News from the snow
Westendorf was voted Europe's most beautiful village in the 1998 Entente Florale competition judged in Lisbon. The resort is one of the larger ones in Austria's most extensive lift-linked ski area, the Ski Welt (250km/156 miles). In 2006 Westendorf, Brixen im Thale and Kirchberg were connected to the Region Kitzbüheler Alpen-Brixental. The village Westendorf is similar to many other villages in the area - medium-sized, unspoilt, with typical Tyrolean architecture throughout and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It sits on a plateau above the Brixen Valley (away from the main road), with much of the accommodation and facilities in a central location. It is one of the few dozen Alpine resorts that have a particularly strong relationship with the British ski market and the local ski school believes it has taught more Brits to ski than any other in Europe, although that claim might be disputed by some others. Aviemore for one!
Part of Austria's largest lift-linked ski area, the Ski Welt (250km), although Westendorf and the last village to be lift lionked to it in the 2008-9 season. A lovely village, voted the most beautiful in Europe in 1998, and has some of the region's best skiing all to itself.
Intermediate skiers are likely to head up the mountain by taking the beginner's quad chair from the edge of the village and then skiing across to the base of the two-stage Alpenrose gondola (or getting the free ski bus there). This ascends to the top of the mountain where the choice of more than a dozen blues and reds really opens up. These descend the wooded slopes of the Choralpe, Fleiding and Gampenkogel mountains.
There's a single black locally down from the Alpenrose Hutte, but plenty more on the full pass, although of course guides can take you off piste for more opportunities.
The resort is part of the SkiWelt pass although for many years it was not directly lift linked to it. That changed in 2008-9 when a new gondola lift, plus a drag lift, conveyor lift and a bridge over the main road, finally made the connection. The SkiWelt is Austria's largest lift-linked ski area with the most snow making. The new gondola runs from the Choralpe mountain and reated a new run with an impressive vertical of more than a thousand metres.
In 2005-6 the resort was lift linked to Kirchberg on the neighbouring Kitzbühel pass with the three kilometre long Ki-West eight passenger gondola creating a nearly-linked area of some 425km, one of the world's largest.
Cross country skiing is particularly popular in the resort with several loops of varying levels of difficulty, including a floodlit course by the village.
The three ski schools all offer ski kindergarten or children's ski school from age four and the Schischule has a popular snow train for the little ones. Lunch cover is available on request.
The action starts as soon as the lifts close, then right on through the night. Music and dancing are normally non stop at Gerry's Inn, Bruchstall, the Wunderbar, the Kegelbahn (bowling alley), Village Pub, Kibo, Friends Cafe, the Moskito Bar, Karat Bar-Pub-Lounge, the Ins Moment bar at the Jakobwirt, which remains open until 1am.
Tyrolean theme evenings are offered weekly in the village hall. Then there are bowling nights and sleigh rides to fondue parties at restaurants in the woods.