The SkiGala team had an amazing ski holiday in Hintertux Zillertal in October.
Skiing is our passion and this blog is all about skiing on the Hintertux Glacier - it includes everything you need to know about the ski resort - great tips and insider information.
High above the Ziller Valley in Tirol, between 2660 and 3268 metres above sea level to be exact, is a year-round winter wonderland of skiing paradise. The Hinteruxer Glacier is part of the massive Zillertal 3000 ski region. The high altitude, cool temperatures and outstanding snow grooming talents of the ski resort provide skiers with 365 days a year of skiing. Even in October and with just one metre of snow, our group was impressed with the condition and extent of the slopes, 39 km in total.
Arriving at the free parking lot in Hintertux, the morning starts with two gondola trips up to the Tuxer Fernerhaus. The panorama views from the lifts are spectacular and make the ride up to the glacier a proper sight-seeing tour on its own.
Tuxer Fernerhaus is a bustling kind of base camp where the snow starts. Two more gondolas, the “10er Gefrorene Wand” and the “Gletcherbus 3” take skiers to the top of the snow-covered ski-able slopes. Waiting times for the gondolas were non-existent or impressively short. Arriving at the Hintertux Glacier is like entering the United Nations of Skiing. The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year round ski resort and offers winter sports enthusiasts snow-sure runs 365 days of the year. Competitive ski teams from around the world use the ski resort to get in early season training on the slopes. It gives the whole ski resort a groovy vibe and they play great music while warming up.
The Hintertux glacier is also humbling. We thought we were all pretty hot skiers until junior ski teams from three different tropical countries blew past us at warp speed, leaving our egos in a cloud of white powder.
It is also not a glitzy, celebrity spotting type of ski resort. Like our group, the skiers were all there to ski and the average tempo on the slopes was impressive. It was a great way to start the ski season!
Due to the high alpine location, culinary choices are limited. The Tuxer Fernerhaus, however, has something for everyone. There is a full-service restaurant with rather good food that requires reservations for either 11:45 or 13:00. There is a busy self-service area, and a further two posh lounges for hot chocolate and early après ski.
There was also the possibility to take the Gletscherbus 2 gondola down the mountain to Sommerberg. It was much quieter there.
Rental skis are available throughout the Zillertal valley, but you can save having to carry your skis up the mountain by renting at Sommerberg or Tuxer Fernerhaus stations. It tends to be less hectic in the high altitude ski shops too.
They don’t have any rental ski clothes but you can always have ⇨ SkiGala ship outfits to your hotel in Hintertux, Finkenberg, Mayrhofen or wherever you are staying in the area.
There are small lockers at Tuxer Fernerhaus for personal items and food, but unfortunately not for skis or ski boots. Hence it is necessary to carry your skis with you up and down on the gondolas every day.
Criss-crossing: Many slopes merge together without obvious signs or indicators. Some slopes even cross T-bar lift lines. Take a good look around while you are skiing the first few runs to get an overview of where the crossings are and how to navigate them. We saw a few too many near misses during our trip.
Lunch rush: The Tuxerer Fernhaus restaurant becomes rather busy at noon. The ski teams swarm the place. It is better to get in for an early lunch at 11:30 or wait until the frenzy is over at 13:00.
Due to the high alpine environment, modern plumbing, and therefore toilets, are few and far between. Use the facilities at Tuxer Fernerhaus, next to the Gefrorene Wand gondola before heading further up the mountain.
There is no real rush to be the first to the top of the hill early in the morning. The snow tends to be harder in the early hours of the day and the ski teams are busy at work and dominate a lot of prime terrain. Once the sun warms the snow by 11 o’clock, conditions improve noticeably. The ski teams finish training by noon and leave the expansive slopes for the rest of us. Lifts remain open until 4 o’clock so you can still clock in a few good hours of skiing.
Skiing. In. October.
It was an awesome five days on the Hintertuxer Glacier and we couldn’t believe we were actually skiing in October. A week after we were there, so early in November, several other slopes and a couple of extra lifts were opening, so it keeps getting bigger and better as winter approaches.
It is definitely a ski resort to re-visit. See you there next October!