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First impressions of Kühtai

The drive up to Kühtai reminded me of Maine in the States: snowy roads and a small river running by the roadside; but it was the sense of being in the wilderness that really fires the imagination. I expected a moose to run across the road at any moment and yet we were only 10 minutes from the Oetztal Bahnhof. No wonder those Habsburgs liked the hunting round here so much.

My host for the day was a Kühtai connoisseur (a Chemistry teacher from Innsbruck who was born on skis in Sölden and thanks to his Tirol ski pass can pick any of the top resorts for a day’s skiing when he fancies). He and his pals favour Kühtai because “the snow is the best” as soon as you come off the very first lift (no uphill trek needed to find quality pistes); the atmosphere is never showy and for the abiding fact that your personal space is never invaded. I distinctly recall following him down from the top of the Dreiseenbahn to the foot of the Gaiskogelift and not once did I adjust my line or speed to avoid other skiers. “So, it’s true what they say: it really does feel like being in your own private ski resort,” I thought to myself.

The snow was excellent too. We only started skiing at 2:00pm but it was still cold and smooth as we flew down the pistes. No slush or sudden moguls here or those annoying piles of snow where skiers have scraped all the loose snow into a mini snow drift leaving a sheet of ice as a run-up. In fact, the piste is so consistent that you will see various ski teams (US and Austrian) training by the side of the slope.

And hardly any snowboarders sat around in groups philosophising over Jägermeister and Limp Biscuit. They’re all in the K-Park: supposedly Austria’s biggest half pipe with a series of big air kickers and gnarly looking bits of metal sticking out for them to slide over or do whatever they do. I quite fancied one of enormous kickers – maybe I would pluck up the courage to have a go later in the day.

kuhtai jumps

We skied down into the snow bowl in which the resort is positioned surrounded by white peaks which mostly lead to nowhere. We had been skiing on the North facing slopes and so ventured across to the South side where the night skiing had been the night before. No queues anywhere by the way as I reminded myself that this was a Thursday afternoon in March, so still high season.

It was like being in our own ski resort: there were even fewer people on this side! The runs down from the Hochalterbahn were pretty much ours. And the views were spectacular as we chatted over a Weizenbeer looking back down into Kühtai.  I was now talking up trying one of those kickers: the ones were you have to be traveling at over 60kms to get enough speed to make it over the 6-metre lip between the end of the ramp and the landing so steep it looks like the start of a speed skiing course. The science teacher explained these facts. Also, that I was 43, not wearing a helmet and he didn’t fancy hanging out in Innsbruck hospital.

So, overall impressions were very, very good. I have skied in countless, medium sized resorts and I was trying to compare Kühtai but it’s unique. There is a lot skiing of here and the runs are really smooth and nicely pisted. No grim moguls waiting round the corner – just wide motorways. I loved the fact that I felt like I had the piste to myself and there is definitely a different tempo here compared to the bigger, more famous resorts. It’s more relaxed and yet it’s only 35 minutes from Innsbruck and that’s a major attraction if you are looking for an Austrian property: quick access to the airport means you can land and be on the slopes the same day like I did.  It’s also close to the hospital if you get carried away in the K-Park.