If you are wondering where to go skiing, think about the Stubai Valley. There is snow guaranteed from October to June, lots of wide and well prepared slopes, and it’s just in the middle of Europe, so you can get there easily by car, bus or plane.
1. How to get there?
The route to the Polish “winter capital” Zakopane from Warsaw is 450 km and takes 6 hours driving + huge traffic jam. On the other hand, route Warsaw-Innsbruck is 1200 km, but 10 hours driving on the highways. Even if you are going for an extended ski weekend, and certainly if you are planning a family vacation for a week or two, it is worth thinking about taking these few hours on the road longer, for empty, wide slopes, no queues to ski lifts and no traffic jams on the way. You can get to the Stubai Valley by plane to Munich or Vienna and from there you can go by train or bus. Or fly to Milan-Bergamo, where there are many cheap connections from all over Europe. We flew to Bergamo (1.5 hrs), rented a car at the airport, and in 4 hours via highway, we got to Stubai.
2. Getting around
From Innsbruck, a free ski bus runs through the whole valley up to the Stubaier Gletscher (it is free all along the valley only the section on the motorway from Innsbruck costs a few euros). Just have a ski outfit or equipment and you can hop free of charge. Buses run every 15 minutes during rush hour. There are also free car parks under the ski resorts if You use your own car.
There are many hotels and resorts in the Stubai Valley. Prices from €60 for a 2-bedroom in a guesthouse for luxuries for €360/room. Most of the objects are alpine hotels, in the mountain style. We settled in the beautiful town of Neustift in the traditional, family-run Alpenhotel Fernau. In the hotel you can book a stay with meals – we chose this option because it is comfortable for the family and thanks to that we only had a quick, light dinner or a snack on the slopes. And after returning home, a warm regional dinner awaited us.
The region is dominated by traditional Austrian cuisine – Wienerschnitzel – a large pork chop fried on fresh butter; Kartoffelsalat – potato salad with onions, cucumbers, and vinegar; Kasespätzle – dumplings with cheese and roasted onions; and for dessert, Apfelstrudel – apple pie in a French pastry served with ice cream. In the traditional hütte on the slopes they also serve European cuisine, and children can choose between fish fingers, spaghetti or pizza.
5. Ski passes
You can purchase one common Stubaier Superskipass (two-day adult passes € 104, children € 52, children up to 10 years rides free) or buy passes in individual ski centers – Stubaier Gletscher, Schlick2000, Elfer11 and Serles. Information about all resorts and prices of ski passes in the Stubai Valley can be found HERE.
6. On the slopes
Stubaier Gletscher itself is the largest glacier ski area in Austria – it has 110 km of pistes and offers pistes of varying difficulty, ranging from 1750 to 3200 meters, and there are three other large resorts in the valley. But you’ll get a free ski route map in each resort. It is good to have it with you, because there are ski trails on different sides of the mountains on the glacier, so on the first day we traveled with a map, and then we knew that when we get this lift and we will ride this ski slope, we will go to this restaurant or attraction.
SPA is included in the price of accommodation in every better hotel, and in the valley there is also a resort with a complex of thermal pools and saunas. Relax in a warm thermal pool or vigorous swimming in a cold outdoor pool does very well for the muscles after skiing. Just like lying in a sauna or steam room. And Kneipp’s treatments are extremely popular here. This treatment means walking in hot and cold pools alternately. To make these tortures even more severe, You walk barefoot on small pebbles. It is terrible, but then the effect of rested legs is amazing. After everyday skiing before dinner, we were running into SPA for treatments.
An early skiing day ends at around 4 pm when the last gondolas ride down. Then you can go for an après ski, which means a ski party. The most iconic place is located at the lower station of the Gamsgartenbahn and the ski bus depot. After skiing, you can drink one shot of Jägermeister, and after a dose of energetic Tyrolean music and dance in skiing outfit return to the bus. You can also take a scenic paraglider flight at the Schlick2000 resort, go to Neustift Leisure Center or StuBay – centers with swimming pools and saunas. Or spend an afternoon in Innsbruck – a city between the mountains with beautiful monuments and a prince’s palace, distant to the valley by half an hour.
Locals speak German in the valley, but you can communicate in English without any problems. In ski schools and restaurants on the slopes, there are often Polish or Slovak employees, so there is also no problem with getting along in these languages.
COSTS OF OUR WEEK TRIP TO STUBAI VALLEY:
Plane tickets WAW-BGY-WAW for 3 pax: €45
Renting a car for a week: €145
Gas Bergamo-Stubai-Bergamo: €60
Hotel**** (apartment for 3 pax): €95/overnight
– lunch with drinks in hütte on the slope: €10/person
– glühwein (mulled wine) on Christmas market: €3
– drink on aprés-ski: €2.5
Ski passes: 3-day pass on the Stubaier Glacier €135, but 7-day pass only €252. Child up to 10 years free of charge
Ski school for children: €32/2-hrs lesson