Think of Kitzbühel and you conjure up ski pioneers, cat-suited ski racers and designer and fur-clad celebrities. A legend in its own right, Kitzbühel is the playground of the Rich and Famous, set against a backdrop of jagged and rugged mountains. It is where majestic mountain scenery can mean anything from glorious peaks to beautiful people and larger-than-life characters.
On my visit to this ritzy and glitzy resort, I wanted to find out something new. I wanted to get a local’s take on what’s good and that’s why I asked Christine Edenstrasser to join me for this day. A coach and mental trainer, Christine lives close to town and often visits her friends living there. What she loves most about Kitzbühel is the full roster of adventure and activities available in both, mountain and town.
At Kitzbühel Ski Resort, you can ski down the same run that hosts the scariest downhill race on the annual World Cup circuit, ride through powder stashes, or put together one quad-burning top-to-bottom after another. And all of this is just steps away from downtown Kitzbühel. No wonder this place is a legend. And no wonder that Kitzbühel was voted the Best Ski Resort in the World by Skiresort.de for three consecutive years. Skiing there, we enjoyed miles of fresh corduroy and a gorgeous bluebird day.
Cruising around the long groomers at Hahnenkamm, Pengelstein, Jochberg and Aurach, we are working up quite an appetite. Here are Christine’s top recommendations for hungry skiers.
Leave it to Restaurant Hochkitzbühel to take on-mountain dining to new heights. And we mean that in many senses: the restaurant is located at the top of Hahnenkamm Gondola, the abundant house-made, seasonal food options get high marks from foodies in the know, the atmosphere is casual and laid-back, the welcome by Tomschy Family is warm and inviting, and the views from the sundeck have that breathtaking, top-of-the-world wow-factor. Hochkitzbühel offers superior service and culinary offerings amid breathtaking views. And Christoph Tomschy regularly manages to have international Top DJs from Miami and Ibiza performing here on Fridays and Saturdays into the wee hours.
Located close to the top of Hahnenkamm Gondola, quaint Hahnenkamm Stüberl is the locals’ choice. The restaurant hosts a fine sit-down experience for lunch and lucky ones might even spot a celebrity in the rustic wood panelled parlour.
A cosy log cabin at the heart of the ski resort, Berggasthof Sonnbühel boasts a rustic design that is inspired from the surrounding mountains. With a superlative interpretation of classic Alpine dishes and stunning interior design, Sonnbühel takes an elevated approach to fine on-mountain dining. Reservations are required.
Christine’s Shopping and Dining Recommendations in Kitzbühel
The medieval town of Kitzbühel with its heavily buttressed walls and delicate painted frescoes is one of those rare resorts that genuinely appeals to non-skiers. Its pretty, pedestrianised streets are lined with luxury hotels, upmarket boutiques, fine dining restaurants and cafés. Kitzbühel is a mecca for all shoppers—from haute couture to consignment, it’s all here and walkable.
An institution in town, Frauenschuh Family operates a multi brand boutique in the heart of town as well as their own-label of outerwear. The idea behind the Frauenschuh collection is quite simple: top quality luxury sport style fashion made in Austria. The style is simple but high-quality, modern but lasting, great attention to detail but casual—just timeless. The collection is made to flatter and fit and has every woman looking at her best. Plus, all of their retails come with something extra: the incredible expertise of Mrs. Frauenschuh and her team. Christine’s insider tip: Frauenschuh also operates an Outlet Store just out of the town center.
Fashion made-to-measure and quality that lasts: Franz Prader is the superstar tailor of the Alps. Even Hollywood stars have clothes made by Prader, the brand where craftsmanship, luxury and style intertwine. Apart from manufacturing the renowned “Prader Hosen” trousers, Prader is proud to be the exclusive stockist of top Italian brands like Canali or Brioni in Kitzbühel. The store carries an exquisite range of clothing and embodies luxury at its finest. The focus, however, is not on luxury shopping but on highest quality tailor-made items you will enjoy for many seasons. Each product is unique, character-filled and distinctly Prader—with knowledge and wisdom embedded in each garment. Or, as Mr. Prader puts it, “You will feel at home in these trousers.”
Christine discovered her Dale Boots last winter. This isn’t just any ski boot. Rob Graham, a former US freestyle skier, has its primary office in Kitzbühel and provides the high-performance boots that fit properly—and that are custom made specifically for each foot. That means you don’t walk into the store and walk out the same day with a pair of new boots. Instead, you have to come to their fitting center. There, an overall analysis is coupled with a biomechanical assessment, length and width measurements, foot and leg volume measurements. The fit technician then computes the data, and initial customization occurs. After the preliminary fit process is complete, the skier undergoes further evaluation and a custom fit intuition liner is added. The result is customized ski boots with a form-fitting inner boot that provides a comfortable cushion between sensitive feet and an outer shell bullet hard to elevate performance. Dale Boots are expensive, but they will make you perform at your best and ski in comfort for many, many seasons; maybe for the rest of your life.
Combing function and fashion is the trademark of the Toni Sailer skiwear, available at shops throughout Kitzbühel. Toni Sailer, Kitzbühel native and world famous Olympian ski racer in the 1950’s, is now at the forefront of designer skiwear. If you are looking for high performance in designer skiwear then Toni Sailer is the brand for you.
Fashionistas looking for clothing with a local twist are recommended to peruse the fantastic dirndl collection of Sportalm, another Kitzbühel fashion original.
Located on the pedestrianised main street, Café Praxmair has weathered the test of time and is the place to go for mouth-watering pastries and a hot cup of specialty coffee drink to get you going. A wonderful place that recalls time past.
Heimatgold Shop is a specialty food & delicatessen shop that features over 600 tasty offerings, carefully selected from the best products available in Tirol and Austria. With an emphasis on curated food and drink, from delicate Kitzbühel Farm Cheese to great tasting Vulcano Ham and a selection of finest Austrian wines, this is the place where foodies rejoice. Take a seat and enjoy!
The culinary talent of renowned Chef Christian Winkler is now shown off at Schwarzer Adler Hotel’s Restaurant Neuwirt. Working together with his brother, Markus, Winkler’s contemporary regional cuisine is crafted from the finest and freshest local ingredients, organic, sustainable, and unforgettable!
“We are so old fashioned,” says the owner of Gasthof Huberbräu in the heart of Kitzbühel. You’ll love the cosy, rustic timber panelled dining room vibe, far removed from all the glitz and glamour of Kitzbühel. Not to mention their great food. Please stay as you are!!
A special lodging recommendation by Christine is Hotel Villa Licht. No luxury resort but a unique place that has maintained the comfort and hospitality of an old Kitzbühel Lodge. What’s most important, you’ll be warmly welcomed by dedicated and friendly owners who will treat you like family. Conveniently located at the heart of town, Hotel Villa Licht gets raving reviews for a reason. Experience old Kitzbühel hospitality with all the modern conveniences.
The best designers have been working with Hotel Kitzhof to capture the new aesthetic of a true “Mountain Design Resort”. With mountain-inspired architecture and interior design and luxurious amenities, you will rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit in the utmost style. It’s only natural that you’ll find the dining here as fine as the ambiance.