Kitzbühel Ski Resort in Austria: A Complete Guide

The Kitzbühel Ski Resort is one of the most prestigious skiing destinations in the world.

This is the place where you want to hang out on your next vacation if you love skiing, Après ski parties and luxury.

Kitzbühel Ski Resort in Austria: A Complete Guide pin cover

🧭 Where is Kitzbühel and How to get there?

Kitzbühel is a medieval town in the alpine region Tyrol in western Austria. Known for luxury and the high life, Kitzbühel has been the playground of the rich and jet-setter elite.

The small city with colorful houses is situated about 30 minutes from the German border, right next to some other well – known tourist spots, including St.Johann in Tirol and Going at the stunning Wilder Kaiser mountain range.

Other classy places nearby include Zell am See and Kaprun in the adjacent Salzburg region, Alpbach in a neighboring valley, and Schönau am Königssee a lake town just across the border in Bavaria.

Three international airports service the area.

Munich airport is the largest international airport in the area, which is about 2 hours away by car or train. The Innsbruck international airport and Salzburg international airport are smaller airports, but they are within a 1-hour travel range by car.

Get a private transfer to Kitzbühel from the following locations:


🚡 Ski Resort Things to Know

The Kitzbühel ski area is known as KitzSki and has been crowned one of the best ski resorts in the alps and the world. Snow certainty and perfect runways are assured!

Six towns are interconnected and part of the KitzSki resort. The most prestigious slopes are located between Kitzbühel, Kirchberg and Jochberg.

This accounts for over 110 miles (177 kilometers), top of the cream, manicured skiing slopes, which includes over 57 lifts and cable cars.

With beginners, intermediates to advanced skiing difficulty level slopes located between 800 and 2000 meters altitude, there is surely something for everyone. Moreover, the small children’s learning grounds are accessible, free of charge.

Plenty of typical alpine skiing lodges can be found along the slopes to take a break and collect new energy.

KitzSki pistes
KitzSki pistes

Try local food specialties, such as Käsespätzle and Tiroler Gröstl in a classic wooden lodge ambiance, while sipping on a heart-warming Jagertee or Glühwein.

On a sunny day, take a sunbath outdoors or join a fun Après ski party with celebrities at a skiing lodge.

The yearly Hahnenkamm downhill race is held in Kitzbühel. It is known as the most difficult and most dangerous skiing competition in the Winter World Cup, all thanks to a stretch close to the finish line, which is known as the Streif.

Held every year since 1931 in mid to end January, the 4-day event attracts over 60,000 visitors with celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bernie Ecclestone making a regular appearance.

I scored a set of autographs as a 13-year-old from Arnold, Niki Lauder and well-known skiing stars as a 13-year-old. It was super inspiring at the time!

The Kitz chamois symbol of Kitzbühel
The Kitz chamois symbol of Kitzbühel

Depending on your skill and expertise, you can venture out and try the Streif downhill at the Hahnenkamm mountain yourself! The hardest part is known as the Mausefalle (translated mousetrap).

Freeriding off-piste snow powder fun can be arranged with a guide in Kitzbühel. A snowpark at the Kitzbüheler Horn with waves, bridges, and tunnels brings in some skiing variety.

No matter if you are downhill skiing, an avid snowboarder or into snow touring, the KitzSki resort offers something for everyone.

The way to the Hahnenkamm gondola
The way to the Hahnenkamm gondola

🎫 Ski Pass Prices 2023/24

The KitzSki resort consists of 2 major areas, the vast Kitzbühel/Kirchberg interconnected zone and the much smaller family friendly Kitzbühelhorn stretch. The KitzSki Pass is valid for both areas.

You can choose between various Ski Pass types and the winter ski passes are split into 3 major price categories.

The super saver season is the most budget-friendly option, taking place up to the 9th December 2023 and starting 2nd April 2024.

The saver season is valid from 10th December 2023 up to 23rd December 2023 and 10th March up to 1st April.

For the best premium season skiing experience, add the 24th December to 9th March to your calendar, if you want to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

The children’s age group is defined with kids born between, and including, 2007 to 2016. Kids born after, and including 2017, are free of charge.

Teenagers fall into the 2004 and 2006 age groups and anybody born before 2006 is considered an adult.

