Two enjoyable days in Kitzbühel

31st January 2016, by Dave Watts

Lovely blue sky and sunshine on Saturday

Lovely blue sky and sunshine on Saturday

Despite it not being a bumper season for fresh snow, all the lifts and almost all of the runs were open on our visit last weekend. We stayed at the lovely Rasmushof hotel, in prime ski-in/ski-out position at the finish area of the Streif, Kitzbühel’s famous Hahnenkamm downhill race course. The race had been the previous weekend and the huge temporary stand for VIP spectators was still being dismantled.

Signe Reisch, who owns the hotel and runs it personally, is known locally as ‘Queen of the Streif’ and regularly skis the fearsome run twice each morning before joining guests at breakfast. We were lucky enough to be guided on Friday by Signe and by Josef Burger, the boss of the lift company.

Three hours of non-stop skiing in sometimes tricky visibility saw us cover almost 5000m vertical and 30km of runs. We concentrated on the runs above Kirchberg including three new runs (a blue, red and black) served by the new 8-seater Brunn chairlift, with heated seats designed by Audi – just one of seven chairlifts and three gondolas in the Kitzbühel ski area that bring you the luxury of heated seats.

On Saturday we skied on our own and, under glorious blue skies, headed off to the other end of the ski area towards Mittersill at the foot of the Resterhöhe/Pass Thurn sector. It is quite a distance and skiing quickly, with only a short morning stop and an break for lunch, we just made the last scenic ‘3S’ gondola back to above Kitzbühel itself. It was a great day, covering over 7000m vertical and 43km of pistes.

The traffic-free, medieval centre of Kiitzbühel itself, only a few minutes walk from our hotel, was as delightful as ever. And this time we managed to fit in a visit to the museum which has a fascinating temporary section celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the FIS Ski World Cup competition.

And in the new ‘Legends’ park, where all winners of the Hahnenkaam races are commemorated, we looked for a British winner. Down there on the bottom right of the honours board is Gordon Cleaver. He won the combined downhill/slalom event in the first ever Hahnenkamm races which were held in 1931. He died serving his country as an RAF pilot in 1940.

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