Hochzillertal & Hochfügen

January 21, 2024  |  Hochzillertal, Austria
Easy pickings below the Wimbachexpress gondola.

Easy pickings below the Wimbachexpress gondola.

Sepp and Zenzi wish you a good ski day in the fresh air!

Sepp and Zenzi wish you a good ski day in the fresh air!

The Zillertal Shuttle gondola.

The Zillertal Shuttle gondola.

Looking off the backside of the Hochfügen ski area.

Looking off the backside of the Hochfügen ski area.

Rauchkofel (3,251 m) far off to the east.

Rauchkofel (3,251 m) far off to the east.

This morning we woke up early and took the train down valley to check out Hochzillertal/Hochfügen, the last of the four big ski areas here in the Zillertal that we haven't skied yet. The ski guidebook I've got calls this the "freeride hotspot of the Zillertal" and now I see why! The off-piste potential here is impressive, with heaps of low hanging fruit to be plundered on a powder day (though judging by the sheer amount of tracks I can tell it's a race when it happens!). The mountains here are very skiable, with long fall line routes, nice wide groomers, and a logical arrangement of lifts. I'm happy that we'll be staying here for three weeks in February and early March.

The recent powder was mostly tracked up today, but it was still fun to cruise around on the groomers and explore such a vast ski area. This is one reason why we chose to spend the bulk of our winter in the Zillertal, because the four big ski areas here offer lots of groomed piste options for the inevitable days between fresh snows. The last time I spent a winter in the Alps was in 2011 in Engelberg, Switzerland. That place absolutely rocks for off-piste powder, but is fairly limited otherwise. The Zillertal probably doesn't get quite as much snow as there, but the variety of options and sheer amount of terrain is keeping it fun so far!