Here is a quick overview of the current Ski Pass prices for the 2023 to 2024 winter. I have added prices for a 1-day pass, 2 day pass, 3 day pass, 5 day pass and a 7-day pass.

You can purchase other ski passes as well and they have special promo days.

Tip: Your purchased physical Ski Pass card is worth a deposit of €2. Most 4 and 5-star hotels and resorts sell ski passes, and you can get your deposit back there as well. Just ask at the reception a day before you plan to ski.

Pass TypeAge GroupSuper Saver SeasonSaver SeasonPremium Season
1 Day PassAdults
2 Day PassAdults
3 Day PassAdults
5 Day PassAdults
View of Kitzbühel and surrounding towns from the slopes
View of Kitzbühel and surrounding towns from the slopes

🎿 Ski Slopes

As mentioned above, KitzSki is divided into two major skiing areas. The large Kitzbühel/Kirchberg zone and the much smaller Kitzbühlerhorn stretch.

In my humble opinion, if you start out in Kitzbühel, the Kitzbühel/Kirchberg area is great for intermediary and advanced downhill skiers. If you are new to skiing and with kids, you will prefer the Kitzbühlerhorn Hornbahn skiing area.

At the same time, keep in mind that the town of Jochberg and Kirchberg, offer an entry point. At the foot of every skiing resort, including Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm, you will find a spot for beginners and kids to learn skiing.

The most famous slope, the Hahnenkamm, is located in Kitzbühel itself near the old town. With the Hahnenkamm gondola cable car, you can get to the peak located at 5480 feet and from there move to other areas.

To get to the Ehrenbachhöhe peak or the Steinbergkogel, ski downwards the blue 37 Melkalm stretch and take a chairlift up to get to the rest of the vast skiing area.

From here onwards, you can get lost in the Kitzbühel skiing fun and go to other areas by taking the 3-S Gondola in Pengelstein to Jochberg and Mittersill/ Pass Thurn.

The Kitzbühlerhorn Hornbahn, located opposing to the Hahnenkamm mountain, is a family-friendly skiing area which includes a family park. Kids will love the family park Audi Quattro funslope, which includes a speed measuring track and a snow tubing track.

In Austria, ski terrain difficulties are marked by color. The easiest, beginner-friendly stretches are marked in blue. Intermediary will enjoy red pistes and advanced downhill skiers will want to look out for black slopes.

The cool thing about Kitzbühel is that you will find something for everyone.

If you are into Ski touring, I can recommend the dedicated Bichlach area in Aurach (near Kitzbühel). You can go up to the Bichlalm and enjoy the view from there.

All lifts, including cable cars and chairlifts, are usually heated in Kitzbühel, but they chose to turn it off in 2022/23, in an effort to save energy consumption.

Wagstättbahn in Jochberg
Wagstättbahn gondola in Jochberg
Downhill skiing in Kitzbühel
Downhill skiing in Kitzbühel

🏫 Ski Schools

No matter your age, you can learn to ski or snowboard from a professional instructor in the Kitzbühel ski resort.

Multiple ski schools can be found in every town, including Kitzbühel, Jochberg, Aurach and Kirchberg to just name a few. So, you will be spoiled with choice. The most popular schools are the Rote Teufel and the Element 3 schools.

Most offer equal top class services, with professional skiing instructors that speak your language. You can choose to join a group to learn to ski, or you can hire a private skiing instructor.

Just let them know if you are very new to skiing or if you have been skiing in the past, and they will hook you up with the best possible instructors.

If you like to be flexible, get a private skiing instructor. Advanced skiers might like to hire a professional skier to visit more challenging areas too.

A private instructor charges on average €300-380 per day (with 4-6 hour lessons).

Group sessions are much more regulated, but you get to meet other people, and together you practice your downhill skiing skills.

Group sessions can be joined every Sunday or Monday and usually, they can last for up to 6 days. They start at 9:30 am and go up to 3.30 pm. They take only beginners and the cost is set at around €85 per day.

Children’s group courses follow the same timing and price rules. Kids as young as 3 and 4 years can join a course and the skiing school organizes a little race on the last day of the course.

During peak seasons (Christmas and New Year’s week), it is advised to book a slot with a skiing school in advance.

