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Ski 9 resorts with 1 lift pass at Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck

Excitement and anticipation are emotions we all experience before hitting the road, setting sails or jetting off on a vacation. Excitement sets in when researching, planning, and day dreaming about the fun ahead. Anticipation grows as your travel date approaches and you begin to pack. Another emotion we may experience before a trip is frustration. “FOMO,” Fear Of Missing Out, is a real thing. Your pre-trip joy can hit a roadblock when you find yourself having to cross out restaurants, attractions, and activities due to time constraints. Friends, couples and families can even come to disagreements when having to decide on what to leave out of the itinerary. It’s impossible to do everything in one trip. FOMO can hit hard when visiting Innsbruck on a ski vacation. Each of Innsbruck’s Olympia SkiWorld ski areas have something different to offer.

With so many ski resorts in close proximity to the city center, it’s tough to choose the “best.” If you’re experiencing difficulties deciding what slopes to visit, I feel you. I spend the entire winter here and still have a difficult time deciding where to go. Fun parks, foodie gems, Tyrolean flair, off-piste, ski touring, sledding, family fun; the Olympia SkiWorld areas have it all. Nine resorts, at your reach with the Olympia SkiWorld lift pass and combi tickets. Since I can’t decide on the best or my favorite resort, I’ll share what I like most about each and my experiences there.

The Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck Resorts

Since returning to Innsbruck, I’ve attempted to visit all nine Olympia SkiWorld ski resorts. On a couple of occasions, I was able to snowboard at two mountains in the same day. A free ski bus or even short walk can get you on a lift, right from the city.

Selecting the “best” ski resort is impossible. All the locals have a favorite, but they’re not really loyal to it on every trip to the slopes. This being my third winter in Innsbruck, I’ve learned to select my destination based on my schedule, mood, weather and random events being hosted at the huts scattered throughout the mountains.

Facts and Figures:

One Lift Pass to ski the whole Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck:

The Olympia SkiWorld lift pass is available with the Innsbruck Welcome Card and allows access to all nine resorts. Available for purchase at Innsbruck Tourist Information [1], Axams Tourist Information [2], Götzens Ski School [3], and at all cable-car valley stations.

Free Ski Bus to the Resorts:

All Olympia SkiWorld ski areas are easily reached with the free ski buses and shuttles departing from various points throughout the city. Find the closest to your hotel here [4].

Axamer Lizum

A forty five minute bus ride gets you to the Axamer Lizum [5] parking lot. I visit this resort often because the slopes are longer than Nordkette’s but not as long as the glacier’s. Hoadlhaus is another great place for catching rays while absorbing the view of the Kalkkögel.  Lizum also hosts random parties, including the infamous bad taste ski party with a cult following, “Ugly Skiing Day [6]“.

Ski Hut at Axamer Lizum

Dohlennest is popular little hut in the middle of the slopes at Axamer Lizum. It’s a popular place to stop for a drink and bask in the sun while taking a break from riding.

Other events I’ve attended include Sunday Mass on a mountain top [7], live Tyrolean music performances and an skiing/ entrepreneurship conference [8].  This resort has a special place in my heart because it hosts the Burton “Chill” program I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering with [9]. Some parts of the slopes here can get a little challenging for me, but nowhere as difficult as Karrinne at Nordkette.

Ugly Skiing Day Innsbruck Axamer Lizum

Spinning the songs you hate, but love singing along with

Speaking of the Kalkkögel, they’re one of the locals’ favourite places for skitouring. Known as the ‘Tirolean Dolomites’, the range separates Axamer Lizum from Schlick2000, and is filled with a number of different couloirs and bowls for adventurous freeriders to explore. But beware, you’ll have to earn all your turns there!

