Just back from a generally excellent week in Westendorf. Visited for a weekend last year and went back this year for a week as a group of 5.
Flew LHR to Munich. Arrival at Munich was efficient, cleared passport and picked up bags within 25 mins of touchdown. Departure was a different story..... horrendous queues at Gate B to have passport checked (manually - just 2 people on duty), followed by security. Even though we were 1.5 hours early, I don't think we would have made our flight (our plane was slightly held up by having to remove bags due to someone failing to make it). Top tip: make the 5 min hike to Gate C, where bizarrely there is no passport check and there was no queue. You can then walk through to B via an automatic passport check, airside. Security still a nightmare, with everyone going through a full body scanner, and the almost everybody having a manual search - in my case because of a tissue in my pocket.... Unbelievably inefficient.
We transferred by train - 2 hours, with a quick change at Munich Ost and another at Worgl. All very easy and on time. 240 return for 6 people (cheaper to buy a group ticket for 6 than 5 individual tickets on www.bahn.de). Then picked up by taxi arranged by hotel for the 5 mins to the hotel (10).
We stayed at the Hotel Garni Austria. 50 per person per night B&B. Excellent central location, nice comfortable rooms, great showers, good breakfast and incredibly welcoming and helpful owner (Veronika). Throughly recommended. Try to get a room at the back overlooking the slopes - the road the other side can be noisy at night with late-night revellers. We ate out each evening. There are limited non-hotel restaurants in town, so it was a mix of these and hotel restaurants. Some comments: Reiterstuberl is probably the most up-market of the non-hotel restaurant, which was nice, but quite pricey. Need to book here. Il Vagabondo in the Hotel Alpenhof is a nice Italian, which was a nice change to the standard Austrian fare. The restaurants in the Hotel Jocobwirt and the Hotel Post were also nice. We were less keen on the Die Muhle (poor food) and Feinn Sinn (really), which was Ok but rather unfriendly.
We hired from Hausberger, right by the slopes. Good kit, reasonably priced. 15% if you book online (you only pay when you collect). They have a heated ski deposit at the bottome of the slopes, which led to a slightly irritating misunderstanding. You can use this for free if you hire kit from them. However, the wording is not clear, and it turned out this only applies to kit hired from them. If you have your own boots you have to pay for those, which seemed rather petty. To be fair, they did waive it when we (gently) raised the matter.
Weather and snow:
A mixed week weather-wise. After the freeze of the previous week, it had warmed up dramatically and rarely reached freezing even at night. Sun and Mon were beautiful days, with the snow holding up well despite the heat (a bit slushy and cut up in the afternoon). Tues snowed and rained a little, but not too bad. Wed was colder, and nice in the morning, but heavy snow in the afternoon, turning to rain in the village (a good day for a long lunch!). Thurs was a bluebird day, with some nice powder to be found in the morning (heavy in afternoon), especially in Kitzbuhel, and Friday was warm with mix of cloud and sun - very slushy and cut up in the afternoon. Temp drop and new snow needed soon. Snow generally in better condition on the Kitzbuhel side than Ski Welt.
Westendorf is brilliantly located between Ski Welt and Kitzbuhel, allowing you to get the best of both. Worth paying the extra 30 for the Super Ski pass if you are going to Kitzbuhel more than once, otherwise upgrade for the day (272 for 6 days Super Ski). The link between Westendorf and Kitzbuhel is a short bus - about 4 mins and we never waited more than 5 mins. The various areas have a different feel:
Westendorf itself has some nice runs (especially the Ki West to Kitzbuhel and the run 11 down to Brixen to link to the Ski Welt. It also has probably the steepest black in the area (but very short). A couple of fun blues to the valley floor. The run home can be rather cut up and busy in the afternoon - our weaker skier downloaded on the gondola to the half way station rather than do that with tired legs.
Ski Welt is mainly cruisy red and blues, with some enjoyable long runs to the various villages at the valley floor. Some of the links can be a bit flat and short, but worth making the effort to explore all the areas, as all have some good runs. Ski Welt was quite busy - no queues longer than 5 mins, but the slopes were quite busy and quite a lot of people skiing at speeds beyond their ability (and not looking before they set off -why do people do this??). Pretty area, mostly tree-lined. For less able skiers, the route back down to connect back to Westendorf at Brixen is quite tricky (piste 6/1b), especially in the afternoon when very slushy, bumpy and full of people. Less confident people would be advised to cut across on 2a to the top of the gondola and download - but easy to miss the turning.
Kitzbuhel has more of a high mountain feel, with more skiing above the treeline, especially in the Pass Thurm/Jochberg area over the (amazing) 3-S gondola. Snow was better over here - less slushy. Some excellent runs - we especially enjoyed the long blasts down to Kirchberg, and the itinerary 75 in the powder on Wed morning, as well as the runs back down to Pengelstein on the way back to Westendorf. A few nice, but short blacks, nothing terribly hard.
A word of warning: the piste maps and sign-posting are universally awful - the worst I have ever experienced. Expect to get lost and see it as a way of skiing slopes you might not have done otherwise.
Eating and drinking on the mountain:
There are a huge number of nice huts, mainly serving the usual Austrian staples. Prices are generally similar - we found that a large beer, a main each and some shared puddings, and perhaps some coffees, for 5 would come to about 100 - 110 every day. A round of drinks at the end of the day was about 17 for 5. The huts we liked most were:
The Rubezahl Alm (58 above Elllmau)
The Alpengasthof Hochsoll (46 above Soll)
The Ochsal (at bottom of Ochsalm chair above Kirchberg - slightly pricier than others, but good food)
The Brechhornhaus (74 at the top of Westendorf)
It is a small place, so a bit limited. Gerry's on the nursery slope can be reasonably lively with the traditional Austrian cheesy music at the end of the day, and the Nagelhutte is fun for a bash at the nail game. We did not go to the Bruchstall at the top of the nursery slope, but it looked quite popular. There are a few pubs, bars and clubs for later on - but they were very smokey - compared to anywhere else I have been in Austria, the smoking in bars was worse here. It really is time Austria joined the 21st century in this respect, as it is the only reason I would think twice about coming here.
A great week. Westendorf makes a great base to cover a huge area of varied skiing. Nothing really hard-core, but great for a mixed group. Westendorf itself probably not ideal for beginners due to the tough home run - beginners might be better in Soll, Scheffau or Ellmau. Not party-central, but enough life to keep you amused in the evenings. Quite low, so does seem to be suffering from the current warm spell with rain at the lower levels, but snow holding up well despite this.