Nowhere else are there so many different types of slopes, events and family…
Tips for Skiing in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
Black hoodie, black trousers, a wine-red hat and a big grin from ear to ear. That is how Eva Patscheider welcomes us to her home village of Serfaus. We meet her in front of the Peep Shop, which is run by her sister Pia. We will come to that later, but first it’s time to hit the slopes – and guess what, we’re going there by underground.
Eva, our local guide through the village…
…and through the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Ski Resort.
08:00 // A tiny train to the ski slopes
We grab our skis and walk to the main station of the underground railway which runs underneath the village of Serfaus.
The two-carriage train with four strategically placed stops is free of charge and gives quick and easy access to the village and ski slopes. It was built in 1985, when cars where banned from Serfaus, and has been designed to be accessible for wheelchair users and families with buggies. Little wonder that Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is considered one of the leading family ski resorts in Tirol.
Urban Feel in the Village: Taking the Underground to get to the Ski Runs.
We get off the train and Eva takes us to the nearby hi-tech ski lockers. This is where we pull on our ski boots and pass our shoes to the friendly young men working there. Conversations in Spanish and English fill the air. Eva gets hugs everywhere and laughs: “I meet these guys almost every day.”
09:00 // Great skiing and amazing views at Pezid and Masner
Pezid Gondola in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis.
We hop on the Komperdellbahn cable car, then switch to the Lazidbahn to go even higher before a quick descent on skis takes us to yet another state-of-the-art gondola, the Pezidbahn. This takes us up to 2,770 metres above sea level, where the views from the top of the Pezid mountain are just as spectacular as you might imagine. Eva tells us this is one of her favourite spots in the resort. “I really like it here, it’s somewhat hidden from the rest of the lifts and slopes.”
The panorama stretches from the 3,004-metre-high Furgler mountain to the north across to the jagged peaks of the Kaunergrat Ridge in the east and the lofty Samnaun Range in Switzerland to the south-west. If snow conditions are safe, Eva and her friends love to pick their own lines in the steep slopes below – one look at her fat powder skis says it all. “It's just a few minutes up by foot and suddenly you’re enveloped by wide open slopes above the tree line that offer some amazing powder after a fresh snowfall.” Sounds pretty extreme to me. I'm glad that we're sticking to the groomed slopes. After a few more minutes gazing across to the Masner, the westernmost peak in the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis resort, it's time to clip into our skis and get some lunch.
Cruising down wide open slopes.
12:00 // Kaiserschmarren at the Schalber Alm
Eva’s favourite on-mountain eatery is the Schalber Alm, a hut where they serve “the world’s best Kaiserschmarren” as she puts it. Having tasted it, we can only agree – it really is one of the most fantastic versions of this Austrian classic we have ever eaten. Eva is normally vegan, but even she cannot help but tuck into this sweet pancake-like treat.
Veronika Schalber, who runs the Schalber Alm, tells us the story of a guest who stayed with her in Christmas 2016. On a business trip to Dubai he had heard of ‘the world’s best Kaiserschmarren’ being served right here in the mountains of Tirol. He had to see – and taste – for himself and travelled to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis to try it. After polishing off a portion, he told Veronika that he had eaten many Kaiserschmarren in many different places but this was indeed the very best. Oh, and if you don't have a sweet tooth like we do, the hut also serves excellent cold platters and other Tirolean delicacies.
13:00 // Shapers and shredders at Fiss Snow Park
As a former professional freestyle skier, Eva suggests heading over to one of the resort's snow parks. There are several fun areas available, ranging from the Fun Slope for the kids and beginners to the Shred Park for more experienced freestylers. We decide to hit the kickers and rails at the Fiss Snow Park before calling it a day.
15:45 // A great ski day draws to a close
Shortly before the lifts stop running, we finally reach the Schönjoch ridge – it's only then that we understand just how enormous this ski area really is.
The Fiss Snow Park from above.
In the snow park we meet two guys hard at work grooming and shaping the transition zones. They are the creators of the park’s pipes, jumps, rails and obstacles. Today they will be up here until ten o'clock in the evening to get the park in perfect condition for the next morning. Making and maintaining a top terrain park like this is hard work. We wish them all the best and take one last uphill ride on the Schöngampbahn chairlift to the Schönjoch ridge before swooping down towards Fiss.
16:30 // The Polychrome Lab in Fiss – Eva’s tip for outdoor enthusiasts
We would love to pay a visit to the Polychrome Lab in Fiss, but we have to hurry off elsewhere. Wondering what the Polychrome Lab is all about? It’s a company that develops innovative outdoor apparel tested under real-life conditions on the Schönjoch ridge at 2,500 metres above sea level, where we were standing no more than half an hour ago.
