Nestled in the Sellrain valley and a mere 35km from Innsbruck lies the resort of Kühtai. Unlike many other snow resorts in Tirol, which usually stem from already established villages, this seems to be a purpose-built ski town. Or almost, as it is home for no more than 10 (ten) inhabitants. In fact, Kühtai is one of the smallest localities in Tirol and was established as a farm in 1288 AD. Later in the 17th century it was transformed into a hunting château and in the mid 1900s the ski fever came to take over the slopes of the nearby mountains.
Kühtai is a unique destination for several reasons: for example, its air is considered so pure that is recommended for people with allergies and asthma, probably due to its high altitude: nothing less than 2020m above sea level. So guess what: it’s the highest resort base in Austria.
The high altitude provides for reliable snow cover, but also for the relatively barren landscape as the tree line falls below most of the pistes. The full 80 km of runs are divided in two domains: Kühtai and Hochoetz. Although they are not connected by piste, there is a free skibus to make the transfer between the two.
As always in Austrian resorts, the staff performs an impressive and impeccable work: the pistes are smooth, wide and kept in perfect condition. Almost too perfect for the fun-seeking snowboarder, as there seemed to be few (if any) ‘natural’ features in the runs and therefore no side-hits in sight when we visited. Still, it’s super fun to ride, carve and butter through these slopes.
However, the freestyler within each one of us can surely be pleased with one of the main attractions of this resort: the KPark. Oh boy.
(photo by Kuehtai.info)
Take the Alpenrose draglift or Hohe Mut Bahn chairlift and you’ll reach the park. Again, the modules are perfectly shaped and maintained by the park crew. Kudos for the guys. The slopestyle area has all it takes to keep riders entertained, with medium and advanced lines for jib and kickers that will keep you repeating the word ‘Sick!!’ over and over again. However, the star of the park is the ridiculously spot-on superpipe. Seven meters high, 140m long and 20 m high, this crisp work of art has been ridden by pros such as Shaun White or Terje Haakonsen and is the venue for many competitions.
An added value for the all visitors of the park, from the average Joe to the super pro, are the regular Public Shootings: professional photographers from Got It spend the day shooting the riders, and all the pictures are posted later in their website, free of charge. Who doesn’t like to have their photos taken by professionals?
(photos by Got It)
When it comes to freeriding, the snow conditions when we visited didn’t allow for much more than mindsurfing the lines we could see from below. Rumour has it, though, that with the right conditions you can get epic descents from the peaks of Küthai. As always when you venture to the backcountry, make sure that you are equipped with the right safety gear and good judgement before you go out.
To summarize, Kühtai is an excellent choice to enjoy a day if you are based in Innsbruck, especially if you like to enjoy a wide open high-alpine landscape, or if you are into freestyle snowboarding or skiing. To enjoy tree-lined pistes, head out to Hochoetz. Guaranteed fun!
(photos by The Perfect Winter unless stated otherwise. Thank you to Kuehtai Tourism and Got It shootings.)