Kaunertal Glacier Ski Resort

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Kaunertal Glacier ski resort, Austria
Kaunertal Glacier ski resort, Austria
Kaunertal Glacier ski resort is a quiet piece of high alpine heaven.
Kaunertal Glacier ski resort is a quiet piece of high alpine heaven.
Kaunertal Glacier skiing can get a tad lonely...............!
Kaunertal Glacier skiing can get a tad lonely...............!
High altitude north-facing slopes at Kaunertal Glacier ski resort are perfect for powder harvesting
High altitude north-facing slopes at Kaunertal Glacier ski resort are perfect for powder harvesting
Kaunertal Glacier ski resort facilities at the top of the road.
Kaunertal Glacier ski resort facilities at the top of the road.
A glacier perched above the Nörderjoch ski lift is a major feature at Kaunertal
A glacier perched above the Nörderjoch ski lift is a major feature at Kaunertal
Kaunertal Glacier main resort car park at 2750m elevation
Kaunertal Glacier main resort car park at 2750m elevation
Karlesjochbahn gondola at Kaunertal reaches 3108m altitude
Karlesjochbahn gondola at Kaunertal reaches 3108m altitude
Kaunertal Glacier highest lifted point at Karlesjoch
Kaunertal Glacier highest lifted point at Karlesjoch
Kaunertal Glacier main restaurant has superb views out to the lifts & peaks
Kaunertal Glacier main restaurant has superb views out to the lifts & peaks
Intermediates will find pistes in perfect condition at Kaunertal Glacier
Intermediates will find pistes in perfect condition at Kaunertal Glacier
Even beginner skiers can almost touch glacial ice at Kaunertal Glacier ski resort
Even beginner skiers can almost touch glacial ice at Kaunertal Glacier ski resort
Kaunertal Glacier on-piste skiing
Kaunertal Glacier on-piste skiing
Powder skiing at Kaunertal Glacier just off the Weisejaggl ski route
Powder skiing at Kaunertal Glacier just off the Weisejaggl ski route
Kaunertal Glacier off-piste freeride terrain - Variante Zollhaus
Kaunertal Glacier off-piste freeride terrain - Variante Zollhaus
Kaunertal Glacier borders Italy
Kaunertal Glacier borders Italy
Ski route to Melago Italy from Kaunertal Glacier
Ski route to Melago Italy from Kaunertal Glacier
Ochsenalm base at Kaunertal Glacier
Ochsenalm base at Kaunertal Glacier
Kaunertal Glacier
Kaunertal Glacier's closest accommodation is in the small village of Feichten-im-Kaunertal
Ski Kaunertal Glacier
Ski Kaunertal Glacier

Kaunertal Glacier Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Kaunertal Glacier

Kaunertal Glacier3.5/54
Kaunertal Glacier3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Classic Dolomites Ski Safari Inspired Italy

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     Kaunertal Glacier Ski Trail Map
  • Kaunertal Glacier Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    2,150m - 3,113m (963m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    10m+
  • Lifts (7)
    2 Gondola/cable cars
    2 Chairs
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Late September to Early June
    9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 50km
    Ski Routes - 36km
    Longest run - 5km+
    Advanced - 15%
    Intermediate - 20%
    Beginner - 65%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Adult - approx. €55
    Child - approx. €33
    Child u/8yr - Free
    Day tickets at Kaunertal incl. Fendels
    6-day ticket incl. 2 days at Pitztal
     Kaunertal Glacier Ski Trail Map
  • Kaunertal-Fendels Resort Map

Kaunertal Glacier Ski Resort Austria

Tucked away on the frontier with Italy, Kaunertal Glacier ski resort in the Austrian Tirol, provides a relaxed snow experience, free from all the hype of its larger neighbours (think Ischgl, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis), but still with quality snow, terrain, lifts & freeride powder ski options.

Kaunertal Glacier is Europe's most approachable glacier skiing area for beginner & intermediates but is also one of the more remote, with a road that has its challenges if driving (when in doubt take the bus!). Its compact size, ease of navigation, amazing snow & friendly piste terrain make it perfect for families & those skiers & snowboarders preferring their riding on the easier side of the ledger. That said, the off-piste powder, freeride routes & backcountry ski touring is superb and Kaunertal is becoming well known are a destination for adventurous freeriders.

Pros & Cons for Kaunertaler Gletscher Ski Resort

Pros

  • Quality snow & deep, reliable snowpack in a high-altitude location.
  • Long ski season up to 8 months.
  • Modern, efficient lift system.
  • Europe's most approachable glacier ski resort terrain for beginners (Shame driving up the access road is not for beginners!).
  • Particularly good variety of piste trails that stay in superb condition even on the 'busiest' day (if there ever is one!).
  • Fabulous freeride & backcountry ski opportunities.
  • Powder lays untracked for weeks.
  • No crowds, no lift lines.
  • Challenging couloirs & expert terrain for adventurers with a little imagination.

