Freeride City Innsbruck – the name says it all. There’s no other European city of similar size where city feeling and epic powder locations are only a heartbeat apart. One of Innsbruck’s coolest hotspots, where ardent enthusiasm and amazing powder snow merge together in truly perfect unison, is even easily accessible from the very centre of town! In less than half an hour, the Nordkettenbahnen cable railways whisk freeriders up to one of Europe’s steepest ski areas – the Nordkette mountain range. Featuring a soaring 1,500 m elevation difference between the infamous Hafelekar and Hungerburg, it offers a truly challenging freeride experience, even to seasoned pros.
Nordkette is also the home terrain of Flo Orley, local freeride pioneer and current number three in the Freeride World Tour. Having acquired his professional freeriding skills on its vertical slopes during the late 1990s, plenty of local expertise makes Orley also an ideal testimonial for Freeride City Innsbruck. In his experience ‘there’s always some powder just around the corner, thanks to Innsbruck’s unique geographic location‘, alluding to various other hotspots in the close vicinity that offer guaranteed adrenaline kicks to the international freeriding scene.
A perfect example in this respect is Axamer Lizum, since nowhere else you will find 300 hectares of snow-sure freeride territory conveniently located a mere 19 km away from town. In addition to having hosted the 3rd Freeride World Qualifiers, ‘the Lizum’ has also become a household name among freeriders for its excellent terrain and open slopes, numerous natural pipes and north-facing couloirs where the powder stays in place until well into April. The Hoadlhaus Feeride Checkpoint puts a marked focus on alpine safety, with detailed information on routes, snow conditions and current temperatures on the mountain.
As names like ‘Cannonball’, Hard Rock’ or ‘Thriller Flake’ might let you guess, the fifteen exciting freeride runs at Stubai Glacier are heaven on earth for all adrenaline junkies with a zany zest for life. Only a forty-five minute drive away from town, the Stubai Glacier Powder Department also forms part of Freeride City Innsbruck, offering a truly elevated experience in high-alpine backcountry from October until June.
To further enhance the freeriding fun, simply download the free GPS tracking and route description system. With high priority given to mountain safety, the control of LVS rescue devices at designated Freeride Checkpoints is a necessary precaution for epic and carefree glacier rides.
Utmost safety is also on top of the agenda at the high-alpine Kühtai ski region. Since here all ski slopes are located above the tree line, also freeriders enjoy limitless backcountry options – a fact that requires careful planning and wise consideration. In addition to a marked route next to the Kaiserbahn lift, you can make fresh tracks in round about 400 hectares of pristine freeride terrain, featuring great powder conditions even with limited snow cover thanks to the gentle alpine meadows underneath. By the way – both Kühtai as well as the Stubai Glacier Powder Department organise free SAAC camps to make off-piste enthusiasts familiar with all necessary safety measures.
The Innsbruck freeriding scene wouldn’t be complete without its hip in-spots, where riders from around the globe passionately discuss the most spectacular runs, and locals provide valuable insider tips on secret powder spots. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of cool and trendy hangouts in town, among them the legendary ‘Jimmy’s’ bar.
A comprehensive Freeride Beginners Camp offers a unique taster package to all freeride rookies wanting to get acquainted with this fascinating sport. It includes expert guidance by certified snow guides, familiarization with the provided safety equipment as well as a 3-day lift pass for Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck. Limited to six participants, this exciting package is available from € 328 per person, equipment not included. The rental professionals at ‘Die Börse’ will be happy to assist with all the required freeride gear.