Ski touring in Westendorf: Ski touring paradise Brixental
That Westendorf and Brixental valley is one of the most interesting ski-regions in the world is well-known. But only a few know that there are isolated valleys here with wonderful ski tours. Good for those who come anyway to enjoy the great panorama of the Hohe Tauern (including Grossglockner and Grossvenediger), the Kitzbüheler Horn and the Wilder Kaiser. In all of the Kitzbüheler Alpen, ski touring is possible as soon as the first snow starts to fall (Bichlalm), at the height of winter (Windau, Kelchsau & Spertental) and deep into spring (Wilder Kaiser, Windau & Kelchsau).
The Windautal valley ("Die Windau" as the locals call it) is a not quite so long north-south valley, branching off from Westendorf and running parallel to Kelchsautal valley. Midway you can find the Jagerhäusl Inn (815m). Here is the starting point for tours up the Lodron (1,925m) and the Brechhorn (2,037m), in winter the Steinberghaus Inn is (878m) the end of the line. From here, ski tours lead up the Gerstinger Joch (2,035m) and the Steinbergstein (2,215m). Those who don't shun long flat passages, can find many rewarding destinations at the head of the valley, including Gamskogel (2,206m) or Geige (2,084m).
Many other corners in Brixental valley and the Kitzbüheler Alpen are suitable for ski touring.
The Sperten Valley, leading to the romantic village of Aschau from Kirchberg in Tyrol, is the third north-south tributary valley of Brixental Valley. Just after Aschau, the valley branches out into the Oberen Grund (right) and the Unteren Grund (left), here you'll also find a large parking lot (1,025m). Brechhorn (2,037m) and Gerstinger Joch (2,035m) can be scaled not only from the Windau, but also from the east. Further back in the valley are many more beautiful peaks. Even the Grosse Rettenstein (2,366m) has been conquered on skis.
The Kelchsau is a long north-south valley, which branches off at Hopfgarten in Brixental. At the tollbooth, the valley branches out into the Kurzer Grund (right) and the Langer Grund (left). Already while approaching, many nice tours beckon right and left from the road. (Lodron - 1,925m, Schwaigberghorn - 1,990m). Base camps with several options include the Wegscheid Inn (1,148m), New Bamberg Hut (1,761m) and Erla Brennhütte (1,213m). From the peaks in the Kelchsau (Schneegrubenspitze, Salzachgeier, Schafsiedel etc.) you can enjoy wonderful views of the Hohen Tauern with the Grossvenediger.
The Auracher Graben is very popular with the locals, because it's easy to reach, with guaranteed snow and rich in variety. At the only right-hand turn on the road from Aurach to the Auracher Wildlife Park is a large parking lot (1,045m). From here it's about 30 minutes along a forest road until the terrain becomes more sparse and you have to decide on one of the many peaks: Gebra (2,057m), Bischof (2,127m), Sonnspitz (2,0262m), Staffkogel (2,115m) or Saalkogel (2,006m).
Some ski tours in the Wilder Kaiser are often possible into May (Schneekar, Griesner Kar). But in midwinter there are plenty of options, too, and the craggy rock formations of the Kaiser mountains never stop fascinating. Starting point for Wilder Kaiser tours are the Wochenbrunnalm, the parking lot below the Graspoint-Niederalm and the Kaiserbach valley (the toll-road only opens in spring)