St Johann in Tirol offers a real quality skiing experience
St Johann in Tirol is one of the most beautiful Alpine towns in Austria and just a short drive from Munich/München. Only approx. 2 hours by car. You can drive from Denmark in Scandinavia in 11-14 hours and literally without any real mountain driving. To bring the car transport time down to approx. 11 hours is only possible if you choose to step on the pedal and limit your pit stops along the way to eg. fast sandwiches plus make up for 3-4 smaller breaks along the way. And you should probably be at least 2 drivers, but that’s how most people do it from Northern Scandinavia. For most EU countries it is a 2-10 hours drive. Even the Swedes and more impressively the skiers from Finland find their way by car to Austria. Now that is a long, but rewarding drive.
Take it nice and easy, so there is time for good lunches/dinners and a few coffee breaks, and time for the kids to play outside for a while. There are also no fewer than 3 airports nearby, Munich, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. You should probably arrive by plane or car or bus, even if you choose an accommodation on the way that can be made cheap in Germany and then you take the last 4-5 hours the next day from early morning, when you reach an almost full ski day on the day of arrival. That’s if you come from Northern Europe.
St. Johann in Tirol is a very well maintained and beautiful Alpine village
Ok, we arrived at St. Johann and what is the first impression? It is that the city is incredibly well maintained and clean. Nothing is neglected. The houses are fine, often painted with alpine motifs that are pure art. And the streets are washed with great zeal as soon as a little gravel has gathered in a corner. There is everything you could want from lovely hotels over very fine supermarkets that are cheaper than in many countries, on to clothing stores, to modern handicrafts and eco-friendly food and delights.
There is a sense of surplus, both mentally and economically, and a fine sense of balance between tourism and the rest of the authentic city life that lifts a ski resort over just the concept “hotels & ski lifts”. It is a real and small town with a long proud history in Tirol as a business hub. If you get caught up in the city’s atmosphere and want to own your own ski lodge or apartment down here, most people should just have a face-to-face conversation with their bank. It is more or less big city prices, but it just means the quality is present. It is in sharp contrast to the cost of living like a tourist. Eating out is very affordable.
And St. Johann in Tirol has a plan for growth and for attracting a clientele, both adults, couples, and families, who just want a little more out of their vacation, without it becoming financially a challenge at all. Here is kindness, tranquility and lots of activities all year round on the mountain and in the city. New hotels, shops, etc. are being built, but one feels that it has been done with respect to maintaining and developing the qualities of the place. It hardly ends up as mass tourism. You want a good life.
We were there a few weeks before Easter and unconditionally enjoyed the city’s relaxing identity, became good friends with several of the locals and will come again. You are proud of what has been achieved over the centuries from trade and infrastructure to quality tourism. Even the trains actually run on time and are really nice. It all just works. The local people are friendly, cordial and proud in a good way.
The skiing in St. Johann in Tirol is totally approved
The author of this post learned to ski in St. Johann in Tirol many years ago (btw, there are several other St. Johanns in Austria). “Learned” is perhaps an exaggeration. I was left on top of the mountain 1700 meters up there, by a few “good” school friends who believed that skiing should be acquired as a self-study. It also became pretty necessary due to their teaching methodology or sheer lack of it. Only shortly before it was dark, I was down again and pretty much a whole person, but a somewhat shattered teenager. But in that situation, it is good to be a teenager. You regenerate quickly. You accept, absorb, and move on. And this an occasion to pass on a delayed and hearty thank you from here to the two (not so) pedagogical self-appointed ski teachers who, by the way, both had been skiing since they were born. You know who you are. Today I would have turned to the ski school immediately. Incidentally, you always have to do just that no matter how good you are. It takes approx. 6 years to become a ski instructor in Austria at the top level. It is the most respected ski instructor training in Europe, so the rest of us can always learn something about skiing, and it adds a very motivating dimension to have a few ski learning focus points every day on the ski holiday.
