Kitzbühel in Austria is one of the most amazing ski resort destinations in the world, but offers a variety of other recreational fun including golf and festivals.
My first vision of the Austrian Alps I have to admit is the movie The Sound of Music. I think it was right then and there that I fell in love with the alpine peaks and green, grassy meadows. Who knew as a small kid that I would fall in love with it again and again, even when its all covered by a wintery coating.
There's a reason that Kitzbühel in the Tyrol area of Austria is one of the world's most outstanding ski resort destinations. I know I'm not the only one to fall in love with the Austrian Alps, yet I understand how each and everyone who came before me did too.
Kitzbühel might not be a super-huge ski resort, but what it may lack in quantity it makes up for with quality. The ski resort boasts 168 kilometers of slopes (divided into 67km of blue; 79km of red; 24km of black trails), and 40km of cross-country ski paths.
I really wouldn't worry too much about having to pay anything extra to take your equipment with you since skis and snowboards are easily rented. Ski schools are also all over the place, so even if you don't know how to ski at all you'll be fine.
You got your gear. You got your nerve. Now how do you get to the top of the 1996 meter peak of the Kitzbüheler Horn for the Hahenenkamm? Easy, just get on one of the 54 lifts and gondolas. What's really remarkable is how they manage to shuttle almost a hundred thousand people an hour to the tippy-top.
While all those people are headed into the clouds, I'm happy to enjoy being on the ground. How else was I going to see the Liebenfraukirche (yes, it sounds German--and get used to it) with its 48-meter high tower. I wouldn't miss see the 14th century Church of St. Catherine either. Yeah, they're both totally dwarfed by the mountains--but still a marvel in human engineering.
You can learn lots of Kitzbühel's history (a thousand years of it) at the Museum Kitzbühel. And the town even has a castle, Schloss Lebenberg, that's also a modern hotel too.
Yeah, speaking of those--with all the Nordic Walking, ski mountaineering (you absolutely need a guide to do this), tobogganing, bobsledding, and horse sleigh rides you're gonna need someplace to stay. One of the best places to do that is the Landhotel Wirtshaus Vordegrub that has a Gardenhütte room that sleeps up to 10. Forget that, this hotel has a wine cellar filled with a wide array of the vino.
The Schwarzer Adler is great too, but its rooftop pool is what got my attention. Darn--too cold to swim there in the winter. The Black Spa made me forget all about it with its wraps, scrubs, and Finnish sauna; as did the steambath and Finnish sauna.
Book early if you're comming for the annual Hahnenkamm Race, a weekend event that's held at the end of January. Right beforehand is the Streif Downhill that's at least open to the "public", although you better be gosh-darn good to participate.
Forget it, I'll see you at the bottom.
I know Kitzbühel is a ski resort, but come summer this place just blossoms with activity and color. And lounging around the Schwarzsee (told you to get used to the German) isn't really possible when Old Man Winter's got his grip on the town. You really can't enjoy the four golf courses either.
If you see me spinning around dancing on one of those green, grassy meadows--I'm just paying homage to the movie that inspired my love of the Austrian Alps, and towns like Kitzbühel.