Ski and snowboard enthusiasts from around the world:

We have been proud to provide you with free access to snow reports, resort guides and more, and we are beyond grateful for your readership and contributions to our community over the years.

Unfortunately given the changing media landscape, Mountain News Corporation has experienced financial declines in recent years. With additional economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic now facing our business, it is not financially viable to continue operating.

Mountain News Corporation and our OnTheSnow and Skiinfo websites will be shutting down. We will explore the possibility of selling, partnering, or contributing assets to another media outlet if there is an opportunity to allow for a consistent or enhanced online experience. For inquiries about Mountain News Corporation, please email Feedback_OTS@mountainnews.com.

We want to thank our loyal employees for their tireless work over the years to bring great information to all of you. We take comfort knowing that our collective passion for the sport of skiing and snowboarding will certainly live on.

We’ll see you on the mountain.


– Mountain News Corporation

UK

Ischgl ticks all the boxes: Family friendly, lively apres-ski and snowsure slopes

18th April 2018 | Monica Adorno

Huge variety of ski slopes in Ischgl

Huge variety of ski slopes in Ischgl

Copyright: Henning Heilmann

Everyone should visit Ischgl at least once.  I’ve been twice and I’d go again. Not because I’m one of those people that doesn’t like change; I’d rather pick somewhere I haven’t been over somewhere I have been but, as far as resorts go, this one’s a slickly run operation with more activities, restaurants and pistes than you can shake a stick at. 

In fact, two trips haven’t been nearly enough time to experience everything that’s on offer (I still haven’t galloped through the alpine forest on horseback or jumped on a toboggan for the night-time run, or, for that matter, been to Pascha) but at least I can cross flying down the valley on a zip-line off my list and cross country skiing  – both exhilarating experiences and not at all terrifying (that is a lie). Fitting then that the resort’s slogan is “Relax if you can!”  

The itinerary for this particular trip had been lovingly compiled by our Austrian hosts who wisely thought better than to take us to the rowdy, but very fun, Trofana Alm for our first evening and instead eased us into Ischgl’s nightlife with an outing to the fashionable Schloss Lounge.  The Lounge, which is part traditional Tyrolean lodge, part swanky bar, belongs to the same group as the luxurious SchlossHotel.  It’s smart, laid-back and has an extensive champagne menu for high rollers. 

Apres-ski in Ischgl  - © Monica Adorno

Apres-ski in Ischgl

Copyright: Monica Adorno

A few aperol spritzes later, we found ourselves in another Alpine lodge, albeit, this one with its centuries-old beams had a decidedly more rustic feel.  The Kitzloch, which is known for its atmospheric apres, serves a proper cheese fondue.  Plates arrived overloaded with crusty bread, potatoes, chips and vegetable crudites, all for dipping into a pot of beautiful, melted, gooey fromage.   The restaurant also offers meat fondue and traditional and international cuisine.  The Kitzlock is open from 3pm – 7pm for après-ski and the restaurant opens for dinner from 8pm to 11pm.

The plan for day two was to ski one of the routes on the Smuggler’s Circuit which were famously used to smuggle contraband during the post-war years (and as early as 1768), over the mountains to the neighbouring village of Samnaun in Switzerland.  The smugglers would exchange butter, cheese and animal skins for anything that was highly sought after and expensive: coffee, flour, tobacco, spices, sweetener and, most popular of all, American nylon stockings.

As a way of paying tribute to the arduous journeys that the smugglers made, in 2016, the resort developed ski routes based on those of the smugglers (after all Ischgl’s first chairlift was funded with profits from the smuggling trade).  There are three variations of the circuit, Gold (35.7km), Silver (24.7km) and Bronze (19.8km), with Gold being the most challenging route. 

Spring skiing in Ischgl  - © TVB Paznaun-ischgl

Spring skiing in Ischgl

Copyright: TVB Paznaun-ischgl

My group which consisted mainly of expert skiers settled on the Silver route which is made up of a combination of challenging red and black runs in the Silvretta arena.  The Silver route gave the group enough time to indulge in a bit of duty free shopping over the Swiss border and arrive back in time for lunch at the impressive Pardorama restaurant, a modern mountain restaurant with spectacular views of the summits on the Pardatschgrat. 

The Smuggler’s circuit takes around 3.5 hours to complete so setting off early is recommended. The Silver route is for experienced skiers, however, beginners can try the Bronze route which consists mainly of blue slopes and takes four hours to complete.  All skiers can track their progress and win prizes using the ‘iSki Ischgl’ app. 

While my comrades stocked up on duty free goods, I had a private snowboard lesson with the gorgeous and bubbly Iris, from Ischgl’s finest Skischule, who took me to the top of the Sonnenbahn lift where I overwhelmed her with my skill. 

Now, I’ve been snowboarding a fair few times and my ability varies from trip to trip depending on how much time has passed since I last strapped my snowboard but the upside of my slow progress is that I’ve tested my fair share of nursery slopes (more than most) so really you could call me an “expert beginner” (I’m very talented). And in my expert opinion, Ischgl’s slopes in Idalp, like Goldilock’s porridge, are just right.

