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Ischgl - accommodation, plan and rental car questions

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi folks,
My buddy and I eventually booked flights to Munich for February 24th, and after much, much deliberation decided to try out Ischgl for the first time. (You can see my previous post for the dilemma we were in)
Now I've got a bunch of questions about the resort as I've never been there myself:

1. Accommodation - where should I be looking for it? Anything you can recommend from experience?
Specifically we're looking for B+B, room with a balcony, WiFi, parking, some sort of wellness facilities (at least a sauna), all within a budget of 1200 euros (i.e. the parking/wifi/breakfast if not "free" must fit into this budget too).
We'll be driving and don't have to stay in Ischgl or near the lifts, anywhere between Galtur and Kappl is fine for us.

2. Parking - Is there parking near the different lifts in the above 3 resorts? Paid/free? How hard is it to park a car in town if we want to walk around or grab some dinner in the evening?

3. Any specific pistes/areas you would recommend for intermediate snowboarders who like ungroomed powder that doesn't require avalanche gear and a guide, and light freestyle?

4. Driving there - I will be renting a car at Munich. I'm debating on whether I should get my usual premium estate (3 series/C-class/A4 estate) which I normally book for these trips, or get an SUV (VW Tiguan and the like)? Is there a need for an SUV in the area, or will a regular family saloon with winter tyres suffice?

5. Any dining & shopping recommendations for folks who don't like to be too fancy would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'm a boarder and drove there from Munich, but only late season at which point the roads are quiet and any old car will work. Last year I had a smart car which was brilliant. It did have mountain-symbol tyres, and they were needed over the Fern Pass (I don't like paying for a vig if I don't need one).

Shopping? Do it online.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I don't mind paying for the vig and I know the main roads from Munich will be just fine, I'm wondering more about navigating within the valley and towns once we're there. We plan to drive every day, unlike folks who just park on arrival and use the bus or their feet (which are better utilized to exhaustion when strapped to a board, right? snowHead )
I've had slight issues with cars going up steep, snowy driveways in Italian towns, for example, after some overnight snowfall.

Re: shopping not sure what you mean... but where I live, shopping online is no substitute for shopping in Europe. Every ski vacation (or hell, every time I go abroad) I find a variety of great snacks and sweets we don't have over here, good deals on snowboarding gear (2 years in a row scored fantastic pants for 30 euros! I have more pants than legs now) and nice trinkets for friends and family back home. I know Ischgl is posh and expensive but was hoping to get some tips on places to shop at reasonable prices if there are any. Likewise for dining.
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I can recommend the Residenz Gloeckner in Mathon which would seem to fit your requirements. Lovely rooms, nice food, free parking, very nice wellness. I've stayed there for the last 2 Xmas holidays and we have had a great time. It's a 3-4 minute walk to the bus stop and then a 4-5 minute free bus ride to the gondola in Ischgl. All of the hotels in Mathon are very good value.

Ischgl is not the kind of place that you want to be driving every day as the Apres Ski is fantastic and so jumping on the bus is easy and often quicker than walking from your hotel in Ischgl to the gondola. There is plenty of lift accessed off piste of the type you require particularly at the Val Gronda end of things.

Re driving. Personally I'd go with an estate car and book chains. You may well need them and there really is no advantage to having an SUV in those conditions. If the roads are bad then the Police won't allow you past without chains on either vehicle.

If you want to eat out in Ischgl then I'd recommend the Jagerhof which has a very nice stube side and there a few nice Italian restaurants.

You'll love it. One of the very best resorts in the Alps.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Funnily enough, the SUV actually costs less than the Estate. If I do need chains with me, I'd be better off getting the SUV and buying chains somewhere on the way as renting them costs twice as much. Question is - do I really need the chains, this late in the season (Feb 24-Mar 3). I've never carried or used chains before, in Canazei, Mayrhofen, Flachau or Breck/Keystone, and it was never a problem, except for the one occasion with a totally frozen-over steep driveway (where I'm not sure chains would help and would have no-where to put them on anyway)

Regarding apres, unfortunately I can't drink any alcohol so driving isn't an issue for me. Is there any other reason not to use the car? We really prefer to avoid walking and/or using the buses for various reasons.