Christina Kniewaser enjoying some well-earned powder turns in the Kalkkögel mountains near Axamer Lizum

Christina Kniewasser enjoying some well-earned powder turns in the Kalkkögel. Photo: Matt Clark

Resort info:

Schlick 2000

For one of the most unique, cultural, and quirky experiences while skiing or snowboarding, plan a lunch at Galtalm [10]. Galtalm, a traditional Tyrolean mountain hut restaurant, is not accessible by car. You’ll have to ski, snowboard, or ski-tour to the shuttle service. By shuttle service, I mean being pulled behind an antique snow cat, The Galtalm Express. The shuttle is an experience in itself, it only gets better when you arrive at the restaurant.

I have nothing against all the resorts with buffet style food, but I hate buffet style food. It’s not bad food, but it isn’t great food either. The service is always impersonal and takes from the overall dining experience. Even if you’re having a traditional local dish, you lose a bit of the vibe if you have loungy electronic music or the top 40 playing in the background. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. I want my schnitzel with a side of accordion and horns, please.

Galtalm has that cozy Tyrolean flair you have to experience for a real taste of the culture. This is my favorite dining experience within the Olympiaworld resorts and maybe in all of Innsbruck. You can also find a fun outdoor bar at the middle station. Going along with the local theme, go there and experience the apres ski music while enjoying a schnapps as a digestif. I think Schlick 2000 [11] has slopes on par with the bigger resorts and the hospitality found at smaller resorts.

Resort info:

Patscherkofel

Many of my local friends claim this to be their “home mountain [12].” Most prefer this mountain over Nordkette because the slopes are longer.

Patschekofelbahn Igls

Arno and Carlos enjoying the great weather

Personally, I think it could use a little more flavor. What this ski resort lacks in vibes, it does makes up for on the slopes. Hop on the J bus line (same that takes you to Nordkette) and arrive at the base in less than 20 minutes. The J bus line connects this resort with another Olympiaworld ski resort, Nordkette. I visit this mountain when I want to spend a few hours riding and go back home right away.

Patscherkofel also hosts a few different events like Snow Rugby Tournaments [13], Bobsledding and Skeleton World Championships [14] and more.

Resort Info:

Stubaier Glacier

One more time for emphasis – GLACIER [15]! It’s not as close as the rest of the Olympiaword resorts, but it’s only 50 minutes away. I’ve stood in line longer than 50 minutes waiting for a 2 minute roller coaster, kebab, and ramen. So, not really far away. Many restaurants, huts and bars are available to enjoy between or after riding. The slopes are long and wide. The entire area may be too big to cover in one day. I’ve never tried to, I’d be impressed if someone was able to.

Stubai Glacier Olympiaworld

Can’t pass up the selfie opportunity at the “Top of Tyrol” viewpoint. Every Olympiaworld Ski Resort offers stunning backdrops for your selfies.

30 meters below the slopes, you can tour the 200 meter long ice caves and learn interesting facts about moraines, abrasions, glacier milk, ice layers, alternating sequences, inclusion, glacier protection and more you’ve never heard of before. Plan for at least an hour within the caves. Find the ice throne and pose for the gram. The kids playground area, combined with the ice caves, and the “Top of Tirol” viewpoint makes this a top destination for families and instagrammable photo ops.

Resort info:

Nordkette

Nordkette [16] is the mountain I visit most often. Impressive views from the city make this the most photographed mountain of all Olympiaworld destinations. Congress Station is only an 8 minute bike ride from my door  and the ride up to the slopes is only 30 minutes. Views into town and Karwendel national park are bound to end up on your Instagram stories. Seegrube also lays out dozens of lounge chairs for relaxing in between runs or after a meal. I spend more time lounging on those chairs than I do “shredding”.

Nordkette Olympiaworld Ski resort

Nordkette towering over Innsbruck

The snow park has rails, jumps, boxes; but I wouldn’t know about any of that since I’m too old and scared to try. Karrinne, one of the steepest slopes, in Europe is what gets most of the locals up to this resort. When the snow is right, it’s an amazing run. I also wouldn’t know about that because I’ve only tried it twice and rolled down halfway on both occassions. It was fun, but I don’t know that I’ll try a third attempt at that slope. The rest of the slopes are pretty short, 2-3 minutes at my slow poke speed, but that is perfect for me. This mountain also hosts weekly igloo parties and the Red Bull Bob Can Race [17] I participated in.

