A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Jen, a Brave Ski Mom of Two and a Coloradan Now Living in the Taunus Region of Germany
If you could only ski at one resort this season with your family, which resort would you choose?
Kleinwalsertal, Austria, near Hirschegg, Mittelberg, Baad and Riezlern.
It is great for families. Kleinwalsertal is especially good for kids learning how to ski since there are slopes from intermediate to advanced.
I also like the Austrian hospitality.
What are the best amenities at this resort for family skiing?
We enjoy a nice family hotel, Rosenhof in Mittelberg, with a ski school within walking distance. It is important to note that some hotels, such as Rosenhof, include all meals (Fullpension).
Other hotels offer only breakfast and dinner (Halbpension). This makes the most sense for many families since the majority of skirs are usually out on the slopes at lunch. Also kids in lessons have a lunch voucher which they get from the ski school and is included in the cost of their lessons. Some smaller hotels offer just breakfast.
With regard to the skiing, there are some great runs which are high with nice views that even younger kids can go down. My favorite is “Ifen”. You are high up but there are many easy ways down even for a 6 year old.
What needs to be improved at this resort to make it even better for family skiing?
There could be a better selection of vacation rental homes with nice amenities such as a sauna and fireplace as an alternative to staying in a hotel. Because hotel prices go up as the kids get older, rental homes can become more economical.
Are there any “secrets” are you willing to share about this resort?
The most amazing view, which is by no means is a secret, is on top of the area called “Gottesacker” (means God’s field) which is popular for off-piste skiing.
What advice would you give other families before they come to this resort?
Knowing German would be useful, but not essential.
Book early as accomodation goes quickly. Bookings are best done directly with the hotel.
Also, ski schools in Austria are privately run, as opposed to being run by the resort. However, all ski school instructors have to meet the same requirements and the quality is high.
There are some other differences between skiing in Austria and skiing in North America as well. The big difference is probably the demographics. In the U.S. you tend to have one isolated ski resort and town. Kleinwalsertal, for example, is made up of lots of smaller towns throughout the valley each with its own ski area, some of which are linked through ski paths and others by bus.
Other differences include hotels offering meals as part of their integrated service. You rarely have that in the States. Also, in terms of food, European resorts tend to offer far more regional specialities.
What are your favorite places to eat at this resort?
Dinner at Rosenhof in Mittelberg which has great service and a cozy atmosphere. My other favorite is the Sonna-Alp located at the top of the Zaferna lift which has most delicious Äpfelstrudel!
What is your favorite place to stay at this resort?
Rosenhof in Mittelberg.
What makes this resort unique?
On the Kanzelwand you can ski in Austria and Germany on the same day!
What is your favorite memory of this resort?
Skiing down the “Gottesacker” in deep powder.
At what ages did you or your children start skiing? Do you have any tips to share with other parents?
My children started skiing at about age 4. Send them to ski school- it’s worth it.
At what age did you start skiing?
My parents weren’t into skiing so I didn’t start skiing until I went with friends in college. Since I couldn’t afford skiing lessons my friends sort of taught me as I went along i.e. the hard way!
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
You are outdoors practically all day, enjoying fresh air, beautiful views and sunshine.
The Brave Ski Mom Adds….
We have visited Jen and her family in Germany during the summer. Now I know that we need to visit during winter and join them in Austria.
Kleinwalsertal has an English version of their website which provides all the information you would expect, including lodging information. I tried putting in some dates, but as Jen said, everything books up very quickly and I got no results. I did notice however, that a minimum seven-night stay was assumed when I put in my arrival date.
Although Jen recommends booking directly with the hotel, I would be tempted to look into travel agents and ski trip organizers that specialize in European travel and compare their rates. Having never skied outside the US, and not speaking German, I might do some research on different ski areas, pick one that I would like to ski and then turn everything over to an expert.
We did this on a summer trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We chose the town, the travel agent arranged everything else from trains to hotels and I don’t think it cost us anymore than if we had done it ourselves. If you need a recommendation for a travel agent, leave me a note in the comments or contact me.
Also, if any readers have experience with European skiing, it would be interesting to hear how you planned your trip and how it went. Where did you go? What would you do again? What would you do differently?
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