All you need to know about glacier skiing and Austria’s Hintertux Glacier.
While most of us are sitting at home feeling sorry for ourselves, twiddling our thumbs, disinfecting our thumbs, and wishing we’d bought those shares in Zoom a few years ago, the one thing we, at Single Parents on Holiday, have really been missing are the ski holidays with our single parent families and our singles ski holidays.
So, what do you do, when your ski gear is gathering dust for a second season in a row? Thanks to COVID-19, it’s now been more than a year since we left our ski gear in the loft (as the sight of it gathering dust next to a half-packed suitcase was too upsetting). And how do you plan a ski trip amongst COVID restrictions? We weren’t prepared to wait another year for our next ski trip and felt neither were our families and solo skiers, who travel with us every year. So we thought, why not hit the slopes for some glacier skiing before then?
What is glacier skiing?
Don’t be mistaken and think that glacier skiing is all about ‘skiing on ice’ and only for expert skiers. Glaciers offer soft powder snow, calm weather and beautiful pistes – all year-round. They are just as perfect for beginner skiers of all ages as they are for those looking to work on polishing new skills, or the families with kids who need to be kept amused. The best part about glacier skiing is that you can go on a ski break outside the main ski season between May and November. So, rather than having to wait an entire year, you can have a sneaky ski break in October, for example, when you get fresh snow and sunny slopes – which is exactly what we were looking for!
Can you ski all year round?
Not all glaciers offer year-round skiing, some are shut during the hotter summer months, so do check the best time to go for each glacier. The only ski resort in Austria, where you can ski all year round, and arguably the best all-round glacier resort we’ve found in Europe, is the Hintertux glacier.
Hintertux glacier: skiing all levels
Hintertux offers the steepest glacier skiing in the Alps – supplemented in winter by a sprawling network of pistes snaking through the unglaciated terrain lower down. It’s a great place to sharpen your technique, if you’re a seasoned skier, and the high altitude – up to 3,250 m – means you can escape all but the sharpest thaws at any time of year. The pistes at the very top are the best – wide, grippy and almost always quieter than the runs lower down. On a windless sunny day, they’re a lovely place to set your edges to groomed snow. Some of the slopes on the glacier are fairly steep, but there are some easy ones too.
Lower down, many of the runs are more meandering – perfect for our single parent families and beginners alike. For those attempting their first turns, Sommerbergalm has a practice area by the mountain station and Hintertux has a tow rope lift by the base station.
It all adds up to 60 km of red, blue and black pistes – more than enough to satisfy us for a great week’s skiing. Just don’t be surprised, or dismayed, if you find yourself being overtaken by members of the Austrian downhill team. That’s where they train in the warmer months, and we won’t even try to compete with them!
A glacier not just for skiing
The Hintertux glacier offers a far more interesting package than ‘just’ great year-round skiing and ski celeb selfies, however. We love the Ice Palace! This wonderful world below the ski slopes offers visitors guided tours to marvel at a walk-in crevasse with magical ice stalactites, huge sparkling ice crystals, frozen waterfalls – and even a glacial lake. Sends a shiver down the spine, and not just because it’s cold.
The Spannagel Cave, an eerily beautiful subterranean show cave, is must-see. A riot of brightly-coloured natural marble walls some 12.5 kilometres in length, Spannagel is the longest cave system in the Central Alps, and a genuine adventure. Guided tours take one hour and take you deep into the mountainside and the labyrinthine caverns, where you can see splendid stalactites and stalagmites, fascinating rock formations, sparkling crystals and much more. If you feel adventurous, you could even take a more challenging 3-hour trekking trip through the caves.
Relax in the sun
The best place to sit back and relax in the sun after a long day of skiing or caving is the Panorama Terrace. Just a couple of minutes’ walk from the terminal of glacier bus no. 3 (the glacier buses at Hintertux are an experience in their own right), the Terrace is just amazing. There aren’t too many places in the world that offer a wide, open view to the Großglockner, Zugspitze and Dolomites at the same time.
So, if you want something to look forward to, miss your skiing, or want to finally try it for the first time, why not join us on one of our ski holidays in Hintertux this October? We have organised two fabulous ski trips this October at a 4 star hotel in walking distance of the slopes: You can choose between a 5-day singles ski trip in Hintertux departing on 30 October as well as a 6-day ski holiday with kids in Hintertux for our single parent families departing 24 October (October half term).