Thanks for the recommendations. The Cloeckner was indeed on my list.
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@motig, you would only need chains and SUV if there were real blizzard conditions. I drive up to Ischgl several times a season and have never needed them. If you end up with accommodation with a steep acces route maybe rethink, but no problem getting to town itself (caveat: unless you arrive in the middle of a huge and enormous blizzard).

There are several supermarkets in Ischgl. Quite a few Bogner style boutiques and the normal spread of ski shops (Intersport etc). Nothing wildly technical mind you. Plangger is a very nice deli (though they have a mark up on the wine, then again you are in the mountains).

Kitzloch, Baerafalla and Trofana Alm all good restaurants in a steak, ribs, pizza, fondue sort of way. A few Michelin starred places too.
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I had missed that you were looking for a B&B. Not sure if the Gloeckner do that but would recommend the HB option as it is excellent value and given your budget eating out in Ischgl can get expensive.

Chains are a bit like insurance. You never realise the value until you need it. The chances are you won't but if you arrive in a blizzard you may well get stopped by the Police and turned around. They don't compromise.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Half board is really not for us. We're looking for variety and something to keep us busy as we're not so much party animals as two 30 year old snowboarders are expected to be Smile
The hotel budget is not indicative of our willingness/ability to spend (we are both in the IT industry for over 10 years...) but more of our willingness to pay for certain elements of the trip. Just like we will spend 500 euro on a direct flight, but not 1000, we aren't looking to spend more than a certain percentage of the total trip for accommodation.
Overall, we like a quick, big, meaty dinner after a day on the slopes, within reasonable prices (again, spending 30 euros on a dinner is fine. 300 is not..)

Thank you both for the recommendations, I'll put them on our list.

Anyone familiar with the Klaushof in Ischgl? Also, the Hollroah and the Hotel Post Kappl?
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http://www.ferienglueck.at/en/welcome.html

Most of our group stayed here 2 years ago and loved it

Right opposite the lift and a short walk to everything else
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Would suggest you search on ischgl.com. There are many Hotel Garni's in Ischgl that will fit the bill. The Trisanna is such a hotel that would fit the bill. I've stayed there a few times and it's good.
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@motig, I have stayed at the Hotel Post in Kappl about 6-7 years ago. It was very nice, I'd recommend it. I have a vague recollection of the parking being on a steep slope and a bit awkward, though I can't remember if that was hotel parking or just what was available in the village. We had arrived just after heavy snowfall and so we didn't move the cars during the trip and used the buses (bus stop is closer to the lifts than the car park, anyway).
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
nozawaonsen wrote:
@motig, you would only need chains and SUV if there were real blizzard conditions. I drive up to Ischgl several times a season and have never needed them. If you end up with accommodation with a steep acces route maybe rethink, but no problem getting to town itself (caveat: unless you arrive in the middle of a huge and enormous blizzard).


+1 - I do have an SUV but have only felt the need to turn the 4x4 on once going to Ischgl (and I normally try and time my trips with the big blizzards haha!). If you DO have an SUV (may as well if it's cheaper than an estate, but check if it will actually be a 4x4!) with winter tyres it's vanishingly unlikely you'll need chains too IME.

I have *always* found a pot in the (open air) free parking area at Florianplatz (near the Hotel Nevada), though I'm not sure if you're allowed to park overnight there.
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Thinking 24 feb-3 mrch is late season snow wise is a bit naive.
Biggest snowfalls often happen in March, and definitely at 1400 m. And Ischgl gets much more snow than Mayrhofen or Italy. Also the Paznaunvalley is much more high-alpine steep and narrow than the flat and wide Zillertal or Flachau (flach=flat Very Happy )
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Parking Lounge probably the biggest heated Parking Garage in Europe


http://youtube.com/v/2zeuTODM6YA
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:

http://youtube.com/v/D5DY6wBnZNk
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Langerzug wrote:
Thinking 24 feb-3 mrch is late season snow wise is a bit naive.
Biggest snowfalls often happen in March, and definitely at 1400 m. And Ischgl gets much more snow than Mayrhofen or Italy. Also the Paznaunvalley is much more high-alpine steep and narrow than the flat and wide Zillertal or Flachau (flach=flat Very Happy )


Well, I have driven in the higher passes near Val Gardena and Val di Fassa in somewhat snowy conditions (some fresh snow on road yet uncleared and a bit of ice) with an A4 Avant 2.0 TDI and it was fine. No chains, just winter tyres and a bit more delicacy with my normally quite heavy right foot was enough to get us through without the situation getting gnarly. The Italian rozzers were no-where to be seen Cool But I admit that never in a proper, full-on blizzard.

