Southwest of Innsbruck and southeast of Landeck, the Kaunertal Gletscher ski area has 32.5km of groomed pistes served by 4 lifts accessing a vertical descent of 1,000m. Plus, there are 30km of ungroomed ski routes to be explored by hardcore snowboarders. While the listed vertical descent is 1,000m, most of the day will be spent doing laps above the mid-station, especially in the mornings when the lower slope are still frozen. In the months of December and January, the sun doesn’t really hit the slopes to soften them until 11am.
The Kaunertal ski region includes both the Kaunertal Gletscher ski area and the Fendel ski area which are interconnected by a free ski bus (65 min). The Kaunertal Gletscher is for more advanced snowboarding, while the Fendel area is more popular with families. Fendel is situated southeast of Prutz on the Glockturnkamm mountain within the Otztaler Alps. At Kaunertal, there is one of the best terrain parks in all of Europe that is well known for its kickers, rails, halfpipes and tabletops. Kaunertal is probably good for 2 days of snowboarding, but could get a little repetitive beyond that with few lifts and pistes for variety (keep in mind that the Norderjoch II lift on the map has been removed). While Fendel uses the same lift pass, it may be worth skipping it and head across the valley from Prutz to check out the massive Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis ski area.
Kaunertal Gletscher is well known for its freeriding lines with three inbounds, lift-accessed freeriding routes. First, the Variante Fernergries begins at the Oschsenalm mid-station and runs north to below the base station all the way to Gepatschhaus (usually closed) for a 270m descent. Third, the Variante Weisejaggl starts near the Karlesjochbahn lift top station and flows northeast down to Black #6 for a 350m descent. Fourth, the Variante Weissee begins at the mid-point of the Variante Weisejaggl and flows northeast down to the lower reach of Black #6 for a 680m descent. Keep in mind that off-piste routes take at least a 2m snow base to open up.
There aren’t many options for lunch on the mountain except for the two newer self-serve cafes with little apres action. After a long day of snowboarding Kaunertal Gletscher, head down to the Pfiff Alm at Feichtner Hof for some apres ski action or nightlife. Most snowboarders to the valley stay in the village of Feichten, which is a 40 minute ski bus ride from the Kaunertal Gletscher.
The future for Kaunertal Gletscher is bright with two impresseive “projekt” lifts planned to open in the future. Check the piste plan maps before heading out to see if the new lifts have been opened.
To reach the snowboarding at Kaunertal Gletscher ski area by air, fly into Innsbruck international airport (INN). There is a quick public bus from the airport through downtown to the Innsbruck main train station. Then, take the train to the Landeck station, where there is a Post Bus up to Prutz and another Post Bus up to Kaunertal. In addition, there is a free ski bus in the Kaunertal from Prutz up to Kaunertal Gletscher. Don’t even consider driving yourself past the village of Fechten since the road becomes a narrow, winding, one-lane road up to the Glacier - just use the free ski bus.
Overall, Kaunertal Gletscher is the 43rd most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 52 snowboarding resorts in Austria.