Kitzbuhel is one of the world’s most famous ski resorts and also one of the most stylish, centred on a charming medieval quarter and filled with swanky boutiques, swish hotels and sophisticated patrons. Its a truly unique and atmospheric, pretty postcard town, often described as the most beautiful ski town in Europe, so its worth a visit at any time of the year and its easy to get to from Salzburg, Innsbruck or Munich, by plane or train.
Kitzbuhel is most famous in the winter-sports world for being the venue for the spectacular Hahnenkamm races, first staged in 1931 and now a classic fixture on the annual Alpine World Cup competitions circuit. The January race weekend in Kitzbuhel is a world-class party atmosphere, with world class skiers, which cannot be beaten anywhere. Lots of live music and pop up food villages add to the atmosphere.
Kitzbuhel caters for a wide range of guests and offers a big choice of accommodation including hotels, private homes, chalets and apartments, with services to match pretty much any budget. Likewise, its ski areas have plenty of variety of terrain to keep most skiers and boarders happy, particularly intermediates and advanced. The resort’s low base altitude is often thought of as an issue by some, in respect of the reliability of snow conditions, but snowmaking equipment covers the key problem areas on the lower to mid-altitude slopes and the lowest pistes are situated on grass-based slopes, which don’t actually require much depth of snow to be viable, unlike those where significant rocks have to be covered.
Because of the fame and reputation of its fearsome Streif course on the Hahnenkamm, Kitzbuhel attracts many expert skiers. However though its ski areas does have a number of good black runs, plus several unpisted ski routes, the majority of the slopes are very well suited to intermediates, with over 200km of pistes to enjoy.
There are two separate local ski areas: the Kitzbuheler Horn to the north-east, and the main Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein-Resterhohe linked ski domain to the south-west. The Kitzbuheler Horn area is by far the smaller, but offers a respectable selection of good cruising pistes on relatively high-altitude slopes and is promoted as Kitzbuhel’s local freestyle & snowboard area: featuring a snowpark, halfpipe, and skier/boardercross course.
Kitzbuhel’s main ski area is accessed via the Hahnenkamm gondola just up the street from the centre of town. The core Hahnenkamm-Pengelstein sectors are shared with the neighbouring linked resort of Kirchberg and offer a nice mix of fair black runs, good reds, and far-ranging blues; the long blue cruises down to the hamlet of Skirast connect over to the Ki-West gondola on the slopes of the Gampenkogel, an access point into the vast SkiWelt domain via Westendorf (Kitzbuheler Alpen Top Ski area pass required). You can also get the train to Zell am See and ski that area on the Salzburg pass and then over to Saalbach and ski over there for a day. So much to see and ski.
In the opposite direction, the impressive peak-to-peak 3S gondola connects the Pengelstein to the Wurzhohe above Jochberg, providing the link with Kitzbuhel’s highest and most snow-sure sector of Resterhohe above Pass Thurn. This Jochberg-Pass Thurn area houses some of the region’s best intermediate terrain, plus a big snowpark that features advanced-level modules. Over in Jochberg we have some great ski in ski apartments too.
Kitzbuhel is top drawer when it comes to apres ski as it has a plethora of bars catering for every taste, from a quiet beer to a full-on party – kick off at the Streifalm at the bottom of the slopes – and its restaurants range from fine dining (with the Neuwirt at the top of the tree) to cheap and cheerful. There’s plenty to do once the slopes shut: the Aquarena pools will keep families happy and good rail links mean a day trip to Salzburg or Innsbruck might appeal to the culture-seekers. A true gem of a resort, so try it soon and you will see why its popular.
Whilst living in the shadow of its famous neighbour, Kitzbuhel, can never be easy, Kirchberg Ski Resort has an ambience and charm of its own as well as a lively apres ski scene. In Kirchberg you will find a lot more inexpensive ski holiday accommodation, compared to Kitzbuhel, with the added benefit of still being able to ski the same mountains. Kirchberg attracts couples, groups and families and any dedicated skiers looking for the ski offers that its more upmarket neighbour doesn’t provide, as well as an affordable and very lively village atmosphere, once the pistes have closed. In effect you have 2 great villages centres to enjoy connected by pistes and shuttle buses late into the evening, so pick the one that suits you best!
Skiing in Kirchberg offers access to one of the largest linked ski areas in Austria. Beginners can start off on the gentle slopes of Kirchberg’s own mountain, Gaisberg, while more experienced skiers can access over 200km of runs in the Kitzbüheler Ski Circus by ski bus or cable car from the town. If you really want a challenge then you can try your hand at the world’s most difficult downhill run, The Hahnenkamm. There are also plenty of options for snowboarders in the area with a local snowboard park as well as a second park near the Kitzbühelerhorn.
Kirchberg Ski Holidays offer bargains to many of the ski and snowboarding related festivals held in the region each season. The village offers a number of lively pubs and bars that you can party the night away in or as an alternative you can also take a trip into Kitzbühel to try out their own après ski scene or try your hand in the casino. All in all a great holiday is assured in an area that suits all abilities. Check out accommodation options including ski passes and also check out our short ski breaks in either Kirchberg or Kitzbuhel.