Get set for the 2021-22 ski season, in the heart of the Austrian Alps
As the benefits of the vaccine programmes at home and abroad start to take effect, we can look ahead to better times, and that means planning that first big ski trip in two years or more, reconnecting with loved ones, and making the most of the great outdoors again. As the beautiful mountain town of Kitzbühel gets ready to welcome back Brits to the slopes, tourism providers have been working around the clock to ensure that guests can enjoy the resort’s superb facilities safely and hassle-free, while experiencing a warm and heartfelt Tyrolean welcome.
Now that Austria has been designated a ‘green list’ destination by the British government, and local authorities have removed most travel restrictions for UK visitors, the prospect of a Kitzbühel winter sports holiday to remember is very much back on the cards. The ski season in the town is one of the longest in the Alps, with more than 200 days of ski and boarding to enjoy annually between October and May, with lifts expected to operate at full pre-pandemic capacity this winter.
A flurry of tried and tested health and safety measures were put in place last year, which worked successfully and have been improved upon further, meaning visitors can be confident of experiencing a safe and enjoyable holiday this winter. Wearing a mask will be required in accommodation communal areas, in the waiting areas and on the ski lifts, and social distancing measures will be in place throughout. Hand sanitiser will be widely available, and visitors will be able to dine out in confidence thanks to strict restaurant hygiene practices as directed by the Ministry of Health. Pioneering UV-C light disinfecting processes will be in use at several locations, including at the impressive Aquarena swimming and spa centre. During the season, skiers will be able to use the four main lifts from the valley (Hahnenkamm, Fleckalm, Maierl, Wagstätt) and the pistes will be carefully managed to optimise the flow of visitors, meaning less time waiting and more time skiing.
Kitzbühel is leading the way with a comprehensive Covid-19 testing programme, with most accommodation and hospitality providers working with the authorities to regularly test their staff. Hotel employees, those in the catering industry, and even ski instructors can take part in the programme, meaning almost everyone that holidaymakers come into contact with, will be regularly checked. If required, visitors themselves will be able to take a rapid test at a dedicated screening station in the town, with results delivered quickly and reliably. So that everyone can spend maximum time on the slopes, visitors are encouraged to book ski passes online, meaning they can beat the queue and eliminate the possibility of creating congestion at the ticket office.
Situated at an altitude of between 762 – 2,000m, holidaymakers to Kitzbühel find some of the best snow conditions anywhere in the region, with 57 cable cars and lifts, 233km of glorious pistes and 92 marked and groomed ski slopes to enjoy. The Hanglalm Snowpark and nearby natural toboggan runs are ideal for thriller-seekers, while the town’s four artificial and two natural ice-skating rinks provide the perfect activity for families and friends to spend quality time together. Increasingly popular with Brits, thanks to a growing number of low-cost direct flight connections between the UK and Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich, Kitzbühel is also a Mecca for lovers of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and high-altitude hiking.
Kitzbühel has long been known for its superb ski offering, with the first ever high-Alpine descent on skis in Austria taking place on the Kitzbüheler Horn mountain more than 125 years ago. But the town in the western province of Tyrol has a rich history dating back far further, to the 12th Century, meaning that today Kitzbühel boasts a delightful mix of Medieval architecture with a traditional Austrian feel comprising boutique hotels, artisan shops, fascinating museums and countless eateries including more than 60 mountain inns and restaurants.
Winter news from Kitzbühel
The Hahnenkamm World Cup Races: The 82nd edition of the Hahnenkamm World Cup Races will take place in Kitzbühel 17-23 January 2022. The world-famous event is renowned for the Streif run, which is filled with blind drops, daredevil jumps, and unforgiving twists and turns. An international roster of top athletes will compete during an incredible programme of downhill ski racing, where the slick, steep track propels the competitors up to speeds of 140 kph, and the legendary Mousetrap jump launches racers 80m through the air. After the pandemic forced the event to take place without crowds last winter, this year it is hoped that there will be an electric atmosphere throughout Kitzbühel, as athletes and spectators descend on the town for a week of adrenaline-filled excitement.
The Austrian Tirol now offers the longest ski circuit in the world: This year, guests travelling to the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental and KitzSki can try the longest ski circuit in the world. The new connection allows visitors to ski from Going am Wilden Kaiser, across to the Kitzbühel Alps to Hollersbach in the Hohe Tauern, never using the same slope twice. The 34.7 km round trip can be started from any stage location and can be enjoyed using just one lift pass – the KitzSkiWelt Ticket. The tour is currently being fine-tuned; details (including prices) will follow shortly.
Hotel News: The beautiful Alpenhotel Kitzbühel is situated in a unique location directly on the shores of Lake Schwarzsee near Kitzbühel with a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains and the Wilder Kaiser. Expansion works at the four-star property have recently been completed, with the addition of a new lakeside lodge, which benefits from direct access on to the water. The space includes an à la carte restaurant and high-end accommodation. Meanwhile, four new luxury suites have been added at the five-star A-ROSA Kitzbühel. The hotel, which overlooks the renowned GC Kitzbühel golf course, features beautiful Tyrolean style turrets and shingle roof and natural stone bay windows that seamlessly blend into the surrounding countryside.
The KitzSki Pure Card: Visitors to Kitzbühel are encouraged to purchase a KitzSki Pure Card. Launched last winter and made from 100% recyclable, locally sourced Tyrolean wood, the credit card sized pass is a world first, and can be used to access the mountain lifts in both the winter ski and summer hiking seasons. Developed by SKIDATA, an international leader in the field of access solutions, the KitzSki Pure Card can be purchased for €3 at the lift stations, or if bought online it can personalised with the holder’s name engraved on it. The microchipped card allows holidaymakers to easily and contactlessly pass through the turnstiles and can be kept indefinitely, with the ability to remotely load day, week and season ticket passes on to it at any time.
To start planning your Kitzbühel ski trip and for more information please visit: www.kitzbuehel.com/en