Taking a caravan or motorhome skiing for the first time can be pretty intimidating so having a mapped-out, tried and tested itinerary might be just the thing you’re looking for. You also might be looking to expand your horizons a little – we know it’s easy to return to the same places, particularly when you find a spot that ticks all the boxes but there are so many places to explore – hopefully this might give you some inspiration!
These itineraries are designed for any of you winter snomads but are great for caravans, with all the important details taken care of – from access and drive-times to en route stop offs. Motorhomers might find you can whizz through some of the routes a little faster with some adjustments to the overnight stops.
If this is your first delve into motorhome and caravan skiing itineraries, also check the Tiroler Oberland and Reschenpass Valley in Austria and have read our posts on caravan skiing.
Two Weeks in the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental
Here’s Winterised’s diary for a couple of weeks in the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental area of the Austrian Tirol. A caravan friendly, almost toll free journey to an easy-access winter sports region offering over 280 kms of piste, a choice of campsites and great road and bus links to other ski areas.
We recommend planning on 2.5 days each way for this trip. 670 miles of this almost toll-free 680-mile journey is motorway, so straight forward driving. Westendorf town is relatively low level at 780m and does benefit from a gentle undulating road from the A12 motorway. However, it is a long drive from Calais and you can never bank on blue skies and dry roads in Europe and the Alps in winter so it pays to allow for a second night en route in case you encounter any problems.
Day 1 – UK to Girod, Germany
As with the majority of our Austria bound itineraries, an early start is needed for this trip and we normally aim to get the 0750 or 0820 Eurotunnel and head for the Belgian border without delay. Our campsite for tonight is the excellent Campingplatz Eisenbachtal, a 325-mile drive from Calais. General route advice can be found here, but if you are unlucky enough to be caught in bad weather and need an earlier stopover, Camping Aachen is open 24/7 and easy to access late in the evening.
Another early start is advised, and as Campingplatz Eisenbachtal is close to the A3, you will quickly be heading for Nuremburg and the A9 for Munich some 285 miles away.
Join the 99 ring road around Munich and the A8 followed by the 93 to the Austrian border at Kufstein. From there it is just 20 miles to Westendorf. A few miles of the A12 from the border are toll free, but from the Kufstein Sud junction to the Worgl turn off for Brixental you will need a vignette for your car or motorhome or a GoBox if you are a motorhome over 3500kgs.
Caravans do not require an additional vignette. Full details can be found at Asfinag.at.
With two drivers and good driving conditions this route is possible to complete in two days if you don’t mind setting up on site after dark, but if you do need to find a second stopover, there are options at Hotel & Camping Bauer Keller, Greding, just south of Nuremburg close to the A9, or Waldcamping Auwaldsee near Ingolstadt.
Where are we staying?
Our recommended campsite is Panorama Camping, which is situated on the edge of the attractive ski town of Westendorf and is very easy to access from the 170 road. We strongly advise advance booking, especially during peak season.
Why do we like Panorama Camping?
- It’s a gentle drive from the A12 autobahn along the Brixental valley road, and level access making it ideal for caravans and larger Motorhomes
- It has a relaxed feel with a blend of Seasonaires and touring units
- It has high quality facilities
- The owners run a nice pub restaurant on site
- There is a regular free ski bus service to and from the town centre and the Alpenrosebahn ski lift
- It is great for dog owners with a huge area for walking adjacent to the site
- You can access the whole of the Skiwelt from Westendorf and the link to Kitzbhuel
Panorama Camping closes for lunch between 1200 & 1400 during which the campsite barrier is locked (key card entry for guests once you have checked in). It is usually possible to access your pitch before 12 if you ring ahead, but if not there is a large access lane suitable for parking several caravans and motorhomes just before the barrier. The campsite restaurant is usually open for lunch, or the Hofer supermarket across the road is convenient if you need some supplies.
Once pitched, ski hire and service is available in Westendorf town. Our recommendation for good value and great servicing is at Dieters Ski shop at 16 Dorfstrasse, not far from the town centre lifts and ski schools.
