Lienz is an industrial Austrian village with two mountains to ski, a ski area on each side of the town of Lienz, also home to the famous Burg Bruck Castle perched on the hill.
Lienz Zettersfeld, on the northeast side of Lienz village, also called Lienzer Berbgbahnen, refers to itself as “the sun terrace” with over 200 sunny days a year. True enough, the day we skied was gloriously sunny, and still the snow was soft and carvable from morning until early afternoon, given its just-high-enough elevation.
An older gondola (where there was no snow during our January 2024 visit) brings you up to a snowy high alpine plateau, and beautiful wide open ski terrain served by several lifts, 2 quads, a six pack and a tbar, plus other beginner lifts. We loved skiing on a dozen well-groomed runs with amazing views of the Austrian Alps and the Italian Dolomites not far away from this East Tirol region. Two high speed chair lifts and a summit T-Bar offered fun, varied terrain with skiing from 2278 Meters (7,470’).
Lienz is surrounded by countless 3000-meter mountains. Its far removed from the crowds of bigger ski arenas like Zillertal and Kitzbuhel. Its truly a very pleasant skiers paradise, sunny, fun, and scenic, nothing is particularly steep.
Lienz is very popular with ski touring AT climbers who skin up the groomed trails to visit the huts – there are several charming wooden chalet restaurants, before their ski down or tour out on the high plateau terrain.
We loved our lunch spot near the summit at Steinermandle GmbH, same name as the quad that gets you here. This cozy chalet and bar also features a grand sun deck, you can dine in or out. Wonderful homemade soups and hearty Austrian dishes plus a friendly atmosphere make this hut a gem. Greg had a wonderful Gluhwein while I enjoyed the Austrian’s popular soft drink Almdudler which is infused with local herbs!
Lienz Bergbahnen, like many resorts in the Alps, is also popular with paragliders who find the gently pitched slopes perfect for launching and soaring down into the pretty valley below. If you’re not kiting down, lol, you take the long scenic gondola back to the base to end your day.
Hochstein, on the opposite side of Lienz, the southwest side of town, bills itself as “the adventure mountain.” Here skiers will find a gondola up to a double chair. Hochstein hosts a World Cup race on their slopes. However, with a base elevation of only 700 meters, it is too low for natural snow in recent seasons. Major investments in this mountain, which are needed, are rumored. Currently this ski area has currently 12 kilometers of trails and a long sledding run here. We did not ski Hochstein, there was only one trail open, but we loved the terrain across town at Zettersfeld. The two ski areas together are promoted as a Wintererlebnis – winter experience!
Sternalm at Hochstein/Osttirol, an on-mountain hut at 1514M on Hochstein, has a new owner offering dining and lodging – ski in ski out, with hopes of assured snow and re invigoration of this ski area. Currently it is accessed by a gondola to a chair left.
Staying at the Grand Hotel Lienz in town is lovely, this five-star hotel has an old-world elegance, with a grand lobby and an impressive spa with indoor outdoor pool overlooking the River. The sumptuous bar area is perfect for an aprés ski drink before your 5-course dinner in the gracious dining room, part of the half board experience. The cuisine and service is excellent. Our venison was top shelf. Breakfast was a lavish buffet, perfect before skiing just 10-minute shuttle or car drive away. Our suite was spacious, well-appointed and so comfortable with a balcony overlooking the river and Alps views as well. Our only complaint, besides the loud bulldozers rebuilding the riverbed by the hotel during our visit, was the ONE liquid soap for hair, body and face in the bath. We think a 5-star property deserves to offer proper shampoo, conditioner and soap.
Lienz Zettersfeld is easily reached from Innsbruck or Munich. It’s part of the East Tirol, where you can also ski nearby Wildkogel, Grossglockner Kals-Matrei, St Jakob, Obertilliach, Sillian-Hochpustertal, even Kitzbuhel. You can also ski the Zillertal Valley, all on the Tirol Snow Card.
Lienz Zettersfeld Hochstein Ski Stats:
Elevation: 648 – 2278 meters, 7,473′
Vertical: 1355 meters, 4,455′
Lifts: 6 all tolled between the two ski areas (not interconnected)
Trails: 32 km of prepared pistes 2 ski areas across town from each other
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