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B FoR BAD GASTEIN
The first day of skiing usually happens on one of the home mountains of Bad Gastein: Either on Stubnerkogel Mtn, or with good snow conditions Graukogel Mtn. Depending on which day of the week your first day is, I’ll give a few tips:
Keep away from Stubnerkogel on Sundays. The automatic choice for hundreds of new people in town every Sunday is Stubnerkogel. The area is connected with Hofgastein / Schlossalm, so same goes with that part. Instead choose Graukogel next to Miramonte if there’s a lot of snow! Our favourite insider mountain doesn’t have snow canons at all, so we go by natural snow only. Ask the reception for more info about open slopes, and don’t be fooled by the small amount of pistes at Graukogel… Quality over quantity. Usually you get to cruise alone in those natural snow dreamy slopes…
When Monday comes, it’s time for Stubnerkogel. I love this mountain! It offers some challenge with steeper slopes, but you can also enjoy easier alternatives down towards the Angertal valley. I recommend to take slope B15 and then B11. The profile is awesome. For steeper stuff go for B18 next to Senderbahn and follow some black slopes all the way down.
S FOR SPORTGASTEIN
The pearl of the Gastein valley, Sportgastein. Aka #tinytibet. You need to take a car or a bus 500 meters up in elevation to get to the southernmost place of the Gastein Valley, which is also part of Hohe Tauern Nationalpark. You will be greeted by majestic mountains all around you, and from here you will take the gondola up to 2650m. The view gets better and better the higher you come. The top of the gondola, Kreuzkogel, will be the highest point of the whole Ski Amadé system in Salzburgerland! Take your time to take in the views on the top, pay a visit to the futuristic geodesic dome designed by architect Gerhard Garstenauer!
As for Sportgastein, it’s quality over quantity. You basically 4 slopes to choose from, because the skiing happens mainly above the middle station. Try out the gentle S1 to start with, then move left and find your favourite… Mine is S3! Remember that Sportgastein is a good weather destination, on sunny weather you can fully enjoy those views that make Sportgastein so special. Wind can sometimes close the lifts, so check the weather before you head up there!
Highly recommended is a lunch or a coffee break at Valeriehaus at the end of the ski day. Otto will also serve you the best Pineschnapps around.
H FÜR hOFGASTEIN
From Angertal you can either return up to Stubnerkogel or continue to visit Hofgastein’s ski mountain Schlossalm. There you find the longest slope of the Gastein Valley, 12 km! Can you believe it? From Hohe Scharte at 2300m you cruise all the way down to the town of Hofgastein at 850m (H1/H2). When you take a lift back up to Schlossalm it’s time for a break at the lovely sunny terrace of Weitmoser Schlossalm.
The next slope is one of my personal favourites; take the T-bar up from Weitmoser hut, ski to the top station of the blue gondola Kaserebenbahn and start skiing down the ridge towards Angertal. This one is usually quite empty, because not so many go this way from the gondola in their hurry to move forward to Schlossalm area. First you have a gentle cruising bit with a view to all directions, then a steeper slope almost all the way down to Angertal. Even the little transport in the end doesn’t matter, your legs will be screaming by then anyway 😉
Now it’s time for a great ski lunch, at Jungerstube on Stubnerkogel. Everyone visiting the Gastein Valley is going to hear about it, and for a reason. You can either sit in the cosy hut, out on the big sun terrace or in the umbrella bar with groovy music and good drinks!
D FOR DORFGASTEIN
When you have roamed through the nearby ski areas around Bad Gastein, don’t forget to pay a visit to this one! Dorfgastein offers plenty slopes lower down near the tree line, which gives you a better visibility also on bad weather days, or possibly some cover from the wind when some higher lifts are closing. Long slopes down to the neighbor valley Grossarl are my personal favourites in Dorfgastein area.
To top it off go taste the best strudel at Grabnerhütte! For a salty treat order a Kaspressknödelsuppe (cheese dumpling soup) to start with. I claim it to be the best one in the valley too!
F FOR FREERIDE
I like to call myself a freerider. I stay in the slopes only when I have to. In offpiste skiing my favourite area is, no doubt, Sportgastein. These mountains offer amazing possibilities for freeskiing, but also great danger. To try out the famous “North side” or “Weissenbachtal”, not to mention the king of offpistes; “Schareck Mtn”, you should hire and bring a guide with you. They will take you to best places and take care of your safety, which is the most important thing in freeriding. Every strong skier should try out these routes, and many more we have here. There’s nothing like skiing through the untouched landscape of backcountry, soft snow bouncing under your feet and flying over your head. Enjoy! Hanne