Innsbruck, Austria is one of those places every snow junkie needs to visit. There`s so much charm amidst the medieval cobble-stoned old-town and so many world-class snowsports destinations within 1-hour that a single visit isn`t enough to even scratch the surface. The on-&-off slope appeal of this two-time winter Olympic host-city runs deep and so does the Tyrolean Alps pow at Nordkette.
Nordkette/Nordpark, Innsbruck, Austria. Medieval Bell-towers to Towering Alpine Spires
Although compact in size, Nordkette offers some of the steepest, most demanding on-piste & off-piste skiing and snowboarding in all of Europe. It can get busy and tracked-out quickly on an epic pow day, but the ease of access directly from the Innsbruck city center via mountain rail-line to cable-car combo (approx. 40 minutes from valley to peak-top) makes it one of our favorite quick-fix, riding areas in the European Alps.
Nordpark is small in terms of rideable area and infrastructure relative to other famous Austrian ski resorts just outside the Innsbruck city-limits (e.g. Stubai, Kuhtai & Seefeld). But we`ve learned after riding around the wintry planet that good things come in small snowy packages. The extremely challenging groomed trails, consequential lift-accessed off-piste drop-ins, lengthy vertical from peak to valley, inspiring views, affordable lift passes and convenience via public transport make Nordkette a big hit for such a small ski hill.
Nordkette Nitro Freestyle Park: No powder, No Problem
If Mother Nature`s terrain park isn`t in good condition at Nordpark, you can always get your fix on Nitro`s man-made features in their well-designed Skyline Park. Check out some eye-candy in the header images above from a leisurely morning under the Tyrolean sunshine. When we say “leisurely,” we mean corked 900`s, double backflip Japan Air`s, stylie board slides and other random parkplay.
Nordkette, Innsbruck, Austria Access
AlpineO Nordkette Accommodation & Access tips: Innsbruck is full of great places to stay varying from budget to 5-star accommodations. Although the city-center is very (enjoyably) walkable, it is deceptively large, especially if there`s snow & ice caking the streets. For example, walking from the main train station (Innsbruck hauptbahnhof) to the Hungerburg tram station which serves as the origin/terminus point to/from Nordkette from the city-center isn`t an option. That`s why we recommend the Austria Trend Hotel Congress as it sits across the street from the Congress tram stop to access Nordpark. Aside from perfect Nordkette access, the Austria Trend Congress is a clean, modern business-class accommodation with a very good restaurant, helpful staff and affordable rates. The place gets booked often so jump on it early if you know your dates.
Another more budget yet historic accommodation not too far up the river is the Gasthof Innbrucke. Rooms are very basic but comfy, breakfast is simple but good, ownership is friendly and the date of birth for the guest house — 1425 — makes it cool to know you`ve stayed in one of the oldest guest houses in town.
The medieval center is only 5-7 minutes by foot from either hotel and their positions alongside the water provide nice places to begin leisurely strolls down the wonderful walking paths lining the River Inn. Another bonus of these two hotels is that buses accessing other excellent ski hills in & around Innsbruck are close-by. The Austria Trend Hotel Congress has a bus stop right in front that transfers skiers/boarders to the main ski bus hub for access to Stubai, Kuhtai and other top Tyrolean ski destinations.
If you want to shred Nitro`s Skyline Park above Innsbruck, Austria, you`ll need the right type of freestyle attack stick. Jones Snowboards has two great options that`ll let you shred the freestyle park and everywhere else on the mountain too, the Ultra Aviator and Mountain Twin.