The Austrian town of Kitzbühel puts health and wellbeing first

Kitzbühel’s ski season officially began on 24 October, with a flurry of health and safety measures put in place, so that everyone that can travel this winter, will have an enjoyable and carefree holiday. At present, selected slopes are open to professional skiers only, with the resort planning to open fully to the public on 30 November, when regional travel restrictions are due to come to an end. In addition to adhering to the rules as set out by the local and national authorities, tourism providers in Kitzbühel have been working around the clock to ensure that guests can make the most of the town’s superb facilities, while experiencing a warm and heartfelt Tirolean welcome.

The winter sports season in Kitzbühel is one of the longest in the Alps, with more than 200 days of ski and boarding to enjoy each year between October and May in normal circumstances. This season began the Saturday before last, when the Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel opened on the Resterhöhe, which is the training area of the Austrian and German Ski Teams. More than 50 national and international squads registered to ski there, alongside a number winter sports clubs and junior teams. New lockdown measures mean that holidaymakers will not be able to take to the pistes until the end of November, when full access to the slopes should resume, including to the world famous Hahnenkamm mountain, which is home to the legendary Streif and is easily accessible from Kitzbuhel’s town centre, thanks to the Hahnenkammbahn cable car.

So that everyone can fully enjoy their winter holiday, wearing a mask will be required in accommodation communal areas, in the waiting areas and on the ski lifts, and social distancing measures will be in place throughout. Hand sanitiser will be widely available, and visitors will be able to dine out in confidence thanks to strict restaurant hygiene practices as directed by the Ministry of Health. Pioneering UV-C light disinfecting processes will be in use at several locations, including at the impressive Aquarena swimming and spa centre. During the season skiers will be able to use the four main lifts from the valley (Hahnenkamm, Fleckalm, Maierl, Wagstätt) from as early as 8am, and a total of 11 lifts will be in operation to help the flow of visitors, meaning less time waiting and more time skinning.

Kitzbühel is leading the way with a comprehensive Covid-19 testing programme, with most accommodation providers working with the authorities to regularly test their staff. Hotel employees have been able to receive free tests on a voluntary basis since 1 July, and this was extended to those in the catering industry on 1 September. Ski instructors can now also take part in the programme, meaning almost everyone that holidaymakers come into contact with, will be regularly checked. If required, visitors themselves will be able to take a rapid test at a dedicated screening station in the town, with results delivered in just three hours. And everyone is urged to use the ‘Digital Guestbook’ while in Kitzbühel, a contact tracing system in which users scan QR codes in restaurants, hotels, and other locations to record their movements. The system, which complies with strict data protection rules, helps to ensure the safety of the whole region, and will allow holidaymakers to enjoy peace of mind.

Visitors are encouraged to book ski passes online, meaning they can beat the queue and eliminate the possibility of creating congestion at the ticket office. And a new app allows holidaymakers to easily and contactlessly pass through the turnstiles with their smartphones. What’s more, an innovative and sustainable “KitzSki Pure Card” is now available to season ticket holders for the first time. A world first, the 100% recyclable ski cards are made of locally sourced Tirolean wood.

Situated at an altitude of between 762 – 2,000m, holidaymakers to Kitzbühel find some of the best snow conditions anywhere in the Alps, with 57 cable cars and lifts, 233km of glorious pistes and 92 marked and groomed ski slopes to enjoy. The Hanglalm Snowpark and nearby natural toboggan runs are ideal for thriller-seekers, while the town’s four artificial and two natural ice-skating rinks provide the perfect activity for those wishing to make the most of time when away from the slopes. Increasingly popular with Brits, thanks to a growing number of low-cost direct flight connections between the UK and Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich, Kitzbühel is also a Mecca for lovers of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and high-altitude hiking.

Kitzbühel has long been known for its superb ski offering, with the first ever high-Alpine descent on skis in Austria taking place on the Kitzbüheler Horn mountain more than 125 years ago. But the town in the western province of Tirol has a rich history dating back far further, to the 12th Century, meaning that today Kitzbühel boasts a delightful mix of Medieval architecture with a traditional Austrian feel comprising boutique hotels, artisan shops, fascinating museums and countless unique eateries including more than 60 mountain inns and restaurants.

Go to Kitzbühel
Return flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck with EasyJet are priced from £62 pp. Kitzbühel offers a wide choice of accommodation, catering to just about every taste and budget, with great options for families, couples, and groups of friends alike. Whether a winter or summer break, holidaymakers can pick from a range of superb hotels, apartments, and chalets, spanning modern and traditional, from the affordable to the ultra-high end.