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CITY AND SKI, PART ONE - James Cove, Innsbruck
Sunday April 15, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

We love cities & we love ski resorts. Where do they come together in perfect harmony? Innsbruck in the Tirol: PlanetSKI is in town.



Thousands upon thousands of skiers and snowboarders pass through Innsbruck airport on their way to the ski resorts that surround the city.

St Anton, Ischgl, Soelden, Obergurgl, Kuhtai, Hintertux, Stubai.... I could go on.

But how many stop in the city of Innsbruck?

A handful.

Big mistake.

The city is one of the finest in Europe and certainly the finest in the Alps in my personal opinion.

I often pop in for a night on my way to or from some of the world-class ski areas in this part of Austria.

I have been in December for it's famous Xmas Market:

 And skied its very own ski resort, Nordkette, where the base lift is in the centre of town and the top is seriously steep. 

But now I'm doing it a different way.

Staying in the city itself and popping up to a couple of the resorts on day trips - Kuhtai and Stubai.

There are many more in the surrounding mountains, but sadly my time is limited on this visit.

I also intend to take a day off skiing (WTF!) and have a slow and relaxed look round the city to soak up its culture and heritage.

I'm also on a research and fact finding mission, but (at the moment) I am sworn to secrecy on that one as only my wife and a couple of close friends know of a little plan I am hatching.



Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria



















More of the city itself later over the next few days but lets just say the city and surrounding area is far bigger than the people that pass through it.

Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria
















First up it's the ski resort of Kuhtai for what I like best of all - skiing.

Kuhtai has two great stats: it sits at over 2,000m and is 45-minutes from the city centre.

And why am I going there so quickly?

Today, Sunday 15th is its last day of the 2018/19 season.

It has seen huge amounts of snow this winter as seen on the journey up at the small villages we passed though.

Heading to KuhtaiHeading to Kuhtai
















The resort is snow sure and popular with the British.

And this year has been a bumper one.

To be honest it was a bit hard packed and icy first thing on its final day and with thick cloud cover the light was flat.

It felt like winter, not spring.

However many people were out for a final fling and to say goodbye to their winter season.

Kuhtai, Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, Tirol, Austria
















Kuhtai, Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, Tirol, Austria
















Kuhtai, Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, Tirol, Austria
















In many ways it is a shame as there is still deep and seriously impressive snow cover in Kuhtai and many other resorts across the Alps.

And the secret at this time of year?

Spring snow:

Pretty good throught the trees too.

After that we shot round the pistes making the most before it all closes.

Kuhtai, Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, Tirol, Austria
















Kuhtai, Tirol, AustriaKuhtai, Tirol, Austria
















Now normally at the end of the day in Austria I head direct to apres ski - the umbrella bars in Kuhtai were going out with more of a bang than a whimper.

But not today - I'm driving and I want to have a stroll round the city of Innsbruck, taking in the sights and perhaps even being a tourist.

More of that later in this rolling city and ski blog: Innsbruck awaits....


In the 4th Century the Romans garrisoned the town to provide military coverage to the trade routes.

In 1278 the town passed into the hands of Count Tyrol.

It is as a town near vital European trade routes that caused it to flourish.

The route over the nearby Brenner generated huge revenues and today the city ouzes architectural grandeur and beauty.

It was the first thing that struck me after a day on the slopes.

Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria















Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria
















Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria
















Though modern commercialism has, of course, crept in.

But it's tastefully done.

Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria1
















Innsbruck, Tirol, AustriaInnsbruck, Tirol, Austria
















Two days later in the week I am setting my skis aside and picking up guide books and the like for the cultural aspect of this trip and do you know what?

I'm rather looking forward to it.

But next up it's the glacier resort of Stubai...

Things you need to know:

Crystal Ski Holidays ( 020 8610 3123) offers a week's bed&breakfast at the four-star Hotel Grauer Bär
In Innsbruck, Austrian Tirol, from £728 per person (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers (price given is for departure on 5 January 2019). Direct flights available from all major UK airports including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle.

For more information on the Austrian Tirol, visit:
For more information on Innsbruck, visit:
For more information on Kühtai, visit:
Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £62 pp, with easyJet.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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DON'T FORGET YOUR TOOTH BRUSH (Saturday August 18, 2018)

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