Group Ski School Kitzski
Group Ski School

🥌 More Winter Sports Activities

Non-Skiers will not be left out in Kitzbühel! Here are some of the other winter sports that you should definitely explore on your visit:

  • Country Cross Skiing and Skating – Various, freely accessible, trails connect villages and towns.
  • Tobogganing – At the tobogganing run near Kirchberg on the way to Aschau.
  • Curling – There is a curling club in the Sportpark.
  • Ice Skating – In the Ice skating hall in the Sportpark.
  • Winter Hiking or Snowshoe Walking – You can join a tour at the Tourism department.
Country Cross Skiing in the Kitzbühel Alps
Country Cross Skiing

🛍️ Hiring Equipment & Shopping

Skiing equipment and other comfortable and fun winter gear can be purchased or rented in specialized stores in Kitzbühel itself.

Here is where to get winter sports equipment:

The best ski and winter wear brand stores in Kitzbühel:

Luxury upscale shops:

DaleBoot Kitzbühel HQ
Downhill Skiing Equipment
Downhill Skiing Equipment

👁️ What to see in Kitzbühel?

Kitzbühel has so much more to offer. The city and surrounding areas are known for their breathtakingly beautiful natural landscapes.

Here are some of the top things to do when in Kitzbühel.

Stroll around the Historical Old Town

The charming, vibrant old town will take your attention quickly. Cobblestone roads lead into the upper part of the town, where you will discover colorful houses in a row, with a small gothic church at the center of it all.

Listen to the Katharinenkirche church bells playing a unique melody while strolling past upscale boutiques and world-famous stores or join a Magic Christmas tour with a professional guide to learn about the local traditions and Tyrolean culture.

Kitzbühel old town
Kitzbühel old town

Visit the Museum Kitzbühel to learn about the intricate history of this small alpine city and look out for Alfons Walde paintings, a local artist born in the next village, Oberndorf in Tirol.

Discover the park of legends, which honors all the big names that made it in Kitzbühel.

Look out for the architectural and mural painting delights. The painted facades are decorated with a tromp d’oeil painting technique, which is known as Lüftlmalerei.

Lüftlmalerei is a regional specialty, and you will see similar, and sometimes more extreme examples, in towns such as Oberammergau, Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.

Check out the painted walls of the Harisch Hotel Goldener Greif, which incidentally is the location of the casino, and the intricate religious painting on the Katharinenkirche.

Lüftlmalerei mural painting technique Kitzbühel
Lüftlmalerei mural painting technique

The various churches scattered around the town are built in the high gothic style and are great examples of Tyrolean medieval churches.

One of the most stunning interior sanctums can be found in the Liebfrauenkirche church. The inner baroque style stucco decorations and paintings are well worth a visit.

The cemetery holds the grave of the late mountaineer Peter Aufschnaiter, who made his way with Heinrich Harrer to Tibet. You might recognize the names from the book and film, Seven Years in Tibet.

Oh, and you might fancy a horse carriage ride while the snowflakes fall onto you.

Visit the Black Lake

The Black lake, better known as Schwarzsee, is Kitzbühl’s own lake, situated just outside the city. It is called that way because of the moor mud at the depth of its pitch-black waters.

You can get to the black lake by taking the regional train from Hahnenkamm or the main station, to get out at the Schwarzsee train station. It’s just a 3-minute ride.

The black lake is a natural sanctuary and a scenic spot to hang out. The backdrop of the mountain invites one to spend more time in this quiet corner.

Many locals come to take a dip at the lake in the hot summer months and the lake has a nice little pathway, which leads around the lake. A 30-minute walk will bring you closer to nature, and most probably to the ducks.

I can recommend a boat ride. From the center of the lake you can get a perfect photo of the Wilder Kaiser mountain mirroring in the dark waters.

Schwarzsee Black Lake in Kitzbühel

Discover Neighboring Villages

A little discovery tour will get you to quaint towns and villages, nestled in the Tyrolean alps.

Add St.Johann in Tirol to your bucket list. This town resembles Kitzbühel in some ways, just that it has its own charming cobblestone roads and painted houses. Hopfgarten and Going am Wilden Kaiser are some other similar towns located in the vicinity.

Many traditional events take place in these towns, such as the Krampus run, the Almabtrieb, the Schützenfest, or the Knödeltisch (dumpling table) event to just name a few.

