If you could only ski at one resort this season with your family, which resort would you choose?
Now I’m biased, because my brother-in-law owns an apartment there, so I get to stay for free! But it’s a traditional little village set back from the main ski area. There are direct links going up into the SkiWelt, with a spectacular backdrop of mountains and tremendous views down the valley.
Bags of Alpine charm, quiet, friendly, and links to one of the biggest ski areas in Austria. It’s only an hour’s drive from Innsbruck airport, most of it along the motorway – apart from the wacky interchange near the airport, it’s easy driving. You can also take the train from Innsbruck to Wörgl, and then a bus or taxi up to Scheffau.
What makes Scheffau good for family skiing?
The village itself has a long, oh so gentle blue run down to the lifts (it would be a green in France, but Austria doesn’t do green). There’s a Ratrac towing an open air carriage to take you back up again. Since Scheffau is a very small village, there is hardly ever anyone on this run, making it very suitable for beginners.
From the bottom of that blue run, you can walk across the car park, through a tunnel under the main road, and up in the old 4-man bubble – I’ve never had to queue. Walk a bit further and you can get the new faster 8-man bubble, but that’s the one everyone takes! Expect it to be busy at the weekend when people come up from the valley. Very little here is steeper than a red.
BSM note: Runs are classified green, blue, red (intermediate advanced) and black.
What could be improved at Scheffau to make it even better for family skiing?
The blue run back to the valley from the man area and the black/red run cross and re-cross each other. At the end of the day, it’s safer to take the bubble back down. They could do better at naming the runs – I think it would be very difficult to navigate in a whiteout as the piste markers are only numbered, not named.
Pistes tend to be wide and to blur into each other. Directions can be a bit vague, with several signs all indicating Scheffau and no way to distinguish between them (e.g. one is blue, one is red, but you can’t often tell from the signposts).
Any advice for families before they come to Scheffau?
There is a little Spar supermarket in the village, but I would recommend a hire car to get to the shops and to other ski areas nearby. You can get to Kitzbühel and other resorts on skis, but by the time you get there it’s time to set off for home again. There are buses around the area which are free with your lift pass, but it’s easier if you have a car.
Where do you like to eat?
In the resort itself I like the Gasthof Weberbauer: they do good food with a help yourself buffet. Up the mountain I like the Rübezahlalm restaurant on the way to Ellmau – it’s a couple of hundred years old so mums and dads may have difficulty walking through the low front door, but you can sit on the terrace in the sunshine and look at the view. It gets chilly when the sun goes behind the mountain though.
Further over beyond Going I like the Treichlhof. If you go in the other direction towards Hopfgarten, there’s a mountain restaurant with a flying witch outside – the Stoagrubenhütte. Just look for the witch!
Ah, well, I stay in the in-laws apartment, so I’m not really qualified to answer this one!
However, the Wilder Kaiser looks nice and has a pool. Also, perhaps the Alpin above the ski hire shop.
What makes Scheffau unique?
It’s off the edge of the skiing, so it’s quiet, but it’s easy to get into the circuit
What is your favorite memory of skiing at Scheffau am Wilder Kaiser?
I remember that I’m going again in a couple of months, and looking forward to it!
At what ages did you and your family start skiing?
I started skiing at the age of 26, and deeply regret the wasted years.
We first tried our son on skis at the age of four and I have a picture somewhere which could be subtitled Death By Cute.
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
The skiing bit…
The Brave Ski Mom adds…
I met Jack through the LinkedIn Ski and Snowboard Fanatics Group, which is a great resource for lots of fun winter information. If you’d like to know more about Jack, check out his LinkedIn public profile. One item I’d like to highlight is that he was the Treasurer of the Guinness Appreciation Society at St. Andrew’s University. Well done.
There are two Scheffaus in Austria. Scheffau am Wilder Kaiser, which translates as Scheffau by the Wild Emporer Mountain and Scheffau am Tennengebirge which means Scheffau by the Barn Floor Mountain Range. You want the Wild Emporer.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental is Austria’s largest interconnected ski area with 279 km of ski runs, more than 90 ski lifts and more than 70 ski huts, mountain restaurants, sun terraces and snow bars. It is also has the most night skiing in Austria with 13 km of lighted trails and 11 km of floodlit toboggan runs.
World-famous Kitzbühel is within skiing distance, as are five other resorts: Alpbachtal, Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, Schneewinkel, Hochtal Wildschönau and Zell am See-Kaprun. The Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStar Card will grant you access to each of these resorts. All together, that means you can choose from over 1,000 km of trail and over 350 lifts. Mind-boggling!
For skiing, lodging, travel information and more in Scheffau, please visit their website.
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