Austrian resorts have always been at the forefront when it comes to upgrading their lifts. This year they’re going one better.
The lift companies of Alpbach and Niederau have combined forces to construct a new gondola along with new pistes to link together these two neighbouring ski areas for next season.
A new 8 man gondola is being installed now on the Schatzberg mountain to create the all-important link, resulting in a combined piste total of 145km, all covered on one lift pass.
To be known as the ‘Ski Jewel’, this new area will become one of the top 10 largest ski areas in the Austrian Tirol, more than doubling the size of the existing Wildschönau ski area.
32km of blue runs will be combined with 18km of black runs, plus a whopping 78km of intermediate red runs to make this is an area suited to all abilities. 47 lifts, along with a network of ski buses will link the resorts comprising the ski area.
For the off piste fans, 17km of marked ski routes will be available as well as many other off piste opportunities. And for those who like to take their skiing easy, there’s 29 mountain restaurants and huts for you to relax in between runs.
Many Austrian resorts have invested heavily over the last few years in snow making equipment and the Ski Jewel area is no exception to this. 86% of the pistes are covered by snow cannons ensuring great conditions from December through to Easter.
To make this new ski area possible, a new 8-man gondola is being built from Inneralpbach up to the top of the Schatzberg mountain in Auffach, with a new red piste running down from the Schatzberg to the mid station.
This means that Auffach, Alpbach and Inneralpbach will all now be linked, with no need to take off your skis or take a shuttle bus, and there will be one lift pass covering the entire 145km of skiing. The lift is due for completion for the start of the winter ski season 2012/13.
Work is already taking place on the foundations for the gondola pylons in the summer meadows of Alpbach – we’ll be keeping a close eye on proceedings over the summer and will keep you updated.
Perfect for families
The resorts of Alpbach and Niederau at each end of the Ski Jewel both have picturesque village centres. Both are well known on the UK market and have always been popular with families, beginners and people wishing to progress with their skiing.
And with this superb new ski area opening up, this puts this area firmly on the European ski map.
Life is laid back here with relaxed après-ski after a day on the slopes. There’s a good range of venues to choose from for the mandatory post-ski beer and catch-up with your friends and family on how your day was.
Niederau is an ideal resort for families – the child-friendly ski school is superb and there’s also Crystal’s Pepi Pengiun Club available for the little ones who are not skiing or boarding all day long. Compared to other resorts, it’s fantastic value for money – even more so now the Niederau has such great access to a decent sized ski area.
And if you want to venture further afield, two of the hotels in Niederau offer a transfer service to the nearby Ski Welt area, a massive 400km of skiing around 30 minutes drive from the village.
Transfers to explore this area take place every Thursday and Friday from the first week in January for guests staying in the Hotel Sonnschein and Hotel Harfenwirt in Niederau. Lift passes to include this area can be arranged in resort for an additional cost.
This post was written by Neil Lodge for Crystal Ski.
Images courtesy of Wildschönau.com