If Panorama Camping does not tick all the boxes for you, there are two other campsites that are tried and tested by Winterised in the area. Camping Ritterhof at Hopfgarten and Camping Franzlhof at Soll.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental – What’s the Skiing like?
Ski Welt has over 280 kms of piste, 150 kms of cross-country tracks, and several quality fun parks. It is one of the larger interconnected ski areas in Europe. Westendorf has 120kms, which are directly accessible from the Alpenrosebahn lift on the edge of the town. You can get here using the free ski bus from the campsite or park in the large free car park.
Much of the skiing here is on northerly and east facing slopes, which hold up well throughout the day, although the return runs can soften by the afternoon later in the season or if snow cover is limited.
Westendorf is ideal for improving beginners and intermediates with a good selection of blue and straightforward red runs. There is also a very good learner area in the centre of town with a choice of ski schools and a few apres-ski venues.
From the Choralpe hub at the centre of the Westendorf ski area the red piste 11 takes you down to Brixen-im-Thale and the gondola into the rest of the SkiWelt. In good conditions in the morning and midday sun this is a brilliant run with excellent views across Brixental, however, as the shade covers the slopes from early afternoon it can get very icy and can be challenging. It is also worth noting that the piste does not go all the way to the gondola and you will need to walk or pole the last 150 metres. If this is not for you, don’t worry, just hop on the SkiWeltbahn gondola from Choralpe and enjoy the views all the way down to the Brixen lift.
Whilst it is possible to access all of the SkiWelt every day from Westendorf via the Brixen link, it is time consuming to negotiate the pistes and gondola especially during peak periods. It is also worth noting that later in the season, the return red run 1b (Brixen Abfahrt) can get heavily mogulled and congested in the afternoon, presenting very difficult conditions for learners and early intermediates. Catching the gondola down is worth considering in warming weather and busy conditions. There are though other options for caravan skiers who will have their car with them.
All of the ski resorts around the SkiWelt have very good parking facilities at the lift stations, all of which are free. Two in particular, Hopfgarten and Brixen have huge parking areas, which are suitable for day parking for motorhomes, although overnight stops are not allowed. There is also a service bus, which stops near to Panorama Camping that covers all resorts and another, which goes to Kirchberg some seven miles away for the lift to up to Kitzbuhel.
So by driving up to the lift stations each day, it is possible to miss out the Brixen link and focus on what each of the key resorts have to offer. Our top three would be:
Just nine miles from Westendorf, Soll has easy access from the 178 to four large car parks at the lift station, which services about 30kms of local piste with some good nursery slopes used by local ski schools. Starting from the bergbahn area there are also some well set out cross-country tracks, which are more suited to intermediate skiers. Soll also benefits from night skiing and a high level of snow making facilities.
Once up into the main ski area, Soll is a good location for advanced skiers with some of the best off piste and long steep red and black runs in the SkiWelt being available from the Hohe Salve area. There is also a great floodlit toboggan run here if you fancy an evening out.
Six miles further along the 178 is Ellmau, which has plenty of parking adjacent to the Bergbahn Wilder Kaiser, although probably a tight squeeze for Motorhomes. Our tip here is to arrive early about 0830 and enjoy the excellent local slopes as the lift opens for the day. Take a break for breakfast at the restaurant at the base station, before heading off towards Going and some of the quieter areas of the SkiWelt. There is some great skiing up here on northeast facing pistes that hold up well for much of the day and are a peaceful retreat if peak season crowds are focussed on Soll.
Our midweek tip is Hopfgarten, which is only three miles form Westendorf and
Probably of most interest to intermediates, who will enjoy the lovely long red return runs through the trees which are often deserted and overlooked as skiers head for the central SkiWelt area and the Hohe Salve above Soll. Once at the top of the gondola, there are also a number of excellent blue runs, good nursery slopes, and further access to the rest of the Ski Welt. The car park at the Hopfgarten gondola is huge, partly undercover, very well marshalled and free of charge. There is a dedicated area for larger vehicles and motorhomes although overnight parking is not allowed.
On a two week trip and allowing five days for travelling, there is plenty here to fill the nine days available for skiing, but there is a lot more skiing that it is possible to access using Panorama Camping as your base, which is what makes it so popular with the many seasonaires who stay here each year.
