Kals and Matrei ski areas merged a few years ago to create the Grossglockner Resort – the largest ski area in East Tyrol. The views are stunning with Austria’s highest mountain – the namesake “Gross Glockner at 3798’ in view as you ski around this beautiful peak filled valley. In fact, you are adjacent to the Hohe Tauern National Park which you drive through ($13 car fee) if you pass from the north. The views in this East Tirol are impressive with over sixty 3,000 meter peaks.
Grossglockner has 16 state-of-the-art ski lifts to take skiers and boarders to over 2,400 meters making for a sizeable two interconnected ski area experience.
The Matrei side has a long Goldried Gondola from the base to bring you to the high alpine where you will find three long chairlifts, plus a few t-bars serving a wide variety of terrain. The Cimaross summit six pack delivers you to the modern glass Adler Lounge, which is also the top station of the Kals Gondola emanating from the other side. This is the connection of the two ski areas, otherwise it’s a long bus ride around (as we found out when high winds closed the Kals gondola for a few hours, but thankfully re-opened in time for our afternoon return).
The Kals skiing side has a few runs beneath the summit gondola, all quite steep, red and black down to the mid-station load. Below that there is just one long narrow prepared trail to the Kals base. This trail is like a snow-covered road or cat track that doubles as the toboggan/rodel (sledding) run.
Kals base area has a beginner area in a mellow meadow, with two TBars for learning. A new six-passenger bubble chair and two more consecutive chairlifts serve a half-dozen well pitched prepared slopes above the town of Kals.
We found a few nice huts on the Kals side, the Panorama Blauspitze has fantastic views, and affordable cuisine cafeteria style, plus a bar serving $3 wines and beers.
The charming Gross Glockner Hut further down under the Glocknerblick chairlift is cozy and traditional with wonderful soups and homemade “hexen” teas, with rum or schnapps if you wish for the witch potion. With witch logos everywhere, we imagine these local herbs and mountain flowers are magic!
On the Matrei ski side, we skied past several mountain chalets on our ski back to our Hotel Goldried in Matrei. They all looked classic and inviting, many with sun decks that were filling up with patrons in the afternoon.
Overall, Kals and Matrei don’t offer much beginner or intermediate terrain, everything is quite well-pitched. At the gondola summit of Matrei is a small beginner area and Kinderland, from here you would download to Matrei village after skiing versus taking the advanced trail. If you are looking for easier ski terrain, Wildkogel or Lienz nearby may be a better choice.
When skiing Kals Matrei, the Hotel Goldried is right at the base of the ski trail in Matrei. This historic hotel clings to the hillside overlooking the pretty village and sensational peaks. It’s a curious hotel as you arrive, park and ride a funicular to reach the lobby. The rooms are modest, but the balcony views are exceptional. It’s a family-friendly hotel with a lovely indoor and outdoor pool, plus an adults only spa. Meals on half board are served in “The Eatery” which is a very basic communal buffet-style setting. We preferred the Stuberl (which we requested) for a la carte dining, much cozier.
Kals Matrei Gross Glockner is easily reached from Innsbruck or Munich, part of Austria’s East Tirol which also includes St Jakob, Lienz, Obertilliach, and Sillian-Hochpustertal. See more on family skiing in Austria.
Grossglockner Kals-Matrei Ski Stats:
Elevation: 1020 m – 2422 m, 7,946′
Vertical: 1402 m, 4,600′
Trails: 42.5 km of prepared pistes