Jan 2019 – So, I’ll begin this by thanking my friend Annie for bringing this place to my attention. I would have likely never given it a shot without your recommendation.
If you want to tear up back-country or blaze down a black diamond at lightning speed, Ehrwalder Alm is not where you need to go. However, if you’ve got kids in tow and just want some time in the snow to yourselves, this place is a godsend. If you’ve got some endurance in you, it is possible to make it a day trip, although you’ll be pretty exhausted by the time you get home (from our area, anyway…). Ehrwald also has a train station, so it is possible to arrive by rail; however, you’ll depend on bus schedules after that. Personally, with kids in tow, we just drive it so we’re not bound much by schedules of public transport.
Ehrwald is a unique and ideal place for kids located in the North Tyrolean Alps of Austria. It is one of the most convenient places we’ve been in terms of services and amenities specific to kids. At this posting, I think we’ve been there four times in two seasons, as a family. I’ll go into all the details.
Ironically, whenever we visit Ehrwald, we always stay in Garmisch (told you Americans always go there), so I can’t provide any info on lodging. This is due to mine and Kate’s inability to plan, more than a month out, any part of our lives.
The town of Ehrwald is like most other small ones throughout the Alpine landscape. Situated in a valley and surrounded by rock. The resort itself takes part in the Top Snow promotion that I mentioned in my Zugspitze post, so if you’re down in the area for several days, you can factor Ehrwald into your plans, which I’d recommend.
The primary ski area of Ehrwald is accessible by a gondola that is surrounded by free parking. We’ve been there on weekdays and weekends, to be honest, both experiences parking and getting tickets really wasn’t that much of a pain. Weekends you’ll wait a bit longer but nothing like I’ve seen stateside. The price for an adult single day is nearly €50 which, for the relative small size of the place, is a bit expensive *to me*, but the amazing environment for the kids is worth it. Depending on age and skill, you may have to ensure you buy your kid a lift ticket before you hit the gondola up.
The base gondola takes about 15 minutes to get to the main ski area and you’re pretty much dropped off right in the middle of everything: lifts, restaurants, ski schools, kindergarten, and a large play area. During the first visit, I knew from Annie’s suggestion that I wanted to throw the kids into the ski school as soon as possible. There are two schools on the slopes: I elected to go with Skischule Total based on my friend’s experiences.
Their process was ridiculously simple. Show up to the office in the middle of the main ski area, register and pay for your offspring, then leave them to it. The breakdown ended up being 70€ for a 4-hour day per kid. While this may sound pricey, the teaching that Ehrwald’s staff provides is absolutely top-notch. This was evident during our first visit where my daughter, who had only taken a single lesson in Sölden, immediately took to the tow-line and was making great turns by the end of the day.
“He says his legs are very tired”My son’s instructor after he decided i shouldn’t have spent 70€
As is with most of the ski schools, instruction goes for two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon with a two hour break in-between for parents to eat with the kids. Karaline didn’t have any issues and progressed, really well. Since Noah gave me the middle finger at the lunch break, I took advantage of Ehrwald’s kindergarten.
Holy crap what a great thing to have at a mountain. While it does cost 14€ per hour per kid, this thing was a life-saver for my boarding time since Noah didn’t feel up to anymore instruction after two hours. They have everything that insane children could want; however, learn some German before you go. Don’t do that thing where you hope English works everywhere. It’s hit or miss at the kindi’s frontdesk.
Regarding the adult side of Ehrwald, the slopes are pretty tame. The backside of the mountain has more opportunity for off-trail running than the front, and it’s less crowded. However, all-in-all, the slopes are good for a nice easy going day in the snow. There are a few tiny wooden interior huts to wet your whistle at such as the Ganghofer Hütte; since the ski area is a bit small, you can spend plenty of time in the huts with a beverage and still see all the slopes.
At the end of the day, you simply corral your brood, and hop the gondola for a relaxing ride back down to the mountain base where everyone is undressing outside of their cars.
Ski instruction is great as I think the Ehrwald instructors push the kids a little more than other places I’ve seen. If your kids are a little hesitant or grumpy about taking lessons in ski school, the kindergarten is an amazing substitute at a reasonable price. There’s also an enormous snow castle that is maintained filled with tunnels and slides fantastically placed next to a bar. I’ll repeat what I mentioned in my last Feldberg post: if you’ve got kids under 6, consider only doing a half day of lessons if they’re not familiar with ski school.
If there’s anything you feel is missing or if you’ve got any questions, drop a comment below! I’ll get back to you!
Bis zum näschtes mal!the snowboard dad in europe