There are two ski areas at the end of the Pitztal - the Rifflsee area and the Pitztal Glacier ski area. They are fairly close but probably just beyond walking distance in ski boots and are connected in one direction only by a ski run. There is a regular ski bus service between the two areas and the rest of the valley.
Mandarfen Ski Areas
Funicular Railway: 1
Cable Car: 1
Gondola : 2
Snow report date: 29/4/19
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On a good day, the Pitztal glacier ski area has some of the most stunning views in Europe - sitting near Austria's second highest mountain and looking back over the Ötztaler Alps and across to Switzerland and Italy.
It is reached by an underground funicular railway from the Mittelberg car park at the end of the valley which rises from 1740m to 2840m. From there the skiing goes up to a top altitude of 3440m on the Hinterer Brunnenkogel.
Virtually all the lifts can be seen from the railway station exit. Many arrivals start off their days skiing by taking a flattering blue or red run off the long Brunnenkogel draglift. The runs to the right of the lift looking up head back to the bottom of the lift and the top railway station. Those to the left take the skier under the Pitz-Panorama cable car and to the junction of the Mittelberg gondola and Gletschersee chairlift.
Taking the gondola gives access to some long reds and blacks (the blacks are pretty much the hardest red runs) and there is a mid-station for those who wish to exit there.
The Gletschersee chairlift rises to the restaurant/top railway station area again and provides access to the Pitz-Panorama cable car (actually four gondolas which travel in convoys).
The views on the journey and from the top are amazing in good weather - the top of the Sölden ski area can be seen quite clearly and there is an eagle's eye view down directly onto the top station of the Mittelberg gondola. A variety of red runs are on offer once the sightseeing is finished with.
Heading down from the glacier is usually via the railway. There is a ski route trail back to Mittelberg from the base of the Mittelberg gondola - note should be taken of any warnings or closures here as the route passes through high mountain territory which can be dangerous in the wrong conditions. This is where a controversial new lift is planned to be built.
The other ski area at the end of the Pitztal is the "family" ski area of the Rifflsee. The ski area is access via the gondola from the main car park in Mandarfen which rises to 2300m.
From the top, there is a short draglift off to the right, or a red and blue run down to the equally short Sunna Alm chairlift. Alternatively one could head straight down to the Grubenkopflift.
From the top of the Sunna Alm chairlift a traverse around to the left opens up the options of the black and red run to the base of the Muttenkopf chairlift. However most people's eyes will be drawn to the runs on the Grubenkopf directly across a dip - these long red and black runs can be reached by the Grubenkopf chairlift which rises to the top altitude of 2800m.
There is a run all the way down to the base station from the bottom of the Grubenkopf lift which passes the base of the Muttenkopf lift and then skirts into the scenic Taschach valley and to the Taschachalm (a good if popular lunch spot).
On the way back to Mandarfen there is also a possibility to cut off to the base of the funicular railway up to the glacier.
There is one further large ski area in the Pitztal - the Hochzeiger with 9 lifts, which is located further down the valley at Jerzens.
The ski area is a good mix of blue, red and black runs and has a vertical drop of 1000 metres (from 2450m - 1450m). One of its main claims to fame is as the home area and training base of Austrian ski racing hero Benni Raich.
This webcam shows the mid-station area on the Hochzeiger.