My family always visits me in Innsbruck around Christmas time for skiing. This year just gone, they stayed in Innsbruck and drove to Kühtai. One of the great advantages of Innsbruck is its location. Being labelled ‘The Heart of the Alps’, means you have so much available to you within an hour’s drive. For skiing, the choice is endless, especially with the free shuttle bus service that take you from Innsbruck to the local slopes every day.
My family and friends love the charm of Innsbruck and combining skiing/snowboarding with it, is just fantastic.
A young family’s trip to Kühtai
My sister Sami, her husband Pete and their two children Teddy (4 years old) and Amelie (9 months old) chose Kühtai as their ski resort. They thought the drive from their place was easy and quick – 35 to 45 minutes and they were on the snow.
I will not lie to you, the snow conditions before Christmas are not brilliant, sometimes you can be lucky with a nice dump of snow early December, but normally you need to go high enough to get good conditions. Kühtai starts at 2020 metres and so there is snow and skiing on the slopes is good. For a young family, this was great and being there before Christmas, it wasn’t too busy.
The BOBO Kinderland
Teddy skied last year in private lessons. He picked it up really quickly, but stopping was not his top priority, going faster was his only goal. This year, he joined the children’s classes in the Kühtai Ski School called BOBO Kinderland. BOBO is the penguin mascot who joins the kids for a sing-song and dance at the end of the morning session.
The classes were every morning from 10:00 to 12:00, which was no problem for Teddy. Whilst he was there, Pete, Sami and I took turns in looking after Amelie and skiing/snowboarding on the mountain.
Once Amelie is old enough and can join the ski school, Pete and Sami can enjoy the mountains themselves, knowing their children are being well looked after by the instructors. There is also an option to have lessons in the afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00, which Teddy did on one of the four days.
Teddy loved the classes, even though all he wanted to do was go on the chair lift to the top of the nursery slope and ski down as fast as possible, he understood that this would only be possible once he learnt how to stop and turn.
The nursery slope is really easy to find and get to. We parked the car in front of the ski school office, which was right next to the nursery slope. We rented Teddy’s skis from the store across the road, it couldn’t have been easier.
Great guidance in the Kühtai Ski School
There were different levels of the nursery slope for absolute beginners to progress through. With Teddy’s goal of the chair lift in sight, he concentrated hard and with the guidance of the ski instructors who spoke really good English. He was skiing down the mountain on his own from the top of the chair lift in a few days.
The instructors could see that he needed guidance in stopping and turning both ways and they focused on that.
It amazes me to think that a 4 year old that had only skied a little bit before, was now on the chair lift and had full control of his skis on the main nursery slope.
Teddy went from only going straight, to carefully snow ploughing (the pizza slice), turning in both directions and stopping on demand. Yes, he harmlessly fell over a few times, but the ski school gave him the confidence to get up and try again. I think Teddy having no fear also helped.
Everyone was involved in the fun
On the last day, there was a race that Teddy entered. All children and adults of the ski school can be involved if they wanted to. Obviously for Teddy and the other child in his class, the race was short – they started about five to ten metres away from the finish line, but it got them involved in the event.
The sound of the commentator on the microphone calling out their name, the music playing in the background, the other skiers and spectators clapping and cheering and all the slalom flags and race fences, gave the young skiers a little taste of a ski event on the mountain. Who knows, they could be the next Winter Olympians.
Everyone had fun and Sami and Pete are over the moon with Teddy’s progression. They are very proud at what he accomplished in such a short amount of time.
With the slopes in Kühtai not being crowded and the ski school not being over booked, Teddy was lucky enough to be the only one in the afternoon class. This meant that he had private tuition at no extra cost. I think for beginners, before Christmas is an excellent time to start.
To book your ski or snowboard lessons, whatever age or level you are, go to the Kühtai ski school website.
Photos: me, Sami and Peter Rich.