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St Johann in Tirol trip and snow report

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,

As promised, here is my resort report on St Johann after receiving lovely advice on here in advance. The report is heavily caveated with the fact that we had quite unusual conditions which are still ongoing as I understand it - when we arrived the village was pretty much snowless and the pistes could do with some more snow, by the time we left we must have had at least a metre of snow, if not more! It snowed non-stop, every single day.

So in terms of accommodation we were 5 minutes from the Harschbichl ski-lift which is just great. Our group of mixed abilities got off to a bad start because we had been told the Mittelstation had wide open blues (music to my ears) but we inadvertently ended up above 6a having followed 1g down for about 5 minutes so on our first day, cold from just 5 minutes of skiing, we had no other choice than to go down an unknown red and no real way back. Bearing in mind I am a nervous blue-skier and my son was just warming up, this was a pretty disastrous start and ended up in a big row and me cowering in a mountain restaurant whilst expert husband and brave son tried out the red. They came back in one piece and inevitably I had to go down it but I fell 6 times and lost my confidence for most of the holiday until the last day.

So:
Observation 1: Take good care (as always!) to read the signposting especially if you are not a confident skier. There ARE mostly blues at the Mittelstation but you do need to know which way to go! In comparison to France, I found the directions and signs on the slopes slightly harder to follow.

The ski lifts in general looked great, especially the new ones out the Eichenhof way are super and very modern - the controllers look like they are operating a space ship! Laughing One even has a bubble that you pull over yourself to block the wind, and heated seats. Tip: the bubble goes up automatically when you arrive so no need to frantically try to force it up like some skiers did in a panic! Most are gondolas although I didn't use all of them; I would argue the oldest one is the 2-seater Jodlalm but even that is quite a do-able chairlift for beginners.

The black 7a was reported to me as pretty hairy at the start (bear in mind there was such poor visibility with the constant snow) but widening out and fun later on. My son followed a red for the hairy part then picked up the black a bit further down which gave him a great first black run experience!

The main blues were good but even so fairly steep in places, and not plentiful. In comparison with other resorts, I wouldn't agree that St Johann in Tirol is great for beginners (they do advertise this) although it did look fab for families in general (which they also advertise). I think it's best for intermediate skiers who will want to move on after a day or two to other resorts. The main town is gorgeous though; a picture perfect Tiroler town. Again it all looks fab for families, and maybe not so much youngsters. I may be too old to spot the hot spots Embarassed but my impression was that there were not many bars or clubs in the main town for those who wanted to party hard.

Observation 2: Don't miss the main town, it's beautiful!

My son had private instruction for 2 hours with Wilder Kaiser - he came on really well. A lot of the instructors looked about 10 (!) but they are all trained and clearly locals who were born with skis on, my son certainly enjoyed skiing with someone close to his age!

Observation 3: The ski schools looked very similar on the slopes; we obviously only used one but I would guess there is not much between them! The Ski School of St Johann seemed to employ a large number of foreign nationals over NY (presumably to deal with peak) so there were native Dutch speaking, French speaking and English speaking instructors running around in addition to the local instructors.

Conditions: Whilst I was happy with the copious amounts of snow because it gave great powder and therefore braking opportunities, visibility was poor and that was not helped by the fact that not a lot of pisting was happening so big moguls and chopped up slopes were treacherously smooth looking underneath the fresh snow. I think that's why I fell so much and I later heard that some people don't even go out when it's snowing so I have decided to not be too hard on myself!

Observation 4: Anyone going to this region once it's stopped snowing will have an AMAZING time! There is more snow than they have had since the '90s according to locals!

Any questions - please ask! Our biggest regret is getting the Super Ski Pass because we ended up not using it (so I can't speak much for the other regions) because of the conditions, which I guess even with the forecasts we could not have predicted!

Thanks for all your advice Snowheads and have fun on your trip if it's still to come!

DidiSkis
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DidiSkis wrote:
Hi all,

Our group of mixed abilities got off to a bad start because we had been told the Mittelstation had wide open blues (music to my ears) but we inadvertently ended up above 6a having followed 1g down for about 5 minutes so on our first day, cold from just 5 minutes of skiing, we had no other choice than to go down an unknown red and no real way back. Bearing in mind I am a nervous blue-skier and my son was just warming up, this was a pretty disastrous start and ended up in a big row and me cowering in a mountain restaurant whilst expert husband and brave son tried out the red. They came back in one piece and inevitably I had to go down it but I fell 6 times and lost my confidence for most of the holiday until the last day.

