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HOW TO DO A CITY AND SKI BREAK…

Innsbruck has world class city attractions + some fabulous ski resorts nearby. Day Two Update: City + Ski.

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DAY TWO
 
EVENING UPDATE:
 

The Christmas Markets were in full swing, but I decided to just wander the streets catch a few sights (beers) and soak up the pre-Xmas atmosphere.

Into the bars (research purposes only)

Into the bars (research purposes only)

After all PlanetSKI’s Chief Alpine Xmas Market Corresondent (AKA Mrs Cove) has been writing an in-depth feature on this centuries old traditions of the Innsbruck Xmas Markets:

 

PlanetSKI's Chief Alpine Xmas Market Correspondent

PlanetSKI’s Chief Alpine Xmas Market Correspondent

Now I have seen some strange things in Austria in my time.

One is the somewhat surreal Hannibal event that takes place in Soelden every couple of years.

I popped in to see the spectacle last winter as piste bashers pretend to be elephants with all sorts of pyrotechnics going on.

But what was on offer in the inner courtyard of the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck, the Hofburg, took things to another level.

Billed as ‘The Light Show Mountain Magic’ it transforms the huge interior courtyard walls into a giant screen measuring more than 1,300 square meters for what is described as ‘in part surreal and in part dream like’.

It was like nothing I had seen.

From marine life:

To crumbling castles:

To marmots dancing and going full on pschedelic:

And after the psychedelic finale it was time to get back to some Innsbruck history at the other end of the scale.

A look at the churches.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

And what’s that tower there?

Accesible on my City + Ski pass: the 15th centry bell tower, Stadtturm, that has acted as a lookout station, a prison and now a tourist viewing platform.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

I headed up the tower for a birds eye of the evening proceedings in my favourite city in the Alps.

I puffied my way up the 133 steps to the top.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Then peered down.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

What on earth was going on at the foot of the Golden Roof?

I am happy to report that PlanetSKI’s Chief Alpine Xmas Market Correspondent happened to be at ground level for the action.

 

Just another night in the city of Innsbruck: City + Ski…

And as I looked back on my day I am scratching my head to think of a better and more interesting all round day out in the Alps.

Nope, nothing comes immediately to mind.

PM UPDATE:

 
The afternoon….
KUHTAI
 

And after the tourist hotspots in Innsbruck of the morning (see below) it was time to hit the slopes of one of the 13 resorts on the City + Ski Pass.

Step forward Kuhtai.

Like Stubai that I report on lower down this article it is just a short drive away from the city centre of Innsbruck.

And with the fresh snow dripping off the tress I could think of no finer way to spend an afternoon after the siteseeing.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

We cruised the slopes.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Made a few little gentle turns in the fresh snow.
Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

And like in Stubai it was an opportunity to do one of the Ten Tirol Ski Challenges.

This was a tricky one.

I had to sample some typical Tirolean food.

Honestly the suffering I put myself through in the mountains.

A pit stop at the appropriately named Kaiser Maximilian Hutte.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

What better than a Kaiserschmarrn to round off my day and complete another Tirolean Challenge.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

It is perhaps the most typical Tirolean fare of them all.

I approached it with gusto.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Now who wants to know the story behind the Kaiserschmarrn?

As legend has it the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I (1830-1916) and his wife were traveling through the Alps and stopped by a farmer’s home for lunch.

The farmer’s wife was so nervous that she threw all the fanciest ingredients she could muster into a pan to make a pancake for their royal visitors.

However because of nervousness and shaky hands she scrambled the pancake.

Hoping to cover up the mess she then covered it with jam.

Luckily, the Kaiser thought it was scrumptious.

A national dish was born.

And I’m glad to say after our Kaiserschmarrn we were on the slopes as the sun dropped behind the mountains.
Just as we had been up to see its first rays hit the peaks above Innsbruck many hours earlier.
Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

And from the slopes of Kuhtai we saw the moon rise as afternoon faded away.
Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

So, time for a rest from all the action on offer and retire to one of the wellness centre to relax and unwind as we arrived back in Innsbruck?

Er, not a bit of it.

It was time to hit the city again…..

Do check back to find out about the night time attractions of Innsbruck….

And here’s the earlier post from this morning ahead of skiing in Kuhtai…..

A City + Ski break can be a relaxing affair, or it can be full on.

Crammed with action and activities.

I prefer the latter so I was once again up early, just as the sun touched the top of the mountains overlooking Innsbruck.

Another day another dawn.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

This afternoon I was going skiing in the nearby resort of  Kuhtai, but this morning it was the city part of the trip.

First up was a ride up to Seegrube, 1,905m, to the mountains overlooking Innsbruck.

It starts with a short furnicular ride from the centre of the city to Hungerburg, 860m.

The funicular, with futuristic stations, was designed by the architect Zaha Hadid.

It is a toursit attraction in its own right.

The views here were stunning as the sun crept over the mountain tops.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

But the next stage, the cable car to Seegrube, 1,905m, is simply stunning.

Especially as most people were probably having their breakfast and I had the place to myself.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

And at the top is the small but perfectly formed ski resort of Nordkette.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

It is closed at the moment but will open before Xmas.

I have skied here many times.

