Austria - Scheffau: great ski slopes, great sausage

by sbritt

A week of snow, sun and sausage in Scheffau, Austria. Part of the large skiwlet area, there is something for everyone, except perhaps vegetarians...

Scheffau, or, if we're being technical "SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental".

Looking for somewhere you can go from being not too bad on skis to really quite alright? Then Scheffau is your place. Combine the satisfaction of improving your skills with some great slope side food and you have a perfect resort.

We were at that exciting stage in skiing whereby we could tackle all the blue runs and appear almost graceful. We could get down all the reds but perhaps some of these made us look like a constipated monkey on skis. Black runs...well we would have struggled to walk down one.

Scheffau resort

The town is small. We went at the end of February and after 8pm not a lot happened. For us, that was perfect. We stayed in the Hotel Waldhof, which had a perfectly good bar in which we could have a tipple or two safe in the knowledge that we were not going to be woken up later on by some drunken groups of revellers returning from a bar or club.

During our stay the clientele were predominantly German and Austrian. There were no drunks and there were no fights, it was definitely a resort for families and those who like the quieter holiday. Following a day on the slopes the Red Bull beer tent at the bottom of the main gondola was full of jovial characters. Music played as everyone celebrated a great day on the slopes. We loved this, it was just enough to keep the beer monsters within us at bay without causing a ski impairing hangover!

Scheffau ski runs

I am no expert, but in my humble opinion this is a perfect intermediate resort. Scheffau boasts a good range of blue runs to bring you back to scratch and polish the old technique. Endless red runs mean that you never need to do the same run twice, however if you're like me and soon assume favourites or ones to conquer they can be visited again and again.

That said, a quick glance over the ski map shows that the resort offers something for everyone. There are plenty of blues for beginners and we heard great reports about the ski schools whilst we were there.

Scheffau food

We went half board and I think that this is what most hotels offer so we only ventured out for lunches. These were amazing, and as the title suggest sausage was everywhere. In fact meat was everywhere! The portions are enormous and despite myself and my boyfriend both having good appetites we found that one meal was more than enough to share at lunch. Prices were reasonable anyway but paying for just the one lunch meant we could have extra guilt free jagerbombs at the end of the day in the Red Bull tent.

There is one restaurant to avoid perhaps. Branstadl is situated at the top of the main lift from Scheffau. It is always heaving due to its location - not its food! In contrast everywhere else was absolutely fantastic, we particularly enjoyed the Skiwelt Bistro (+43 5334 850719; accessed from lift 12, open for the entire winter season) and Papala Pub (+43 676 5728729, accessed from lift 11, open for the entire winter season), both of these being on the main runs from the top of the gondola. The restaurants were all very similar, the food is centred around meat and if you arrive at the main lunch service you will see more sausage than you thought existed. They were fantastic though, once you had overcome the slightly strange appearance, it is difficult not to become hooked. The strength of the euro now means that the prices are what you would expect to pay in an English café, around four euro's for sausage and chips and two euro's for a hot chocolate, however the quantity that we received in all the restaurants meant that one meal was enough to feed both of our hungry bellies!

Our hotel

Hotel Waldhof has all you need for a base at the bottom of the slopes. The main selling factor is the fact that you can ski to and from the front door. The food was plentiful and tasty, the rooms were clean and spacious and we were blessed with a great balcony where we looked straight onto a run. There is a bar underneath and a bowling alley which we didn't know about when we booked. Despite this we still would not have known it was there had we not gone exploring one evening as there was no noise from it at all.

Are we going again? Definitely!

Facts and figures

Trails (Pistes): 279

Halfpipes: 3

Summit: 1957 m

Beginner slopes: 43% Intermediate slopes: 47% Adv slopes: 10%

Terrain Parks: 3

Vertical Drop: 1336 m

Cross Country: 170 km

Lifts: 91 (14 cable cars, 1 funicular railway, 36 chair lifts, 23 surface lifts, 17 practice lifts)

Snowmaking: 75%

Gondolas: 15