After an hour-long Lufthansa flight to Munich, we took a taxi to Finkenberg (3 km from Mayrhofen.) It took us a 1.5-hour drive to arrive at Hotel Dornauhof ****, idyllically located nearby the ski lifts.
The small-scale, charming hotel is operated by the Kröll family and the family spirit could be felt right away. A warm welcome and personal service made us feel right at home.
Our hotel room could not be cosier and offered a balcony with magical views of snow-covered spruce trees and mountaintops. It felt wonderful to enjoy some fresh air right after waking up, before having breakfast.
Ski heavenAfter a lovely, nutritious breakfast and some self-punishment (being subjected to putting on ski boots), the Finkenberger Almbahn brought us straight to ski heaven, also referred to as the Zillertal valley.
With over 500 km of ski slopes, 179 ski lifts and the Hintertux glacier boasting a guaranteed snow cover, the Zittertal proudly features among the world’s largest ski resorts.
Wide boulevards with a fresh cover of “Champaign powder snow” made for a smooth descent on skis. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Lunching in style on the slopeEven though you can never go wrong with a quick lunch break at a traditional Austrian Tiroler stube (Tyrolean parlour), you may still want to give the Schneekarhütte a try if you are looking for a fancier kind of experience. Designed by the manager himself, this luxury chalet right on the slope can be seen from far away because of its impressive architecture featuring pyramids.
In this trendy mountain hotspot, we enjoyed an awesome lunch followed by some (home-made) schnapps and Kaiserschmarrn (sugared pancakes with raisins), our favourite dessert.
As icing on the cake, the friendly daughter of the house even took us on a tour of this fabulous gem in the mountains. Besides a bar and restaurant, the Schneekarhütte offers a series of unique hotel rooms as well. Each room was decorated around a different theme, and each one boasted sweeping views of the slopes. The suite at the top of the pyramid even had a glass ceiling that revealed a magical starry sky after sunset. This chalet is definitely one to be remembered.
Magical Christmas spirit and local specialitiesVisiting the Waldfestplatz did wonders to put us in the Christmas spirit! Mayrhofen Advent was a cosy bohemian-style Christmas market at a most original location! Amidst a forest of pine trees, a multitude of illuminated Christmas stalls displayed typical local products, hand-crafted trinkets, and large fire baskets. There even was a charming live band playing popular Christmas songs like the best.
A bratwurst with sauerkraut and warm glühwein were all we needed to sing along to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” until the wee hours.
An award-winning dinnerRestaurant Sieghard showed our taste buds a glimpse of paradise.
In a relaxed setting, we spent all night enjoying the most delicious culinary masterpieces paired with matching wines.
With good food, drinks and plenty of laughter, all the ingredients were there to guarantee the perfect evening.
Biking in the snowWe also did some fatbiking, which provided a fun break from all the skiing. The hotel offered an array of fatbikes (sturdy mountain bikes with very wide rims), which we took out on a guided bike tour through this winter wonderland. Even though I was sceptical at first, I quickly changed my mind as soon as I realised that this unusual bike is perfect for riding through the snow. It almost felt like floating at times, as if I was riding on air. An absolutely unique experience!
Rise and fallLike always, the Rise & Fall race marked the annual starting signal to Mayrhofen’s latest winter season.
During this relay race, the contestants had to prove themselves in different areas, including mountain climbing, mountain biking, skiing and even paragliding. Spirits were running high at the sight of the impressive display of athleticism!
As all good things come to an end, we finally had to say goodbye to this wonderful place:
Tschüss mein liebes Zillertal, es war wunderbar, to use the words of the locals.
xxx Inge & Marie