Austria Freeride Week
Europe Snowboard Tours
Resort we can access: St Anton, Kitzbühel, Mayrhofen, Nauders, Hintertux, Hochoetz, Kaunertal, Sölden, Ischgl, Nordkette, Seegrube, Axamer Lizum, Glungezer, Patscherkofel, Stubaier Gletscher, Schlick 2000, Kühtai, Rangger Köpfl & Muttereralm
The Austrian Tyrol hosts some of the biggest and best ski resorts in the world. We spend 7 days based in the freeride city of Innsbruck, the best place in the Tirol for the ‘powder chase’. There is no other city in Europe where you can stay in the city and explore incredible resorts with great freeriding, fun tree runs, and perfectly crafted snow parks by day and by night have the nightlife and restaurants just steps from our hotel.
LOCAL GUIDES & LOCAL EXPERIENCES
So you can spend your week deep in the white-room, you’ve got 2 guides on-hand who know a thing or 2 about hunting down the best lines, finding the best snow, and making sure you have a good time while doing it. In fact, you could call them professionals. We have our local Austrian snowboard guide on hand as well as Freeride World Tour athlete Erika Vikander. Erika is a hard-charging, professional snowboarder who has competed at the highest level and she has just one goal for the week – to find you the best POWDER! Their passion for the mountains, and their commitment to supporting and growing the freeride community make them the perfect hosts while we explore the mountains and culture of the Tyrol. They are always more than happy to provide you with some tips and feedback on the mountain, and share a beer and some laughs at the end of the day. Here’s a taste of what you can expect to ride.
RIDE THE BEST RESORTS IN AUSTRIA
We keep the itinerary flexible so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Our base for this tour is the city of Innsbruck, which gives us easy access to resorts in the region such as St Anton, Kitzbühel, Mayrhofen, Nauders, Hintertux, Hochoetz, Kaunertal, Sölden, Ischgl, Nordkette, Seegrube, Axamer Lizum, Glungezer, Patscherkofel, Stubaier Gletscher, Schlick 2000, Kühtai, Rangger Köpfl & Muttereralm.
We keep the itinerary flexible so your local Mint Tours guide can hunt down the best conditions all day, every day. Each day your guide will assess the conditions and decide which is the best place to ride based on weather and snowfall. Each day we’ll load up the van’s and drive to our chosen area. This flexibility ensures that we will find you the best snow and conditions all day, every day!
When we are on mountain, we keep our group size to a maximum of 6 people per guide for a more personal experience between our guests and guides. This ensures you get the most out of your time with us, and keeping the groups small means less time waiting and more time riding powder!
SNOW & CONDITIONS
March is the best time to ride in the Tyrol. The resorts are quiet and in great condition, with all pistes open and top to bottom riding. You can expect anything from perfect bluebird days through to riding powder. Even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, the altitude and our local knowledge will ensure you’ll be able to ride light dry snow days after a storm.
We make sure all our guests stay in quality accommodation that’s in the best location. Throughout the tour you’ll stay at a 4 star boutique hotel, Grauer Bär. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds and each room has a great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. Every morning you’ve got a hot buffet breakfast to enjoy in the restaurant. The hotel is also equipped with a heated panorama swimming pool, sauna and steam bath that overlooks the historic Old Town.
March 13, 2020
Meet your guides at Innsbruck Airport. From here we will transfer to our accommodation located in the centre of Innsbruck. You’ve got some time to get settled in, and then we will head out in Innsbruck for an afternoon exploring Old Town, enjoying some local beers and schnapps, and all the local delicacies. We will then head for a traditional Austrian meal at one of the most well known beer halls in Innsbruck. If you’re travelling solo, it’s a great way to get to know the other guests and guides.
March 14 to 18, 2020
Each day will follow a similar format. This is what you can expect on tour.
Mornings Enjoy the extensive buffet breakfast at the hotel. Get your gear and get ready to meet your guides for an early morning pick up from our hotel. Being based in Innsbruck gives us access to so many nearby resorts. Your guides will choose the best resort on the day based on snow and conditions. This flexible itinerary guarantees that you will be riding the best resort on the day.
At the Resort On arrival our guide will give you a brief introduction to the resort before our guiding session commences. Your guide has an in-depth knowledge of each resort and will show you around the resort and let you in on some of the locals only secret spots. These resorts all have incredible freeride terrain, and our local Mint Tours freeride guide is on-hand to show you why this is the best place to ride in Austria. Each day we’ll ride to the conditions. If conditions are good, we’ll aim to spend a full day on mountain. Typically we’ll break for lunch on mountain and you’ll get to sample some of the local Tyrolean specialties.
