22nd March 2022 | James Cove, Ski Juwel, Tirol.
The resort in the Tirol is like a time capsule, but with a few modern twists. We were only in the resort for 24-hours but would like to return for so much more. Check out our take on an historic resort in the Alps where time simply stands still. NEW
Alpbach is part of the Ski Juwel area in the Tirol that comprises the main resorts of Alpbach and Auffach, plus the smaller one of Niederau and several other areas for cross-country.
It simply ouses Austrian alpine charm.
It reminded me of Murren in Switzerland.
This is the local bank:
This is my hotel, Hotel Zur Post, that has been welcoming guests for over 100 years:
It is like walking and skiing through a living alpine architecture museum.
We’ll look at the fabulous architecture in this part of the Alps and the strict planning rules later – first the skiing.
There are two distinct areas – Wildschonau and Alpbachtal.
There are 113km of slopes with 46 lifts.
It claims to be the tenth largest area in Austria but it is a spread-out affair.
90% of the pistes are covered by snowmaking.
Alpbachtal is the first area as you approach from down in the valley and it offers a mix of long and wide reds and blues.
With some lovely paths snaking through the trees.
It is mainly for intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
There’s a good sized freeride area, which would have been great if conditions allowed.
And plenty of attractions for the next generation of skiers.
Earlier this winter at the end of December the kids fun run, pictured above, had 800 people go through it.
In a week?
In a day?
No, in a morning.
And PlanetSKI enjoyed it too on our visit:
Talking of numbers, it was a blissfully quiet day on the slopes mid-week in mid-March on our visit, but at the height of the season the area of Alpbachtal alone sees around 7,000 people per day.
The Germans are the main visitors followed by the Brits.
The Germans come for short stays, the Brits somewhat longer.
And they have been coming for a while.
The Alpbach Visitors Ski Club was set up by the British in 1968 and is still going strong.
Like the resort of St Johann that we have just passed through the area has a long standing affection with the British.
And don’t forget to check out our rolling blog of our time in the Tirol as we approach Week Four.
The other main area in the Ski Juwel is Wildschonau.
It is similar, with a couple of black slopes and a fabulous 1,000m+ decent down to the village of Auffach.
From there it is a short bus ride to Niederau.
An area I visited back in 2013 when the resorts in the area linked up to become the Ski Juwel:
Now what about the buildings?
All have to meet the very strict local planning rules.
Even if you just want to make a few external changes.
The pit-stop huts are of a different quality.
And some of the lift stations, often ugly concrete affairs in other resorts, have wooden coverings here.
And in town:
24-hours in Alpbach was not enough.
It is a ski area where you do not want to be looking at the clock.
Rather time needs to slip away in order for you to appreciate its charms.
But a word of warning if you like a Schnapps.
If you ask a barman for a local Schnapps this is likely what you will get – a Krautinger Schanapps.
It is made from turnips and is one of the most foul-tasting drinks I have ever consumed.
Now I am not a schnapps specialist so the fault probably lies entirely with my pallet, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Maybe another visit will change my view and I’ll ‘enjoy’ one in the bar of the Hotel zur Post.
I already love the ski area.
I want to discover the winter walking trails, the cross country routes and the toboggan runs too.
I want to step back in winter’s time.
So for me in the Ski Juwel, it’s likely more ‘Au Revior’ than ‘Auf Wiedersehen’.
See here for further details on the Tirol Tourist Board web site.