However I do hope you're right. That's why we decided to "splurge" on Ischgl this year, as for two years in a row snow conditions left a lot to be desired (we always travel around the same time, last week of February). From what I've seen though, in these 2 years Ischgl and many other resorts were not much better off and it was a bad couple of seasons all across the alps - hopefully, this year it'll be better and we'll get some nice overnight dumps of fresh powder, finally.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@motig, I used to ski there regularly at school holiday time and would generally stay in Kappl and ski the whole valley. We self catered so I cannot give specific recommendations for B&B.
In about seven visits sometimes in fairly heavy snow we never needed chains though we had winter tyres . In the main valley the main road was always kept very clear the side roads sometimes less so.
There are free car parks at Kappl and Galtur near the lifts, The biggest free car park in Ischgl is a bit more of a walk over the main road. The car park at Florianplatz referred to by @clarky999, does sometimes get full and there is no overnight parking it is convenient for the lifts. The underground parking next to it is not particularly pricey if it is full.
If you don't have avy gear or a guide but want to try unpisted routes the best thing to do is go for the red dotted ski routes marked on the piste map and by red diamonds on the routes themselves , unpisted and often very good, whether or not there is powder on them will depend on the snowfall during your visit. There is often powder to be found a bit after the snow has fallen here but it is best looked out for with a guide.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@motig, Much better to in Ischgl proper than one of it's nearby poor relations like Kappl etc. Soaking up the atmosphere in such a classic resort is unmissable

The Feriengluck referred to above is my choice when I go. Cracking location and ticks your boxes. They have parking I believe
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Ischgl a big name nowadays. But not a classic. They started with lifts in 1963. A youngster!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Unfortunately, the Feriengluck is above what we want to spend (sums up to about 1800 euros on our dates) and doesn't seem to have any availability anyway.
We ended up booking the Klaushof. Seems to also tick all the boxes and the room is in a brand new part of the hotel, with a lift, which is a nice bonus. Rooms do seem a tad smaller than we'd like but we compromised on that for the location within Ischgl and the price (1200 euro).

Just wish Ischgl's accommodation search engine was more comprehensive and allowed online payments. What seems like the Austrian's absolute aversion to technology and useable websites drives me, as someone specializing in software engineering and UX, absolutely nuts. rolling eyes
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@motig, Looks a good choice...

It's a pleasant walk down Dorfstrasse from there to the Silverettabahn (and the Apres bars) but you won't be disturbed at night.
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@motig, on the subject of the hire car...is the SUV guaranteed to be a 4WD model? If it's cheaper than an estate car and they are not guaranteeing the model, it could be a mini-SUV with 2WD. Some hire companies dish out Renault Capturs, Opel Mokkas, Jeep Renegades or Fiat 500X very few of which have 4WD as standard and class them as an 'intermediate SUV'.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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The SUV is not guaranteed to be AWD/4WD unfortunately. The category (IFMR if I'm not mistaken) includes models such as the VW Tiguan, Skoda Kodiak and Ford Edge, not the dreaded fat-bottomed minis like the captur/mokka, but without AWD I don't think these cars provide any benefit over the category I usually take (3 series touring, A4 avant etc)
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motig wrote:
The SUV is not guaranteed to be AWD/4WD unfortunately. The category (IFMR if I'm not mistaken) includes models such as the VW Tiguan, Skoda Kodiak and Ford Edge, not the dreaded fat-bottomed minis like the captur/mokka, but without AWD I don't think these cars provide any benefit over the category I usually take (3 series touring, A4 avant etc)


If an AWD isn't guaranteed, there's no advantage. Though anything front-wheel drive would likely be better than a rear-wheel-drive BMW in the snow which seem prone to break traction due to lack of weight over the driven wheels.

I once reserved a basic Compact (CDMR) in Geneva once and I was given a Toyota RAV with selective AWD. I didn't really need any of its capabilities as it was a warm week in March, but reassuring nonetheless.

Last year I booked an 'Intermediate SUV' from Milan Linate as the agency was offering an attractive price. They had run out of Jeep Renegades when we got there, so ended up with a Transit Minibus, which would have cost 4 times the amount we paid!!

I've found it's pretty much pot luck what vehicle you actually get at airport car hire operations!!
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