A long weekend skiing in Mayrhofen, part of the Zillertal region of Austria. Just an hour from Innsbruck, with an extensive and modern lift system, makes this resort perfect for a short ski break.
Mayrhofen in Zillertal is a lively town in the heart of the Tirol. It has a reputation for a lively après scene and offers excellent intermediate to advanced skiing. We were excited to explore what this resort had to offer on our annual girls ski weekend, previous trips have included the SkiWelt and La Clusaz in France.
Getting to Mayrhofen
For a short ski break to work the resort needs to be convenient, with a short transfer and Mayrhofen definitely ticks this box. We flew into Innsbruck on a midday, EasyJet flight, from Bristol. Getting through passport control and collecting our bags took less then 15 minutes and with a pre-booked taxi we arrived in the resort just an hour later. It couldn’t have been more convenient!
Nestled in a steep sided valley, Mayrhofen is located at 630m in the upper Zillertal, a scenic valley in the heart of Tirol and Austria. Although low in altitude, the ski area rises high above, guaranteeing good snow conditions through-out the winter season.
Mayrhofen is a big town with all the amenities you will need for your holiday. Though accommodation is spread out across the valley the bus system is very good and we also found the taxi’s excellent value for money.
Check out all the stats from On The Snow.
We were staying just outside Mayrhofen in the village of Horberg. This hamlet provides great access to the ski area from the Horbergerbahn gondola. It also boasts two Après ski bars and a pizzeria. There are regular ski buses to Mayrhofen throughout the day. The only thing the village misses is a shop, you will need to go to Mayrhofen for provisions.
Through booking.com we stayed at the Horberg Apartments, which were excellent. The flat was spacious, warm, clean, and the kitchen was well equipped. It took less then 10 minutes to walk to the ski lift from the apartments.
The Ski Area
The Mayrhofen ski area is impressive, covering 142 kilometres of perfectly groomed slopes and 60 state of the art cable car and lift systems. In fact the most modern lift system in a resort I have seen. We never saw a lift queue!
The resort is split across two main mountains, the Ahorn and Penken ski areas. The Ahorn area is advertised as being the more beginner, family friendly terrain. Whilst the Penken area has the more difficult pistes, including the legendary Harakiri slope (the steepest in Austria with an eye-watering gradient of 78%).
However, as impressive as this all sounds, when we visited in mid-January we had 3 days of fresh snowfall. Which was amazing to play in on the pistes but meant near white out conditions. We stayed low, amongst the trees where the visibility was best, but this did mean we didn’t explore half of what the area has to offer.
Starting from our base in Horberg the gondola takes you straight up to a bowl area with plenty of choice in which direction to head. We enjoyed the pistes on the Horberg side of the mountain the most, as well as the runs 31, 32 and 33, all graded red. The poor weather conditions meant people were staying low and the blue pistes were all crowded and best avoided. The grading of the pistes in Mayrhofen are definitely are not flattering – a red piste is very much towards the ‘proper’ red level.
The snow conditions were excellent and all the pistes were open. The lifts start running at 8.15 so we set our alarm clocks and made sure we were first to hit the slopes and enjoy the fresh snow falls and make some fresh tracks!
The Austrians know a thing or two about après and Mayrhofen is the home of Austrian après. Whether you want to shot-slam the night away or enjoy a traditional meal in rustic restaurant. There is something for everyone.
We only managed one ‘proper’ night out. Starting with an excellent meal at the Restaurant Metzgerstube. Offering traditional Austrian cuisine, I had the best ribs I have ever eaten. Then we headed to the legendary Bruck’n Stadl where the table dancing kicks off! This was an ‘experience’ and I have never seen so many Jägerbomb’s being consumed! We only managed a couple of hours before retreating to the sanctuary of our apartment!
Mayrhofen is a great destination for a ski weekend. Short transfers, a decent sized ski area and a town with some proper après. I would love to go back and explore the whole of the mountain, there was a lot we missed because of the weather conditions. The resort was good value for money, with food and alcohol comparable to UK prices. Lift passes were from €64.50 a day and these cover the whole Zillertal ski region.
Fun was had both on and off the slopes!