Top station for the Pardatschgrat gondola lift in Ischgl  - © Ischgl

Top station for the Pardatschgrat gondola lift in Ischgl

Copyright: Ischgl

They’re flat but not so flat that you’re constantly stopping and starting (which on a snowboard is pretty annoying), they’re broad which makes new skiers and snowboarders feel safe, and whereas snow quality can be poor on some beginner slopes, the high-altitude in Ischgl guarantees pristine powder.  They’re also served by their own chair lift, so you don’t end up feeling like you’ve been dropped off at the resort’s bottom while the more experienced skiers and snowboarders get to ski the real mountain and enjoy the better views, though granted, the views from higher atop are pretty spectacular.  You can reach Idalp’s terrain by taking the Silvrettabahn cable car from the town centre.

Overall, with more than half of its 238km pistes dedicated to red runs, Ischgl’s terrain is best suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders.  However, experts will find plenty of challenging terrain from the Greitspitz and the snowpark is one of the best in Austria.

In the afternoon, I rejoined the group to try Ischgl’s zip wire ride, Skyfly, on which willing participants or “flyers” are suspended 50 metres above ground and descend towards the valley at speeds of.  Having spent the second half of the morning falling over on moguls because I wanted to see Ischgl’s new high-speed 6-seat  Palinkopf chairlift and getting there involved snowboarding down a bumpy red run, my knees were grateful for a break and keen for the alternative route down from the slopes (ski and snowboard gear can be hooked up to fly down with their owners).

Travelling to the Idalp's perfect beginners' slopes  - © Monica Adorno

Travelling to the Idalp's perfect beginners' slopes

Copyright: Monica Adorno

Ischgl Skyfly starts at the Silvretta gondola mid-station at 1,683m and lands on the roof terrace of the valley station of the Pardatschgrat gondola in the valley at 1,376m. Children from as young as eight can ride on Skyfly as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Skyfly costs €35 for adults and €21 for under 17s.

The following day the group drove 15 minutes to neighbouring Galtur to try cross country skiing.  I was nervous. Mainly because the only time I’d skied previously was as a child on a family holiday when, following a mix-up with our booking, we found ourselves instructor-less for the first three days of our holiday.  We tried to teach ourselves.  Disaster ensued.  However, 20 years later, standing at the start of the cross-country course and looking out at the beautifully groomed track ahead, I felt (relatively) relaxed.

Village of Galtur  - © Monica Adorno

Village of Galtur

Copyright: Monica Adorno

The weather was glorious which helped and I rather enjoyed having two planks on my feet instead of just one board despite the fact that on cross-country skis your heels roam free.  With the aid of my poles I started to glide and found something akin to “rhythm” and hey! I loved it – what an amazing way to see the village of Galtur, which is much calmer than Ischgl. 

The Paznaun valley which comprises Ischgl, Galtur, See and Kapal is made up of 73 kilometres of trails.  All of the trails are described in the “Cross-Country and Winter Walks brochure which can be obtained free of charge from the tourist information office.  

Being in Galtur, we decided to pay a visit to the Museum Alpinarium.  The museum was built following the tragic avalanche which hit the village of Galtur in 1999 killing many locals and tourists. A 345 metre long and 19 metre high protective wall, an avalanche barrier, was constructed and the museum was built around it.  The Alpinarium is dedicated to promoting high-alpine issues and is well worth a visit.  It is open on Tuesdays - Sundays from 10:00am – 6:00pm. 

Alpinarium Galtur - Avalanche protective wall and museum  - © Monica Adorno

Alpinarium Galtur - Avalanche protective wall and museum

Copyright: Monica Adorno

Our final evening saw us dine at the incredible Stuva restaurant where 28 year old Head Chef Benjamin Parth creates the most divine morsels of food.  Benjamin was awarded his first Gault Millau toque when he was just 19 and he considers every last detail; his menu at Stuva is classic, innovative and light. Service is impeccable with knowledgeable and friendly waiters who describe each course to delighted guests.  Stuva is probably one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to which makes sense considering the resort was recently awarded 16 toques and 24 stars by famed culinary guides Gault&Millau 2018 and A la Carte 2018 cementing its status as a culinary hotspot.

Macaroons at Stuva restaurant  - © Monica Adorno

Macaroons at Stuva restaurant

Copyright: Monica Adorno

Crystal Ski Holidays (www.crystalski.co.uk; 020 8610 3123) offers a week's half board at the four-star Hotel Seiblishof in Ischgl from £1053 per person (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and transfers. Direct flights available from all major UK airports.


 

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Ski and snowboard enthusiasts from around the world:

We have been proud to provide you with free access to snow reports, resort guides and more, and we are beyond grateful for your readership and contributions to our community over the years.

Unfortunately given the changing media landscape, Mountain News Corporation has experienced financial declines in recent years. With additional economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic now facing our business, it is not financially viable to continue operating.

Mountain News Corporation and our OnTheSnow and Skiinfo websites will be shutting down. We will explore the possibility of selling, partnering, or contributing assets to another media outlet if there is an opportunity to allow for a consistent or enhanced online experience. For inquiries about Mountain News Corporation, please email Feedback_OTS@mountainnews.com.

We want to thank our loyal employees for their tireless work over the years to bring great information to all of you. We take comfort knowing that our collective passion for the sport of skiing and snowboarding will certainly live on.

We’ll see you on the mountain.


– Mountain News Corporation