(resorting to snowheads trip report format again)
Date: Feb 28 – March 6th 2010
Our mob : 3 couples, including 1 non-skier
Galtuer – http://www.galtuer.com/
Ischgl – http://www.ischgl.com/en-index.htm
Basics : The aim was a return to Ischgl (been there 2 years ago), but as 2 of our friends were departing mid-week, getting a hotel was tricky. So we ended up staying Galtuer (Wirl actually, at the ski hill base), a 15 minute bus ride past Ischgl, but still covered on the Silvretta Ski area lift pass. We skied the first and last days at Galtuer, the middle 5 days at Ischgl. The 8.40am bus (free) had you in the gondola line at Ischgl by 9am. One day we waited 10 minutes as it was sunny, most days were 5 minutes, and one stormy snowy day, we walked straight on ;). Once you’re up high in Ischgl, lift lines are non-existent.
Pics: some pics here, and a video coming soon!
The terrain :
Galtuer – a fairly small ski area, but easily enough to entertain us for a day. The first day we explored, finding some really nice groomers and ski routes all over the mountain. The best terrain was off the 2 person Breitspitzbahn, with some delightful rolling pistes and fun off-piste gulleys and natural half-pipes. Basically a fun intermediate mountain. Very quiet indeed.
Ischgl – Ischgl is huge, and has terrain for every standard. Many of the main Idalp pistes are gentle, but if you head up to the top of the Hoellenspitz, there’s superb steep-ish red and black pistes, ski routes and off-piste lines that head down to the Gampenbahn (almost a 1000m vertical) or the Palinkopfbahn. The terrain under the latter is north facing and holds great snow. It’s worth seeking out ski route 26 too, which is a fine run in powder.
A similar area is served by the Greitspitzbahn, which has excellent red runs and off-piste options everywhere, accessible by short traverses. It’s an 11km run down to the village from here – a nice way to end the day 😉
The Ischgl run outs are legendary. They were actually in quite good condition this year, but you need to know how to use your edges on scraped-off, steep pistes with a fair number of people about. Kind of fun really. You earn your beer at the bottom.
The snow : The start of the week was warm-ish, but by mid-week winter had returned and we had 3 really nice powder days. The wind also did wonders at Ischgl every night, reloading bowls with light blowder that made for great skiing. We spent two days assiduously skiing as much of this as we could! Much of Ischgl’s terrain is above 2000m, so overall the snow was in excellent condition
The last day at Galtuer was an absolute blizzard. Every run was filled-in fresh tracks, and there was about 10 people braving the wild weather over at the Breitspitzbahn. It was around –30C with wind chill.
Off-piste : Short traverses bring big rewards at Ischgl. The ‘just off’ and ‘in-between’ piste options are virtually endless – much more than I can ski in a week or 3, and this terrain is where I spend most of my time. It’s a great ski area for such exploration.
The resort : Galtuer was quiet. Wirl, about 1km past the village of Galtuer, was a collection of hotels at the bottom of the ski hill. From our hotel there were 2 very fun, lively après bars, and 3 restaurants to choose from. It was pretty quiet after 10pm though.
Ischgl has legendary après and the village has everything you could ever want in a ski area. From Wirl, on 3 nights we took the 18.50 free bus to Ischgl for drinks/dinner. It was a 20€ cab ride back, a bargain between 6 people.
Food : On-hill food was good everywhere. We favour self-service places, and Ischgl excels on these, with wide and tasty food selections at decent prices. Dinner-wise we ate local food in local restaurants and really enjoyed it. There’s even good pizzas in this part of Austria!
Hotel: We stayed at the (B&B) Hotel Garni Bel-Ami, which was situated about 10m from the gondola at Galtuer, and a 1 minute slide/walk to the ski bus stop. The owners were hyper friendly, the rooms were spacious and comfortable, the fast wifi internet access was welcome, but the breakfast average by Austrian (high) standards. The wellness area was ok with a good sauna and small steam room, but it was a little cramped for serious relaxing.
Costs: Hotel was €115 per night for 2 people/room, including breakfast. A 7 day lift pass for whole region was about €250. 0.5L wheat beer in Galtuer was €3.50 max, house wine €3-ish for a 0.25L. Food €8-12 for good hearty local dishes for dinner. Ischgl drinks were more €4+ for beer/wine, and food €10-16 for similar dishes to those we had in Galtuer.
Conclusion: I rate Ischgl very highly. It’s combination of good snow, excellent terrain, superb lift system and lack of Brits make for a cracking week of skiing. Not sure we’d deliberately stay in Galtuer again, but if circumstances dictated as they did this time, it wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. I think we’d stay in Galtuer village though, as it seemed to have more life in the evenings.
7 days: 7000, 7800, 8000, 8200, 10400, 9400, 4400 (55200 vertical metres total)
49 days: 383,100m vert
14 powder days