DidiSkis


We did exactly the same on our first visit! It was the first time we'd been skiing after having kids. 11 years I think.
It can be hard work skiing when there's that much falling every day. I guess a mixture of sunny and snowy days is ideal.
I think you'd have found the skiing easier in normal piste conditions.

Thanks for the Trip Report. Shame you didn't get the chance to visit other places, but as you say, quite exceptional conditions.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks Didiski, I’ve been waiting for you to post! We go in 4 weeks and I’ve been watching the webcams with glee! I’m hoping in 4 weeks time it’s all perfect Very Happy

Which ski pass would you recommend? I doubt I’ll get much opportunity to get to the other resorts but if I could upgrade a couple of days towards the end of the week I might do. Really looking forward to going now!
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For adults (children half price on all):
6-8 day - St Johann-only pass is 225.50 euros
https://www.skistar.com/en/online-booking/Skipass?r=9&c=193&d=20190109

6 day - 3-Lander pass - includes St Johann, Steinplatte and Lofer (plus a few other bits and bobs) - 233 euros
Lofer would be quite a trek by public transport, but the Steinplatte is definitely doable.
https://www.kitzbueheler-alpen.com/en/st-johann/winter/skiing-snowboarding/3-laender-freizeit-arena-ski-pass.html

6 day - Salzburger Superski Card - regional pass including all the local resorts, big and small - 283 euros
https://www.superskicard.com/en/prices

It really depends on whether you think you'd use the Superski card.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Thu 10-01-19 8:03; edited 1 time in total
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^a little typo: the St. Johann only pass costs €225,50.
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Oops, I’ll edit
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@drammeister - interesting fact! Maybe it’s more common than I thought then. Almost worth sending the resort some feedback if it’s happened to 2 snowheads on one forum; must happen a lot I guess and it’s a little dangerous. Wouldn’t take a lot, just a big sign saying “BEGINNERS THIS WAY” next to Abfahrt.... Laughing
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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!
@lozza feel free to PM me if you have any questions or want to ask specific questions about your accommodation. You’ll have a GREAT time! I personally would stick with the local ski pass knowing what I know now but it does really depend on your group. If you are all very able skiers you will have done all of St Johann quite quickly. If you’re with kids and don’t fancy trekking places you will probably easily entertain yourselves as a family locally. I think it also depends on your location - we were determined to go to Kitz one day and I kind of regret not going for it but there was so much snow and being close to the gondola meant we were a bit of a trek to the station, not having a car.
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DidiSkis wrote:
I think it also depends on your location - we were determined to go to Kitz one day and I kind of regret not going for it but there was so much snow and being close to the gondola meant we were a bit of a trek to the station, not having a car.


Puzzled the train station is very close to the Harschbichl gondola? Maybe 5 mins walk? It’s only 10 mins walk from where I live and the gondola is half way. The road to the station is opposite the Spar and Hervis.
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I’m basically skiing on my own for the week unless I manage to strike up a conversation with someone, or decide to do a couple of days of lessons. My 6 year old will be in ski school and my husband doesn’t ski so I’ll probably stay local and try to meet him for lunch. I might make it to kitz one day and perhaps just try and get a day pass - will have to see how it goes when I’m over there. I’ve said I won’t just leave him to pick up our son every day so the ski bus times of other local resorts look like they might not work being too late for ski school, but I’ll suss it out!
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Hi
I have a quick couple of questions I thought I’d post here rather than starting a new thread.

We are staying in the Hotel Park, booked through Crystal (I didn’t have the time or energy to do it DIY!). I need ski hire, which I’ll arrange on arrival at the hotel as they do 15% discount for the shop connected to them. Apparently I don’t need to reserve?

