For folks looking to explore the wide world of skiing in Tyrol, the ideal starting point is Innsbruck: Tyrol’s capital city, surrounded by snow-covered peaks, offers a winning mix of ideal alpine sports terrain and urban life. Dress warm, in this article we show you the most beautiful ski resorts around Innsbruck.
#1 Patscherkofel: INNSBRUCK’S HOME MOUNTAIN
Patscherkofel, or the "Kofel" for short, is quite generally Innsbruck residents’ favourite place for an outing and thus thought of as the city’s "Hausberg", or home mountain. It’s just south of town and can be comfortably reached by tram or bus. It was in 1928 that a gondola began whisking guests up to the Kofel’s 1,965-metre summit. And ever since the new 10-seat Patscherkofel Ropeway commenced operations in December 2017, it’s taken just under 10 minutes to go all the way to the top. Once there, the first thing you do is stand in awe of the nearby peaks that line the Wipp, Stubai, and Inn Valleys. And another source of perennial fascination is the view of the Nordkette range directly across the Inn Valley from here.
Distance from Innsbruck: a 10-minute ride
Ski lifts: new single-cable gondola takes passengers up to 1,965 m, barrier-free
Combined trail length: 18 kilometres
Suitable for: families, ambitious athletes
#2 Nordkette: AN ALPINE ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND
Nowhere else is the transition between urban space and the rugged alpine world so quick: it takes just 20 minutes on the Hungerburgbahn funicular railway to travel from Innsbruck's city centre to this skiing El Dorado in the Nordkette range, which is part of the high alpine Karrende group. The first cable car here, a pioneering technical achievement, was put up in 1906 and extended to Hafelekar in 1927. Today, a modern hybrid funicular - realized as a veritable artwork by star architect Zahl Hadid - takes just eight minutes to reach Innsbruck's Hungerburg district. From there, you take a gondola up to the Seegrube (1,905 m) and then continue on another to the Hafelekar (2,300 m).
Once arrived, you have two chair lifts to choose from. These provide access to an area that offers a wide range of winter sports highlights: from Europe's steepest ski route, the Hafelekarinne with its 70 percent grade, to the Nordkette Skylinepark, an institution among Austrian terrain parks. This is also the world's only terrain park that can boast the appellation "in-city", being accessed directly from the centre of town with no need to hit the road. A further highlight - alongside Nordkette's giant sun terrace - is Cloud 9, the Alps' largest event igloo, where Austrian and international DJs set crowds aglow at legendary après-ski parties.
Insider tip: The Ski Plus City Pass unites the ski area Axamer Lizum, Gelungener, Patscherkofel, Nordkette, Stubaier Gletscher, Schlick 2000, Kühtai, Bergbahnen Oberfuss and Mutteralm. Ski bus transfers are free for those staying in Innsbruck.
Distance from Innsbruck: inside the city limits
Ski lifts: one funicular and two gondolas plus two chairlifts
Combined trail length: 13 kilometres
Suitable for: freeriders, experienced skiers, snowboarders
#3 Axamer Lizum: INNSBRUCK’S "WHITE ROOF"
Much like the famous Golden Roof in historic Innsbruck, the Axamer Lizum is something of an Innsbruck landmark. Here, as well, 19 kilometres outside of town, there’s still a hint of Olympic flair wafting through the air. And o n the legendary downhill and giant slalom runs on the "Hoadl", one of this ski area’s peaks, the high elevation (1,540–2,340 m) and 100% snowmaking coverage mean that things get busy as early as November. The summit here is reached by a funicular railway built in 1975. In terms of variety, Axamer Lizum simply can’t be beat! Hit the practice area and the Snowpark one day, and the Funway, the mogul run, or the deep powder slope the next. It’s a combination that’s fit to leave skiers of all ages 100% satisfied.
Distance from Innsbruck: 19 kilometres
Ski lifts: 10 lifts (funicular/chair/surface)
Combined trail length: 41 kilometres
Suitable for: beginners, powder lovers, athletic skiers
#4 Mutteralm: A MOUNTAIN’S WORTH OF EXPERIENCES
Taking the tram directly out of town and onto the high alpine meadow – that puts a smile on the faces of young and old alike. And at this family-friendly ski area, two ski schools cater to the littlest skiers as well as senior citizens and beginners. Muttereralm, with its 16 kilometres of slopes, is one of the region’s smaller ski areas, but even so, it offers everything a winter athlete’s heart desires – even a permanent fatbike & skibob run that extends all the way down to the valley floor. The intermediate family trail to Götzens was used as an alternate slope by the 1976 Winter Olympics. It descends into the valley through four kilometres of snow-covered fairytale forests.
Distance from Innsbruck: 6 kilometres
Ski lifts: 2 gondolas, 1 chairlift, 1 surface lift, and several children’s lifts
Combined trail length: 16 kilometres
Suitable for: children, beginners, advanced skiers, ski tourers
#5 Stubaier Gletscher: Ski like royalty
Austria’s largest glacier ski area, which is just a 45-minute drive from Innsbruck, makes it possible to enjoy winter sports activities all the way into June. Since 2016, a large new gondola here has provided access to 35 different downhill slopes, most of which are rated either easy or intermediate. They start at elevations of up to 3,200 metres, which guarantees not only perfect natural snow conditions but also fascinating high alpine scenery as a backdrop. The grandiose views range from the Zillertal and Stubai Alps to the Dolomites and the Limestone Alps. One can marvel at over 109 peaks that stand at 3,000 metres or taller from the summit platform "Top of Tyrol".
Standing on this construction, which extends nine metres beyond the cliff ’s edge, one virtually floats above the abyss – so the fact that it’s been used for things like a 2019 Bollywood film shoot is anything but surprising. Further standouts here include the giant slalom course on the Eisjochferner, the speed measurement run on the Daunferner, and the Big Family, Children’s, and Youth Ski Camp with four magic carpet lifts and fun runs for up-and-coming young skiers
Distance from Innsbruck: 45 minutes’ drive
Ski lifts: 26 gondolas and lifts
Combined trail length: 110 kilometres
Suitable for: all levels and ages
#6 Arlberg: THE CRADLE OF ALPINE SKIING
In this place, where latter-day celebs and crowned heads have themselves hoisted upward by over 100 chairlifts and cable lifts, it was long only rough-and-ready "mountain men" who got to swing their way down the slopes here on self-carved boards after having spent hours clambering up the slopes. The history of the Arlberg began long before the era of chairlifts or gondolas. It was in St. Christoph – which remains a centre of training for ski instructors – that the Skiclub Arlberg was founded all the way back in 1901. The first skiing school then opened in St. Anton in 1921, while 1928 saw the first edition of the famed Arlberg-Kandahar-Race. The first surface lift began running in Zürs in 1937.
And two years later, Lech had a lift, as well. Today, with four Olympic gold medallists, this Arlberg community is home to the highest density of Olympic skiing medallists anywhere in the world. The Arlberg, just one hour’s drive from Innsbruck, is the non plus ultra of winter sports.
Distance from Innsbruck: 1 hour
Ski lifts: 88 total
Combined trail length: 305 kilometres
Suitable for: all levels and ages
Already packed your ski equipment and suitcases? Then off to Innsbruck! Austrian Airlines flies to Innsbruck up to five times daily from Vienna and four times daily from Frankfurt. The best place to book your next flight is right here: