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Why Kitzbühel should be your next high-octane ski break

This gleaming white resort has one of the longest seasons in the whole of the Alps. A sporty all-rounder, it’s well set up to accommodate big numbers, and still gives you space to breathe that clean mountain air – there are a total of 57 ski lifts and cable cars, 233km of pistes and carefully marked and groomed slopes to tackle.

The intense Hahnenkamm World Cup race may have put this high-altitude spot on the map, but you don’t have to be a pro skier to enjoy its charms – from comfortable runs for beginners and intermediates to a thriving bar, restaurant and shopping scene, there is plenty to enjoy on and off the slopes.

This is the home of one of the world’s most challenging downhill slopes: the Streif run. Each year, the Hahnenkamm World Cup race sees the pros hurtle down this stretch of mountain – 3,312 metres long, with a maximum gradient of 85 per cent – in a tradition that stretches back to 1931.

Non-professionals can tackle the Streif, but only super-confident and highly proficient skiers need apply – the key points on the run, the Mausefalle, Steilhang and Hausbergkante, are all labelled as ‘extreme’ ski routes. New to the region is the longest ski circuit in the world – the new connection at the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental and KitzSki means visitors can ski the 80km from Going am Wilden Kaiser across to the Kitzbühel Alps to Hollersbach in the Hohe Tauern, never using the same slope twice.

With a huge ski area and multiple ski lifts interlinking the various pistes there’s enough variety here to spend a whole week. A great-value lift pass for the resort is also a hit with those who want to spend a little longer in the mountains.

There’s more to this resort than just skiing and snowboarding. Why not try the Big Five this winter? Cross‐country skiing, winter and show shoe walks, sledging, ice‐skating and curling are all on offer, in addition to a heap of trendy new sports. There are 70km of cross‐country trails around Kitzbühel, allowing those who want to enjoy the resort’s breath‐taking mountain views at a more leisurely pace to indulge; meanwhile, the Kitzbühel tourist board offers guided winter and snow shoe walks to some of the most beautiful spots.

And you can always reward yourself afterwards with some of the town’s renowned cuisine, ranging from local traditional dishes to international gourmet cuisine – an impressive 11 restaurants have been recognised by Gault Millau.

The rich history of this area means Kitzbühel is blessed with a mix of Medieval architecture and rustic Tyrolean-style lodges, as well as fairytale-style cobbled streets. Allow time for a wander around the town itself, spotting wooden shutters opened against houses painted in ice-cream shades.

A fully-fleshed out town also means plenty to keep all ages entertained: not just cosy restaurants set in traditional mountain inns, but the vast Aquarena swimming and spa complex, a quaint museum tracking the town’s folk art and mining history, and a 15th-century church with faded frescoes.

To find out more about Austria’s Kitzbühel resort, visit austria.info and kitzbuehel.com.

Please check gov.uk before travel for the latest government guidance.

A range of pistes offer something for everyone

Xural.com

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