The Stubai Glacier for your early-season escapade
For skiers and snowboarders, October/November are often defined by anticipation. Watching webcams, waiting for winter weather to arrive and for the mountains to turn white. But if you’re lucky, November is the month when the first turns of the (hopefully long) season are made. Usually the October storm which deposited snow across the Alps meant that it is time to wax up the skis and head to Stubai Glacier, one of the ski areas in the Alps that are already open for business. The Italian Dolomites loom far off on the horizon in one direction, while in the other direction the wide Inn Valley makes its way north towards the German border. From a vantage point at 3.210 mt, the Alps stretch out in every direction. There aren’t many views that can beat the one from the very top of the Stubai Glacier but do you know the best things about standing at the top of Tyrol? So here are 7 reasons and 1 video why you should visit Stubai for an early-season escapade.
Getting a head start
Stubai is not a summer skiing area as such, but due to its high altitude and glacial slopes, it typically operates from October to June. How much of the terrain is open entirely depends on snow conditions, however Stubai is known for offering some of the best conditions during the autumn season (October and November) and again in the spring. At the start of November, usually it is already possible to ski down to the Middlestation Fernau at 2.300 mt, meaning only one gondola to download at the end of the day. At this time of the year in other ski resorts there are the Ski and Snowboard Shows, ski movie premieres and the shops fill up with all the latest kit. All of which aims to create a bit of buzz ahead of the coming winter. But do you know what’s a much better way to get buzzing about winter? Actually go skiing.
Austria’s largest glacier ski area
Hintertux Glacier take the honours for the longest season, open 365 days of the year (weather permitting) but Stubai Glacier is actually Austria’s largest glacier ski area. 25 lifts serve 100 km of pistes, though the amount of terrain open obviously depends on snow. There might not be any frighteningly steep black runs but Stubai’s terrain is more varied than most glacier areas, and as soon as the off-piste starts filling in up high there’s the chance to get away from the groomed. There are enough surface lifts on the glacier that even when the car park in the valley fills up, the crowds can spread out across the ski area.
Gourmet at altitude
The Schaufelspitz restaurant, with a Gault Millau toque to its name, brings fine-dining to the high alpine peaks. At an altitude of nearly 3000 mt, the Schaufelspitz serves Austrian classics done to the highest standard using regional ingredients, a solid wine list, and an expansive sun terrace. Surely some of the best Knödel anywhere in the Alps.
Soak up the last rays of summer
The days are getting short but at this time of the year it is still possibly to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays. The lifts are open for all the day, so there’s no harm at all in taking an extended lunch break, parking up on a sun lounger outside the Eisgrat Restaurant at 2.900 mt and catching a few rays.
Worth it for a weekend
It’s only a 20 minute drive from Innsbruck, meaning that it’s very easy to base yourself in the city and travel up to Stubai for the day. There are hotels in Neustift like the SPA-HOTEL Jagdhof. This 5-star SPA Hotel is an adventure for the senses! 70 lavish bedrooms, suites and apartments in traditional Tyrolean style offer premium comfort. At SPA-HOTEL Jagdhof relax in the spacious Spa area, enjoy the Hauben-awarded gourmet cuisine and choice of rare wines from their exquisite cellar, one of the best in Austria. Be inspired by nature with the spectacular alpine world of the Stubai Glacier, in the heart of Tyrol, every Guest will find peace and relaxation, or can take advantage of the many recreational activities. However Innsbruck itself has a stunning location and plenty to offer besides skiing. Mix a bit a skiing into your city break or add a bit of history and culture to your skiing break, make a long weekend of it and escape the dreary November weather in the rest of Europe. During the ski pre-season there are quite a few glacier ski areas to choose from across the Alps, however none are as convenient to get to as Stubai.
U can see your house from here!
Not quite, but the views are incredible. A picture tells a thousand words, so for the sake of brevity.
Sit back and watch the show
The guys and girls who you saw tearing up the Slopestyle course in Sochi surprisingly enough didn’t just turn up at the Olympics, throw themselves off those huge jumps and hope for the best. The top freestyle athletes train just as hard as top ski racers, and it’s places like Stubai where they hone their skills. Stubai’s freestyle park, with kickers sculpted to perfection, is a gathering place for the best freestyle skiers and boarders in the autumn and again in the spring. The park is located on the sunny Gaisskarferner, at the very top of the ski area, and it’s well worth stopping by to check it out, even if you prefer to keep your own ski attached to the snow! Regarding it, now watch the show by the video by snapschuss at Stubai Zoo during his winter pre-season!