Famed for its frighteningly steep Harakiri slope, Europe’s biggest winter festival and a huge choice of red runs, it’s no surprise that Mayrhofen is a fun filled resort.
Located at the end of the Zillertal Valley, cruise the massive selection of reds and hit the famous Penken Park to work on your freestyle skills. And if you get tired of the 136km of slopes in the resort and its immediate neighbours, you can also check out the 515km of runs in the Zillertaler ski area.
The après ski scene in Mayrhofen is lively, with an excellent choice of bars and restaurants. The Pilzbar at the top of the Penkenbahn gondola is a good place to start, with the fun getting going long before the slopes close. The White Lounge is another popular haunt, it’s made from ice and serves excellent cocktails from mid-afternoon onwards. It’s a similar story at the ice bar at Hotel Strass but it can be hard to find a seat after about five, as it gets rammed with revellers.
Down in the village, the oddly named Scotland Yard serves British beer and resembles the pubs you might find back home (it’s entirely up to you whether or not this is a good thing). And Bruck’n Stadl near the bottom of the Ahorn cable car station is the place to go for big name DJs and dancing.
Throughout the year there are numerous festivals, and they don’t get much bigger than Snowbombing. This week-long event held every spring is the biggest winter festival in Europe. Some of the names that have graced the stage over the years include Fatboy Slim, Dizzee Rascal and the Prodigy.
If you’re in the mood for a more relaxing time, there are plenty of places to get away from the pounding beats and dance terraces. And, on the whole, the hip young crowd happily mixes with the more traditional ski scene here.
You’re never far from a spa or pool in Mayrhofen, with many of the hotels boasting excellent relaxation facilities. If you fancy a night away from the dancefloor, treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment and save your energy for another day on the slopes.
Together with its linked neighbours, Lanersbach, Finkenberg and Hippach, there are 57 lifts and 136 km of piste to explore in Mayrhofen. However, if that’s still not enough for you then you can purchase a Superskipass to the whole Zillertaler area. Here you’ll have access to 177 lifts and a massive 515km of runs.
Beginners should take the Ahorn cable to find the best nursery slopes. There are plenty of gentle and wide slopes with good snow covering. If you are skiing with more advanced friends or family, there are also some beginner pistes near the bottom of the Penken cable car, where it is easier to meet up with people on the intermediate runs.
In Mayrhofen and its neighbours, it’s all about the intermediate runs. More than half of them are red, making it ideal for skiers with a few weeks on snow under their belts. so it’s great if you are looking to develop technique and make the step up. Head up above the tree line and you’ll find plenty of wide, sweeping pistes to carve. The Tuxer Glacier is destination for intermediate and advanced level skiers.
With only six black slopes, there’s not so much in terms of quantity for advanced skiers. But with one of those pistes being the Harakiri, the steepest groomed slope in the world at around 78% (38 degree) gradient, there are still plenty of quality to tackle.
For the freestylers, the Vans Penken Park is the place to be. It’s easily one of the best in the Alps with six areas on the sunny side of the mountain and features for all levels of skier and snowboarder.
As is the case with most of the best off piste in the Alps, you have to get there early or you can forget about finding the powder. There are two unprepared but marked pistes in Mayrhofen. One comes down from Penken to the bottom of the Horberg cable car in Schwendau. And the other from Rastkogel to the Eggalm but both depend on there being enough snow.
Elsewhere, if it’s been coming down, head straight for the north side of the bowl near the Penken Park. As always, a guide is recommended and avalanches do happen here so you should always be prepared armed with the right gear and knowledge. There is also good freeride to be found beneath the Tux 150 lift and off the back of the Schneekar lift.