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Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

Nights on the Mountain

Updated on 17.06.2019 in Sports

TEXT Pauline Krätzig | PHOTOS Sebastian Schels
TEXT Pauline Krätzig | PHOTOS Sebastian Schels

The stars twinkle in the sky. The moon’s reflection shimmers in the snow. A few lights are flashing down in the valley. And a heavenly kind of peace prevails over the peaks. You can discover the mountains anew in the early or late evening hours. Allow us to introduce you to the most beautiful places to go in the Tirolean darkness. And wish you: a very good night!

Evening excursion with a snow groomer

Most people retain a childlike enthusiasm for heavy machinery. And snow groomers are in a league of their own: the huge chains, wide shovel, powerful engines. Every skier has probably looked up from their hotel to the ski area in the evening, where the lights of the snow groomers dance over the snow in deep darkness – and perhaps dreamed of being there themselves when the slopes are being prepared for a new day. And exactly that is possible in Lermoos at Grubigstein. As co-pilot, you can either sit back and enjoy the ride on this gentle giant, or break the silence with a barrage of questions: What do you have to look out for when preparing the downhill runs? How much horsepower does a snow groomer possess? We can tell you that much already: 390.

Lermoos at GrubigsteinLermoos at Grubigstein

Here’s how to do it:


Meeting point: Middle station (Grubig 2 cable car)

When: daily, from the end of December to late March at 16.30 hrs

Duration: 1 h 30 min to 2 h

Price: Adults Euro 40, children (aged 5–15 years) Euro 25

Ticket sales: Cash desk at Grubig 1 cable car


Tobogganing on sparkling ice tracks

The trail through the Axamer Valley has been transformed into a natural toboggan run for several winters now. The almost four kilometre long track is one of several night toboggan runs in Tirol: well illuminated, lined with snow-covered trees and wide enough to even race alongside one another. With a gradient of 14 per cent, however, it is more of a leisurely slide than an adrenalin inducing downhill drop. Since 2016, a path to the Schafalm has branched off at the upper end of the toboggan run, where Roland and Christine Riedl organise pleasant toboggan evenings in winter. During the winter season, a free evening toboggan bus operates in the western holiday villages around Innsbruck.

Axamer LizumAxamer Lizum

Here’s how to do it:


Meeting point: Lower car park in Axamer Lizum

When: daily when snow conditions allow, floodlit until 24 hrs

Route length: 3.9 km

Duration of the ascent: 1 h 30 min

Toboggan hire: Amongst others, Intersport Olympia Rent, Alpinhotel Lizumer Bergheim,
Sport 2000 Apperl


Ski touring by moonlight

Sattelberg Mountain above Gries am Brenner offers snow-sure conditions and a not too challenging ascent. It is one of the tours in Tirol that is well suited for beginners – even at night. You walk up the former ski slope, which has been closed since 2006, to make your ascent to Sattelbergalm. The 160-year-old mountain lodge’s landlord, Alois Nagele, hosts a tour evening there from Tuesday to Saturday with Tirolean specialities from his own farm: barley soup, cabbage, dumplings, smoked meat and sausages. The alpine farm is situated half way up the Sattelberg summit, on a small plateau in the forest. And it even has its own cheese dairy – don’t forget to try the traditional grey cheese.

Sattelberg, Gries am BrennerSattelberg, Gries am Brenner

Here’s how to do it:


Starting point: Car parks at Sattelberg

When: depending on snow conditions, from December to April

Route: 443 metres in elevation to the alpine farm, 925 metres in elevation to the summit

Duration of the ascent: 1 h to the alpine farm, 2 h 15 min to the summit


Cross-country skiing in the silent night

Kilometres of well-maintained cross-country ski trails lead through the midst of unique alpine landscapes in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The cross-country ski runs in Prägraten on the Grossvenediger in Virgental Valley have recently been awarded the prestigious Tirolean Cross-country Ski Trail Seal of Quality. The night cross-country ski run leads through a magnificent winter landscape, alongside the Isel cross-country ski trail and past frost-capped treetops. Your skis glide evenly over the groomed track, before you cross a bridge and return to the start down the other embankment of the Isel. Cross-country skiers love the peace and quiet. And you can savour that much better at night.

Prägraten am GroßvenedigerPrägraten am Großvenediger

Here’s how to do it:


Starting point: Prägraten Leisure Centre, Iselweg in the direction of Unterfeld

When: 16 – 21 hrs

Route length: 3.3 km

Price: Day ticket Euro 6, weekly ticket from Euro 30, season ticket from Euro 70

Ticket sales: Prägraten Information Offices

Ski Rental: Amongst others, Sport Michl, Skiverleih Hannes


Boarding and carving under the stars

When the sun sinks behind the mountaintops, it doesn’t mean your ski day has to end. If you want to go into extra time, the piste is too crowded during the day, or you don’t have time during regular hours, you can also strap on your skis or board in the evening. The slopes are also flooded with light at Gaisberg in Kirchberg until late in the evening. People also become more romantically inclined at night: so why not try a spot of skiing as a twosome under the star-filled sky? And pop into the Gaisbergstüberl when it is over, where the Hetzenauer Family serve up regional cuisine with live music. Groups can also pre-order a so-called “hut menu”: meat is roasted on an iron grill in the shape of a hat, where bouillon simmers in its „brim“.

Gaisberg in KirchbergGaisberg in Kirchberg

Here’s how to do it:


Where: Kirchberg, Gaisberg lift

When: Thurs and Fri., 18.30 – 21.30 hrs

Floodlit slope: 1.5 km (floodlit until 23 hrs)

Price: Adults Euro 20, children Euro 10

Ski and board hire: amongst others, Sport Rudi, Ski Sport Andi


Pauline Krätzig likes nothing more than writing about people – their culture, their (hi)stories, their traditions. Tirol is home to plenty of each. And to some seriously good pine schnapps.

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