SKIGEBIED IN DE SPOTLIGHT: KÜHTAI
This week, I, Snowplanner Brian, am putting Kühtai in the spotlight.
Kühtai is a small ski area (46 kilometers) in the neighbourhood of Innsbruck. From Utrecht it is an 813 kilometer drive. I however chose to fly to Innbruck Airport, from there it is an hour by bus, or 35 minutes by taxi to Kühtai. If you are travelling alone and are not bound to certain dates I would recommend flying. It is possible to book a return flight to Innsbruck for under €150 including luggage. Public transport is free if you are in posession of a valid ski pass.
Kühtai is marketed as a family resort due to the many kid friendly ski schools and hotels (including a hotel specifically aimed at families with small children). Furthermore the ski area is shaped like a bowl in which every slope is leading to the village. This makes it easy to orient and hard to lose kids. On the other hand Kühtai is not a very easy ski area. It counts only 2 blue slopes, the rest are red and black slopes.
Always good snow in Kühtai!
At 2020 meters, Kühtai is the highest village in Austria. Kühtais lowest point is at no less than 1938 meters, its highest point is at 2520 meters. The slopes are therefore not very long, which means it won’t be long before you’ll be taking the lift up again. In return however, due to the altitude and lay-out of Kühtai, you get a ski area with a very long season and good snow, even during spring time. This makes it no surprise why a lot of ‘Ski Gymnasia’ and race teams (even Europa Cup and World Cup sometimes) train here.
Kühtais season starts at the end of November and lasts all the way to end of April. There is good snow all season long mainly due to the ski area being split in a North and a South side. No worries, you can ski from side to side, without taking your ski’s off. The South side of the area will be sunny quite early on the day. The North side however, will get sun much later on the day, this means the snow will hold much better. Even in late March or April it is very possible to be skiing hardpacked groomers in Kühtai.
The best slopes
The best slopes in Kühtai (at least in my opinion) are found around the Gaiskogellift. The Gaiskogellift is a t-bar and it gives access to 3 black slopes on the North side of the area, the 9, 9a and 9b slope. These slopes are great because not many people go there, probably due to the t-bar and their location (well hidden). Furthermore there is some nice terrain you can ski in between these 3 slopes.
What else is there to know?
It is possible to ski powder in Kühtai, there are some very nice powder runs. However, because its close to Innsbruck, many locals come to the resort on a powder day. Therefore the good runs are tracked pretty quickly.
Après-ski is almost non-existent. You can grab a drink here and there once you finish skiing, but don’t expect a big party. If you want to party anyway, you’ll have to go to Innsbruck. Innsbruck is good fun and there is a lot to see too. Even if you are not planning on going wild, it is worth the trip. It is only a 35 minute drive after all. And if you don’t want to take the car, public transport is free with a valid ski pass.
With your Kühtai ski pass you are allowed to ski in Hochoetz as well. The two areas are not connected unfortunately, but its only a 15 minute drive from one area to another (there is also a bus going). Hochoetz is an easier ski area, with more blue slopes, this makes it more accessible to beginners as well. Furthermore, because Hoechoetz is lower, it can be a good alternative for when sight is poor in Kühtai due to mist.
Two times a week it is possible to ski in the evening as well, this is on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On those evenings you have access to two chair lifts and 2 red slopes. One of the slopes is quite short and considered to be a beginners slope, even though it is quite hard. The other slope is a more challenging red slope, but still very doable. Even if you’re a good skier I’d say its worth it to go at least once.
For whom is Kühtai?
The main reason you come to Kühtai is to enjoy some nice and quiet family time. Ski schools teach from 10 – 12 and 14 – 16, meaning you can enjoy lunch as a family, without having to rush. Besides, there are some nice children friendly hotels, with plenty to do for the family.
However, if you are an absolute beginner Kühtai is probably not for you, due to most slopes being quite challenging. Big après-ski fans, it is probably better if you too consider some other areas first before going to Kühtai.