I then need ski school and hire for my son. Rather than go through crystal I can book direct with ski schule st Johann which includes equipment from their place. They say it’s a 5 min walk from hotel park - does that sound the most sensible option or would anyone recommend an alternative? I’m tying myself in knots trying to decide what’s best and consequently booking nothing Puzzled
Thanks if you’ve got this far!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Yes do it through Ski Schule Johann on their lesson and equipment package for your son and do the ski hire for yourself at the place next door to the hotel.
There’s probably not much in it money-wise compared to what Crystal offer anyway is there?
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Ski school Wilderkaiser have a similar deal and are based in there too.
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You know it makes sense.
Thanks both. Would they both use the same beginners area? Either one better than the other? I’m so indecisive!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Don’t know the answer to that. Just book the one you like best.
There are going to be very similar as they are in direct competition with one another.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just had a yummy burger at Restaurant Max at the bottom of the piste by the Harschbichl gondola
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Oh don’t, I’m already hungry!
Thanks
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Our favourite is the Angerer Alm just above the mid station. The burgers are great, but so is the Gröstl.
Our kids had lessons with the blue ones (WilderKaiser). First time was great, second time less so. Native English speaking instructors both times.
As @VolklAttivaS5, says probably not much in it.
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@Drammeister, good tip! I’ve not really skied St Johann properly yet have been too busy but will definitely get a burger in there!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It’s a beautiful day here in St Johann and I’ve taken the opportunity to ski the small but local ski hill today. It’s very quiet with beautiful trees and mountain scenery all around.
And I can ski to and from my apartment so on days when I don’t fancy going far this is fantastic
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@Drammeister, going to try one of those burgers later for my late afternoon meal/dinner as I’ve already had a late breakfast/lunch
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Do any of you know if it’s possible to buy a non-skier or foot passenger lift pass and if so how much it is? My husband doesn’t ski so I want to be able to meet him for lunch, and ideally not be tied to going back down to the village. Or are there any he can walk/bus up to?
And also if there’s a gym anywhere in the village? I know there’s the badewelt so he can swim every day if not but I know he’d prefer a gym.
And yes, I also questioned why he’s coming but it was the same price with him as without and it’s a week off work!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Lozza1uk, I haven't been able to find any information about tickets for non-skiers but I suspect they may be available.

With regard to restaurants, it should be possible to walk up to the Grander Schupf (at the top of the Eichenhof gondola). I had a friend who walked down from there (we had driven up), though up and down would obviously be more strenuous. Should be possible to get a taxi up at not too great a cost, I suppose.

Another possibility, though down at valley level, would be the Rock Bar at the foot of the Eichenhof lifts.
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@Lozza1uk, there’s a place called Fitness4Fun right by the Cubo Sport Hotel. There’s a gym in there but I’m not sure if you can just go casually.

To be honest it doesn’t take long to ski from top to bottom in St Johann. So instead of spending money on a pedestrian ticket (likely to be not far off the skiing price) then I would suggest skiing down to Restaurant Max at the bottom by the Harschbichl gondola. I’ve had two nice meals in there since I came here.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Wed 23-01-19 20:15; edited 1 time in total
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There is some kind of hotel/restaurant just up from there too that you’d pass when skiing down he could walk up there as it’s not far, maybe 150m from the bottom. I’ve not been in there but it looks like a restaurant.
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Thanks both!
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VolklAttivaS5 wrote:
There is some kind of hotel/restaurant just up from there too that you’d pass when skiing down he could walk up there as it’s not far, maybe 150m from the bottom. I’ve not been in there but it looks like a restaurant.

Yes, I was thinking of that too but at the time I couldn't remember the name. It is the Schöne Aussicht. The road to it goes past the bottom station of the Harschbichl gondola.
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@espri, that’s it!
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You know it makes sense.
Best burger on the mountain so far-Grander Schupf at the top of the Eichenhof gondola
So thick and tasty-it didn’t look like much on first presentation but well worth it and it was only €10 for burger chips and salad
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You’re getting through a lot of burgers Laughing

I’m keeping a list of all these recommendations though so thanks! Out 2 weeks today and can’t wait!
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How good would St Johann be as a base for a week for intermediates? We're one skier, one boarder. We'd have a car, so probably ski on the local hill some days and drive somewhere on others.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Lozza1uk, I’ve only had 3 burgers in 3 weeks of being here!

