Nestled at the foot of Austria’s Tyrolean Alps, just outside the quaint village of Söll, lies Austria’s largest night skiing area. These illuminated slopes, which cover a staggering area of over 10 kilometres, offer a unique opportunity to experience skiing like you never have before… and that is just what I did on a recent trip to the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental!
HITTING THE SLOPES
It was a stormy winter day, with snow coming down in buckets. Lifts were closed and gondola cars had to be brought in, for safekeeping, as a snow tornado whipped across the landscape. A day lost to snow later meant joyful faces when the sun peaked her head around the clouds the following morning. We were quickly up and at it, determined to get in as much skiing as we possibly could as we were only staying in Austria for one short week.
Constantly up and down the slopes, one after another, meant we made few stops throughout the day. When we came down to enjoy a bowl of soup at our hotel, our legs were shaking. Our thighs ached and our noses felt like ice cubes. We hadn’t even taken into consideration that we had also booked to go skiing that evening!
Night Skiing at Söll
The SkiWelt’s night skiing area at Söll is open from Wednesday to Saturday for a select few hours in the evening and is sold at an additional cost to the standard ski pass. The area had been closed the night before because of the storm. However, thanks to a Kaiser Week limited special, tickets were being offered at half the price. So it was now or never for our night ski adventure.
A few hours later we strapped on our boots to weary legs and headed out for the night skiing. On arrival at the mountain, the snow glistened under the spotlights. The slopes illuminated slopes stretched out ahead. As our eyes roved the mountain we saw a variety of quaint Austrian ski huts which had all opened their doors with promises of gluhwein and a good time. Out of their open doors sounded a variety of music, from blaring rock to classic Austrian folk songs. We couldn’t wait to ski the slopes ourselves and visit these huts dotted down the slopes. And we were delighted to discover, we suddenly had a renewed energy!
Unfortunately, that bad weather meant one of the lifts was closed for night skiing. Despite this, we still managed to enjoy a long ski down a fantastic red slope. Following this, we meandered through the trees on a blue slope. In fact, the blue was so divine we did it twice. We even came back the next day for a go in the daylight!
The Quiet Charm of Night Skiing
Gently meandering down the slopes of the Wilder Kaiser in the dark, the peacefulness of the night added a whole new dimension to the sport. Despite it being a popular activity, the slopes were delightfully quiet. The night skiing area also boasts two floodlit toboggan runs. These looked like an absolute laugh and probably helped to thin the crowds. There was even a fun play area with some small jumps and activities to keep things interesting! However what was really memorable were the views. Lit up like a fairytale getaway perched a small church on a cliff face in the forest. And skiing down the mountain the views of the village below were simply spectacular. In the end, our tired legs held out and our souls and memory banks thanked us for a nighttime skiing adventure we will remember forever!
When All is Said and Done
Returning to our hotel in the nearby village of Ellmau later that evening, the smiles lit our faces. Night skiing had given us a renewed appreciation for the sport. Those few hours spent exploring the slopes of the Alps at night had provided a totally different perspective of this beautiful winter wonderland. Night skiing also meant we fully maximised our time spent on the slopes. It was the highlight of our trip and you can rest assured that when I book my next ski trip I will definitely look for somewhere that offers night skiing!