The pretty Tyrolean market town of St Johann is situated between the Kitzbuheler Horn mountain and the Austrian Wilder Kaiser mountain chain. The snow-assured 42.5km of slopes are well groomed and varied, with plenty of gentle, wide pistes. Perfect for beginners, families and those whose skis may be a little rusty. If you are more experienced there is plenty to keep you entertained. The 700m long Kanonenbuckel piste and the Sauregg track offer an exhilarating ride for intermediate and more advanced skiers. St Johann also has a lively apres-ski scene with piste-side bars and restaurants, pubs and plenty of late-night dancing within the resort. There is also a vibrant wellness scene, with spas and salons ready to soothe tired ski legs. You can choose from a range accommodation available including traditional wooden ski chalets and alpine hotels.Piste Guide
St Johann is closely linked with the resorts of Oberndorf and Kirchdorf, which between them share 27 slopes and 22 lifts. The pistes are mainly geared towards beginner and intermediate skiers, but there are over 3km of black runs for advanced-level skiers.
The snow park is the place for boarders and freestyle skiers, who’ll have fun navigating the jumps and obstacles. Among the lifts there are some 10-seater gondolas, which mean these slopes are simple to navigate for families and groups. The resort’s location on the northern slopes of the Kitzbuheler Horn mountain means snow is pretty much a certainty. The highest point in St Johann is on the Harschbichl at 1,600 metres above sea level. Popular for ski touring, there are numerous routes and guides available to lead the way and plan the best routes.
St Johann piste breakdown:
16km of blues
23km of reds
3km of blacks
80% of St Johann’s pistes are covered by snow making facilities.
Season length: December – early April
Ski lift breakdown:
17 in total, including…
4 chair lifts
There are also some easy practise lifts for children, which can be used free of charge.
Three ski schools in resort
There are also numerous ski hire stations around St Johann. Equipment can be reserved in advance.
Activities off the slope
Cross-country skiing is hugely popular in this area and there are over 250km of routes available as well as a cross-country skiing school. There’s a good network of cleared paths for snowshoeing, which will take you through some of the area’s prettiest villages, farms and forests. Snowshoe hiking lets you see a different side to St Johann’s landscape, weaving round lakes and rivers far away from the main slopes.
St Johann and the surrounding villages of Oberndorf and Kirchdorf all have toboggan runs, but if you’re looking for something more extreme there’s plenty of excitement on offer. You could try tandem paragliding or parachuting from hot-air balloons. Otherwise, the Flying Fox in the Hornpark is a tree top adventure park full of zip wires and ropes to navigate. Guides lead you around hundreds of metres of sky trails, which give you a bird’s eye view of the area at a height that will satisfy any adrenaline junkies. The course is open on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and should be booked in advance.
If you’re seeking a slightly more sedate pace you could enjoy a horse drawn sleigh ride through the snowy landscape. You could also tour the area on a Segway. A guide will lead you through the walkways and off-road tracks of St Johann and the surrounding areas.
If you need some time away from the snow altogether, then St Johann has an ice-skating rink and an indoor climbing and bouldering centre. The Panorama Badewelt swimming centre is also a popular activity for both children and adults. A range of slides, including the 35m-turbo slide with light effects, will keep youngsters entertained. There is also a dedicated children’s pool with toys and fountains. Adults meanwhile can relax on the massage couches or in the sauna, get pummelled by the massage jets or simply go for a swim in the 25m sports pool.
Many of the resort’s hotels have spa facilities for massages and beauty treatments and there are independent salons in the town. The Sporthotel Austria has steam rooms, saunas and massages, while the modern lti Alpenhotel Kaiserfels has a large spa and wellness centre with a range of saunas, a steam bath and a separate spa area for massages and beauty treatments.
Austria’s Tirol region has a varied local cuisine, which can be enjoyed in most of the area’s restaurants. Up in the mountains is Onkel Tom’s Hutte in der Koasaburg, where comfort food is king and skiers will find sustenance in the Kaiserschmarrn pancakes or the fried bacon, onion and potato dish Grostl. Yum! Grander Schupf is another piste side restaurant, resplendent in alpine wood and cosy charm. By day it’s a busy dining room with a sun terrace full of skiers, while after dark the candles come out and it becomes a romantic spot serving up well-presented plates of food. The menu at the piste-side Berghotel Pointenhof is also full of seasonal and regional fare.
Back in the town you’ll find a range of family friendly restaurants including pizzerias and burger bars. Fliegerstuberl offers a weekly barbecued buffet and has a separate section for children. There’s also a bustling cafe scene in town, with plenty of opportunities to warm up on a chilly day. Try Peter Rass Bakery and Cafe or the s’Nandl coffee shop - both in St Johann. They also both do a delicious line in cakes and pastries, which are perfect to take-out and go back to the chalet for breakfast.