News from the snow
Neustift is located in the Stubai Valley, approximately 25 km south of Innsbruck, the capital city of the Tyrol. The valley can be reached easily on the motorway A13 or without paying a toll fee on the national road B182 towards Italy - Exit "Stubaital". The Stubai Glacier in Neustift represents one of the most extensive all-year-skiing areas in the Eastern Alps with over 100 km of slopes and off-slope tracks of all grades of difficulty and a 4,5 km high-altitude cross country slope. It guarantees quality snow conditions from autumn right through to spring and it is Austrias biggest all-year-round-skiing-area. During the last century, the wealth of Neustift, besides agriculture and small industry plants in Fulpmes, has mainly been based on tourism. With his vision of developing poor mountainous areas by encouraging the construction of paths and mountain huts, Reverend Franz Senn stands among the pioneers of Alpine history. Therefore, local people are still most grateful to the so called "Glacier-priest", one of the founding fathers of the Austrian and German Alpine Club. Franz Senn is buried in Neustift. A monument stone at the rectory building reminds us of his importance. A mountain hut is named after him. In 1891 the Neustift Mountain Guides Association was established. The mountaineering school Stubai Alpinoffers the whole range of Alpine activities. With the construction and steady improvements of the cable cars at the "Stubai Glacier" from 1972 onwards, Neustift has also become a well known wintersport resort. Today the village area covers 249 km◊, including 12 parts of the village which spread along the last 20 km of the Stubai Valley from the valley-centre to the bottom station of the Stubai Glacier. It is the second largest community in the Tyrol considering by surface area and counts approximately 4,400 inhabitants.
The closest sizable village (second largest in the Tyrol) to the Stubai glacier, which some claim to be Europe's best, and at the Eastern end of the continent's largest year-round ski centre. It also has one of the world's biggest verticals down from it (off piste, conditions permitting). The ski area directly by the village itself is small and only suited to beginners and early intermediates. Nightlife is lively and the village has a leisure centre with indoor pool, shooting arena, two tennis courts, two squash courts, and bowling alley.
The trend of innovation and replacement of T-bars by chairlifts will be continued. The two-seater-chairlift "Pfaffengrat" is closing the gap of lifts between Fernau-glacier and Gaiskarglacier. With this lift it is possible to ski uninterruptedly around the spectacular Schaufelspitz-peak (3.333m).
Most of the slopes are "family"-runs, marked in blue and red. The Tyrolean Mark of Excellence for ski areas, which has been awarded to the Stubai Glacier, is proof of their quality in preparation. Last year, in addition to that, it is quality as "Snowboard Resort" proofed by a "mystery boarder" has been rewarded by the Tyrolean Tourist Board.
Fans of more difficult tracks concentrate on recently open black runs, powder freaks turn to several ski routes (neither tended nor patrolled) with such illustrative names as "The Wall", "Fast Corner" or "Steep Glacier Tongue". The 10 kilometres (6 miles) "Wilde Grub'n"-trail is Austrias longest run from the top (3.150m) to the base of a ski-resort (1.750m). Permanent snow-making-facilities in its lower parts guarantee skiing to the bottom-station until late April.
For "easy-riders" among skiers and snowboarders, the Neustift mountain guides will be offering their most rewarded programme "More safety - More fun", that is a practical daily excursion off-slope in order to judge appropriately risks of avalanches.
The Stubai-Superski-Ticket (available from December until April) comprises the local ski-bus-system, two public indoor swimming pools and winter sport facilities . The "Elfer"-mountain with its two chairlifts, two T-bars and a brilliant beginners'ground with artificial snow making facilities right in the centre of Neustift. Also included are the Serles bahnen, Mieders and the slopes of the "Schlick 2000" in the neighbouring Fulpmes.
On every Thursday you can take part in the "How fast am I"-race organized on one of the permanent race courses on the Stubai Glacier.
Courses for snowboard and the whole range of ski sports (big foot, carving, alpine, telemark, skwal and cross country skiing) can be obtained from the ski-schools "Neustift - Stubaier Gletscher" and "Olympia". One mountaineering-school provides guided variations. "Special interest days", ski touring for beginners, snowshoe-walking during the day or in the dark, introductory lessons for carvers and the "freeriding day" for snowboarders make the tiny difference to average ski-school curricula.
Cross country skiers find more than 40 km of slopes in the valley ground and 50 km on various high altitude parcours, both classical and Skating-style.
When accompanied by their parents, children under ten years have free admittance to ski lifts. Children under the age of 15 pay 30% less for Stubai-Super-Skipasses and 50% less than adults for Stubai-Glacier-Passes. On the glacier, young people under 19 and senior skiers (over 60 years) are still granted a 35% discount. For Stubai-Super-Skipasses people under 18 and with more than 60 years pay 20% less.
For a time out at any elevation on the slopes, there are the panorama restaurant "Eisgrat", the restaurant "Gamsgarten", the service-restaurant "Zur goldenen Gams" with a large sun terrace and its umbrella-bar "Eissee", the "Dresdner Hütte" near the middle-station, originally built at the end of the last century and the "Jochdohle", Austrias "highest" snack bar at 3.333m.
A new gondola for eight people from the top-mountain station Eisgrat brings diners up to the highest restaurant of Austria which is called "Jochdohle".
Mostly all people love the big umbrella bar at the bottom station of the Stubai Glacier and the new disco in Mutterberg. The Grawa alm, Tschangelair alm, Bruggeralm, umbrella bar at the bottom station of the Schlick2000 and the Serles cable cars offer a nice opportunity.