Almabtrieb in Tyrol
Cattle Drive “Almabtrieb” in Hopfgarten

Plan a Day Trip

Here are some of our top recommendations and places to visit nearby.

  • Hintersteinersee lake – A protected blue mountain lake in Scheffau at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range.
  • Gorges – We loved the Grießbachklamm gorge near Erpfendorf and the Seissenbachklamm in the neighboring Salzburg region.
  • Kufstein old town and the fort.
  • Rattenberg – Medieval old town and Austria’s smallest city.
  • Alpbach – A scenic village in the Alpbach valley.
  • Hall in Tirol – The silver minting center of medieval Europe and a well-preserved medieval old town.
  • Innsbruck – The capital of Tyrol, known for the golden roof and unique Tyrolean architecture.
  • Berchtesgaden National Park – Located in Germany and known for the Königssee Lake.
  • Zell am See and Kaprun – In the Salzburg region. Zell am See is an imperial lake town and Kaprun is a glacier ski resort.
  • Bad Gastein – The former Belle Époque town and its healing waters.
  • Grossglockner High Alpine Road – The heart of the Austrian alps to the highest mountain in Austria, the Großglockner. Open only in the summer months.
drive up the grossglockner road
Großglockner High Alpine Road
Goldene Dachl
Golden Roof in Innsbruck

Experience Kitzbühel All Year Round

With winter greatness comes, of course, other splendid seasons in Kitzbühel. Spring, summer and fall, each offer great views and times in the chamois town.

Hikers will enjoy the endless trails across the alps and a dip in a lake or two. Cycle and E-Bike tours are popular as well, thanks to the countless special cycle trails leading across green pastures and forests.

Many other summer sports are prominently advertised in the region, such as wild water rafting and tandem flying.

Golf enthusiasts will find a golfers’ paradise in Kitzbühel. Not less than 4 golf courses, located within a 5-minute distance, with 54 selective holes and another 12 golf courses in a 1-hour radius, make the area a top spot for Golf players.

Tennis fans might want to add the Generali Open games to their calendar. This tournament attracts every year in the summer months some of the best players in the world and plenty of visitors.

The town also comes to live in the summer months when traditional feasts are celebrated in the streets of Kitzbühel by the locals. I can highly recommend the yearly Kitzbühel city feast and the Fire brigade feast in July and August. They take place on a Saturday with local street food, games and live music.

cows on the fields in autumn with Wilder Kaiser mountain range
Cows on the fields in autumn with Wilder Kaiser mountain range

✨ Night Out

Kitzbühel is a hot spot for celebrities and shining stars all year round thanks to the Hahnenkamm downhill ski race and the Generali open games.

A street party with people from all walks of life celebrates the Hahnenkamm ski race. It starts in the afternoon and lasts until late at night in the old town.

Après-ski parties take place in the town or on the ski slopes, and you will always come across a special themed party in these establishments. One such place is the Harisch Bar opposite the Londoner Pub.

Other prime spots to hang out include the timeless Londoner Pub and Club Take Five.

Classic rock and people from all over the world and walks of life, will turn your night in the Londoner pub into a crazy memory. I always had a great time there!

Club Take Five advertises itself as a classy club. The small, but pricey, establishment has been around for over 25 years, and they even offer a helicopter pick up service.

The city of Kitzbühel in fall
The city of Kitzbühel in fall

🛏️ Restaurants and Hotels

One of my all-time favorite places to dine out in the Kitzbühel vicinity is Gasthaus Bärenbichl in Jochberg. It’s an insider tip, as it is a little hidden from the glitz and glamour.

Bärenbichl is a family run business, preparing authentic quality top class food. This place has real food and ambiance, and you won’t find that anywhere else. The Wiener Schnitzel is THE best and I can only highly recommend it.

Here you will find upscale families with their nannies, which stay at the grand Kempinsky hotel das Tirol, dining out and enjoying the brilliant spot and service.

Another similar, but much more famous place, run by the Hauser family is the Stanglwirt in Going. The place in itself is an experience that I can only recommend. The rooms are stunning, the food incredible, the entertainment surreal, and they even have a Lipizaner horse riding hall in the resort.

One of the most well-known Alms, incidentally claiming to be the oldest, is the Bichl Alm. Live music and good fun await you in this Alm located on the Bichl hill with local delicacies. The Bichl Alm also offers unique rooms with a stunning view over Kitzbühel.

