Mayrhofen Ski Resort Guide
Located in Austria’s Zillertel valley, Mayrhofen is a picturesque village resort which strikes a rare balance in being both family-friendly and a party town. Mayrhofen is first mentioned in 1200 AD as an estate belonging to the Archbishop of Salzburg. For the last 100 years though the town has become popular with climbers, walkers and skiers looking to embrace the surrounding scenery.
As Mayrhofen has grown as a resort it has been able to successfully maintain its traditional Tyrolean architecture. These heavily timbered chalet-style buildings help give a rustic village feel to the place even though it is now one of the most popular ski resorts in the Alps. The international clientele of Mayrhofen come from all over Europe, but the bulk of tourists are made up Germans, British & Dutch.
An excellent range of skiing terrain is available from Mayrhofen – but equally the resort prides itself on a lively and raucous apres-ski scene. This starts in the hours before the lifts close in slope-side bars such as the Pilzbar, Elchbar and White Lounge. Revellers then descend the various lifts and continue the party in the pubs, bars and nightclubs found around the resort.
If you are looking for a quieter, more relaxing holiday or you are travelling with children then Mayrhofen is not all about the nightlife. Parties tend to happen in a few popular venues and these can be easily avoided if you wish. The valley is famous for the beauty of the surrounding mountains – which can be enjoyed from several well-maintained winter walking trails.
The village has excellent amenities and activities off the slopes as well. There is tobogganing, an indoor climbing centre and a large aqua-leisure centre with spa facilities.
The Zillartel valley is famed as one of Austria’s most musical valleys. So it is only fitting that each April since 2005 Mayrhofen hosts the famous Snowbombing music festival. International acts and DJs draw thousands of skiers & snowboarders here for Europe’s largest week-long party in the snow.
With a transfer time of just 1.5 hours from Innsbruck airport, Mayrhofen can offer convenience for international travellers. The only downside is that there are no ski-in/out accommodation available in the resort. If you can forgo this though you won’t fail to have a great time in Mayrhofen – whatever type of ski holiday you are looking for.
Skiing in Mayrhofen
Despite Mayrhofen being one of the lowest resorts in Europe in terms of resort altitude – the 139km of pisted runs in the local area sit mostly between 1,650m and 2,500m. This gives a reliable snow record and respectably long ski season in most years.. The surrounding ski terrain is split into two distinct areas each served by their own gondola. These lifts are just 200m apart though so there is no major inconvenience associated with changing area during the day.
The main ski area is on the Penken mountain and is served by the Penkenbahn gondola. Linking with the mountain sectors of Horberg and Rastkogel this area offers a great selection of high-end blue and red runs and will be where most skiers & snowboarders spend their days. The handful of black runs are crowned by the testing Harakiri run – the steepest piste in Austria.
On the opposite side of the town you can find the Ahorn area served by the Ahornbahn gondola. This features Mayrhofen’s nursery slopes where beginners can learn in relative peace. There are some blue runs to aid progression here but the sole attraction for experienced skiers is the long winding red run from the mountain top down to valley level.
Mayrhofen has always prided itself on being snowboard-friendly and the Vans Penken Park is regarded as one of the best freestyle areas in Europe. The Austrian’s continue to invest in their lift system with 26 new ones being built since 2000 and which means nice, fast lifts in almost all areas. Unfortunately the lack of ski runs down to the actual resort does mean there can be queues heading down the mountain at the end of the day though.
For an additional payment holidaymakers can buy the Zillartel Superski Pass which provides access to over 500km of pistes throughout the whole Zillartel valley. Perhaps the largest advantage of this is access to the Hintertux Glacier which is just 30 minutes bus ride away and guarantees skiing & snowboarding 365 days a year.