Updated: Dec 18, 2018
Visited: February 2017
Our visit to Kitzbühel was all very last minute but we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived. It is a little gem resort in Austria and offers a bit of luxury to snowboarding. We booked this resort as we were following a storm and were trying to get some early versions of the PowDaze tested.
So about Kitzbühel, it is a beautiful Austrian town in the midst of the Tirol skiing area. It is home to The Kitzbühel Down Hill, and sees a lot of visitors each year. The whole resort is sponsored by Audi Quattro, which not only does it make you want to leave with one, it gives a feel to how expensive this town is. In all honesty it gave me the vibes of a more colourful Zermatt if that helps paint the picture. Now that I’ve said that, I do have to state that I loved the town, resort and everything Kitzbühel had to offer. The town was laden with restaurants and bars, with great window shopping and a lot to offer on days were snowboarding wasn’t a possibility.
Once again, we have ourselves a huge resort! With the passes we bought, we had access to 4 base gondolas: 2 in Kitzbühel, 1 in Jochberg & 1 in Kirchberg. We were staying right in between Kitzbühel & Jochberg, so those are the ones that we tried. We did reach Kirchberg from the mountain but never started there as it was a 40 minute drive away.
There are pros and cons to Jochberg & Kitzbühel. Starting with Jochberg, just as we did, pros: much emptier, free parking & a shorter drive than where we were staying. Cons: no surrounding restaurants, small parking lot, early gondola shutting time and an intermediate last run down. With good snow it would not be so bad however it bakes in the sun all day and then ices over by sunset so not ideal to beginners. If you are a confident snowboarder however I think this is the better option.
Kitzbühel Pros: really built up area, huge parking lot, later closing time for the gondola. Cons: paid parking ~€8 a day. For us, it was a bit of a no brainer to use the Kitzbühel parking & gondola as we ended up driving to Kitzbühel each evening anyway for dinner, as that is where all the restaurants are.
The runs on the mountain are fantastic & very beautiful. With a good mix of beginner, intermediate and a few advanced runs, there really is something for everyone. Another good reason to start from Kitzbühel is that you end up in that area anyway so you just start your day where you end up anyway. The only down side of the resort is that it faces the sun all day. We unfortunately had terrible conditions with 5-9ºC on the mountain everyday, with no new snow (I know the irony of trying to follow the storm!) and ice forming each night it was not easy on my "beginner" legs & with a camera on my back. There is a fantastic area with a restaurant in the valley which made for some nice off piste runs, which would be even better with fresh snow.
Having only 3 days snowboarding in the resort, we barely explored it! We did venture over to the other side of Kitzbühel, however it was a very run down park & not really worth the trip. On that note, to fully adventure the whole place, be prepared for a longer stay or to work your legs hard.
Kitzbühel is an adorable village, which is a decent size and is dusted with designer shops! It eludes luxury and again things could get quite expensive; thankfully there was a spar supermarket on the main road and lots of restaurants. We found a fantastic pizzeria with decent priced and delicious wood oven pizzas and ended up eating there most nights! We did try a few others out, a Chinese & Austrian place but for the money - the pizza is so much more worth it.
You can walk around the village in an hour easily & there are a few museums (which we didn't go in) but if you weren't solely interested in snowboarding (foreign to us) there are other things to do.
Travelling to Kitzbühel was very easy as we decided to drive. If you weren't driving, there is a train station very central to the main village - but you wouldn't want to be staying where we were as we had to drive 10 minutes everyday to get to the gondola. There are a few AirBnB options but we ended up using booking.com and staying in a very dated pension hotel, which was affordable and did the job that we needed it to do. The owners were a lovely elderly couple, which spoke little English. We got by with google translate but if you're looking for luxury this definitely was not a luxury hotel that I'm sure Kitzbühel has lots of.
If you do arrive by train, there is a bus that gets you around but I do not know if it's free.
So folks, that is all I can remember of our trip to Kitzbühel! We enjoyed ourselves and had a great time improving the PowDaze. With regards of returning? Absolutely if someone invited me however probably not on my own accord for the one reason of wanting to explore more of the alps.