Hintertux is Austria’s year-round ski resort. It can boast a full 365 days each year on the slopes which rise to a height of well over 3000m. But those looking for a summer ski break will often find the snow is best in the morning and turns a little bit heavy after lunch.
And a full day in the sun and snow can get a bit much with the summer temperatures!
Luckily there are plenty more activities to fill the day and evening, whether you are staying in one of the villages of the Tux valley or a little bit further down in the bustling summer resort of Mayrhofen. Here is a run-down of some of the other things you can do apart from skiing if you visit the Hintertux glacier on a summer holiday.
But first the skiing…
Up to 10 ski lifts remain open over the summer months serving 20km of ski runs – the longest run is two kilometres in length heading from the heights of the Gefrorene Wand at 3250m altitude through to the lift terminus at the Tuxerfernerhaus at 2660m.
Lifts open at 08.15 and run through to 16.30 although most summer skiers tend to prefer the crisper and colder snow of the runs in the morning.
Freestyle skiers have the option of heading over to the Better Park – the highest freestyle area in Austria – which is open from the end of winter to mid-June and from mid-September onwards.
More information: www.hintertuxergletscher.at
Hintertux Ski Area Webcam
The Hintertux Ice Cave
The Natur Eis Palast, as the ice cave is known in German, is located in a glacier crevasse at the top of the Gletscherbus 3 lift on the Gefrorene Wand.
It can be visited year-round and normal visits last around an hour with or without paddle-boat ride on the underground glacier lake. There are five organised visits offered each day from late morning through to early afternoon (entry price not included with the lift ticket!) and visitors can even take the tour with ski boots, if you decide to drop in during a ski trip.
Those who are looking for something really special to do can even try some of the optional tours bookable through local event agency Natur Sport Tirol – such as kayaking, stand-up paddling or even ice swimming in the underground glacier lake.
The Spannagel Cave
The Spannagel rock cave is the highest open to the public in Europe, situated at 2530m on the Hintertux glacier. It is also the longest cave system in the central Alps with a distance of 12.5km.
It can be reached with a 10-minute walk down the Tuxerfernerhaus lift station – the entrance is next to the Spannagelhaus mountain hut.
Tours are offered hourly from late morning through to early afternoon during the summer months from the beginning of June to mid-October. The normal tour lasts for approximately an hour and explores the first 500m nearest the entrance. Equipment is provided.
More advanced caving tours lasting some hours with some need for scrambling/via ferrata experience can also be booked.
More information: www.spannagelhoehle.at
Away from the glacier there are plenty more active sports on offer in the mountain surroundings of the Tux and ZIller valleys.
Mountainbiking is a popular pastime on the high mountains of the Tuxer Alps. Marked mountainbike routes range in difficulty from a beginner trail from Finkenberg to Hintertux and the Bichalm through to an expert-only trail from Finkenberg up to the Penken and over the high-altitude pastures to Vorderlanersbach.
E-bikes are also rapidly growing in popularity and are available from local equipment hire shops.
The competitors in the classic alpine endurance race BIKE Transalp will also be setting off from Tux on July 14 2019. Tux has been added to the route for the first time in the 22 years this historic mountainbike race has been in existence. The route will head over the Tuxer Joch to the Schmirn valley.
Climbing and Via Ferrata
Those who are looking for a similar adrenaline rush in summer as well as winter might like to try the climbing and via ferrata routes in the Tux and Upper Ziller valleys.
There are proper climbing areas nearby in the Zemmgrund on the way to the Schlegeis reservoir or above the lifts from Mayrhofen and Finkenberg at the Penkenjoch.
A unique experience is offered at the dam of the Schlegeis reservoir, with a via ferrata and a sport-climbing route (overhanging on the top pitches) up the dam wall, as well as a flying fox and an abseil platform.
More information: www.schlegeis131.com
Tubing, Rafting and Canyoning
The Playarena in Vorderlanersbach offers outdoor days including family canyoning and rafting on the Ziller river as part of its weekly programme for children and teenagers.
More information: www.playarena.at
Of course, a summer ski break is not all about risking your neck dashing from one activity to another. The Tux and Ziller valleys offer more relaxing ways to pass the time as well with concerts ranging from brass bands through to the tremendously popular (at least in Germanic countries) local ‘alpine rock’ heroes, the Schürzenjäger, who will appear at the regular yearly open-air concert in Finkenberg.
Towards the end of the summer, visitors here for the skiing and glacier snow might also like to take in the Almabtrieb festivals, when the cows are brought down from the mountains, or sample the delicacies at the Tux Oktoberfest at the end of September.