@sugarmoma666, it would be ideal. The ski area in St Johann is for beginners and intermediates really anyway there’s not much there for the advanced skier but I like it now and again as it’s very quiet. Plus the fact if I’m feeling lazy I can get on the chair within about 2 mins of leaving my apartment.
If you have a car, well you probably wouldn’t need to use it much-I haven’t even used mine since I got here (to get to ski resorts anyway, I went to Salzburg in it the other day)
If you get the Kitzbuhel All Star Ski Pass instead of the local St Johann pass only you can go to Kitzbuhel on the train in 10 mins and between St Johann and Kitzbuhel that would keep you occupied for a week easily. There’s Ski Welt as well but again you can go to Kitzbuhel first (early) then get the bus to Ki West to access Westendorf.
You won’t get near covering all the opportunities in a week! The Salzburg Super Ski Pass covers even more.
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Thanks@VolklAttivaS5, we spent a week in Hopfgarten a couple of years ago. We skied the Skiwelt extensively, which we loved. We also used the car to access Niederau, Auffach/Alpbach and Kitzbuhel. In the whole week it was only really Kitzbuhel that we didn't like. Admittedly, we didn't see it on a good day, but the flats were tedious for a skier and dreadful for a boarder.
Is there any snowpark in St Johann? It sounds like a nice area. Part of the reason we liked the Skiwelt was the lack of advanced skiers, so when it snowed much of the clientele left the mountain and we were skiing fresh powder in a red run in the middle of the afternoon.
Do you ever go across to Fieberbrunnen or the other local areas? Looks like they're all easy to access with a car.
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@sugarmoma666, yes I’ve been to Fieberbrunn quite a few times in the last 3 weeks as it’s only 19 mins on the bus. I get the 8.55 from the station in St Johann.
If you want to you can then get the following bus to Leogang if you want to start that end of the Ski Circus and ski back to Fieberbrunn. It’s another 22 mins on a bus though.
I prefer the bus as it means I can have a beer at lunchtime or after skiing or both as I won’t be driving anywhere anytime soon. Remember the Austrian drink driving limit is lower than in the UK-not that I bother having anything at home when I’m driving but it’s worth knowing the limit is lower here.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@sugarmoma666, yes there is a snow park in St Johann but I’ve not seen it personally to tell you how big it is, it’s to the right of the Tannlift in Eichenhof. There is a pretty big one in Westendorf though.
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Forgot to say earlier it had snowed quite a bit overnight and was snowing all day too pretty much. There was about 20cm of new snow I’d say.
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@sugarmoma666, we’ve stayed in St Johann a few times and driven to other ski areas during the week.
Ellmau for Skiwelt; Kirchberg for Kitzbühel; Fieberbrunn for Ski Circus are all within a 20min drive. Plus some other great, smaller places like the Steinplatte.
The St Johann area is fairly small but I really like it and, apart from when the ski school rush is on in the morning, you normally don’t have to queue for more than 5 minutes even at HT.
I know what you mean about snow days. Sometimes we seem to have had the mountain to ourselves!
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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!
It’s absolutely belting it down with snow in St Johann at town level
Big fluffy light snowflakes too not rain/sleet/wet snow
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It’s been awesome today! A day on the slopes where I was sometimes the only person on the piste, followed by a swim. I think we’re going to return in the summer as this place is fab!
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We got back from St Johann yesterday and had the best time. We arrived Saturday night, skies under blue skies on Sunday followed by 2 days of snow, heavy enough to provide amazing snow but light enough to easily ski in and then blue skies until we left. Probably the best snow conditions I’ve ever experienced, I didn’t hit a single patch of ice all week!

My son had a great time in ski school and after tears on the first day (which is apparently normal when they take them up the first lift - the blue down from the mittlestation is a hell of a first ever run!) absolutely loved it. I liked the fact the resort is small enough that I could guarantee to ski past him if I wanted to check on him and get to see him from the gondola. There aren’t any really easy runs so I was a bit wary of how he’d find it but by the end of the week he was going down some red runs so maybe the lack of really easy green runs forces them to come on quickly! Found some lovely places to eat, particularly the Hirschberg at the top of the 3 man chair lift which had great apple strudel!

It was also my husband’s first experience of a ski trip and he really liked it too! He walked up a couple of times to meet me for lunch and made it right to the top in a couple of hours on the last day, then used my lift pass to get down while we skied down and back to the hotel to leave for the airport. He’s even saying he’d consider having a go next year (apparently it looks easy) but I can’t book until we’ve booked a summer holiday. We may well go back to the same place though next half term but book direct this time.

It was also nice to see such a mix of nationalities, and in general it was so quiet. No queues for any lifts except for at 10am and on the last Saturday morning. Sometimes (in fact quite often) I was the only person on a run and i did have a few moments of wondering if I fell how long it would be before someone found me! Fortunately I only fell over once all week Very Happy

To sum up we had a great time and hopefully will be back next year, so thanks to all who recommended it and provided advice! Very Happy
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