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TR Mayrhofen 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The RidgewayRover’s half term 2018 trip report.

Party: RR, competent 40 something dad on skis. Mrs RR, beginner. Daughter, 14, intermediate. Son, 9, intermediate going on advanced.

Location: Mayrhofen.

Travel: Austrian Airlines scheduled flight BRS-INN. Booked through Inghams via agents Interactive in order to secure BRS flights. No complaints - they feed you. INN as an airport much better than Chambery or Grenoble which were our comparators as Alpine airport destinations. Zillertal chosen for short transfer from INN which lived up to expectations (ie short and fairly level) and avoided travel sickness which afflicts some of party. Inghams people perfectly friendly although we didn’t see much of them apart from the transfer due to our making other arrangements.

Accommodation: Hotel Strolz. Family run Austrian 3 star hotel. Clean and pleasant. Food better than 3 star quality. Large (for a hotel) swimming pool and spa. Owner has an amazing model railway set up in the basement. 10 mins walk at the edge of Mayrhofen (desirable for us to avoid noise). Austrian-style hospitality - welcoming, a certain hard-to-define formality - we like it but someone with very specific requirements/demands might struggle.

Equipment: Hired through Ian Kilgour’s Rent for Fun, as recommended by this site. Excellent service and advice. Depot particularly helpful due to long opening hours and proximity to Penken lift.

Skiing: Piste conditions excellent of course - snowed overnight the first couple of days. Family spent most of their time on Penken. I got over to Eggalm one fine morning on the bus, which is a mix of confidence-building blues and reds and quiet compared to Penken. Ahorn is small but nicely formed and for a mixed family like ours, a good opportunity for some to practice on the blue and others to do the red/black in close proximity. Our planned day to Kaltenbach didn’t happen due to low cloud.

App: Good but not great - good for the information about trips (eg the beginners guide to Penken) and the look and feel. Didn’t have the up to date lift/piste opening information and you still need the website or the (larger than A3 if unfolded) bus times leaflet for buses. There was a route finding function that I never got working.

Getting around: It was the UK, some of the French, Dutch, Belgian and some German half terms so some busy pistes at times and 2 specific long queues (20 minutes up one time and 30 minutes back down). Felt as if one could probably avoid these with a bit of local knowledge. After a bad experience our first time, practicality is critical to me; the combination of Ian’s depot, the green ski bus and a short walk through Mayrhofen worked fine though. Glad to have avoided the queue at the lift pass centre on the Sunday morning due to forward planning. What I wasn’t so sure of was the rest of the valley which basically does seem to take a bit of getting to if you are a family staying in any one particular part (as stated above I only got as far as Eggalm).

Lunch: The RR Spaghetti Bolognese index (what you pay for spag bol on the mountain) was at 7 Euro. Austrian soup selections uniformly good. Pilzbar and Larchwaldhutte at the Penken end were our favourites and Schneekarhutte on the Horberg side was the blow out option (you would need to reserve for the restaurant but they have a great less formal option as well serving a shorter menu).

Lessons: Michael Thanner’s Skischule Mayrhofen 3000. Booked private lessons in advance through website. Managed to book 2 instructors for a party of 3 by mistake, but they were very helpful in unwinding this and flexible about rescheduling. Instructors excellent.

Apres: Observed but did not participate - other threads on here cover more specifically...plenty of options apparent.

Summary: We like Austria and enjoyed Mayrhofen. I was expecting to be dodging half drunk snowboarders the whole time but was pleasantly surprised. We’d have a much better chance of enjoying the rest of the valley another time having seen it once.
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I'm looking at Mayrhofen for a xmas family holiday. The Strolz is firmly on the list see:

Your quote desirable to avoid noise probably sums up my feelings the best.

However, and it's a big however is the proximity to the lifts and transport network. We would like to go up to Hintertux at least a couple of times & the bus arrangements concern me as I believe it's a bus into somewhere in town then a hike to another bus stop all in boots with skis etc

I would be grateful if you can shed any more light as you must have done the same when you went to Eggalmbahn.

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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 thought this was manageable. The Strolz is 150m from the green bus stop if you are using the hotel’s ski room, which is perfectly fine. I will stand to be corrected by the superior knowledge on the Zillertal thread but for Hintertux you have a choice of the fast bus which leaves from the station (it has a letter A-E, cant remember which) or the stopping bus which offers you Eggalm on the way. This latter bus starts at the station but then goes through town thus requiring no walk to the station (as I found out having walked to the station).

If we had been doing Hintertux with our arrangements we would have done as follows:

1 Go to bed having worked out time of Hintertux bus (two an hour IIRC)
2 Get up early, breakfast, walk to Ian Kilgour’s (in snow boots) (you are not using the green bus round Mayrhofen at this point because it only starts at 8ish)
3 Change into ski boots at Ian’s. Collect skis
4 Bus from Ian’s to the bahnhof (where the valley buses leave from). Or, and I think the best way to do this is to use the stop which is behind the Penken lift ie walk down the steps from the high street to that stop. This is the critical step.
5 Arrive bahnhof, get bus to Hintertux.
6 Bask in happy glow of a plan that worked.

The alternate to 4 is to walk it; there is a footpath behind the bergbahn running along the river towards the station which is helpful. This took me on my own 10 minutes with a navigation mistake involving me crossing the main road which I think was unnecessary. With a family it would be at least 20. We also found that carrying skis through town is a relatively perilous activity to be avoided if possible due to pavement depth and other passers by.

You have to do a bit of research also on 4 to work out which bus, but this can be done.

The green bus (the one that goes round Mayrhofen and stops near Strolz) is fine although occasionally too full to stop, and if you are not in ski boots the walk Strolz-centre is easy hence our use of Ian as base for skis. For completeness, if you are a parent of small children or girls who can read, the most direct route does require you to explain what a “go-go dancer” is to your progeny. (We never saw one but there is a big sign by one of the bars).
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Just tell them it's a traditional Austrian dancer! wink

Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for the comprehensive report. The Spag Bol index is interesting. No doubt, however, we will still have some saying on here that Austria is no more expensive than France for food & drink (typically its €18 upwards for the plat d'index in the 3 Valleys or Espace Killy).

Out of interest, did the half litre of beer index come into play? Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Well we would be on the Austrian side of that debate.

I’m afraid at my age ski performance is materially impaired by alcohol so we are not big enough drinkers to maintain the halbliter bierenindex although it is a good idea. The coffee and the gluhwein indexes were steady at E3, although I would not go to Austria just for the coffee.

I forgot to mention (as has been pointed out here before) that an Austrian soup is a very acceptable lunch if you are half board somewhere - good balance of sustenance with avoiding the feeling that you are only on holiday to eat.

On wine we found (sample size: 1 hotel, Strolz) that Austrian wine (which we happen to know a bit about) is quite pricey by the bottle but very good value by the glass/halbliter.
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Any reason you didn't ski over to Eggalm rather than take the bus?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Time - I had to meet the kids at lunchtime at Penken and figured that there and back on skis was pushing it. Happy to be corrected for next time
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