Mon 16 March 2009 by Kiki The Mad
I went about 2 years ago when there was quite a bit of snow. Went on 2 red runs and 1 black run. The 2 red runs were absolutely brilliant: so much fun, and the black one was a good test of skill: of which i dont have much of and i fell over a bit too much, but twas all in good fun. THe services there were pretty good if you have the money, and i really wish to go again when there is a bit more snow.
Wanted to like it more...
Thu 5 February 2009 by jat147
We arrived in the town as day-trippers expecting a garish blackpool in the alps, but its pretty pucker looking and seems like loads to do at night. Got a piste map on the way up the lift and thought that a week could be spent here easily...then we got on the snow. First view was a long walk to the first piste, fair enough... trouble is the walking just went on & on & on. The maps just dont do justice to how flat the place is - when you see arrows on blue runs you're in for trouble. Getting from one small incline to the next involved a lot of pedalling, so much so that i gave up clicking in my back foot after a while - I'm pretty good at riding one footed now though! Every cloud Eh? My main complaint is with the planning, the pistes seem to have been created where they just isn't a gradient in order to make the map look more impressive - much of the signage is unclear, and we even had to walk 10 minutes back up a 'piste' that turned out to be a dead-end! 6 out of 10 is generous.
Thu 19 October 2006 by Roy
I have done 2 seasons here and had the time of my life. The talk about not being snowsure is rubbish. Both seasons have had dumps in November and through til late April. The powder riding is great if you know where to go, and how to avoid the crowds and the ski-schools.
Head for Snowbunnies hostel for a friendly kiwi welcome, Dave is always happy to see maggots there. He really is. honestly!!
Flanagans, formerly the Holzl is where the workers hang out and Highways is always next, followed by Mangoes until about 6 or 7 am. The overpriced Londoner is good fun but a tad expensive.
If you are thinking about doing a season here. Do it!
You’ve just got to know where to look
Mon 27 September 2004 by JasonI spent a season here and would go back again without a second thought.
The area is basically comprised of three main zones, which are not connected by lifts. Yep, that means buses. Don’t be put off, this is a good thing. Most people on a weeks holiday take the easiest route up the hill i.e. the nearest gondola. Take a bus for 20 minutes to the bottom of a chair and kiss goodbye to crowds.
By far the biggest area is that served by the Hannenkamm gondola, which is situated at the top of town and an easy walk from any accommodation in central or upper town. Take the gondola up and prepare to be disappointed. You are dumped right on the outskirts of the slopes on what is basically a cat track. To get into the main area you have no choice but to take it, and it gets busy. Beginners beware. This is a very daunting place to start. Avoid it until you are happy negotiating a cat track and its casualties. It will take a good rider half an hour and a couple of lifts to get into the heart of the area. Having arrived, there are loads of wide pistes and good routes down the mountain. To be honest the access issues are nothing but a bonus to the intermediate rider. Beginners are weeded out straight away and it is very rare to find a snowplougher far into the area. Snaking ski schools are a thing of the past.
After good snow, powder heaven offers a decent surf. Its not massive but it’s fun, and no effort to get to.
Adventurous types head to the top of lift 21, then left and down over the back in the general direction of Aurach. This is not marked piste and you are well out of bounds. Do not do this on your own. The top section of powder is awesome. After a while you will find yourself in trees. Just keep heading down. We dropped onto a sled run that we rode out. 5 mins walk at the bottom and we were in a Konditori eating cake and waiting for the bus. For crowd free slopes, get yourself to Penglestein. From the top of the Hannenkamm It will take an hour. The main run is busy. Half way down branch off left and wave goodbye to all the crowds and hello to trees. Wind your way down and you will be served by a fourman and absolutely no queues. Many an hour can be spent riding this lift. There are several alternative routes and plenty of off piste. Get lost in the woods with the confidence that you will drop onto a road that takes you back to the lift. From the top of the lift head down the other side of the ridge into the bowl. You will see all the avalanche barriers. This place holds snow well and is steep, deep and unpisted. For a fantastic ride out, continue along the ridge past Penglestein and follow the signs for Aschau. There’re plenty of natural hits and off piste. You will be dumped at the bottom of the hill in the sleepy village of Aschau that time forgot. Stash your board, buy a beer and wait for the bus. Its 20mins back to Kitz.
