A small town offering a wide range of facilities - including indoor ice rink and numerous bars and restaurants. The skiing takes place in the Plose region above, which includes one of the world's longest black descents (at 9km, the longest slope in the South Tyrol). Top après ski spots include the Igloo at the base of the Plose lifts and there is a "megadisco" in Brixen.
Brixen has the twin advantages of having its own first rate ski area at Plose, and in being part of the vast confederation of ski resorts on the Dolomiti Superski single lift ticket. The resort's geographical position makes it a good base for excursions to famous ski areas like Val Gardena and the resort of the Pustertal, making maximum use of the wonderful lift ticket, or indeed to explore near neighbours in Brixen's own Valle Isarco / Eisactal Valley. The Plose skiing is reached by a six-seater gondola lift from the village of St Andrä (S.Andrea), which itself at 961 Metres is a 10km (6 mile) drive up the mountain from the city. There are several other access points higher up and around the mountain. The gondola takes skiers up to a snow sure 2029m above which most of the skiing takes place over a 40km (25 mile) area, linked by a series of chairs. There are runs for all standards of skier but experts will especially enjoy the 6km (4 miles) long 'Trametsch' black (piste number 101) back down through the trees beneath the gondola to the village. As with about half of all the piste on Plose, it has snow making cover. For beginners there's less choice but a wide blue, the Campo Scuola, does come back down to the top station of the gondola from a triple chair which is accessed from there: it's a popular run for ski school. Most of the rest of the terrain is of medium difficulty and best suited to intermediates and progressing beginners. There are many other ski areas in the vicinity, the next closest being on the Gitschberg where a further 10 lifts serve over 20km (13 miles) of trails and an 1100m vertical, accessed from the valley floor at Mühlbach - Rio di Pusteria. Cross country skiers have a huge choice of long and short, low and high altitude loops dotted all over the valley. A guide booklet is available from the tourist office.
Large towns and cities are not normally a natural first choice for taking younger children and Brixen does not offer much to change this perception. Of course there is more than enough to keep the kids happy and many of the larger hotels have the eternally popular indoor pools and offer free or well discounted child packages. But on the other hand Brixen's great shopping and night life are difficult to experience if you have the kids in tow, and there are no real child care options apart from a baby sitter or the ski school when you're up on the mountain.
With its reputation for good food and famous white Eisack Valley wines, diners wishing to sample local specialities in Brixen are on to a winner, especially if you're lucky enough to visit during one of the legendary 'gastronomic speciality weeks' which take place throughout the year and for which the area is famed. The main season for these culinary delights is unfortunately the autumn, when the ancient tradition of Torggelen is observed whereby you walk around and drop by any local farmhouse offering home produced wine and regional food specialities to try before you buy. However the theme is repeated during the winter season and in March in particular the 'Vormas' and Schlutzkrapfen speciality weeks involve wine soup and chamois ham plus cheese knodel in many variations.
There's plenty to suit all kinds of après skiers in Brixen, from quiet, sophisticated evenings in high class restaurants and piano bars, to all action night spots, such as the Disco Max, which is open from 10pm until 3am. Happening bars include the Diesel and the Time Out pubs, both open from 6pm through until 2am. When the lifts close at Plose it's worth stopping off at the Igloo at the base of the gondola in St Andrä (and also the end of the long black). This place is also open until 2, beating your average gondola base station café‚ by a long chalk and is a good choice for those who plan to sleep in their ski kit. You'll need a taxi back down however.
There's a fun park and half pipe on Plose and, with virtually all of the terrain accessed by gondola or chair lifts, it's easy to get around. All the opportunities locally and in the greater area open to skiers are of course there for boarders too, including the possibility of exploring further with the one Dolomiti Superski ticket. Plose Ski School, which is very politically incorrect in not carrying out the obligatory renaming of itself ( as in: "Plose Ski and Snowboarding School") none the less offers specialised tuition and board rentals are available in Erwin Stricker's rental shop at the base of the gondola. Those 'boarders who have crossed over from skateboarding will be pleased to discover a rare skateboard-park-in-a-ski-resort in Brixen.