Just seven miles along the 170 is Kirchberg, which has plenty of free parking at the most westerly gondola on the Kitzbuhel circuit. With 215 kms of piste dominated by blue and red runs, Kitzbuhel is a very classy resort in its own right, but without doubt worth dropping into for a day or two as part of a SkiWelt visit. It is also possible to access Kitzbuhel from Westendorf using piste 120 to the bottom of the Ki West lift and then taking the ski bus to the Pengelstein lift for Kitzbuhel.
St Johann in Tirol
If you continue along the 178 past Kitzbuhel for a further six miles, you come to Oberndorf, which is part of the Sankt Johann in Tirol ski area that has a good family friendly reputation and surprising variety for just 43 kms of piste. It’s a great day out.
Cross Country Skiing
A little unusual and definitely worth the effort, is the 2.2 km course from the top of the Brixen lift to Filzalm lake and back. Beautiful views, a well maintained track, and places to stop along the way, makes this a very popular repeat venue, all at around 1300m. There is also a walking course close by. Elsewhere across the SkiWelt there are another 140kms of cross country track, and having independent transport helps towards making the best of it.
For motorhomers who prefer to leave their van on site, the ski bus network will get you very close to most of it.
Dependent on the length of you stay, there is a lot of choice when it comes to ski passes in this area. Some terrific deals for seasonaires with coverage of the whole of the Tirol, or the Salzburg/Tirol Superskicard area are usually available at reduced prices by early December. For shorter stays the SkiWelt daily and weekly tickets are competitive and be sure to check out the family deals. If you have children under three with you, a special ticket allows the adults to share a ticket so you can swap over childcare arrangements at any time. These cost just 5 euro a day above a single adult ticket price.
For nine/ten days skiing we would suggest mixing a Ski Welt ticket with a couple of days Superskicard tickets to get the best of the area and to drop in for a taster in Kitzbuhel and St Johann. You can find information about the various ski pass prices here.
If your diary only allows you to start your run home on a Saturday, start early. The A12 at the Kufstein border can get very busy at weekends as a combination of changeover days and day-trippers from Munich clog the roads. We advise being on the move by 0730, which will allow you to be through the border by 0830.
The A8 west bound will be busy on Saturdays, so retracing your outbound journey is recommended, perhaps aiming for Camping Aachen if you have two drivers and so reaching Calais by early afternoon on Sunday.
If leaving Westendorf on a Sunday, an early start is needed again, but in Germany HGV traffic will be negligible, so routing home via Luxembourg is an option. For additional stopover suggestions, check out snomadsites.com.
- It is mandatory to have winter tyres on your tow vehicle between October and March in Germany and Austria. Full details can be found here.
- If you like peace and quiet when you’re skiing, head over from the Choralpe hub in Westendorf towards the Ki West area about 1230, and as everyone heads for lunch ski the reds down to the Kitzbuhel link (120) and back up a few times. Great runs and usually even in peak season, almost nobody around.
- Not far from the end of Westendorf piste 11 to the Brixen lift is CampingWelt Brixen, not quite ski in/ski out, more walk in/pole out, but worth a look if you want another option for a longer stay.
- For dog walkers, head away from the campsite across the cross-country course and up into town from the western end past the Alpenrosebahn. A quiet and interesting look at residential Westendorf with an alternative return descent through the trees past the swimming pool. Take a pole with you; it’s steep in places. Alternatively, keep going past the ski lift to the edge of town and stop for afternoon tea or drinks on the terrace at Cafe Elizabeth, and watch the world go by.
- If you’ve got kids at the ski school in the town centre, drop them off and head for Backerei Mitterer on Dorfstrasse for breakfast, just across the road from the school meeting points.
- The friendliest vet we have ever met on our travels is Jutta Streele and you can find her about 750m past the campsite at 25 Mühltal. Jutta is very familiar with all things pet passport and AHC.
- Motorhomers may well find that the more direct route through Luxembourg and the A8 to Munich works well for them with a second overnight stop available at Sulzemoos near Munich if required.