Afternoons After we’ve finished riding, we’ll drive back to our hotel in Innsbruck. You’ve got free time to relax, hit the hot tub and pools, head to the bar for an apres beverage or explore Innsbruck. Our hotel is located just steps from the historic Old Town.
Evenings Each night your guides will plan a group dinner at one of the many great local restaurants in Innsbruck. Our hotel is located just steps away from many lively restaurants and bars. You’ll get to enjoy some of the local delicacies, washed down with some with Tyrolean beers and schnapps. For anyone wanting to explore the nightlife, our hotel is located in the heart of Innsbruck with many late-night bars on offer.
March 19, 2020 – Depart
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Say farewell to your guides and new friends and we will transfer you back to Innsbruck Airport.
Austria is known as the snowboard capital of Europe with great resorts and a cool attitude. Austrian resorts aren’t stretched out like the mega-sized places found in the French Alps and apart from being far more affordable than France, the slopes here are far better laid out with excellent mountain facilities, modern lift systems, easy access to the slopes, coupled with great traditional local services. Of all the areas in Austria the most famed and the largest winter destination is the Tirol, which apart from being at ‘the heart of the Alps’ is also an area of outstanding beauty and home to some fantastic snowboard resorts that offer something for everyone.
Innsbruck is the capital of the Tyrol region and comes with quite a pedigree. It has twice hosted the Winter Olympics, has 9 resorts within 45 minutes drive including NordPark that you access via funicular from town, and is home to the likes of Burton and Method Mag. With 128,000 residents and steeped in history it’s a tourist attraction in its own right and with has all the services you’d expect for a city. Wander into the old town, the narrow winding streets lead into the plaza where you’ll see the Gothic 15th century three-story balcony called the Golden Roof. Burton Snowboards set up their first non-American headquarters in Innsbruck in 1992. There’s a shop selling some of their old gear and seconds, in their factory at on the outskirts of town.
Your tour includes:
- 6 nights twin share ensuite accommodation, 4 star, Hotel Grauer Bar, Innsbruck
- 5 days on snow guiding with local guides
- Night-time trips to local attractions
- Breakfast daily at Hotel Grauer Bar
- Return Airport transfers from Innsbruck Airport
- Daily private transfers from Innsbruck to the resorts
- Hosting and guiding by Mint Tours
Mint Tours Guides
Your professional guides have an in-depth knowledge of the local area, terrain and conditions. You can be assured we will always find you the best snow conditions available.
Small Group Numbers
We like to keep our group sizes small so you can get the most out of your time with us. We have our guides on-snow every day. At night we’ll have our hosts on hand to show you around the local area.
If you’re travelling solo you won’t be alone. In fact our tour is perfect for solo travellers, we just match you up with someone to room with for the entire time. Not only are our guides with you on-mountain during the day, they keep the stoke going well into the night, so you’ll always have people to socialise with and places to go.
Situated in the north east of the Tyrol region, Kitzbühel is one of the best-known resorts in Europe. It’s actually made up of five different villages. The place is gigantic, and you certainly get what you pay for with seemingly limitless options (and a good chance of the sun shining somewhere on any given day). Lifts are fast and comfortable, keeping the queues down and your shred time up. On a powder day, you don’t have to go to far – in Aschau, for example, there’s a 1200 vertical-metre descent right next to the piste. The absolute must-do runs, though, are found at the Kitzbühler Horn and Pass Thurn areas. The Horn has gulleys, cliffs and steep faces for the adventurous, as well as expansive powder fields with lots of little jibs and jumps. Meanwhile, Pass Thurn offers seemingly endless tree runs, making it the ideal choice for a bad-vis day. Off the 2000er lift you will find what amounts to a natural snowpark, a veritable powder playground with epic terrain and loads of tree and rock jibs. There are also some steeps and wider bowls, accessible with just a short hike.
