Austria: Kingdom of Snow on Stubai Glacier
This time we travel to the winter kingdom on the Stubal iceberg in the Tyrol Schichtose Alps (about 6 hours drive from Prague). The resort is located 45 minutes of drive from Innsbruck. You go around the city by the southeast freeway. Once dirction boards pointing to Italy appear, turn to Stubaital valley. There is a toll gate where you need to pay 3 euros, you can also pay the sum with a credit card. Then you drive down beautiful valley through little tourist villages. 30 minutes later you are at the bottom station of the new 3S Eisgrat cablecar, right below the glacier. Despite the constant stream of cars, it seems that the parking lot has infinite space. Even in large numbers people quickly disperse here.
The new cablecar 3S Eisgrat runs from the valley and is 4,7 km long. It takes you up from 1695 meters to 2900 meters in mere 11 minutes. There is room for 24 people to sit in a cabin and for 8 more to stand. A classiGamsgarten, a classic-style cable car, is located at the back parking lot. Its terminus is in slightly lower altitude. There are large restaurants at both terminuses.
The ski resort by Stubaital glacier is actually the largest glacier resort in Austria. There are over twenty ski tows (anchor-style, seats for two, six, and eight people, as well as cable cars). The resort is situated across 5 glaciers. Therefore, there are many possibilities to expand it. Glaciers are very wide at some places so narrow ski slopes on them seem sometimes quite funny. Many skiers leave the slopes and enjoy the freedom of movement around them for skiing on such surfaces is good thanks to natural snow (there are only handful of snow cannons around, mostly ain the bottom area of the sresort). Many ski slopes stretch down the mountains. Mostly there are slopes of red and blue difficulty; according to a map there is even one black difficulty slope. However, I think it is bit overestimated. Inclination of many slopes is mild, therefore the resort is reat for families with children. Kids under 10 years of age don't have to pay for a pass. The resort guarantees snow from October to June. Ski pass price is stable throughout the season.
There is Top of Tyrol at the upper station of Schaufeljoch cable car station which is an amazing scenic platform. You must see it. Metal stairs don't go well with ski boots. Still, I recommend it. The scenic point is at 3210 meters and provides vista over wide surroundings. Peaks of the mountains are real beaut to look at. Right below the scenic point on the south mountain side, there is huge Stubai Zoo snowpark. There are large jumps, and other fun stuff for people who love adrenalin. The resort is great for freestylers as well.
Enjoy great skiing in spring!
Text and photos: Martina Brožková
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