The Austrian Tyrol attracts visitors all year round. In the summer people take to the mountains for the clear air and the scenery, in winter they take to the slopes for winter sports. Niederau is in the Kitzbuheler Alpen region of the Tyrol and is at the eastern end of a valley that also contains the well known town of Oberau. Skiing in the Niederau area is on the Marchbachjoch and the Auffach.
Part of the Kitzbuheler Ski region is accessible from the town itself. Originally a town in which silver was mined, this picturesque village is now a thriving winter resort.
The skiing in Niederau is probably best suited to beginners and early intermediates. There are some nice nursery slopes and some gentle blue slopes for the novice and the ski school here is highly regarded. More advanced skiers have the option of a couple of black runs at their disposal and the opportunity to ski off piste.
Auffach offers the chance to ski above the tree line and there are a few challenging drops. There is also a good snow park in Auffach which is reached by free ski bus. Other snow activities in the resort include cross country skiing, show shoeing (including instruction) skidoos, sleigh rides and night skiing.
There is also the chance to take part in Nordic snow walking with 3 circular trails in the area. A 5km toboggan run extends from the mid station of the Schatzberg gondola. This takes you back down to the village and is fun for the while family.
In total Niederau has 70kms of piste accessed by 26 lifts. The longest run is the 7km Auffach and for those wanting to break up their day, there are several restaurants on the mountain. The area also has snow cannons to help keep the slopes in good condition all season. All the ski instructors in the resort speak English.
For those who want to get away from the slopes for a day or two, trips are available to Innsbruck and Salzburg. A scenic view of the Tyrol can be gained from the Bumelzug Train from Oberau, which travels through the valley to the Kundle Gorge.
The legend surrounding the gorge tells that once a dragon lived in the area, in a lake. A brave local peasant attacked the dragon and driven crazy by its deadly wounds, the dragon bit its way through the mountains, the water drained away and created the gorge.
The apres ski here is suitable for families and for those who don’t want to be in the middle of a hectic resort. There are 10 bars to chose from and only 1 nightclub. Tyrolean nights are held in many bars throughout the week and some venues offer live music. The Ski School throws its own weekly party.
A favourite here is moonlight tobogganing parties and fondue nights. Relaxed in atmosphere and traditional in style, Niederau apres ski is more about relaxing than partying, but there are still plenty of chances to try Gluwein and Schnapps.
The town has 16 restaurants (several on the mountain) serving hearty Tyrolean fare, there are also a few Italian eateries and some fast food options. The ‘Italian Ferrari’ is highly recommended for pizza and many of the hotel restaurants are open to the general public.
Accommodation in Niederau is offered in hotels, built in typical Tyrolean style, these range from the 4 star ‘Sonsschein’, to the pensions such as the ‘Sonja’. Highly rated, the ‘Sonsschein’ has recently been extended to create some superior rooms. It offers a good range of facilities and is recommended for families.
Like most of the hotels in the village, the hotel is family run. The pension ‘Sonja’ offers simple accommodation close to the resort centre and ski area. Like all pensions this is a more basic accommodation but it is clean, friendly and offers a good hearty breakfast to set you up for the day.
Niederau is not the liveliest resort in Tyrol, but it is a good place for first time skiers, families and those who just want a relaxing time on the slopes, followed by some good food in the evening. Party lovers should look elsewhere for a livelier apres-ski scene but those in search of a traditional Tyrolean welcome will find all they need in pretty Niederau.
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