Ischgl makes plenty of headlines with its opening and closing parties, and its après ski has gained a deserved reputation for going off. But that shouldn’t detract from the fact that above all, this is a seriously good mountain. Huge investment has left it with one of the best lift systems in the Alps, providing access to its vast 238km of pistes, which stretch all the way into the Swiss duty free village of Samnaun. It is located in West Austria in the Paznanun valley, which is not too far from its similarly party-mad cousin St.Anton. Almost everything in Ischgl is above 2000m. With such a massive area, there are plenty of opportunities for powder lovers. The Idalp and Alp Trida bowls have plenty of easily visible pow-fields between the pistes. Heading to the Palinkopf and Pardatschgrat gives you access to some steeper stuff. There are 20km of established ski-routes in avalanche controlled zones, so you’ll be rewarded with a massive long run. Ischgl really shines on the piste front, with masses of largely high-altitude pistes. Apart from a few runs back down to the villages you won’t find any narrow cat-tracks and equally, there is a lack of flat sections in the bulk of the area. What you will find is a vast number of wide intermediate pistes, groomed to perfection every morning. The steepest runs can be found off the Palinkopf and the Greistspitze peaks, and the 14a piste is the one to head for to test yourself on a slope that can hit 70 degrees in places! These are also the starting points for the longest runs back down to both Ischgl and Samnaun.
St Anton has a well-deserved reputation as a play hard, party harder kind of place. There’s plenty of amazing steep faces and powder to hunt out and plenty of après ski bars to quench your thirst at. The word is out on the great freeriding to be had here, so follow your guides and they will be sure to show you loads of great terrain. This area is amazing with tight and open trees, and relatively crowd-free slopes. In St Anton the variety of pistes is fantastic; from the steep and fast runs down from the Valluga to the gentle runs off the Gampen and Galzig.
The closest resort to Innsbruck that is accessed direct from town via a new cablecar. Besides the world-renowned Nordkette Skyline Park and 6 runs of varying difficulty, the Nordkette offers numerous freeride possibilities. One of the absolute highlights is the Hafelar Run; The Hafelekar Run is one of the steepest ski runs in Europe. With an incline of 70%, this ski run is reserved for extremely good riders. One of the other great features of Nordkette is the apres. Don’t miss out a schnapps drinking session at the Cloud 9 Igloo bar.
It may not be the biggest of resorts, nor is it the chosen resort for most tourists, but Axams is a full-on, no-nonsense, natural freeride snowboarder’s paradise. The resort has everything you could possible ask for and although not extensive, the terrain in places is as natural as it gets with top-to-bottom riding when snow permits. Having twice hosted Olympic disciplines, the runs are obviously of a decent standard, with something to suit all. Freeriders and freestylers are going to get the best out of the slopes, with loads of great hits, big banks, and gullies that form natural pipes to drop in and out of and tight trees to weave through. The atmosphere on the slopes is really cool, and on certain days snowboarders actually out-number skiers.
Access to the slopes involves a twenty minute cable car ride, but once up, you’re presented with a great selection of runs. You’ll love this place; theres plenty of nice wide, well maintained pistes available. The management take great care in preparing the slopes; they don’t just pistebash at night, but throughout the day also, so theres plenty of opportunity to cut the courdroy. During winter they have a traffic lighted carving run, where you can fly down guaranteeing that no ones gonna cut in front of you. Intermediate freeriders will also find an abundance of trails to ride. If you’re looking for some freestyle terrain, the legendary Stubai Zoo is great for a few laps and when in full swing offers 3 lines with almost 20 features.
Ötztal – Sölden, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl
Located about an hours drive from Innsbruck is the Ötztal Valley and the resorts of Sölden, Obergurgl and Hochgurgl. Not many resorts can boast three mountain peaks over 3,000m and two glaciers, so it’s definitely snowsure. The terrain here is great for intermediate riders, so it’s a great place to kick off our tour and warm up. We’ll aim to ride at Sölden where he 148km of pistes are spread over a vast area, and good conditions can always be found. First lift queues can be pretty long, but once you’re up the mountain, people get spread-out nicely and you won’t be waiting for a lift. Most pistes are above 2000m and the vast majority are wide cruisers. There’s also lots of easy to access powder spots not far from the piste, so it’s a good option to get used to riding in Austria.
Schlick 2000 is extremely popular among freeriders and is one of our favourite places to ride on tour. It has great natural terrain with gullies, bowls, easy trees and drops. It also scores a serious amount of snow with, so we’ll hopefully get to enjoy a powder day here. Freeriding is not the only reason why the Schlick 2000 skiing area is an insider’s tip among snowboarders and free riders in Tyrol. It also has a good reputation for freestyle and the Kalkkögel are the perfect backdrop for your next Insta shot.