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Kitzbuhel Review

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Kitzbuhel Review

Rating: ★★★★★ 9,0 out of 10

“Kitzbuhel, also known as Kitz, is one of the most famous ski resorts in Austria and Europe, mainly thanks to its world renowned, notoriously dangerous WC downhill run called Der Streif. But there is much more to it. The beautiful medieval city centre is full of designer shops and posh hotels. It is often visited and inhabited by members of the world’s jet set. The scenery is breath-taking. Although Kitz is famous for the treacherous racing piste, slopes are diverse, mainly suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers. Kitzbuhel has great easily accessible freeriding spots. It has a vibrant night life. Read the rest of this Kitzbuhel Review to see why it should be your next winter destination”.

Pros: great diversity, modern infrastructure, nice freeriding spots, Kitz is a pioneer in winter tourism, a gorgeous city centre, an exciting night life, posh but not too expensive

Cons: low altitude can negatively influence snow quality, the resort has 2 parts which are not interconnected

Kitzbuhel ski map

Click to enlarge

KITZBUHEL SLOPES

Easy 101 km (47%)
Intermediate 61 km (28%)
Difficult 17 km (8%)
Routes 36 km (17%)
TOTAL 215 km

Kitzbuhel has a long tradition of winter tourism and sports. The first ski descent happened in 1893. Since then it has been one of the most famous resorts in the world. The main reason is the World Cup Hahnenkamm downhill race.  It is held every year on a piste called Der Streif. When I arrived in Kitzbuhel I couldn’t wait to test the track, but I was a little bit disappointed. Parts of the Streif were closed and some parts were left ungroomed with 1 meter high, icy, moguls. It was almost impossible to ski there. But there was Family Streif, a red piste going around the race track. It gives an opportunity to beginners or intermediate skiers to get a taste of the most dangerous piste in WC calendar. If the Streif was a bit disappointing, everything else was mind blowing.

Kitz has a total of 215 km of pistes. It is divided in 2 areas which are not interconnected. Kitzbuheler Horn occupies a smaller part of the resort (left of the map), often referred to as the area for beginners. Hahnenkamm is the main skiing area. If that is not enough for you, you can catch a free shuttle bus from Kirchberg and after a 15-minute ride you will be able to try out SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental slopes (additional 284 km of runs). The standard Kitzbuhel ski pass will not cover for additional slopes.

The highest peaks are situated at around 2000 m, while the city lies at 800 m. Runs are diverse, best suited for beginners and intermediate skiers. Grooming is excellent, and the infrastructure is great. Lifts are new and fast. A large percentage of them has heated seats and bubbles. Even though there is only one lift going from the city to the top of Hahnenkamm, there are no long queues. The resort spans across a wide area. In order to see the entire offer of pistes you will need to catch the spectacular 3S gondola (great view). It will take you a substantial amount of time, so be aware of your position and lift closing hours.

The views and the nature are spectacular, from the city centre with its narrow, cobbled streets to mountain peak panoramas. When you get to Kitz you will be stopping every 5 minutes to admire the impressive surroundings.

Kitzbuhel mountains panorama. Clouded weather.

FREERIDE AND TERRAIN PARKS IN KITZBUHEL

Kitzbuhel ski area has a nice choice of easily accessible freeride spots. I had a great time under and around the C1 lift :). There is a wide open slope just on the left. Also there is a big freeriding-suitable area around the G8 lift. Off piste zones are diverse, and there are open mountain faces or forests when the weather is bad. You can also catch a snowcat from the top of Bichlalm lift and then follow routes 50a, 51, and 52. One ride will cost you 11.5 EUR.  If you are a powder junkie, contact guys from the Alpin Schule Rock n Roll, and they will show you around. One day with a guide starts off at around 320 EUR.

Kitz has a world-class snow park just by the lift number G5. You will find everything one might need there no matter if you are a professional or a beginner. The park has around 35 features: kickers, boxes, rails, tubes etc. The lower part is more suitable for beginner and intermediate riders. The snow park has its own mobile Android or IOS application. It will inform you about park status, open features, weather forecasts and much more.

There is a small fun park on Kitzbuheler Horn. It is best suited for kids, families and beginners, and it is situated by the B9 ski lift.

 

Kitzbuhel view

HOW TO GET TO KITZBUHEL

Kitzbuhel is situated in Austrian province Tyrol. It is surrounded by 3 major airports: Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Munich. The Innsbruck airport is around 100 km away, so you will need 1h 15min by car. Salzburg airport is closer, 95 km away, but it will take you 1h 25 min to get to Kitz by car. Munich is 160 km away. A car ride to Kitz would take you at least 2h. There are regular traffic jams around Munich, which can prolong your trip.

Innsbruck airport has a direct train link to Kitzbuhel.  A one-way Taxi transfer from Innsbruck costs from 150 EUR (50 EUR per person, min. 3 persons). A shared taxi from Salzburg would cost you from 35 EUR. An economy transfer from Munich goes from 54 EUR per person.

Travelling to Kitzbuhel by train might be a good idea since all international trains stop at the Kitz main station. Austria has a long tradition of railway transport. Kitz got connected to the rest of the country with the construction of the railroad in the year 1875.

Your car would give you the freedom to visit other resorts in the area, but you would have to take care concerning bad weather, icy roads, tyre chains etc. Also, you could visit Innsbruck or Salzburg in the evening, as they are only 1h away.

 

Kitzbuhel mountains panorama

WHERE TO STAY IN KITZBUHEL

Accommodation in Kitzbuhel is on average more expensive than in the rest of the Austria. There is a great selection of high-end hotels. You will get to choose from modern interior and exterior decoration to rearranged old fortresses. Find your accommodation close to the base station of the Hahnenkamm gondola or a bus stop since the number of ski in/ski out hotels is limited. Kitz boasts the biggest ski bus network in the Alps. The busses are free for ski-pass holders. Use them to get to the first station of the gondola, or parking is going to cost you an arm and a leg otherwise.

If you want to save your money find your accommodation in the surrounding villages: Hollersbach, Jochberg, Aurach, Kirchberg, and Aschau. You will have access to the same slopes but you will pay less. If you liked this Kitzbuhel Review you can book your accommodation here.

Wilder Kaiser Kitzbuhel Panorama

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DAY ON SNOW (APRES-SKI) IN KITZBUHEL

There are 2 great places where you can have a break during the day. The first one is called Barenbadalm. It is situated at the top of lifts number F7 and F8. Try the delicious goulash soup which will warm you up and give you energy for the rest of day. The other one is called Panorama-Alm, and you will find it near the top of the G7 lift. As its name suggests, it has a great sun deck with a view on the surrounding mountains.

After a day on snow, explore the pedestrian zone and old streets surrounding it in the city centre. Shopaholics will have a field day. You can also visit the Kitzbuhel Museum and see the collection made up of artefacts from the bronze age to the modern days.

You should visit Huberbrau Stuberl and taste Austrian food. Try sushi at Kitz’n’Bar. We had decent burgers and affordable beer at Sigi’s Sportsbar. Party until morning at Take 5.

Kitzbuhel Mountain Panorama with Skiers

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