St. Jakob im Defreggental is an “insiders tip” for skiers. It’s a hidden gem ski area in East Tirol. St Jakob is known for being cold, which means good snow, given its ski elevation up to 2683-meters, 8,802′.
St Jakob’s base area is basic, with ski shops, a few hotels and ski bars, and free parking. You start your ski day with a long Brunneralm gondola ride up to the high alpine ski terrain. Next you load the fixed grip Mooseralm triple chair serving a few intermediate runs plus a fun park.
Ski to the right (south) to discover two modern six-pack bubble-covered chairs. Weissspitz serves a few great red and blue trails, with amazing views. The furthest over, the Leppleskofel, takes you to the top elevation of 2683-meters, 8,802′, and two challenging steep runs – #10 and 11. Given good snow conditions, the freeriding options here look plentiful.
On mountain at St Jakob are several chalets and huts serving Austrian fare, with cozy interiors, and an umbrella bar atop Mooseralm.
The local secret chalet serving the best traditional food is hard to find and worth it, off the lower mountain “Trail Ta” on the way to the base. Eggenhütte Defereggental doesn’t have any signs, so look to your left as you descend, and you will ski into this special spot. Their gluhwein, housemade sausage and kaisershmarnn are the best! Common tables in this cozy place lead to new ski friendships and funny jokes about schnapps. A wonderful deck on sunny days offers incredible views of the dramatic Alps, which start to resemble the nearby Dolomites in this East Tirol region.
St Jakob beginner terrain is located at the base of the mountain and serviced by 3 surface lifts. This terrain appears in the shade of the steep mountain most of the day. St Jakob offers well pitched, undulating, fun terrain a ski day, for advanced skiers and riders.
St Jakob’s 35 kilometers of slopes are very popular with AT uphill skiers, skinning up the trails to access miles of touring terrain and free riding. Hire a guide to tour this terrain safely, or tag along with a friendly local to explore this off-piste terrain.
From St Jakob, you can stay at one of the base hotels, or continue your East Tirol tour to Lienz just 35 minutes away, a more happening Austrian village, to stay at the posh Grand Hotel Lienz.
St Jakob im Defereggental Ski Stats:
Elevation: 1400 m – 2683 m, 8,802′
Vertical: 1283 m, 4,210′
Trails: 35 km of prepared pistes
More on Austria Ski Trips