Skiing and snowboarding
Probably the best known alpine winter sport for which Tyrol is famous worldwide is skiing. But snowboarding has long since left behind its role
as a fringe sport for young people and has become one of the most popular winter sports for all age groups.
Between the Arlberg in the far west and the ski areas around Kitzbühel, the venue of the legendary Hahnenkamm Race in the east, the Tyrol
has more than 80 ski areas with a total of 3400 km of trails for all levels of proficiency. From challenging St. Anton and the huge interconnected
ski arenas like Sölden, Obergurgl, Ischgl and the Kitzbühel area to small and attractive family ski areas, you have a varied choice
that is probably unique in terms of quantity and quality. Another attraction is the high density of ski areas around Innsbruck. The ski areas
of the Nordkettenbahn (“Seegube” or simply “Grube” to the locals), Patscherkofel, Axamer Lizum, Schlick 2000, Mutterer
Alm and Rangger Köpfl are all in the immediate vicinity of the city and can be reached in a maximum of 20 minutes. And they are all served
by frequent bus or tram services.
An interactive map offering a detailed overview of all the Tyrolean ski areas including prices, snow depth, opening hours and much else can be
Back-country skiing and snow shoe walking
Back-country skiing goes with the Tyrolean identity like soup with bacon dumplings. This endurance sport is practiced by young and old, and offers
an intensive, physically challenging experience of the mountain environment like no other. Since many routes are situated in open terrain away
from the ski areas, it is essential that tours only be undertaken with the right equipment (ideally an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel)
and in full awareness of the hazards, so as to avoid endangering oneself and other skiers or rescue teams. Even experienced back-country skiers
are often caught in avalanches. It is therefore advisable to attend a free avalanche course (SAAC: Snow and Alpine Awarness Camp) and consult
the latest avalanche report. Information and dates for SAAC courses can
be found here.
The private website Skitouren Tirol offers suggestions for off-piste skiing with useful
information like duration, degree of difficulty and vertical metres and a description of the tours. Some popular ski tours listed by degree of
difficulty and also multi-day ski tours plus wonderful photos can be found here.
For cross-country skiing, too, whether in the classic or skating style, there is a wide variety of trails for all ability levels throughout the
Tyrol. An overview of the Tyrol’s cross-country skiing trails listed by style, location and degree of difficulty is available here.
A very special and also very traditional winter sport in the Tyrol is tobogganing. Every family in the Tyrol has its own favourite toboggan runs,
and toboggan races followed by refreshments are often organised for birthdays in winter. Throughout the winter the locals share information about
the most attractive runs and the snow conditions, including any ice patches. Tobogganing is also very popular at night. Some of the toboggan
runs are illuminated, but otherwise head torches are attached to the helmets (!).
Detailed information about open toboggan runs and their condition can be found here
and on the Winterrodeln website.
Of course the mountains also play a central role in cycling. But the Tyrol also offers cyclists a wide choice of attractive routes in addition
to mountain biking and downhill trails. An overview of the cycling areas of the Tyrol, regional cycle paths, long-distance cycle paths as well as
tips for e-bike riders can be found here and, with a search function
by fitness, vertical metres, length and proficiency, on the Bergfex
Walking and mountaineering
Walking or hiking and mountaineering have long been traditional activities in the Tyrol and are very popular with people in all age groups. Your
first port of call for mountain hiking is the Alpenverein, which also
runs its own mountain huts and offers one- or multi-day guided walks and courses on all aspects of walking in the mountains. The Bergfex website also offers a wide choice of walks and mountain hikes, with a search function by physical fitness, vertical
metres, length and ability.
The Tyrol is also a paradise for rock climbers. Innsbruck hosts top-class sport climbing events, and some of the world’s best climbers
in all disciplines train in the Tyrol. In the great outdoors, the choice is enormous, with over 5,600 sport climbing and multi-pitch routes as
well as excellent bouldering locations. But indoor climbing is also in a class of its own in the Tyrol thanks to Kletterzentrum Innsbruck (Sillside, WUB Climbing Centre), the most modern indoor climbing facility in western Europe.
The Climbers Paradise Tirol association, which provides topos, maps and photographs
of climbing areas in the west of Austria, is a very prominent player in the climbing scene and has done a lot to promote climbing in the Tyrol.
Swimming and sauna
An overview of Innsbruck’s swimming pools and saunas is provided by the operator Innsbrucker
Kommunalbetriebe (IKB). There is also swimming in several lakes in the surroundings of Innsbruck, including Lanser See and Natterer See,
Wildsee on the Seefeld Plateau and in Möserer See in Seefeld. You can find more lakes for swimming, pools outside of Innsbruck, water parks,
thermal baths and curative springs here.
University Sports Centre
The USI University Sports Centre (Universitätssportzentrum) offers a full range of facilities and programmes for all kinds of sports, including
over a thousand courses per academic year. They are primarily open to students, graduates and staff of the universities, but free places can
also be booked by others. Online registration is required for the courses
(semester and vacation courses).
Those who are more into team sports can choose from a long list of sports clubs in the Tyrol. You can use Vereinsportal to make quick and easy contact with the right sports club near your new home. In many locations in the Tyrol,
there are other clubs and sports programmes that are not included in this directory, so be sure to look for information locally.
For active families, individuals and students whose main residence is in the Tyrol, an ideal solution is the Freizeitticket Tirol (Tyrol Leisure
Ticket), which offers economical use of many of the cable cars, swimming pools and other leisure facilities in the Tyrol all year round. The
ticket is a real alpine sports all-rounder! An overview of the current tariffs and all affiliated facilities is available here.
The free Family Pass issued
by Land Tirol also provides a wide range of discounts for families for sporting activities, in shops and on public transport.
For those who do not have a car, public transport provides convenient access to the countryside in the Tyrol, including most out-of-town sports
facilities. In many cases, skiers and snowboarders wearing their gear travel free. If you want to leave the car in the garage in the summer,
too, be sure to get “Wandern
mit Öffis”, a free guide to walks accessible by public transport that is available from the Österreichischer Alpenverein.