Culture vultures should check out the Fiss Museum. This local history museum is located in a listed farmhouse in the centre of the village and tells visitors about the rich culture and heritage of this region.
17:00 // Peep Shop in Serfaus – the place to be for freeskiers & snowboarders
“Peep Shop was set up by my sister, Pia,” says Eva. “It’s a place in Serfaus where local youngsters can hang out – that's something which was missing in the village. It also supports the local freeski and snowboard scene and is a great place to just drop by and chat with likeminded people.”
What is today a stylish shop with black leather sofas and coffee on tap was until five years ago a bank. “When it closed we had exactly two weeks to remodel this place into a sports store,” explains Eva, who helped her sister back then to get the project going. There are no credit cards or men in suits here anymore. Instead, customers can buy the latest in snowboard gear and fat powder skis.
The shop also sells its own store-branded merchandise. The hoodies, hats, beanies and drinking flasks emblazoned with the word “Peep” are highly coveted among youngsters from around the world spending a ski holiday here in Tirol. Eva was a professional freestyle skier who made her tracks on the global scene. After years of travelling the world doing crazy tricks and hitting massive jumps, her knees are wrecked, as she tells us. She has moved back Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and enjoys spending time here, where her family owns a number of shops and boutiques.
Eva is also keen to show us some of the village's history and heritage. She takes us to a centuries-old timber structure next to the fountain in the heart of the village of Serfaus. “Just as a tree needs roots, we humans too need to be earthed. I think it’s wonderful that an old wooden building like this is still maintained and preserved for future generations.”
17:30 // Heaven for foodies: “s’Ladele” in Serfaus
In another historic building just opposite we find s’Ladele, a specialty food and delicatessen shop selling fine spirits, honey, handmade chocolates and homemade jams. Everything on offer here has been sourced from Tirol – be it North Tirol, East Tirol or South Tirol (today more commonly known as Alto Adige, the northernmost region of Italy). “You can go there and taste some mouth-watering delicacies,” explains Eva. “It's not like going to the supermarket. You can take your time, try before you buy and ask where the products come from and how they were made.”
s’Ladele, a specialty food & delicatessen shop where foodies rejoice.
18:00 // Eva’s favourite hotel: 3 suns and 4½ stars
Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis all have lots of excellent hotels, so Eva has to think hard when we ask her to recommend one. In the end she goes for the Hotel 3 Sonnen in Serfaus, a four-star superior accommodation. Let's go and take a look.
“Everyone there is always super friendly,” says Eva, “Irene, who owns the hotel, is such a nice person.” Eva tells me that she regularly visits the spa at the hotel for massage therapy. “Regina, the in-house masseuse, is brilliant. Her strong thumbs can be pretty painful at times, but she is great at sorting me out whenever I have had an accident on my skis.”
If you're wondering about the third of the three villages making up Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Ladis is the smallest of the trio but well worth a visit and has an important historic landmark in the form of Laudeck Castle (sometimes also called Laudegg Castle).
In Ladis, Eva takes us to visit an old friend of hers called Markus Neier. “A real good skier,” she tells us – and she should know. Alongside his day job as a ski instructor and ski guide, Markus rents out beautiful apartments in Ladis – another of Eva's top tips for staying in the region. Markus gives us a warm welcome and offers us a glass of pure naturally effervescent spring water named Sauerbrunn that bubbles out of the ground just a few hundred metres up the mountain in Obladis.
19:00 // Eva’s streetfood tip in Ladis: Hüftgold
The last stop on today’s ski trip is an insider’s tip – a food truck just off the main road called Hüftgold. The hard-to-pronounce name means something like ‘love handles’ in German. “We started the food truck to make the food that we wanted to eat but couldn't find in Ladis. We just want to bring a smile to our people's faces as they bite into our burgers,” say Isabel and Lisa, the two women behind the concept.
Roesti Burger and ‘vintage-style’ fries.
Loaded with lots of flavour, the vegan burger definitely brings a smile to Eva’s face. The signature hand formed non-vegan patties are made from premium local beef from the butcher at nearby Prutz. We love the delicious Roesti Burger and Lisa’s and Isabel’s hand-cut out-of-this-world fries.
Hüftgold owners Isabel and Lisa serve gourmet burgers made from premium, all-natural and organic ingredients.
The „Hüftgold“ Food Truck in Ladis.
The sun has set behind the mountains by the time we finish our gourmet street food dinner. It's time to say goodbye to Eva. She gives us one last smile and a big hug before heading off to her yoga class. It's been a great day exploring Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis. Thanks a million. We'll be back!