Destinationbeyond - Mayrhofen

The beautiful thing about Mayrhofen is that it can mean something different to every kind of visitor.  Some come here in search of powder and find gloriously accessible backcountry, some come for the legendary apres ski scene on and off the hill, while others use it as a place to let legions of kids lose to ride the Penkan Park. Mayrhofen has also recently opened up numerous walking trails and lots of new kid friendly accessible lifts and runs.  It has the unique ability to be one of Europe's largest resorts whilst also feeling uniquely personal. That’s what makes it special.


The one thing that unites everyone is the ride up the valley either by car or, our personal favorite, the Zillertalbahn.  This is an independent railway that winds its way (slowly) up the valley. It’s the preferred mode of transport, used by locals and tourists alike.

What are some of the best ski spots in the area?
Most people reading here are probably wanting to know about The PenkenPark. Established for over 25 years, this crew know how to build. It’s one of the best parks in Europe and when it comes to jumps, is easily the best in terms of progression. With four lines from Pro to Beginner, you can pick your line and your jumps according to your ability and confidence. Each obstacle is slightly scaled up or down from the next so you can improve slightly as you go. It really is the perfect set up and they are even bringing in a Landing Bag from BAGJUMP and also features a permanent race course Sun-Jet with timekeeping at the PenkanPark. 

One reason this park is so well loved vs the US parks is that the combined lap time of riding through and taking the lift is only around 7 minutes.  Breckenridge by comparison is around 30.  So if you are trying to learn a trick you can hit the same line 25 times in three hours vs six times in Breck.

Most piste cruisers who visit love to talk about “Red 10” on Penkan.  For some reason the runs don't have fancy names like in the US but then again, this is efficiency at work here.  Red 10 is a long run from the top of the 6SB Schneekar which boasts stunning views over the Wanglspitz (worth savoring over breakfast or lunch).  At the midway point of Red 10 you can find  the FunRide Gerent run which is more boardercross than fun slope, with full tunnel and sound effects as you go down.

The other fun one is to take the Tux 150 over towards Eggalm and ski all the way down.  From here you can continue your way over to Lannersbach and really experience a full day of touring.  Of course, with the Mayrhofen lift pass you can connect with each of these resorts but if you buy a Zillertal Pass (or Superskipass) you can also take the free ski bus up to Hintertux or Zell am Ziller where you can ski a new resort pretty much everyday of your trip.

And you want powder lines too, right?
There are heaps of them. Best thing to do is download Fatmap and find exclusive routes from the people in the know.

Fuel up on the hill

Where are some good places to have lunch while skiing?

The food on the hill is amazing and, if you time your stops you can get away without getting caught in huge lines if you grab your lunch a little early.  Recommendations would be to sample Laerchwaldhuette - a perfect meeting spot between the Penkan and Horberg lifts.  Schafkopf is also great with unreal views. By the park you’ll find the legendary Grillhof Alm from where you can get hand made pizza whilst watching the park go off.You should also check out the White Lounge Bar at the Ahorn for a drink in the sun its amazing and accessible on foot also.  Of course the best thing in Mayrhofen is discovering the smaller huts off the beaten track, many of which are still so affordable with such a friendly welcome.

Slow down with Wellness Culture

Can you recommend any unique or enjoyable activities or places to go after a day of skiing?

Maybe it’s just me but wellness is a culture in Austria that needs leaning into.  Mayrhofen offers a few great options with most hotels having their own but some worth checking out are Zillergrund Rock, The CoolNest and Hotel Bergfried in Lanersbach run by the family of legendary local Werni Stock.

There is also a full pool in town with a huge one down in Fugen including slides, waves, saunas and outdoor pool.If you want to train after the hill instead of relaxing, the The Fitness Lab is in Ramsau and run by one time Burton pro Chris Kightley.  Lovely guy with classes throughout the days including circuit training, TRX, boxing and more.

You should also check out Kaboom in Kaltenbach which is a huge indoor facility with trampolines, skatepark, pump track and ice rink outside.  So much fun and great for kids.

Beers and dinner

What are some of the best places to have dinner?
Personal favorites here but Ernesto's (formerly landhaus Carla) by the train station, Piraura and Edelweiss lounge.  All over a selection of classic Austrian food with great service and a welcoming atmosphere.

Nice bars?
I was asked for this but I feel like we have to just go straight to two options.  One is the classic for tourists; The Ice Bar, by the main lift and it’s always absolutely firing every night.  It’s a certain taste and usually requires a lot of Jagerbombs and a deep understanding of European techno, both of which I appreciate are acquired tastes.  If you want a quieter drink and or to watch the football head to Mike's Sports Bar.

Work and stay

Where would you suggest someone to go if they want to be productive or work while on a ski trip?
I don't think Mayrhofen offers co-work spaces but that said, between the various cafes there are plenty of places to grab a spot and crank through emails.  On the mountain is probably your best solution. Most mountain huts have wifi and besides the 12-2 rush, plenty of space to work from.  It may seem a bit counter intuitive but I have quite often gone for first lifts (8am here) then at 11 worked a couple hours before finishing up a few runs at the end of the day.

Can you recommend a nice place to stay while on a ski trip?
This all depends on your budget.  Zillertal has seen a rise in the number of more boutique and wellness hotels which, if you can afford, are amazing to stay at.  Ski, wellness, dinner, sleep and repeat.  Many of those listed above are great options.  

For the people who put more value on the number of days on the hill than stars on your hotel, get yourself on any of the sites to find a deal.  Most seasonaires seem to also start or finish at Gasthof Zillertal, give them a shout as they will know the best deals for a season.  All that being said… if you want an unforgettable spot, the Schafkopf offers rooms on the hill at 2200m which is an amazing way to spend the night.  Also Kristalhutte in Kaltenbach offers a similar experience.

Off the Slopes

Some good shops or places to enjoy if the ski lifts shut down?
So, if you want a great knowledgeable store where you can get skis and boards tuned and also with a demo fleet (yes including Asmos!) check out the Green Room, ask for Patrick and tell him we sent you.  Another option on the mainstreet is Moreboards, give Andy the manager a servus from us!

3 other things that you have to try:

I am not much of a climber but this is a wonderful way to get into space. Follow the route the whole way up with purpose drilled hand and foot holds. You have around a 40 minute climb up to a beautiful spot for Lunch The Zimmereben with some unforgettable schnitzel. Not open in deepest winter but in the Spring you should be all good.

Stiegenhaushof
This place is amazing. Owned and run by a young family they brew everything here themselves from schnapps to rum to gin and they are only too happy to let you try everything before you buy.  The owner has the world's biggest hands and he has a couple goats in the back room. This is unmissable.

If you want the best views possible without much of a climb, take a drive up to Brandburg and watch the sun go down looking over Mayrhofen, Hintertux and the rest of the Zillertal.  It’s unforgettable. If it were anywhere else in the world this place would be crowded with people taking photos but here in Zillertal, it's super quiet and just another of the delights that await.

Enjoy your trip!

/Jon

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