A-Rosa is the most renowned 5-star establishment in Kitzbühel and that for a good reason. The rooms are in a resort that looks like a palace.

Staying at the A-Rosa resort comes with special perks, such as an own 9-hole golf course and a massive wellness offering, including sauna rooms, massage services and their beautician program. You can expect prime food prepared by the best chefs.

If you are coming to Kitzbühel for the mountains and views than check out Schlosshotel Lebenberg. This particular 4-star establishment is located at the top of Kitzbühel overlooking the valley and area. You are sure to get a stunning sight, spacious rooms and a top class dining experience, in this popular hotel.

Upper parts of Kitzbühel city
Upper parts of Kitzbühel city

❄️ Weather

You can expect weather conditions to vary in winter. The coldest months are undoubtedly January and February, where the temperatures average between 14 and 41 Fahrenheit (-10 to +5 degree Celsius).

The coldest it can get are clear cloud-free nights where temps can dip to 5 Fahrenheit (-15 degree Celsius) and rarely also to 0 Fahrenheit (ca. -18 degree Celsius).

Snow conditions have been a bit tricky in the last years. January and February are the only months that will have snow fall for sure.

And if you happen to visit in the other months of the year, know that the weather can be very unpredictable in the mountains. Clouds can sweep in anytime and change the whole feel!

Hot summer days can mean 86 Fahrenheit (+30 degrees Celsius) and in that case, I highly recommend getting a hotel room with AC, which are rather rare in the area.

Wall Art Kitzbühel
Wall Art
Kitz Galleria Kitzbühel
Kitz Galleria Kitzbühel

💭 FAQs

What’s the brief history of Kitzbühel?

The town was a fortification during medieval times, when the district belonged to the bishops of Chiemsee, Bavaria. With the marriage to the Tyrolean Duchess Margarete Maultasch, Kitzbühel and surrounding towns became a part of Tyrol with special status. Mining made it rich and having been secluded helped in the formation of its wealth. After the Napoleonic wars and the reunification to the Austrian empire, things changed thanks to the railway network extension to the Kitzbühel area. The first wealthy tourists came at the end of the 19th century and turned this place into a vacation resort in the mountains.

Why is Kitzbühel so expensive?

Jet-setters have been coming to Kitzbühel since the Belle Époque period at the end of the 19th century. The town hosted its first ski race in 1984 and with that came the wealthy tourists. Pristine landscapes, thanks to the Kaiser mountain range, combined with tourism catering to the richest of the rich, resulted in a high-priced Kitzbühel. Celebrities and rich business people have been investing for decades in second homes and businesses in Kitzbühel, which only increased the living standards in the valley. Munich isn’t located too far and many of the rich city people call Kitzbühel their second home.

Who are some famous people from Kitzbühel?

Some of the most well-known people born and living in Kitzbühel, are Peter Aufschnaiter (7 years in Tibet), Toni Sailer (Skiing legend) and Hansi Hinterseer (famous skier and folk singer), Alfons Walde (expressionist painter from nearby Oberndorf in Tirol).

What are some other top ski resorts nearby?

KitzSki is not the only amazing ski resort in the area. I can also recommend the slopes in St.Johann in Tirol and the Steinplatte as an experience. The SkiWelt, which includes Ellmau, Söll, Westendorf, Brixental and Going am Wilden Kaiser, is also massive. Another huge skiing resort is the Skicircus with Fieberbrunn, Saalbach Hinterglemm and Leogang. My personal take: as a kid, I loved skiing and learning in St.Johann in Tirol, and later on, I truly enjoyed the Steinplatte and Fieberbrunn.

When does the Kitzbühel ski resort open?

Depending on the snow conditions, they generally open in the first weeks of November for the winter skiing season.

When does the ski resort close?

Generally speaking, the resort tends to close by mid-April or the week after Easter. It highly depends on the temperatures. If it’s cold and snowy they keep it longer open.

What does Kitzbühel mean?

The local dialect Austrian-German‘s name for Kitzbühel is Kitzbichl. A Kitz, in German, is a deer fawn or a young chamois. A Bühel or Bichl is a hill. The name Kitzbühel means that the area was a hill populated by young deer or chamois.

Kitzbühel Ski Resort in Austria: A Complete Guide pin image

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