The Hannenkamm itself is also a good ride out but not for the beginner. Elements of it are used by the famous mens downhill. It’s long, wide and fast. If you have only spent 2 weeks on a board then allow yourself an hour plus to get down. Ride it like something possessed and it will still take you 15 mins. It dumps you right at the top of town close to the gondola station. Its pisted all the way and there is no real way to deviate from it. The Horn is the main beginners area. An easy walk from the bottom of town, otherwise catch a shuttle bus. It’s easy and wide and offers relatively simple ride outs for the more adventurous beginner. From the very top of the hill to the main area is free from beginners as the slopes are relatively steep and get choppy. There are a few other areas of the hill that can be accessed from the top and they are quiet. If the snow is good, there is great off piste over the back for strong riders.
Jochberg & Passthurn. This is where the area comes into its own. These areas are at least 20mins away on the bus i.e. effort. For that reason they are crowd free. Passthurn especially holds the snow late into the season and you can always find a good ride here. Very little trees though so the areas are prone to whiteout in bad weather. This area is best explored. Get yourself over there.
The only real downside to the terrain is the relatively low altitude. This place is by no means snow sure. If you are going on a weeks holiday then you are risking it if you going before January or after mid March. That said I reckon some April slush surfing takes some beating, just make sure your legs are in shape. The other downer is a lack of decent board parks. For such a large resort with a lot of local riders I would have expected one, if not two, large, well served board parks. No such luck. Park junkies be warned.
Kitz itself is a wealthy town and looks it. Some of the hotels in the centre look amazing. It attracts money. There are no shortage of shops selling shiny Prada all-in-one suits. However, my experience of the locals who were born and brought up in the town is totally the opposite. They are friendly and genuine and do not look rich. You will find them in the dark bars.
Austria is the après capital of the Alps. Drink flows freely and so does the awful local music. You can drink late into the night in all types of bars. There are the glitzy bars frequented by the Gucci groupies. Avoid them. Instead get yourself into some of the local drinking dens. Check the prices mind, they vary dramatically. Seek out the happy hours. My recommendation is to get yourself down to what used to be the “Café Holzl”, now the “Sports Bar Holzl”. This is the seasoners pub. After the first couple of weeks I avoided everywhere else. Another diamond in the rough is “Schlichtl”, a little bar/dance floor in a dark doorway off the town centre dead close to the chemists.
Prices are and aren’t expensive. You can spend a fortune and you can live cheap. Seek out shops to match your budget. Supermarkets are well priced (especially for alcohol). After all, the locals need to eat as well as the nobs up from Vienna for the weekend. End of season is a great time to buy knock down gear. Get on the train and head to the next town St Johann for a proper board shop.
Kitz is a popular destination for all the package holiday companies. Alternatively fly to Munich on EasyJet and take the train to Kitz main station. There are a couple of backpackers and loads of guesthouses but prices hike massively in the winter. Room availability can also be a problem especially at weekends and during the mens downhill week. Book ahead.
Personally I think Kitz is great. The area is outstandingly beautiful. The rideable terrain is huge with good diversity. The beer is affordable. What more can you want ?
In summary the terrain is best suited to Freeriders who are happy to make their own fun. Would I recommend it to those on a weeks holiday? Maybe. I would definitely go back for a week, but I was there for a season and I know where to go. If you are on a weeks holiday you tend to get shepherded around with the crowds, and this will not show you the best of Kitz. The après, however, is easy to find.
This place is great for a season where you have time to explore. You could quite easily build a hit in the more remote places and have it to yourself for a week before anyone else found it. There is no substitute to a season. If you ever get to a chance to ride a season then do it!
The important thing to remember about Kitz is that if you put in a bit of effort its easy to avoid the crowds and have the mountain to yourself.
Tue 9 March 2004 by WSG SteveOkay if you like buses, don't recommend the runs down to the main town, as they can be very flat and extremely icy unless theres been a lot of snow recently.
Great for a long weekend if there's snow
Mon 9 February 2004 by MemasciiI've only done a couple of long weekends in Kitzbühel, both times in late January and on both occasions I think we've been really lucky with the weather. I've spent most of my time in the big French resorts way up above 1850m so the idea of a resort that starts at about 700m and maxes out at around 2000m seems absurd. However this January the snow was as good as I've ever ridden in.
If Kitzbühel was another kilometer higher I'd be back here time and time again - Just for the weekend though. The village has got real character as have the locals and (in my experience) the visiting Germans. Boarding in amongst the trees makes a change as well after the moonscapes at altitude.
The negatives for me are: the weekend crowds, the number of pistes that end up as boring winding roads, the lousy ski bus and the fact that if you make it all the way to Pass Thurn, there's no way of boarding back to the village. I think they're fixing this with a new gondola soon. The terrain is all pretty intermediate, regardless of the colour markings each piste is a real mixture. Oh, and finally there are a lot of flats so skating is a frequent chore.