Nordkette also closes the skiing season with a week of Figln. If you’re here as the snow begins to melt, you gotta try this unique Innsbruck experience for yourself [18].

Resort info:

Kühtai

Kühtai [19] is a popular ski village destination for travelers seeking ski in, ski out accommodation. You can even stay at an igloo! The population of this village is only 29 during the off-season, but increases in winter months as it welcomes travelers on ski vacations. This is one of my favorite places to ski because of the long and wide slopes, but sometimes I feel it lacks a bit of the Austrian ‘apres ski’ atmosphere. It’s great for riding, but not as great for hanging out and enjoying the environment. The experience may differ for those staying at the village. I imagine shacking up in an igloo for a week could be fun.

Olympiaworld ski resorts in Innsbruck Kuhtai

Kaiser Max Hutte is one of the Tyrolean huts offering local dishes. Tip: Your food will get cold really fast if you eat outside.

Resort info:

Rangger Köpfl – Oberperfuss

One of the smaller ski resorts, Rangger Köpfl [20], is a great option for days the more popular resorts get a little crowded. The family environment and local vibe make this a local favorite. If skiing or snowboarding aren’t your thing, you can give sledding a try on the dedicated sledding slopes. It’s only a 15 minute diver from the city center making it a great option if you’re planning on visiting a mountain and enjoying the museums and other attractions in the city during the same day.

One of the highlights while visiting here is the friendly treatment from the staff at the lifts and restaurants. Little things like being greeted at the lifts and warm service make a big impact on the overall experience and they nail those little details at the smaller resorts. When you arrive at the peak of this mountain you’ll find a crowd peeling the skins off their skies after ski-touring all the way up. The only way to reach the top is on a long t-bar lift so be prepared for that.

Resort info:

Muttereralm

Only 10 minutes from Innsbruck, Muttereralm [21] is another favorite ski area among Innsbruckers. It’s locally known for being the most family-friendly and a great destination for ski-touring. The relaxed and uncrowded environment make this a top choice for beginners. One steep run is also available for more experienced skiers. I was able to ride at Rangger Koepfl and Muttereralm in the same day and still get back to town with time to rest before going out to dinner. The service at the huts and lifts is as pleasant as Rangger Kopfl. Easy slopes make and small crowds this a great place to learn if you’re nervous about skiing or snowboarding and there’s also a 1 kilometer long toboggan run if you want to give that a go.

A number of skitouring options also connect Muttereralm with neighbouring Axamer Lizum, often via the famed Birgitzköpfl Hut and/or Nockspitze, one of Innsbruck’s most iconic mountains.

Matt Clark skis down from one of the Nockspitze couloirs towards Innsbruck, before cutting left to join the Muttereralm lifts

Matt Clark skis down from one of the Nockspitze couloirs towards Innsbruck, before joining the Muttereralm lifts (visibile on the left in the trees)

Resort info:

Glungezer:

For locals reading this blog, the resorts are listed in no specific order. I know you love this place, so don’t feel like I’m overlooking it by mentioning it last. If anything, it may help keep this little gem from attracting too many of the crowds. Glungezer is one of the last resorts to open for skiing because it relies on the natural stuff, no snow machines here. The local huts also cook up some delicious and hearty meals to keep you energized in between runs, or put you to sleep after you’re done. Tyrolean food is as hearty as it gets. Make time to eat at the huts for an opportunity to taste dishes that aren’t available at most restaurants in the city. My favorite dish here is Graukäsesuppe (grey cheese soup). I know, it sounds weird, and it is, but you gotta try it.

Glugenzer is also home to the longest ski slope in Tirol. The Valley Run stretches for 15km. Just the thought makes me a bit tired!

Resort Info:

 

If you had to choose one of Innsbruck’s Olympiaworld ski resorts as your favourite, which one would it be and why? Let us know in the comment section below. If you have any other “under the radar” recommendations, let us know so we can update this blog with more local and traveler tips.

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