Skiing in Ischgl

Skiing in Ischgl

Almost all the slopes here are above the tree line, with the exception of two short runs in the Fimbatal and the steep, lower slopes overlooking the village, giving great views of the mountains across wide, sweeping slopes. Skiers should note signposting, particularly at junctions, is not the resort’s strong point, posing the risk of intermediates finding themselves on black runs in scary conditions.

The hub for all the runs is the sunny Idalp plateau, quickly reached by either the 24-person Silvrettabahn or the eight-person Fimbarbahn and uncomfortably crowded at lunchtime, end of day and ski school opening times. Form here, fast lifts take skiers to the northwest and north-facing trails and across the Swiss border. The third gondola runs to Pardatschgrat, 300m higher, with its testing runs back down to the village offering a vertical 1,260m.

Inexperienced intermediates might do well to avoid the two controversial red runs down to Ischgl, as their tricky conditions aren’t helped by crowds of skiers whose liquid lunches are affecting their skills. Taking the gondola down is the safer option. Another more challenging route down is the initially quiet, wide piste down the Velilltal, although its link with the steep end of run 1A should probably be classified as black. From Idlap, a short run ends at the Hollenkar Bowl lifts, rising to the high point of the southwestern edge of the area. 900m vertical runs lead down to the Fimbatal.

Ischgl’s huge Snow Art Park is a free-styling heaven, served by three fast chairs and split into three sectors – beginners, public and pro. The obstacles here show serious creative flair and are added to each year. The pro line has three consecutive corner jumps and several 15m to 17m kickers. This being Ischgl, every January the wall rides and rails undergo ‘Style of Art’ week, with bizarre decorations by street artists.

As regards grading, by Tyrolean standards expert do quite well here, with all the black runs in combination with tricky reds giving exciting descents. Greitspitz’s run 14 and Palinkopf/Pardarschgrat’s piste 4 are good examples, with the lower tree-lined slopes of Fimbatal great in a storm. Serious off-piste skiing is easy to find with a guide and the off-piste ski routes, such as 39 from Palinkopf, has a challenging 1,000m descent. Intermediates are well-served here as well, with wide, comfortable motorway slopes allowing great cruising.

Ischgl’s nursery slopes are located up at Idalp, requiring a full life pass to access the snow-sure, sunny slopes via a fast chair or a drag lift. For fast learners, the bowl’s east side blue runs are fun, with easier options around Alp Trida. Snow schools here begin at the civilised hour of 10:00. The 24kms of cross-country tracks are set in the valley between Wiri, Galtur and Ischgl, shady early in the season but improving later. Snowboarders are happy here, with the well-groomed wide slopes and great, easily accessible off-piste riding above the tree line drawing return visits year after year.