You can arrive at the Achensee ski region either from Munich on A-class roads or by taking the Munich-Innsbruck motorway, however this latter route is the "long way round!" But from which ever direction you arrive, the scenery is breathtaking with mountains rising to over 1,800m high on either side of the 10km long lake.
The Editor visited the region two years ago and was extremely impressed with the snow depth and quality of snow conditions for skiing. Snow came to this area as early as October with skiing opening mid November!
The skiing region of Achensee comprises five different skiing areas combining to offer 50km of pistes and served by 31 lifts including 2 cable cars. With the lowest resort at 600m and the highest skiing at 1840m the Achensee region enjoys a long winter sports season stretching from mid-December through to early April.
There are five villages - Achenkirch with its ski area of "Christlum" (930m - 1780m); then there is Maurach and the "Rofan" area which rises from 935m up to 1840m (the highest in the Achensee region);Pertisau and "Karwendel" ski area (940m - 1491m); Steinberg village and the "Rofanlifte" (1050m - 1250m); and finally Wiesing and the skiing area of "Astenberg and Buhellifte" (600m - 900m).
Not too many UK skiing enthusiasts have so far discovered this delightfully "tucked away" region set in the heart of the Tyrolean mountains north of Innsbruck. However, with eight ski schools and special childrens' courses; five toboggan runs; five ice skating rinks; 50 restaurants; apres ski bars; shops; supermarkets and more than 200km of cross country tracks, this is an idyllic area for families, beginners and intermediate skiers.
However, more and more British skiers ARE discovering this wonderful area for both alpine and cross country skiing.
Here is a small description of the 5 villages:
population: 2065 inhabitants
On the northern bank of the lake, Achenkirch stretches into the valley. The ski region Christlum reaches from an altitude of 950 m to 1800 m. 25 km of excellent prepared ski-slopes in the region invite you to an adventurous skiing day. Achensee offers skiing pleasures for every age.
In December the Editor met with the owner of the Christlum ski area, Mr Hansjorg Kofler who runs the lift company, the seven modern chairlifts and ensures the blue, red and black pistes are in perfect condition throughout the season. There are 30 snow cannon covering at least 80 per cent of the main slopes so skiing from late November through to the end of March is never a problem. www.christlum.at
Hansjorg Kofler moved to Achenkirch/Christlum in the mid-1950s from Mayrhofen, a move he has never regretted. His first lift was established in the l960s and with the base station and restaurant, together with an excellent mountain restaurant, he and his daughter/manager run this seven day-a-week operation for an increasing number of skiers.
The range of activities that Achenkirch offers is large: cross-country-skiing, ice-skating, curling, extensive hikers and walks, downhill-sledge-runs, snow-biking and romantic horse-sledge-rides.
population: 2041 inhabitants
On the sun-spoilt plateau embedded in the Karwendel- and in the Rofan mountains above Maurach, the picture book village between lake and mountain. With an altitude of 1890 m over sea level, the skiing region Rofan is the highest situated skiing resort in the Achensee region. You reach the higher slopes by cable car from just above Maurach village.
The high alpine landscape of the Rofan does not only offer sports adventures, but also invites you to stay, enjoy and relax in a deck chair under the sun. There are winter sport activities as well as recreation for guests of all ages. Be active if you feel like it or just spoil your soul.
population: 596 inhabitants
Pertisau with its all-embracing panorama is a place of sports, enjoyment and recreation at a well-balanced proportion. The "Zwölferkopf", The Nature reserves Karwendel, offers delightful winter pleasure! Winter hiking with trapping, extensive horse-sledge-rides, wide and diverse ski-slopes or the numerous cross-country tracks taking you through the winter-wonderland and much more. Sport or recreation - it has the perfect combination for the whole family.
Here the ski school and lifts are run by Christoph Leithner, not only Director and the 55-strong ski school, but a walking "tourist guide" full of so much local knowledge. Mr Leitner runs three local sport shops and has been seeing an increasing number of British skiers in recent years, many of whom also come back in the summer to enjoy the 18-hole golf course at Pertisau.
In the winter Mr Leithner believes in taking children early with a system based on "communication". www.kinder-club.com The children learn not just the skills of skiing but how to look after themselves in cold conditions; protecting their skin with sun bloc; and also the technology of skiing equipment. This "communication" is based not just on a single holiday but as the children return year after year and progress through to their teenage years when they are old enough to make individual decisions.
The main lift is a modern 5-set gondola which takes only a few minutes from the base to middle station above Pertisau. www.leithner.info where yjere is one of his Sport Leithner shops. Another is in the main village street near the small church and the third is within the golf course clubhouse.
population: 306 inhabitants
"Steinberg am Rofan" the most beautiful end of the world offers a life close to nature and far from the hassle of every day life. Winter holidays in heavenly quietness, in its purest form. Here, a wide horizon opens: extensive hiking takes you through the wintry high valley, long downhill sledge runs, curling fields, the original SCHNEETELLER-hiking (a historical snow shoe in form of a wooden dish) and the family friendly ski region provides a large variety in a mountainous idyll.
population: 2084 inhabitants
Wiesing, a small village at the entrance of the Achensee sport and vitality region is well known as a picturesque friendly family-holiday village. Embedded in the lovely mountain world of Tyrol at the foot of the "Rofan Mountains", Wiesing offers snow pleasure for the young and the young at heart.
Endless walking paths invite you to get to know every corner of Wiesing. Enjoy the evening sledge-parties! Here young children can practise their first ski-swings. Surprise yourself with a variety of sports activities and events!
There are good flight connections from the UK into Innsbruck and Munich airports and if you want to travel in your own car, the journey from Calais on motorway to within a short distance of the Achensee region will take around 10 hours driving.
Getting around the Achensee region is simple and FREE! Since September 2003 all holiday-makers in the Achensee Region can travel free of charge on all busses in and around the Region. The busses run every hour and stop at all bus-stops in the Region.The free bus-pass is a white “VVT” ticket.
This white “VVT” ticket varies from the normal visitors card in that every person must have a card apart from children under the age of 6. This pass is valid when the front side is filled-out – departure date, Surname and Christian name and the no. of the visitor´s card. The reverse side must hold the visitor´s signature and the hotel stamp on it.Arrival and departure from Jenbach to Achensee can also be free of charge when you have your booking confirmation. This must simply be shown to the bus-driver!
The Editor is firmly convinced this is an area worth visiting for British enthusiasts and wilol personally be paying another visit to enjoy even more skiing next year.