Cons

  • Limited true advanced on-piste terrain (although it has Austria's steepest groomed black run now - the short Black Ibex, which is awesome if ungroomed on a powder day!).
  • Off-piste freeride terrain tends to lack long, steep pitched fall line, and is more a series of shortish pitches linked by flatter sections- still super fun on a powder day though.
  • The upper mountain road bisects some of the best 'inbounds' freeride routes (but the new additional skier's bridge makes it better).
  • No on-mountain accommodation.
  • Difficult returns from some of the backcountry routes (including to Italy) - highly reliant on one’s own car(s) or an intimate knowledge of the bus schedules.
  • The resort will often be closed on high wind & heavy snow days, usually due to an inability to keep the road open. Other resorts in the region can be skied as an alternative.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • On-piste terrain is all above tree-line so can be tough in poor visibility but thankfully the lower elevation ski area of Fendels is included in the lift pass.
  • The access road from the village of Feichten-im-Kaunertal to the resort is narrow & challenging in poor weather or with oncoming traffic. The road has a toll for anyone that doesn’t have (or purchases) a valid lift pass. It is an amazing drive for those that enjoy driving!
  • Nearby villages are relatively quiet & distant from the resort.
  • A limited number of public transport journeys per day to/from the resort from further down the valley at Prutz. One needs to understand the timetables.

Skiing & Snowboarding, Lifts & Terrain

The Kaunertal Glacier terrain is where one can still find solitude, ski perfect groomers, or freeride powder all day, step into Italy & get up close & personal with a glacier or two. A ski paradise all winter, the upper resort is a broad north-facing bowl of around 300 - 400m skiable vertical, overlooked by the 3,518m Weissseespitze & with crumbling glaciers clinging to its ridges. Easy beginner & lower intermediate terrain are the norm, with an exception being under the Karlesjoch gondola where steeper pitches prevail. A new short (but truly steep), advanced trail, the Black Ibex (1B) has been established under the new Falginjoch cable car. It is a fantastic run on a powder day! A ski tunnel links the upper bowl to a tasty, advanced piste & steeper north-facing freeride pitches. Need to be aware of the road below though! Intermediate on-piste terrain has increased with the installation of the new Weissseejoch gondola, with the total of piste trails now 50km. Named ski routes add an additional 36km of 'trails'.

See here for the Kaunertal Glacier ski trail map.

Kaunertal is becoming well-known for it’s freeride routes. With the new Weissseejoch gondola in place, most of the routes can be skied without any skinning and/or bootpack. Some of the routes are relatively mellow, rolling off-piste that are fun without too much challenge (Zollhaus & Weissseejoch). Weisejaggl is approached via a long traverse from Karlesjoch, and if you don't get tempted to drop in early, involves a couple of tricky entries with a few 'sharks' near the top to access to north-aspect goods. The top of the Nörderjoch (3,062m) is a nice skin up from the top of the lift of the same name, alongside the toe of a decaying glacier & then a long ski down the Noerderberg route along the Gepatschferner glacier (backcountry ski skills required)! The routes down to Melag in Italy from the top of the Karlesjoch gondola & the Nörderberg or Fernergries routes require some planning to get back into the resort. Melag is best done on a car shuffle or face a long bus ride home. Nörderberg/Fernergries can be done with an easier car shuffle, hitch-hiking, or co-ordinate with the 3 mid-morning to early-afternoon buses from Feichten back up to the resort. A bus stop is at Fernergries.

The ski lifts at Kaunertaler Gletscher are typical of glacier ski areas where those on the glacier tend to be surface tows. New technology & investment has allowed the Falginjochbahn, a brand new 100-person 'funifor' cable car with a high wind tolerance, to be installed. Several old T-bars have been removed in the process & open up the terrain up for more sliding down as opposed to dragging up. Surface tows in the resort are becoming an endangered species! Below the main car park & Glacier Restaurant, the Ochsenalm chairlift runs in 2-stages all the way from the bottom with a mid-load halfway. From season 2021/22 the new Weissseejoch gondola opened nearly 600m of new lifted skiable vertical, departing from the Ochsenalm mid-station. A new intermediate trail also comes with its own bridge across the road, improving access to the lower resort both from on & off-piste.

Lift Passes

Kaunertal Glacier ski lift passes are usually purchased at the road toll gate just out of Feichten but can also be bought from the inside desk at Ochsenalm if you come up by bus.. They are also valid for use on the dorf (village) lift in Feichten as well as the ski lifts at Fendels ( a great option if the glacier is closed due to wind/snow). A free ski bus links the Fendels gondola valley station at Ried to Kaunertal Glacier (& vice-versa) 5 times throughout the day or between Feichten & Ried if the glacier is closed due to poor weather. Of interest to some (like us!), lift passes of 6-days or more include at least 2-days at the superb Pitztal Glacier ski resort.

