Westendorf is a pretty, unassuming, inexpensive and family friendly Austrian resort, being a compact and attractive area of traditional Tyrolean buildings, clustered around a picturesque onion-domed church. Westendorf has long been part of the SkiWelt area, offering over 280km of interlinked skiing, with 90 lifts, which is more than big enough for most groups of skiers. A gondola links Westendorf to Brixen im Thale and then beyond to Soll, Ellmau, Scheffau and Hopfgarten, with an additional 200km and more, over in the Kitzbuhel ski area for only a small additional amount to the Ski Welt pass. The Ki-West gondola at Gampenkogel, at the south-eastern edge of the Westendorf ski area, enables you to ski the Kitzbuhel area via a short ski-bus connection. For the easiest access to the resort Innsbruck would be the closest airport though Salzburg works as well.
Westendorf itself though offers some great blue cruisers, a number of red slopes and one of the steepest blacks in the Ski Welt area. The whole area is really suited to beginners and intermediates, with over 90% of the slopes given over to such groups. Westendorf’s beginners’ slopes are located at the eastern side of the village, just a short stroll from the village centre, making this one of the most accessible nursery slopes in the SkiWelt area. The principal access lift for the main ski slopes is the gondola, an easy walk from the village. This gondola rises to the summit giving access to easy blue and red runs back down to Westendorf, good for novices making their first forays out on to the main pistes, together with links to a second gondola based further along the valley, which links to the summit of Choralpe directly above the village.
From Choralpe there’s a terrific fall-line black run heading straight for Westendorf, alternatively, one of the best red runs in the region leads to Brixen im Thale for the link to the core SkiWelt circuit, which includes Ellmau, Soll and a number of other villages. At the other end of Westendorf’s ski area lies an enjoyable selection of blue and red runs around the peaks of Fleiding and Gampenkogel, the latter sector housing one of the SkiWelt’s best snowparks, plus a long blue-grade descent into the Aschauer Valley where a ski-bus shuttle service connects with the Pengelstein gondola at the nearby hamlet of Skirast for the link into the Kitzbuhel-Kirchberg ski area.
Along the way there are no less than 80 mountain bars and restaurants to keep you happy. The majority of the pistes are short, treelined, gentle blues and red runs that are great for improving novices and intermediates who like easy cruising. There is a limited amount of steeper terrain around Soll and some off-piste options for those who want more of a challenge. Westendorf’s slopes are noticeably less busy than those of the central SkiWelt circuit, an important factor for many holidaymakers who prefer a more relaxing ambiance. Westendorf’s excellent snow park and interesting free ride terrain does though attract younger visitors though, giving the village an amiable apres-ski atmosphere.
Apres-ski activity tends to revolve around Gerry’s Inn and the Bruchstall bar in the central area around the base of the beginners’ slopes, which also serves as the home-run route from the main slopes; it starts to get lively an hour or so before the lifts close and continues here and at a fair selection of venues around the village centre late into the evening; Kibo’s and the Wunderbar are usually the liveliest late-night haunts, the latter being the closest thing to a nightclub in Westendorf. Apres-ski can be lively with the few late closing bars and clubs, but Westendorf is more of a family-oriented resort than a party-oriented one, with the local ski schools having a very good reputation.
Westendorf village sits on a wide and level area of the valley though, so walking here isn’t a challenge; there are also a number of marked scenic walking trails along the valley and amongst the woods on the mountainsides. Horse-drawn sleigh rides are also a popular way of travelling out to some of the more remote restaurants in the surrounding area. The village is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll and some bar hopping, although it’s worth noting that some of the accommodation is situated out in the suburbs. Most of the accommodation options are in affordable guest houses and pensions, although there are a few 3-star and 4-star hotels and a good choice of self-catering apartments, with the odd catered chalet, so do please contact us for advice, options and of course the best rates. Definitely a great choice from around New Year to the end of March.