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Trip Report: Mutters/ Axamer Lizum/ Innsburck 2 nights
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This is a bit of a niche report having just returned from a very short weekend break on the 8-10th March.
My wife and I haven't been able to get away for more than 1 night since having twins 2 and a bit year's ago, so the first time we have had the chance we took the opportunity to ski.
Was it worth the grief for just 2 days? Read on to find out.
Flights: Bristol- Innsburck. Easyjet. £75pp (no hold luggage)
Transfers: Free from hotel (see below). Four seasons quoted 88Euros for this but I would imagine you could do it cheaper.
Village: Mutters. Small but charming. Chosen as it is only 15/20 minutes from the airport, has its own ski area but easy to access others and to Innsbruck itself via the tram. Plenty of decent accommodation to choose from.
Hotel: Seppl. £325 for 2 nights HB for 2. I upgraded from our normal ski choice, to a 4 star. I justified this by factoring in 2 x 5 course dinners and the free airport transfers (as well as free rides to the lifts and bus stops). It was good value, with a wonderful spa, large, comfortable rooms, great food and amazing views down into Innsbruck. However, there are plenty of lower priced hotels, Pensions and SC offerings in the village.
Ski Hire: Die Borse at the bottom of the Mutters slopes. The only hire shop in the village but was fine. Allowed us to keep shoes there for the day and is part of Alpin Resorts, which offers Snowheads a small discount (code word SNOWBALL). Total price 130Euros for 2 x skis, 2 x boots and 1 x helmet.
Lift Pass: 2 passes for Mutteralm was 69Eur skiing from past 11am. Very slight discount on the full day rate. 79Eur for Axamer Lizum.
Skiing: Mutteralm: A good area for a partial day and for someone trying to get their ski legs back after a few year's off. A gondola takes you up to the main area. The main area has a couple of very small learner areas but also a longer nursery slope serviced by a drag lift. There is a chair lift up to the top, which has a blue loop round or a shorter red and black (which is pretty much the same slope). But the real treat for this area is the red run down to the neighbouring village, Gotzens. It's a wonderful run through the trees and held it's snow very well right to the bottom. Apparently it was the reserve slope for the downhill run in the Olympics back in '76 and with good reason. There is also a pleasant tree lined run (red number 2) to the middle station on the Mutters side and a wider open blue (number 1) which continues all the way to the bottom, but the snow was slushier from the mid station here.
Axamer Lizum: For the Saturday and our only full day's skiing, we caught the 35 minute bus ride to Axamer lizum. We were fine with this. It's a pretty journey, the bus wasn't crowded and we still managed to arrive by 09.30. Being a Saturday the queues were far greater here but just about within tolerance levels. e.g. there was a 4 person queue for lift pass and 10 minutes was the longest queue for a lift and this was right at the start of the day. The lifts further up the mountain weren't too bad. We found the area enjoyable, with mainly red runs but one long Blue 1, the Women's Olympic run, which was probably the same level as most of the reds. This was probably my favourite run but an honourable mention goes to Plesein run (red 7) on the other side of the resort with it's awesome views down to the city. It is also a good place for off piste, which plenty of areas between runs to explore and a steep pitch on the other side of the valley off the Birgitzkopf, which serves a very long mogul run, if you are into that sort of thing. The lifts were a mixture of old and new chairs with the iconic funicular dominating the resort. Probably the best part of the day was navigating our way back to Mutters from the top of the Birgitzkopf. The run isn't very well marked, but there is really only one way to go- down a pisted run, through a long tree lined path and eventually out onto the Gotzens run and onto Mutters. It's wonderful to ski back in 10-15 minutes when the bus would take over twice that time.
Restaurants: Mutters really only has one piste side restaurant. This is at the top of the gondola, but is big enough to take many punters, with the option of self service or waiter service. We had a huge bowl of goulash soup + bread for 7 Euros. Excellent value. There's also a trendy little umbrella type bar at the top, where we had a beer but I don't think it does proper food. Lizum has more to offer, including the giant Schirmbar at the top of Hodl. It's huge and modern with DJs and views. We eschewed this for the Sunnalm, in the middle of the pistes, which lived up to its name and then a snack at the Birgitkopf, which is more like an old mountain refuge- but no worse for this.
Apres: Sorry, we didn't really partake, as we ended in quiet Mutters both days. There's a bar at the bottom called the Swingin, but I can't see it getting too lively, but maybe during peak season? The village itself has a restaurant and a bar but definitely not a place for party animals. You would be better off taking the short ride into Innsbruck if you wanted a lively night out.
Verdict: Success! We had a superb time. 2 nights and 2 days skiing, did prove to be a worth while excursion, mainly due to the convenience of Innsbruck Airport. Admittedly, had we been travelling a day earlier we might have been in trouble, as there were storms, with flight disruptions and both Mutters and Lizum closed their lifts, but it's a risk worth taking. Even the price compares relatively well to a 2 night break in the Uk (less all the ski expense of course) and with a good number of other small resorts in the area, there is no reason why we can't do similar trips for the next couple of years. Many thanks to the Snowheads who gave invaluable advice in the lead up to this trip!
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