See here for the full Kaunertal - Fendels resort map.

Snow & Weather

A high elevation ski resort on the highest ridge of the Austrian Alps, Kaunertal Glacier gets masses of snowfall during late autumn, winter & early Spring allowing for a long season spanning October to June. During our visit in mid-February 2019, the snow base at 2,750m elevation was a huge 560cm (18ft or 221in). The terrain is generally all cold, north-aspect, so snow quality is superb.

Kaunertal is not the best place to ski on low-visibility day, but in clearing conditions or on a sunny day is stunning. Ski the lower elevation, lift pass linked Fendels during a storm. In high winds and major blizzards, the glacier may close for several days in a row.

Where is Kaunertal Glacier Austria?

The Kaunertal Glacier is located high on the frontier with Italy in the Tyrol state of Austria. The ski area is 67km south-west of Innsbruck or 120km (1¾hr) by road. The nearest town is the village of Feichten im Kaunertal, 21km to the north. Feichten also has the closest accommodation & services to the ski resort.

The closest international airport for travellers from within Europe & the UK is Innsbruck (INN). For everyone else it is Munich (MUC) or Zurich (ZRH), both around 3hr drive away. The closest major railway station is at Landeck-Zams, only a 30min drive to Feichten im Kaunertal.

Due to the awkward nature of public transport to the Kaunertal Glacier & its distance from the nearest accommodation, we recommend looking at a private transfer either direct from the airport or from the Landeck Zams train station direct to your accommodation.

Search & book here for all airport transfers to Kaunertal Glacier.

The Powderhounds endeavour to use public transport wherever possible & we skied Kaunertal glacier using the train & bus. Getting to Landeck Zams is simple as it is a major station on the line between Innsbruck & Switzerland. Landeck’s bus terminals have services to ski resorts near & far, but to travel to Kaunertal requires two separate buses, the Route 210 or 4236 bus to the Postamt stop at Prutz, then cross the road to catch the 4232 bus all the way to the Ochsenalm chairlift base at Kaunertal. Expect the second bus to get quite full of skiers boarding at Feichten on the way.

Search & book here for all train tickets to Landeck-Zams.

Kaunertal Glacier Accommodation

The Kaunertal Glacier ski resort has no accommodation within its boundaries. The closest lodging options are in the quiet, rural village of Feichten-im-Kaunertal, 21km to the north. Around 30 to 40min by bus, Feichten has several ski shops, a supermarket, bars & numerous hotels & guesthouses with restaurants. A small learn-to-ski area with one surface lift & a conveyor are also in town.

Search & book here for all Kaunertal Glacier ski accommodation.

Further afield, at the start of the Kaunertal valley, the village of Prutz is well placed. Near the lifts of the small but tasty Fendels ski area, Ried-im-Oberinntal & Fendels provide additional alternatives as does the pretty town of Pfunds. Ski buses link Ried & Prutz to Kaunertal Glacier via Feichten.

A good base from which to explore this entire fabulous ski region is the major town of Landeck located in the Inn valley. Its position, services, bus terminal & train station are perfect for a ski safari base by public transport, but even better if one has their own car.

Ski Rentals

Ski rentals are available in the ski resort & nearby villages via our local partners. Receive a discount when you search & book via our Kaunertal-Glacier Ski & Snowboard Rental page.

Nearby Ski Resorts

Kaunertal Glacier is in a remote part of the Austrian Alps. The closest ski areas to it are the ski pass linked Fendels above the village of Ried im Oberinntal. On the opposite side of the valley to Fendels is the expansive & fabulous Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. A short drive up the valley from Ried toward the Italian border is the powder day pleasure of Nauders. Just off that road, is the weird ski resort & Duty Free Zone of Samnaun. Further away and down valley toward the Inn River and Landeck Zams is Venet ski area. From Landeck the resorts of the Paznaun valley (Ischgl etc) or the Arlberg (St Anton etc) are skiable on day trips by public transport.

Reviews

The Powderhounds reviewed Kaunertal Glacier in 2019 & found it an absolute delight with loads of possibilities. We returned in early February 2022 to check out the latest lifts and new terrain. After a huge storm, it took the resort 4 days to clear the road. We were there when it reopened & had an awesome time ripping it up. Click on the review link in the left column (or top of page if on a mobile) to read our inciteful prose!

See how Kaunertal Glacier compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Kaunertal Glacier

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Austria Innsbruck Freeride Tour
HOSTED & GUIDED SNOWBOARDING TOUR
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Snowboarding | 7 Ski Resorts
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Based in Innsbruck, this trip is for intermediate to advanced (or better) snowboarders taking in some of the best ski resorts in the Austrian Alps. Join the "fixed date" tour with your own group, come alone & meet new friends or fully customise a private tour.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy on a 7 day tour.
Base/invoice currency is in EUR inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,421
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Kaunertal Glacier here
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