The Skiwelt ski area is the largest ski area in Austria with 284 km of pistes, mainly blue and red runs and a few black runs. It consists of 6 main villages: Sol, Ellmau,
Scheffau, Brixen im Thale, Westendorf, and Hopfgarten. To travel to the area around Skiwelt, you have a few different options. Munich airport is about a 2 hour drive, Salzburg about 1 hour, and Innsbruck about 1 hour. Depending on the number of people you are traveling with, it may be beneficial to book a private transfer. Split between a small group, this option becomes quite affordable and is especially convenient to have door to door service, especially if traveling with ski or snowboard equipment
An alternative option if traveling to Innsbruck or Salzburg is take a train from the town center to a station near the town you are staying in and then book a cab from the station to your accommodations.
To travel within a village, there are buses available running within the area to the main ski base gondolas. Additionally, there are buses between the towns if you end up skiing down to the base of an area different than your accommodations or you opt to explore a new town.
Check bus schedules here. If staying within a given town, the main area should be quite walkable.
Intersport offers rentals for ski equipment throughout the area. You can rent in advance for an online discount. Most towns may have a few different options in terms of where to rent - in the town or at the base of the mountain. In Ellmau, a large benefit to renting at the base of the mountain is the availability of ski lockers. The
lockers are approximately 50 euros for two people for a week, and enable you to leave all your ski belongings in the lockers after you finish a day of skiing. This is especially helpful so you do not need to carry your ski equipment to and from your accommodations each day. Instead, you can get them at the base and catch the gondola to the top of the mountain when you are starting your ski day, and leave them in the lockers overnight.
Ski passes can be purchased online here, with a variety of options (summary found here). It will be cheaper if you purchase online and choose to pick up in person, rather than purchasing at the counter.
The Skiwelt pass give you access to all resorts. Once on the mountain, it is easy to ski between the different areas. There is also a superski card which provides access to more ski mountains in the area including Kitzbuhel.
A great perk about this area in Austria is the affordability of the food and going out. Meals are fairly priced and quite tasty. Many of the mountaintop restaurants serve good food, more than just a take-away buffet.
Apres ski spot at the base of Ellmau with music and fun vibes
On the home run down to Ellmau, this is a favorite on the mountain. With great atmosphere, indoor and outdoor seating, the food here is delicious. You cannot go wrong with the schnitzel & chips, tiroler grostl, meat platter or apple pancake. Sometimes there is live German music
Delicious food - phenomenal apple pancake and tiroler grostl and stunning views
Small interior with cozy vibes, tasty pretzels and great stop for a quick coffee
The highest point on the mountain, the buffet offers indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor terrace has a small rotating section which enables different tables to enjoy the stunning views. Head up here for a coffee or beer at 1829 meters,
Igloo bar where you can enjoy a drink in an igloo or outside it!
Stop here for a stunning view, a pretzel and a beer or aperol spritz in the afternoon
Restaurant at the top of the Ellmau gondola, great for a morning coffee as you are hitting the slopes
About a 20 minute walk from the Ellmau town center, this quiet hotel and spa offers a nice spot to sit outside and enjoy a bottle of Austrian wine
Restaurant in town with lots of pizza options, grill selection, salads, and soups.
It is a small additional cost to both the ski passes and rentals, but provides much needed security if something goes wrong. If you are participating in apres ski, definitely an increased likelihood of injuries, accidents, and loss or damage of ski equipment.
Check out the Ski Map to get an idea on how to navigate the mountain.
If looking to keep expenses down, consider a few points when planning the holiday. Booking accommodations with a kitchen will help keep costs down as you will have the opportunity to cook meals at home rather than dining out. Compared to some other Alps destinations, Austria is more affordable than its Swiss or French neighbors.
Skiwelt is a low altitude ski mountain, with max height at 1800m. This means it is not a prime destination for spring skiing and you are taking a risk by booking a trip in March. If there is heavy snowfall, it could easily be nice, but visiting in late March 2023 provided very minimal snow. The towns also get quiet at this time of year as it is considered the off season. Plan a holiday here in January or February for better snow conditions and livelier towns.
Better than Italy, worse than Switzerland and France, the maps on the mountain can be a bit confusing. Slopes are named by numbers that lead down to lifts. It can take some time to get used to both the naming convention and the routes.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks