Fresh Pow

freeriding, resorts, gear


Altitude: 813m - 2224m
Backcountry: Excellent
Difficulty: beginner - advanced
Apres Ski: average
Best powder period: December - Februari
Pow: *****

When storms hit the Northern Alps in winter it can mean only one thing. POW! Homework: Find out where the pow is falling and make sure you get there as fast as you can, preferably before first chair goes up. One of the free riding gems in the Northern Central Alps is the region Kleinwalsertal. This is just the place that tops the list of places to go when you know the next few days are going to be deep. But it is also one of those special places in the Alps to visit for a winter sports week or weekend when you are a recreational skier or snowboarder looking for a good time with friends or family.

Kleinwalsertal covers 4 mountains and 5 villages: that are partly in Germany and in Austria: Obersdorf, Riezlern, Hirschegg, Mittelberg and Baad. All these villages have a traditional feel to them, a gentle atmosphere and look great after a fresh dump. In these villages you can find hotels but also private accommodations where you can rent an affordable room or apartment.

Skiing and snowboarding
When you stick to the slopes the region provides 124 kilometers of corduroy. The slopes are very well maintained and not too difficult. This region is excellent to go to with your family or with a group of friends who are still in the process of improving their skills. The longest run in Kleinwalsertal can be found at the Nebelhorn. It is 7 km long. The regions slopes are suited for beginners-advanced intermediates. Not all regions are connected. But it is possible to travel from one ski area to the other by bus which is free with a ski pass.

Lifts in the ski area are fast and modern in most places and the occasional ski lift which is a little bit old fashioned is a two seater (Ifen) that does so in style and takes a little longer than the modern lifts do to take you up. So you have the opportunity to enjoy the view a little longer or, if you’re lucky, get to meet your ski / snowboard love of your life in this lift, so you can use the time it takes to get up to get to know each other.

One of the best things about this ski region (economically) is that the ski pass isn’t expensive. You pay about € 79,50 if you will visit the area for two days or € 199 if you take a 6 days pass. (High season) Which, in comparison to other ski areas isn’t very expensive.
In the Alpine tradition of Germany and Austria you also have more then enough ski-schools where you can either book a group lesson or private ones. You can find the ski schools over here.

Schermafbeelding 2013-01-21 om 17.59.17

Freeriding (Off Piste)
Geographically Kleinwalsertal is located close to Sankt Anton and the Arlberg: Austrian Freeride Mekka. You can say that Kleinwalsertal is the little less known brother of this region. And this is really good news for freeriders! We were there the day after a dump, and to our surprise we only saw people on the slopes the day after. With bowls of powder even next to the slopes! You will have less powder stress here! Like Sankt Anton Kleinwalsertal can be described as a Schneeloch, basically the German word to say when storms hit, it dumps like crazy here. When storms set in from the North / North West, this region always receives more snow than the surrounding areas because of the way the mountains of the Kleinwalsertal form the first barrier for depressions where they have to climb over the first mountain ridges. Kleinwalsertal is the place where the storm have to dump their first load of fresh pow! So for freeriders a weather forecast with North Stau in Austria and a snow line from 600 m high means you have to get your ass over to Kleinwalsertal as fast as possible.


For freeriding the area has a lot of options. Check out places like the Walmendingerhorn, Hochifen and the Fellhorn for great lines down through couloirs, forest and off mountain ridges. If you are less experienced in off piste skiing or boarding and would like to explore the possibilities with the help of a guide. Check out Bergschule Kleinwalsertal, where you can book a guide for 250 euros a day. It is also possible to go on organized free ride trips for a length of a week. Every day you will explore new places in the valley. For more information about this ‚mountain extreme free ride week’ check here!

The Villages
Obersdorf in Germany is a big village that was able to grow while still respecting the nature around it. When you are there you will have the feel of a modern ski / snowboard village, but also with some left over vibe of an old fashioned mountain village. It is a village that is suited for families and group of friends. But don’t expect to find a vibrant après ski scene here. Riezlern is the biggest village in Kleinwalsertal. The village is calm, nice, clean and you can ski until you arrive in the valley. If you are fed up with skiing you can also do hiking here. Hirschegg is the smallest village in Kleinwalsertal. It is quiet and suited for people who are looking for the peace and quiet. Mittelberg poses a great view. The village is surrounded by mountains (hence the name Mittelberg). Like the rest of the villages in Kleinwalsertal, it is clean and friendly. Finally the last village in the valley is Baad. You are able to ski down to this village on the slopes and also off piste there are some very nice decants to this village. If you would like to find an accommodation in one of these villages. Check here.


This German / Austrian valley is definably on of those places you have to visit. Either to have a relaxing weekend or week enjoying the Alps, skiing, hiking or climbing. Or because the many options the region offers for free riding. After a fresh dump the region looks wonderful, as if you are in a nice movie or in a winter wonderland. And here you will always find more snow (especially between December - February) then in other ski areas in Austria after a Nordstau. If you would like to have more information about Kleinwalsertal, check out the website of the tourist office.




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