The ski area with the new (2018) ski lift in St. Johann
The ski area in St Johann in Tirol is more than approved to jump directly to the conclusion. Experienced skiers tend to search for hundreds of pistes and challenges off-piste. There should preferably be 100 views of slopes and miles, but a smaller number of perfect slopes and lots of cozy places on the hill also have an audience. Read more about the terrain here at traveltalk.dk
You can get up on the mountain from 3 valley stations.
The ski lifts are so strategically placed that you can walk to the lift, even in ski boots, wherever you live in the city and a little outside, but you do not have to. The local ski rentals will gladly store your rented equipment during your stay right next to the lifts. It makes everything easier.
Take a detour to the famous Kitzbühel in 16 minutes
At approx. 16 minutes you can be in Kitzbühel, which is the opposite side of the same mountain as St. Johann in Tirol is located by with well-functioning ski buses or by taxi. Only 12 km away. Here, the famous downhill race is held every year, if not the most famous in the world, Hahnenkammrennen, so if you have to go out on black slopes (they are also found in St. Johann), then you just go over there and go to all in (advanced skiers only), and then in the afternoon for the after skiing, you have so richly deserved, you can experience the atmosphere of Kitzbühel, which is famous, casinos etc. included. Do you plan your ski holiday right in time in St. Johann in Tirol, you could just drive over and see the world-famous Hahnenkammrennen running. It is exhilarating and a big event in itself.
It goes so fast in reality and is a completely different experience than watching it on TV. You can also go all out on the concept of “many, many pistes”, as Austria’s largest continuous ski area is less than an hour away.
New ski lifts provide maximum comfort, and several ski lifts are on their way to St Johann in Tirol
Try the brand new cabin lifts from Eichenhof, which is one of the 3 roads up in the terrain of St. Johann in Tirol. In short, St. Johann is an excellent base for a very large and varied skiing outside the city using the huge neighboring skiing facilities but it is also very possible to just stay on the mountain and run relevant (easy, medium, difficult, much skiing / little etc.) and not least great skiing every day. We also met the skilled ski instructor Bernhard on a sunny day at the lift in the valley station Eichenhof, which lies in almost complete shelter between three mountains. The first thing that struck us was that there were very little wind and a lot of sun. St. Johann in Tirol is generally sheltered, much more than we have experienced in so many other ski destinations. The valleys of Tirol are otherwise wide, but with 3000 meters high mountains, the wind is often shielded on its way to the ski area.
Bernhard told with infectious enthusiasm about the many new initiatives on the mountain: 2016, a large Swedish company, specializing in operating ski lift systems and ski areas, bought the entire area’s ski system from lifts to snow preparation. They have already changed several lifts within the first year, that we simply had to try. And there are more of the new perfect lifts on their way. The Swedes have great plans for the area, which have already been put into operation and can be seen unfolding in the coming years.
Valle as an example is a children’s mascot, which is also the central figure at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre 2019. Valle is also in St Johann in Tirol. The children love him, he participates in several events during the day and runs even surprisingly well on skis. The ski schools are divided in relation to the three stations for the skiing. Take the closest one, everyone is qualified or choose for recommendations or those your bureau may use and suggest.
Charming Angerer Alm on the mountain in St Johann in Tirol
In the middle of the hill at 1300 meters altitude just above the middle station of the middle of the main lifts, we found an unusually charming mountain lodge Angerer Alm, which is something as unusual as both restaurants, bar, event venue, wine cellar and hostel in the good sense.
The owner is Annemarie Foidl, who, in addition to taking good care of her guests and offering them irresistible food and superb white wine directly from the large cellar, is also the president of the Austrian sommelier association, so we listened well in the hour when we got lesson 1 in Austrian white wine. It is, as you know, one of the best in the world.
We also saw the incredible wine cellar cut into the mountain and therefore with the right temperature.
As a reference meal to sample classic Austrian food and with due regard to the fact that we had to continue skiing without involuntary downhill skiing, we took one dish: a Wienerschnitzel that was a true reference dish. It was deeply satisfying to get this classic dish cooked to perfection. Thinly beaten, tender and delicious veal, probably tenderloin, crispy bread crumbs/rasp. No small symbolic anchovies on top and capers and horseradish with 1/8 lemon in the middle. We tried to explain that it was the Scandinavia/Danish version, primarily aesthetic contribution to the dish, and were met with smiling skepticism. Probably like garnishing meatballs with sauerkraut. Do not go there.
