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The Ski Juwel is an area of linked resorts in Austria’s Tirol, which includes Alpbach, Reith im Alpbachtal, Oberau, Auffach and Niederau.

Though not as well-known as some of the other Tirolean areas it has been quietly popular with discerning British skiers for decades with the traditional villages, peaceful rolling terrain and an emphasis on catering for the whole family proving a great combination.
At around 45 minutes transfer from either Innsbruck airport or 2 hours either from Salzburg or Munich airport, the short transfer time means with morning flights you could even be enjoying a schnitzel on the side of the piste by lunch time. EasyJet and British Airways fly from several UK airports directly to Innsbruck. 

The Skiing

The resorts that make up the Ski Juwel have their own unique character. Niederau is popular with beginners, offering plenty of easy slopes next to the village, highly regarded ski schools and progressive runs higher up the mountain.

For the more advanced skier, Inneralpbach sits in the heart of the area with easy access to each mountain, especially with the new 8-man gondola whisking you up to the top of the Schatzberg in under 15 minutes. Over 10% of the 109km pistes on offer are rated as difficult and there is great terrain for ski touring too.  If you want an exciting evening experience try night skiing at Reith im Alpbachtal, where their award-winning 6km of floodlit pistes stay open on Friday and Saturday night ‘til 9:15pm. There are also dedicated race pistes with timing cameras for the speed demons and several snowparks for those that want to hit the kickers and rails.

For kids there are specially designed kids’ areas where even the youngest children can learn essential skills before heading on to the main slopes, look out for ‘Ski & Smile’, ‘Frosty’s Schneewelt’ and ‘Juppi Do’ kids’ paradise. In some of the smaller villages like Kramsach and Brandenberg skiing on their lifts is free for under 15s.

Hotels, B&Bs and apartments

Speaking of families, many hotels in the area have incredible facilities for both adults and kids. The Kinderhotel Galtenberg in Inneralpbach has a huge wellness area with indoor & outdoor heated pools, saunas, steam rooms and even slides for the kids. There’s even soft play and a kids’ cinema (so adults can enjoy dinner in peace!) a climbing wall and their own private beginner ski area.

Hotels with spas, wellness centres and pools are abundant in the Ski Juwel, in Alpbach there’s the Böglerhof, Hotel Zur Post and Natur & Spa Resort Alpbacherhof, in Niederau you can stay at the Sport & Vitalhotel Wastlhof, Hotel Hannes and Harmony Hotel Sonnschein, for Austrians, relaxation is as important as a good day on the mountain.

There are also plenty of good quality B&B options and apartments in the Ski Juwel area if you’d rather do self-catering. Supermarkets in the resorts are reasonably priced and there are great restaurants too.

Eating out

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If you are in Alpbachtal you should make a booking at the Sigwarts Tiroler Weinstuben which has been owned and operated by the same family since 1774! Here you will find a fantastic selection of regional specialities and, of course, a well-stocked wine cellar. Up on the slopes the Ski Juwel boasts over 25 mountain huts for you to take a break and enjoy some Tirolean favourites, like Kaiserschmarrn, Knodels and Tiroler Grostl. If you are feeling particularly brave try the local Krautinger Schnapps, distilled from turnips with a somewhat persistent aftertaste!

Other Activities

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There are loads of fun activities to keep the whole family entertained in the area, whether it’s thrills or chills you are looking for.

Alpbachtal’s Lauser Sauser, is an exciting rollercoaster like sledge ride that reaches speeds of up to 42kph and features two corkscrew turns in its 1.4km descent. For those who want a little less adrenaline, there’s Igloo building with an expert at the top of the Markbachjoch once a week.

If you or the kids have always wanted to go for a ride in a piste basher then you’re in luck, after the pistes close in Reith you can be a ‘caterpillar co-driver’ for an hour, as the driver helps smooth the slopes for the next day.

On Saturdays in Alpbach they open some lifts at 7am for an early bird session so you can even get a few perfectly groomed runs in before grabbing breakfast at altitude in either the Kaftner Ast or Berggasthof Hornboden mountain huts.

For more information: www.skijuwel.com/en