When one of my friends suggested skiing holidays in the middle of May, my only reply was: “Where are we going?” And hence we went to Hintertux Glacier ski resort in Austrian Tyrol.
The Hintertux Glacier, located at the end of the Zillertal Valley, is Austria’s only year-round ski resort. Even during summer, you would be able to ski on 20 km of slopes. During winter, you can experience 60 kilometers of perfectly groomed snow slopes and marvel at incredible views of snowcapped three-thousand-meter peaks.
If you go there in winter, check out Ski- & Gletscherwelt Zillertal 3000 map of the area, which includes Hintertux Glacier ski resort and the area around. In summer, the map of Hintertuxer Gletscher will be enough.
The advantage of skiing so late in the year is that fewer people are on the slopes. Most of the time, there were only my friends and me, allowing us to ski wherever we wanted with little to no queues for lifts. The disadvantage was the snow quality; there was not much powder, and the piste was frozen in the morning, slowly melting throughout the day, only to become frozen in the evening. Not much of a problem for skiers, but snowboarders are a different story. Those conditions made my butt really glad for crash pants because, you know, snowboarders and their often contact with ground 🙂 Even with this small drawback, we had a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed snowboarding there.
The approaching summer opened up many other possibilities for us; it was not only possible to ski all day long but also do some hikes in the area and enjoy phenomenal views of Alpine scenery. Our group split in two, with some of us enjoying the winter part of the mountains and the rest enjoying hiking and spotting animals on the trail.
The entire region behind the Hintertux Glacier is one lovely hiking region, perfect for spectacular mountain hikes and treks. Check out this website for ideas about different hikes you can take in the area.
Take the highest altitude double-rope cable car in the world to the mountain top to see the breathtaking views from the panorama terrace at 3250 m. From there, you can either ski down or take a gondola back. It is wheelchair-friendly so that everyone can enjoy snowcapped peaks.
Nature’s Ice Palace
A couple of minutes’ walk from the top gondola station lies the natural ice cave called Nature’s Ice Palace. Since the discovery, more and more tunnels have been added, expanding the area. It is quite a unique experience in the frozen heart of the glacier, allowing for a sneak peek of how the glacier looks deep inside.
You can take part in the regular tour, taking you through frozen corridors surrounded by sparkling ice crystals and frozen waterfalls, where you will have a chance to take a boat on the glacier lake. But if you feel a little more adventurous, you can book a special tour like Stand Up paddling tour, Ice swimming tour, Scientific tour, or Photosession tour. Click here for more details about the offer.
You can visit the cave all year round, but remember the temperature inside oscillates around 0°C, so make sure you wear something warm. It is possible to walk inside with skiing shoes, however uncomfortable they might be 🙂
How to get to there
We took a plane from Copenhagen to Innsbruck airport. We rented out the car in the airport and drove around 1,5h to the village near Hintertux, located at the foot of the mountain where we booked our Airbnb.
I’ve read there is also a public bus going every day to the location, but the car was just easier for us with all our luggage.