For most of us, holidays are first and foremost about one thing: relaxing. Winter holidays in the mountains of Tirol are no different. However, long queues at the breakfast buffet or hangovers at high altitude can put a downer on what is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable times of the year. We have put together five tips to avoid stress on and around the slopes.
1. Embrace the Low Season
It’s alright for retirees, isn’t it? While many of us are forced to travel at peak times when accommodation, flights and everything else is top price, they can head off during the low season and enjoy not only cheaper rates but also a more relaxing atmosphere with fewer visitors. However, families with children can also avoid the busiest and most expensive times of the year by booking a late-season holiday, for example in March. From then on things are generally quieter in the ski resorts, though most of the large ski areas in Tirol remain open well into spring. Good things come to those who wait, so avoid the high season and take a chance on a later-than-normal break. You will be rewarded with long days, empty slopes, plenty of sunshine and no queues at the breakfast buffet in the morning.
2. Take It Easy on the Schnapps
Tirol’s many après-ski locations offer plenty to see, do and experience after the sun goes down and the pistes close. In the resort of Serfaus, the local ski schools put on a weekly Adventure Night every Wednesday evening until the middle of April. It is a mix of music, skiing and gravity-defying tricks. Those staying close to Innsbruck can use the proximity to visit the regional capital in the evening. Options include theatre, cinema and, of course, plenty of restaurants. In order to enjoy the next day on the slopes, we recommend avoiding indulging in too much of the local schnapps!
3. There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Just the Wrong Clothing
Just because there’s a snowstorm blowing outside, doesn’t mean you have to stay in the hotel and cuddle up in front of the fire. As our parents always used to tell us: there is no such things as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. When the temperatures drop, we recommend fleece, wool and flannel. The fine fibres trap warm air between them, creating an insulating layer to keep you warm. Combine this warming clothing next to your skin with windproof and waterproof outer layers and you can enjoy a great day out on the slopes whatever the weather.
4. Snack at Lunch to Avoid the Rush
After a long morning of skiing, most people look forward to a well-deserved meal at one of the huts or restaurants in the resort. However, things can get pretty busy around lunchtime. The solution? Take a snack with you, sit down in the sun and enjoy the amazing views. Then do a few more runs on the quiet pistes while everyone is eating, before heading to one of the huts in the afternoon for coffee and cake. Once the lunchtime rush is over you will find plenty of space to sit down and relax in peace.
5. Travel Smart
Booking a good hotel nice and early is an essential part of any ski holiday. However, we also recommend booking as many other things as possible online: equipment, ski pass, ski lessons, etc. Travelling smart also means choosing the best way to get to the resort. Arriving by train is quick, easy, comfortable and, of course, good for the environment. Some of Tirol’s biggest ski areas, including St. Anton, Fieberbrunn and the Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser, are just a stone’s throw from the nearest railway station. This winter the Austrian Federal Railways have introduced the Snow Nightjet, a special overnight train connection to some of Tirol’s most popular resorts. The final leg from the station to your accommodation can be completed using one of the shuttle services available.