Spend your mornings carving down 186 miles of powdery slopes at 9,000 ft and your afternoons wandering the Habsburgs' Imperial Palace. Innsbruck, the so-called Capital of the Alps is a cosmopolitain city surrounded by nine spectacular ski regions, offering the best of both worlds. It’s no surprise that Innsbruck hosted three Winter Olympic events. The aptly named OlympiaWorld ski resort has one of Europe’s steepest slopes as well as family-friendly downhills for beginners and intermediate skiers.
In the morning, take the free ski bus from the center of Innsbruck straight to the slopes. The Patscherkofel and Axamer Lizum resorts both hosted two men’s Olympic downhill events. The Stubai Glacier resort is not just popular with skiers and snowboarders, but cross country skiers, winter hikers, and paragliders. The Kühtai is Austria’s highest ski region, guaranteeing snow until late spring. You can explore the different areas with the OlympiaWorld Skipass - a ticket that covers all of Innsbruck’s surrounding slopes.
After you’re back down in the city, take advantage of Innsbruck’s rich cultural program and explore the cozy Old Town. Stroll along the picturesque Maria-Theresien Street with its ornate Christmas decorations and bustling markets, see the Hofkirche Court Church, or keep with the Olympic theme and visit Zaha Hadid’s Bergisel ski jump tower. Innsbruck is an Alpine culture hub, and there’s no better place to experience it than Ambras castle, both a historic palace and art museum. Travel back through Austria’s Imperial history at the Habsburg Portrait Gallery.
Still craving snow? You don’t need a bus to get to Innsbruck’s most infamous downhill. The “Kar” ski run as locals call it, has a 70% incline, making it one of Europe’s steepest slopes and certainly one of the most technically demanding courses. It winds down the Nordkette mountains, which you can access by cable car. Free-riding down the Kar is reserved for expert skiers, but anyone can sit back on one of the deck chairs at the Nordkette’s 6,200 ft igloo bar. Cloud 9, the “Alps’ highest club” is nestled into a snowy mountain plateau that overlooks the twinkling lights of the city.