The Pitztal Glacier is quite literally the top ski resort in Austria: the highest point of this large glacier ski area at the end of the Pitztal Valley lies at a staggering 3,440 metres above sea level.
Pitztal Glacier ski resort
Wintersports enthusiasts can choose from two ski resorts in the Pitztal Valley. At the end of the valley is the Pitztal Glacier, whose easy, intermediate and difficult slopes can be accessed from the village of Mandarfen using the Gletscherexpress-Tunnelbahn funicular or the Riffelseebahn cable car. They offer 41 km of ski runs in winter through the ski connection between the Rifflsee Ski Resort and the Pitztal Glacier ski resort.
The state-of-the-art Wildspitzbahn cable car takes visitors up onto the Hinterer Brunnenkogel, the resort's highest peak. There, the views of the many surrounding peaks, including North Tirol's highest peak, the Wildspitze, will take your breath away – literally! The nearby Café 3440, the highest in Austria, is a good place to sit down, relax and admire the majestic panorama of the Main Alpine Ridge.
The skiing on the Pitztal Glacier ranges between wide, gentle slopes to some steep sections down from the Hinterer Brunnenkogel, the highest point on the Pitztal Glacier at 3440m – these pistes are sufficiently steep to host the pre-season race training of national teams.
The pistes themselves are mainly rated red (intermediate), though there are also some blue (easy) and black (expert) pistes.
Experienced freeriders can try the long descent over the Taschachferner glacier, passing through powder fields and past crevasses. Another area popular with freeriders is the run 1,500m run from the Mittagskogel mountain down into the valley. Nearby Rifflsee with its network of slopes up to 2,880 metres above sea level is ideal for families and beginners. It has a special practice area for children near the bottom of the cable car as well as a small selection of slopes catering for all abilities. A single lift pass covers both Rifflsee and the Pitztal Glacier.
The Pitztal is not a village but a valley (Pitz valley) but it is the description most commonly used for the string of villages along this high mountain valley.
The funicular accessing the Pitztal Glacier is located on the edge of the resort of Mandarfen. The resort also hosts a gondola leaving the centre and accessing The Rifflsee ski area. In Mandarfen there are several hotels, bars and restaurants.
The valley at this point is scenic and dramatic and there are walking trails along the river which runs through the valley. The Pitztal valley is long and there is accommodation along most of the valley, with free ski buses and hotel shuttles taking guests to the glacier.