We saw all the rooms and they are extremely mountain-rustic, quite romantic and all vastly different. There are sinks and plenty of private showers and toilets in the hallway.
Overnight stays can be booked at the link below, and you can then have a good dinner and sleep like a rock in the clear alpine air to wake up rested in the morning in a lovely 200-year-old mountain hut with fire in the fireplace, watch the sunrise over the Kitzbühel Alps and get the great Austrian breakfast before stepping directly into the ski boots on the piste and heading towards the valley. This is how a really good day on a ski holiday begins.
See Angerer Alm´’s website:
Angerer Alm link
Après-ski for adults at Hotel Post. The pride of St Johann
After skiing could easily take place in one of the bars at “Hotel Post”, which as a hotel was completely renovated in 2016 and is an impressively good hotel. Here you meet with people from many countries and many locals too and enjoy your Gin & Tonic, made with a bartender knowledge that you should be looking far and deep to find. The atmosphere and music are lounge and chill-out. Prices for drinks are moderate, the quality considered.
It was easy to find our way home to the hotel, when we stayed at Hotel Post. A central location saves time. During a thorough renovation in 2016-2017, nothing was spared. And the hotel impresses from the underground parking garage to the fitness center and 3 kinds of saunas.
The rooms are large, airy, many with balconies overlooking the ski terrain. There are a few restaurants at the hotel and bars too. You may also enjoy the wine cellar and conference facilities.
Nothing is missing. Nor a cordial and personal service. Of course, it costs something to be so seriously spoiled, but the bill is at the sensible end of the scale, all things considered.
Hotel Post website
Do you happen to like microbrewery beer? Very good!
You could also choose to visit the city’s microbrewery which is also a restaurant and is called the Beer Tower. Under the roof of the multi-story brewery, which also a tower is a restaurant with a view of all 4 corners of the world from St. Johann in Tyrol. Here, solid and delicious food is served that matches the different, let’s call them mountain beers from the brand Huber made on site Huberbrau. A not so small microbrewery with lots of atmospheres. And they nerd beer to perfection all day long. If you are into good beer, then this visit is a must. Being open to new ways of making beer is good advice. The dark beers are typically a little lighter than ours. Purity seems to be DNA. They know their metier.
In parentheses noted, we got to taste food from St Johann in Tyrol with predominantly updated rustic Austrian cuisine. You can easily get a curry sausage, approx. 2 hours normal size, one is not holy here that way. However, you actually have to head a bit and take a small detour to get a pizza. You are true to your food culture and traditions, including concerts and performances, and that is with full force. Fast food literally does not exist. You also get the pure item here.
Fruit schnapps that tastes like nature itself
One late afternoon we made our way past the Aggstein distillery just outside St Johann in Tyrol, which continues to work from a 5000 year old tradition: distilling fruit schnapps, but also making Austrian grappa and the purest gin we have tasted in recent times. Not the most complicated with a myriad of botanicals, but 3 botanical (Added spice or herb) that were perfect. Less is more. The distillery has a guided tour that is a must! You are put to an extremely pleasant test in terms of your smell and sense of taste and become much wiser on the pure fruit schnapps and double distillation and other professional concepts supplemented with videos inside a giant wine barrel which is designed as a mini-bio.
Everything is exquisite and run by Marc Aggstein and his wife, a family business since opening in 1885, and hospitable amounts of schnapps are donated before you buy. That could be a contributing reason why we came from there in a good mood with several copies of the pure, but also not free drops. For 1/2 liter of distilled fruit brandy goes from 17 -40 kilos of fruit and the process requires care and time and not least professional skill. We visited one of Austria’s most talented producers, and are you on the edges here in St. Johann in Tyrol, so stop by, but find a “designated driver” 🙂