Stubai Ski Verdict
The Stubai glacier is one of the largest glacier ski areas in the world, with a lift capacity and ski area that compares to a medium-sized ski resort. With its ascent to a top point of 3333m it is also one of the highest ski areas in the Alps. Of course the altitude makes it snow-sure, although bad weather can cause visibility problems so far above the tree line.
Stubai Glacier Ski Area
Drag lifts: 9
The skiing on the Stubai glacier is characterised by wide-open motorway intermediate runs on a large high-alpine terrain. There are a couple of slightly more difficult runs and some ski routes which become an option in good snow conditions. (Please however note warning about off-piste skiing lower down.)
There are two options for getting into the Stubai ski area from the large car parks and bottom station at Mutterberg - either on the Eisgrat gondola to the left ascending or the Gamsgarten to the right.
They both climb to the mid-station at Fernau where there are a number of options. The Stubai glacier area is somewhat difficult to describe but essentially there is the area to the left around and to the left of the second stage of the Eisgrat gondola; the area around and to the right of the second stage of the Gamsgarten gondola; and the "upper area" of the glacier, which includes some runs which are on the other side of the upper ridge. There is also a run which leads down all the way to the base station which will be discussed later.
To start with the area to the left of the Eisgrat: the second stage of the gondola heads up to the Eisgrat area and eventually by means of a third gondola to the top station.
Off to the left, there are two more lifts: the Fernau drag lift and the Fernau chairlift above it. Both have a mixture of intermediate blue and red runs down to the mid-station again. There is also opportunity for ski route skiing on what is known as the Fernau Mauer.
(Please note that the whole Stubai lift system is a high alpine glacier area and there is a serious risk in off-piste skiing either through crevasse falls or avalanches. This includes sections between the marked runs which may be considered "safe" in other ski resorts. The safest way to ski off-piste, if at all, is with a guide.)
Around the Gamsgarten restaurant area there are a couple of smaller lifts catering for easy flattish slopes and beginners. The way higher from this area is either via the Eisjoch chair to the top ridge or the Rotadl chairlift to the Rotadlspitz. The Daunjoch chairlift opens up a black run of more than 3km from this area.
From the Eisjoch or Rotadl lifts it is possible to ski either to the Eisgrat or over to the double Daunferner drag lifts, with some long and easy runs back to the Gamsgarten area, or eventually to the short Daunscharte drag with a red and black run on opposite sides.
The "upper part" of the glacier skiing is around the Eisjoch draglifts and under the Schaufeljoch gondola, with again some flattering blue runs to either side. From the top ridge to the right of the Schaufelspitze peak it is possible to ski over to the other side of the ridge and onto the Gaißkarferner blue runs.
At the bottom of the Gaißkarferner draglift, the double chairlift Pfaffengrat accesses the top of the Eisgrat side by meeting up with the top of the Fernau chairlift. Returning to the top of the Gaißkarferner draglift is the Jochdohle restaurant at an altitude of 3150m.
The final section of the skiing available on the Stubai glacier is the renowned Wilde Grub'n descent from the Gamsgarten area to the bottom station at Mutterberg - a ski route run of around 10km which is only open in good conditions. (This can also be accessed from a slightly higher point underneath the Daunferner draglifts.)
Despite it being classed as a ski route, it is a relatively straightforward, if lengthy, run through some stunning scenery which could be attempted by those who are confident on red pisted runs. Those who are nervous skiers or not happy with their control over the skis in steeper sections may however feel happier taking the gondola back down again.
The live webcam stream below is taken from the Eisgrat area.