The run down under the top cable car will certainly get your adrenaline flowing and knees shaking.

It is seriously steep.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

But this morning as the clocks struck 9 O’Clock it was a time to simply drink in the views over Innsbruck.

And consider the history of the city.

Now if you like your history read on, and if you don’t then you may want to scroll down a bit.

Traces of stoneage man have been found in the valley and in the 4th century the Romans established it as a military base.

The first mention of Innsbruck dates back to the name Oeni Pontum or Oeni Pons which is Latin for bridge (pons) over the Inn (Oenus).

The Counts of Andechs acquired the town in 1180.

In 1248 the town passed into the hands of the Counts of Tyrol.

The city’s coat of arms dates back to 1267.

Innsbruck expanded as a city due to the trade route over the Brenner Pass into Italy and southern Europe.

That’s the route to the Brenner Pass ahead.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

A medieval imperial road was constructed and the revenues generated by Innsbruck being the start of finishing point allowed the city to flourish.

Innsbruck became the capital of all Tirol in 1429 and in the 15th century the city became a centre of European politics and culture as Emperor Maximilian I lived in Innsbruck in the 1490s.

More of Maximilian I later as we visited his tomb on our City + Ski break.

In 1564 Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria , received rulership over the Tirol and the subsequent Archdukes administered Innsbruck up to the 18th century.

Ferdinand II built Schloss Ambras, another site on the City & Ski Pass that we have visited.

Not on this trip, but an earlier one.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

I would have liked to stay longer overlooking the city, but I had some serious city siteseeing down below before an afternoon of skiing.

I felt the need to go an explore some of the city on foot.

Innsbruck, City + Ski

Innsbruck, City + Ski

 

The City and Ski Pass gives access to a host of attractions in the city.

The aforementioned Maximiliam I’s tomb in Hofkirch is a must see:

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Then if you like your bells don’t miss out on Grassmayr on the edge of the city.

It started making bells in 1599 and its bells ring out in over 100 countries across the world.

Its oldest bell still rings in Italy and was cast in 1636.

Grassmayr is the oldest family business in Austria with 11 generations having run it and it remains a working factory.

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

Innsbruck, Tirol, Austria

 

I could have stayed all day in the city wandering around the narrow streets that simply ooze history and charm.

 

But I felt a stronger urge.

The ski part of the day.

It’s mid-day and Kuhtai here I come.

Do check back later today…

DAY ONE

If there is a better place for a city and ski break in the Alps then I don’t know it.

Here was the view from my hotel window as I threw open the curtains on Day One.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck, Austria

And then by mid-morning I had sorted out ski pass/ski rental and I was at the top of the glacier resort of Stubai.

One of the highest lift accessed points in the Austrian Alps.

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

And to get there all I had to do was follow this road for 40 minutes or so.

No great hardship.

The road to Subai (from Innsbruck)

The road to Stubai (from Innsbruck)

The road to Subai (from Innsbruck)

The road to Stubai (from Innsbruck)

 

And then it was all day on slopes like these.

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

With a decent amount open for the time of year.
Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

Stubai, the Tirol, Austria

This winter there is a new initiative going on to promote the joys of a break that includes all the slopes have to offer in this part of the Tirol, from a base in one of the most interesting cities in Europe.

Perhaps the best in the Alps in my personal opinion.

Innsbruck in the Tirol is not known as The Capital of the Alps, for no reason.

We posted about the concept earlier in the summer as the new initiative was launched.

We will be going into further detail about what is on offer later in the week as we sample city and ski, but in the meantime check out this earlier PlanetSKI article with full details.

And while we are skiing the glacier slopes of Stubai there is another new initiative for this winter from the Tirol that we are sampling.

See more on the Ski Challenge here:

So, what other resorts are on the City and Ski pass?

Axamer Lizum, Schlick 2000, Kuhtai, Hochoetz, Muttereralm, Bergeralm, Nordkette, Serles, Elfer, Patscherkofel, Oberperfuss and Glungezer.

Kuhtai is our next port of call.

Now I should declare an interest as Innsbruck was my home for three and a half months last winter.

On arrival on this visit I had a quick peek at the riverside area I lived in.

Innsbruck, the Tirol

Innsbruck, the Tirol

I love the city and it surrounding ski areas.

I skied some of the lesser known resorts on the new City + Ski pass last winter as I tried to avoid the half term crowds.

Check out the details of some of the others here:

Next up we will be looking at some of the attractions the city of Innsbruck has to offer.
At this time of year, December, one is a visit to the Xmas markets in Innsbruck.
One of the Xmas markets in Innsbruck

One of the Xmas markets in Innsbruck

Another is certainly the cuisine.
After skiing Stubai it was to my favourite restaurant in Innsbruck: Wilderin.
Pork with a leak interior, accompanied by roasted bell peppers with a white wine and cream sauce.
All on a bed of Austrian rice with a beetroot garnish.
And I was even able to eat it in my ski gear.
Eating out in Innsbruck

Eating out in Innsbruck

I will be updating this post across the week so do check back to see if you might be tempted by a city and ski break in Innsbruck.

I can pretty much guarantee you will be interested.

And then perhaps tempted….

 

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