slightly different attitude of Kirchberg to Kitzbühel in that the former lists its 100 farms amongst its assets, which together own 1,500 cows, 300 sheep and 75 horses.
Kirchberg, on the other side of the mountain from Kitzbühel, gives access to the famous skiing without the queues. It's a very pleasant village too, with a lively centre.
The ski bus service is quite important because, unless you stay in accommodation out of the village centre and near to the lift bases, you're likely to need to use the bus to get from your hotel to the slopes. Beginners will often find their feet on Kirchberg's own un-linked ski mountain, Gaisberg, with its gentle slopes; more experienced skiers will beat most of Kitzbühel's clientele on to the Hahnenkamm by taking one of the less-crowded routes up from outside the village.
Long term meteorological studies have shown that Kirchberg's local slopes have a good snow record, averaging 124 days of cover per year, and 50% of the slopes are backed up by snow making equipment to be doubly safe. There are five ski schools operating in the area: the Schischule Kirchberg, Skischule Kirchberg Activ, Skischule KiWest and a Privat Skischule with Schischule Aschau based in the neighbouring village. All five offer a variety of tuition programs for all levels.
Night skiing was introduced recently, accessed via the Gaisfeg chairlift.
There are even more cross-country trails than downhill piste, just, with 220km (137 miles) of prepared tracks around the Kitzbühel Valley (45km / 28 miles locally).
Many visitors are unable to resist an evening trip to the bright lights of Kitzbühel, perhaps taking in the heavily promoted casino there.