KitzSki at a Glance
Base Elevation: 770M (2,256′)
Summit Elevation: 2000M (6,561′)
Vertical: 1230M (4,035′)
Kitzbühel is a legendary ski town and an historic Austrian ski resort. The first skier, Franz Reisch, strapped on wooden boards and headed down the mountain in 1893! Kitzbühel was the first Alps ski area to have a cable car and five-star ski hotel in the 1920’s.
Kitzbühel is beloved for its classic alpine chic village and big mountain resort skiing. Kitzbühel’s skiing is huge, with 54 cable cars and lifts, 209 km of well-groomed slopes including the famous Streif – the trail where the World Cup Hahnenkamm ski race takes place every January.
What we love about Kitzbuhel, besides the vast skiing, is the authentic Alpine village, where medieval 16th century and Tyrolean architecture blend magically in this mountain town of about 8,000 Austrians. The views are incredible of the surrounding Kitzbüheler Horn, Hahnenkamm Mountain and Wilder Kaiser – which means the wild king.
Kitzbühel skiing is vast, spanning several peaks, with 60 marked trails groomed daily (170 kilometers) and a very efficient modern lift system of 54 cable cars – eight and six passenger bubble chairs with heated seats, and grand gondolas. The 3s Gondola is an impressive 8-minute lift ride across the valley, connecting Kitzbuhel’s Hahnenkamm peak to Jochburg and Mittersill skiing, which is all on the same KitzSki ticket.
Kitzbuhel’s lack of elevation is an issue, however, with a base elevation of only 770M (2,256′) and summits topping out at 2000M, snow coverage, particularly at the base, can be a problem. While the ski slopes are mostly gentle and grassy farmland, called Alm, and are easily covered by a little natural snow, it can also melt in the day’s sun and harden up overnight too. Good news, Kitzbühel has advanced snowmaking and is often one of the first non-glacial ski resorts to open in Austria.
At Kitzbühel, if you can see it – you can ski it. Venturing off-piste, into snowfields, is tempting. You should hire a guide to do so safely. Alpin Experts in Kitzbuhel are very good, at bringing you out to explore all of this phenomenal terrain.
Kitzbuhel is famous for the Hahnenkamm Ski Race, which dates back to 1931, called the Super Bowl of Skiing, or the Kentucky Derby since it takes just two minutes per racer to ski the 85% grade! The annual race includes a huge party at the finish with 100,000 fans. Racers say this is the scariest, most demanding race in the world. When its open, if you are an expert skier, you can ski The Streif’s sheer drop-offs and reverse fall line turns to feel the adrenaline racers must experience skiing at over 100mph. Intermediate skiers can skip over the super steep pitches, just look down the Streif and follow an easier route around.
Kitzbuhel’s on mountain dining and après ski is a highlight, with 56 ski-to restaurants – all unique and family owned. Ski in for lunch, a café, or schnapps, inside a cozy chalet, or sit out on the sun deck. See our review of the top Kitzbühel on mountain restaurants and après ski.
A few great Kitzbuhel chalet restaurants:
Fleck Alm above Kirchberg is a charming family-owned hut, since 1897! Sit on the sun deck and watch skiers fly by or enjoy the cozy wood interior. We had one of best lunches in Kitzbuhel here – the Berner Wurst – a cheese and bacon stuffed local sausage served with pomme frites and a fresh side salad.
Schi Alm Pengelstein is so fun, look for the Red Cow on the roof as you ski down to Kirchberg. This umbrella bar and ski hut has great lunches inside or out. The waitresses are sassy and dressed for tips. Schi Alm turns into a wild après ski dance party certain afternoons with Dance Angels.
Seidlalm has the best view of the Streif and town – its halfway down the Hahnenkamm course as you ski to Kitzbuhel village. This historic On Mountain Hut is run by three gals. Its legendary because Bobbie Beattie, Serge Lange and Honore Bonnet contrived the World Cup ski race concept here in 1966. Have a seat and a Seidl drink and imagine all the tales this old place could tell.
Toni Alm, on the Jochberg side, look for the cheery yellow umbrellas and beach chairs. This classic chalet serves traditional Tyrolean fare with cheer. Try their homemade schnapps too!
Panorama Alm also on the Jochberg side has a huge sun terrace, with a retractable roof, plus a cozy interior. We recommend you sit on the terrace by the bar for the best views and vibes. Try the pizza! This place rocks early afternoon with music too, but you still have to ski down!
Staying in Kitzbühel’s village is an alpine fairy tale, with cobblestone streets, lively après ski bars, and 4- and 5-star hotels. We loved the authentic Hotel Rasmushof, steps to the ski slopes, with half board. Pension Hinterseer is a cozy bnb, where we could watch the gondolas pass over our balcony, this chalet lodge is owned by the famed Hinterseer race family, so you can feel the heritage and ski passion here.
Apres ski in Kitzbuhel, walk the beautiful village, shop the chic boutiques, or go for a drink at Mocking, The Pavilion, LaMonte all by the gondola, or Stamperle on Kitzbühel’s Franz Reisch Street.
The Hahnenkamm race is a metaphor for Kitzbuhel’s historic ski village: authentic, athletic, fast paced, exciting. If only Kitz was higher in elevation for better assured snow. In the Kitzbühel Valley you can also visit nearby SkiWelt and Alpbach Wildschőnau–called Ski Juwel, all part of Austria’s Tyrol ski card. Kitzbuhel is easily reached flying into Munich or Innsbruck, its also directly on the train route.