Mayrhofen ski resort
Mayrhofen is a comprehensive ski town of picturesque Tyrolean architecture and beautiful valley views that have made it a favourite for British skiers since the first lifts appeared in 1954.
The resort ticks more boxes than most – Mayrhofen is a big, friendly traditional village with excellent facilities that houses a large ski area with a modern lift network, and an area pass that encompasses snowsure year-round glacier skiing at nearby Hintertux. Complement these winning attributes with the stunning scenery in the Ziller valley and the fact it’s a very short transfer from Innsbruck and it’s easy to see how Mayrhofen rose to prominence.
Additionally, in recent years Mayrhofen has captured some of the UK’s biggest ski festivals, staged in early spring at the end of the season, including the renowned Snowbombing music festival and the unique Altitude Comedy Festival.
Mayrhofen’s only real downside is its relatively low altitude by modern standards. However, its lifts do set you up high in the mountains, and there’s comprehensive snowmaking so long as it’s cold enough for the machines to work. Additionally there’s always the reassurance of that nearby glacier ski area in Hintertux.
Mayrhofen is located in the Tyrol’s Ziller Valley, in the northwest of Austria.
On the slopes
Mayrhofen’s ski area stretches to two extremes. On the one hand, the resort is one of the lowest in the Alps, but investment in some excellent high-speed, high-capacity chairlifts means skiers can ascend to a more promising 2,370m (7,776ft) between late November and mid-April.
Skiers can also ski on the Tux glacier, one of the most snowsure ski areas in the world (and one of two remaining sites that endeavours to open every day of the year). A short bus link needs to be made to travel to and from the glacier.
To make the most of this connection, skiers must opt for the full Zillertaler Superskipass (minimum duration two days), which is valid at ski areas in the increasingly lift-linked Ziller Valley. That means 177 lifts servicing more than 490km (300 miles) of trails.
If all that sounds a little daunting, it’s possible to just ski or board on the local Ahorn and Penken mountains. These peaks possess a wide range of skiing, from gentle, wide, family trails up to 5.5km (3.5 miles) in length, to the steepest slope adventure in Austria, the Harakiri, which has an average incline of 78%. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers, meanwhile, have the excellent Vans Penken Park to explore here.
Mayrhofen recently unveiled the Penken combi-lift, a world first where passengers have the best of both worlds and can travel either in an eight-seater chairlift or in a spacious 10-person gondola cabin that follows after every two chairs.