Resort: Hopfgarten, part of the SkiWelt
Dates: 4th - 11th March 2017
Travellers: Me (skier), partner (boarder)
Holiday type: DIY
Flights from Heathrow to Munich with Lufthansa for ~£150/person. I like flying with Lufthansa (and Swiss) as they carry you ski gear for free, so long as you book the fare with checked baggage - just give them a call in advance to let them know you're bringing skis. Great service from Lufthansa at Munich on the return leg, when we got stuck in traffic and arrived at the airport ~1hr before the flight and were faced with long queues for check-in with bulky luggage - I spoke to one of the Lufthansa floorwalkers and she directed me to a special desk where they printed our luggage tags, so we could just drop off the ski gear at the bulky luggage belt.
Car hire from Buchbinder, booked through Holiday Autos. (Generally good, more info here.) Easy trip from Munich to Hopfgarten, but got stuck in traffic on the way back. Great having the car, as we used it for trips out on 3 days.
Accommodation:Haus Lukas in Hopfgarten. A great pension, around 5 minutes walk from the gondola in Hopfgarten. Booked through booking.com for €545.95 (with Genius discount) for 7 nights B&B. Lovely place to stay, with comfortable rooms, nice breakfast and a very helpful host.
Lift pass: We chose the Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard at €265 for six days, which covers loads of ski areas, including the SkiWelt, Zell am See, Kitzbühel, SkiJewel. I think it covers the same as the Salzburger Super Ski Pass. The SkiWelt only pass would have been a bit cheaper at €235.
Hopfgarten: Feels more like a working town than many ski resorts. Direct access to the SkiWelt. Some restaurants and a fairly big Spar (but beware, this shuts early on a Saturday, and doesn't open on a Sunday. We ate at the Jade Chinese restaurant a couple of nights, which was good food and had an English menu. There's also a takeaway pizza place, Renee, which we tried one night - OK but not brilliant pizzas. After a day's skiing, we're quite lazy, so had picnics of food from Spar some nights.
Weather: We had rain at resort level several mornings, but on a couple of days it cleared. One of the days the rain was up to ~1,500m all day, so we got drenched. On another day, the rain quickly turned to snow as we went up the mountain, and we played in powder for most of the day.
The skiing: We really enjoyed the skiing in the SkiWelt. You get a great sense of travel, and some really varied skiing. It felt like the majority of people of the pistes were families and beginners, with very few of the groups of 18-30s you see in resorts like St Anton.
The SkiWelt resorts are fairly low, so don't assume it's a good idea or will be enjoyable to ski down to resort. We made the mistake of skiing down to Brixen in Thale on the first day and regretted it. there's plenty of brilliant skiing from the mid stations up, so don't be tempted to go low unless you're confident of the snow conditions.
From Hopfgarten, access to the mountain is by the Salvenbahn I gondola. There's a second stage to the gondola, the Salvenbahn II, but you may not always want to use the second stage.
You can access the area above Söll from the top of the Salvenbahn II gondola or the Hohe Salve I (old-looking 3 man chair) that starts from the same place.
If you want to access the rest of the SkiWelt, you either ski a fairly short black from the top of the Salvenbahn II gondola or you can get there on blues and easy reds by dropping down onto the Schernthann chair from the top Salvenbahn I gondola, then down to Foisching chair. From the piste map, it looks like you can also get there using the Siller-Keat lift above Söll , but we never found that route
We skied most of the area covered by the SkiWelt ski map, other than the area above Going (as it's a bit low) and the home runs. We loved run red 2b above Brixen, especially as hardly anyone seemed to find it – it's not easy to see where it branches off red 2.
On the powder day, we found plenty of fun skiing. Towards the end of the afternoon, we happened on a red run with fresh powder, which we looped a couple of times. I guess that's an advantage of a resort that's not that popular with advanced skiers.
The Westendorf ski area is gorgeous, with some great runs down through trees, and some comparatively high skiing. We drove round to the  Alpenrosenbahn gondola on the second morning and spent the whole day playing in Westendorf. For beginners and early intermediates, run red 14 makes a brilliant practice area, and is right at the top of the  Alpenrosenbahn gondola. You could also take the gondola back down at the end of the day.
Day trips: As we had the car, we decided to try out a couple of other resorts (I'll do separate TRs and add links here when they're done):
- Ski Juwel (Niederau in the morning (brief TR here), Auffach/Alpbach in the afternoon)
Summary: We loved the area, and Hopfgarten was a good place to stay. I suspect you might find the Hopfgarten area a bit quiet if you were looking for raucous apres ski.
Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sun 19-03-17 19:15; edited 1 time in total
Great report, many thanks. We got the All Star Pass when we stayed in Kitzbuel first week of February and got over to westendotf and ski welt. Conditions generally excellent. I too particularly liked the look of Westendorf which we accessed from the Ki-West gondola having skied over from Kitzbuel. We loved the long red down to Brixen. Ski Welt felt much more crowded than either Kitz or Westendorf but that may be because we didn't really have time venture far away from the main areas. I loved the blacks off hohe salve. We caught the train back to Kitz from Hopfgarten which was included in the All Star pass. Thinking of maybe using westendorf as the base next year and exploring ski welt further.