Skiing – Seefeld in Tirol

From Berlin we wanted to go to Italy, which involves a flight or a fairly long train journey. After much procrastinating we chose the latter, with a stop at the half-way point to go skiing. We’re headed toward warmer climes, and thought this might be our last chance to ski during the trip.

The Alps are peppered with about a zillion ski areas, ranging from single lifts with only one or two trails to huge resorts with hundreds of trails. Despite Europe’s excellent train network, many of the lifts can only be reached by bus or private car. To avoid spending too much time in transit we chose to stay in the charming Austrian town of Seefeld in Tirol, which has a couple small ski areas within walking distance of the downtown train station.

Our journey started with an intercity train from Berlin to Munich. We woke up just before 7am for an 8:30am train. This gave us time to cook (and clean up after) a hot breakfast in the apartment before taking the subway to the train station – with plenty of time to spare. A far different experience than trying to catch an 8:30am flight! As expected the high-speed train to Munich was a very civilized affair with plenty of legroom, a smooth ride, and a restaurant car in case of hunger. In Munich we switched to a regional train that would take us across the Austrian border to the town of Seefeld in Tirol. The scenery got more and more impressive as the train left the flat German interior and started to wend its way through the valleys and passes of the Alps.

The regional trains from Munich have a route map silkscreened on the tables at each seat.
I still can’t believe that parts of the world actually look like this.
From the train we saw the ski jump used in the 1936 Winter Olympics, which were held in southern Germany.
A biathlon course. Until seeing this I was reasonably sure that biathlon wasn’t real, and instead was an elaborate prank by bored Olympics organizers.

Seefeld in Tirol is a few miles north of the city of Innsbruck, which hosted the Winter Olympics in both 1964 and 1976. Seefeld is known for world-class Nordic skiing rather than alpine skiing, but has some decent intermediate-level downhill slopes that were perfect for our kids. We stayed near the Roßhütte lifts, in an apartment that was walking distance from both the train station and ski lifts.

We had two full ski days, and decent weather. The skiing proved to be the right level of difficulty for us, and the views from the mountain were breathtaking! The familienabfahrt (family trail) was a hit, and at 2.5 miles long it provided plenty of practice.

One surprise was the plethora of skiers skiing up the mountain. There are perfectly good lifts and even a funicular – why would you ski up the mountain? Turns out this is a thing you do in Austria, along with drinking lots of beer and eating schnitzel.

This impromptu trip (booked a whole 5 days in advance) worked out quite well. I would have liked to stay longer, but Italy beckons!

Crowds weren’t a problem even though it was the weekend.
Sunsets from the balcony of our apartment.
Nordic ski race finish line at edge of shopping district (a master’s championship?)
Typical street in the small downtown area
A “fun” day out for Austrians – skiing up the mountain (with packs) instead of taking a funicular or gondola

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