Chalet Vista Local Information – Summer.
Guests will find plenty of info about fun pastimes, what’s on locally, bike hire, local maps, train and bus timetables, etc in the glass cupboards in the lounge. Feel free to help yourself. Or, if you prefer the electronic version of what’s on, the best place to start your search is:
The list of fun things to do is almost endless. Click on any of the hyperlinks for more information. The screenshot below gives an idea of what’s on offer:
Or if you prefer getting the latest info from a real person, head on down to the tourist office near Ramsau traffic lights. They have a staff of four and speak good English. They’ll have details of all things on; big and small, locally and further afield. They’re a great place to get printed copies of bus and train timetables, topographical and town maps, suggestions of things to do etc.
Buses, Trains, Archensee
The free ski bus that stops near our front door in winter unfortunately doesn’t run in the summer, although various buses do stop in Ramsau. On the upside, in summer you get the normal rail service to all points along the valley, plus several steam train services each day. The steam train runs between Mayrhofen and Jenbach. At Jenbach visitors can connect to another train (some steam services also) to take then to Archensee, the “Fjord of the Alps”.) This is a great day out- the lake is 10km long, there’s a walking/cycling/rollerblading track round it, plenty of restaurants/bars, swimming/sailing/kitesurfing (lessons available), or the kids can play on the beach, feed the ducks or play at any of several playgrounds. If you fancy some exercise, take the cable car to the mountain top, walk along the ridge enjoying the fabulous views, then back to the dock on the lake where the passenger ferry will take you back to the train station. The kids will sleep well… adults too!
Local activity options.
As you can see from the mayrhofen.at website there is much to do nearby, so I won’t repeat everything that’s listed on the website. Instead I’ll concentrate on highlighting a few recommendations for summer visitors. The Austrian local government is keen to attract summer as well as winter visitors. As a result they provide far better appointed leisure facilities than we are used to in the UK.
Over the crossroads/traffic lights in Ramsau there is a reasonable size leisure complex with tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool with slide, kids playground, trampolines, giant air bag, beach volleyball courts, clay tennis courts, football pitch etc. A larger pool, playground and leisure complex is found down the valley at Zell am Ziller (about 8km away). Alongside the river on both sides are walking/cycling tracks, making a trip to Zell a good day out. If you’re feeling lazy cycle to Zell (downhill, with the flow of the river), then take the train back (bikes are allowed on the train). If you get the timing right you can come back on one of the steam services- always a hit with young boys (and some older ones too). Ask at the tourist office (next to Ramsau crossroads) what’s on at the Zell concert area (an outdoor area where they have modern and traditional music events, beer fests, kids activities etc).
Closer to Chalet Vista but still in the direction of Zell am Ziller direction is the “Arena Coaster” ride. Look for the pair Zillertal Arena gondolas (one of which runs in summer), taking walkers, mountain bikers, paragliders etc up to the top of the mountain for their chosen pursuit. At the bottom of the gondola is a steel track bolted to the mountainside. On this track runs the Arena Coaster; riders sit in two person cars and control their own speed. How fast can you go? You’ll need strong nerve not to use the brake! We assure you that you can survive the ride without putting the brake on but for your first run you might like to take it a bit more cautiously. You can buy tickets at its base station. We like the Coaster and we’re sure you will too.
Further down the valley you get to Fugen- the location of the aqua park. If you drove into the valley by day you probably noticed the large blue and red tubes (water slides) sticking out the side of a large building; this is the aqua park and it’s aimed at both young and old. It has a wave pool, whirlpool, normal large swimming pool, diving pool, two wild water slides (the “Black Hole” is actually quite scary, even for adults) and outdoor pools too. They also have a wide range of “Wellness”, the Austrian term for everything to do with spas. It includes several steam rooms, saunas, hot and ice cold pools etc. The Aqua park has an outdoor area for summer but is predominantly indoor, making it a good option on poor weather days. There is a horse riding stables in Fugen, although we can’t tell you much about it as we haven’t tried it. A little beyond the Fugen you will find the brand new Zillertal golf course with driving range and golf school. The full 18 hole course opened summer 2014 and is a major investment for the area. How many golf courses give you a backdrop as dramatic as this? Zillertal Golf. For more info, click here too.
Going the other way along the valley, south towards Mayrhofen, is equally worthy of comment. I’ll start again at the Ramsau crossroads, or rather the train station which is 30m from there. From the train station a bus leaves twice daily (09:50 and 13:30) which goes up to Melchboden. Melchboden is 2000m (7000 feet) above sea level and is the launch point for paragliders and hang-gliders. You may not want to jump with them (although tandem flights are available for about €100 if you do, see http://www.zillertaler-flugschule.com) but just being up there makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. The views are outstanding and the bus waits about an hour before coming back down the hill (for the engine to cool??) During this time you can get a drink or bite to eat at the mountain top restaurant. It’s about 10 deg C cooler up here than it was in the valley, dress accordingly (I was flying up there in June and there was still plenty of snow around for snowball fights or snowman building, see pic below). The bus costs €4.20 pp one way, which is the cheapest way to get to that altitude by public transport (gondolas typically cost at least €10).
Trains to Mayrhofen run every 30 minutes throughout the day. In Mayrhofen you will find plenty of shops, cafes, ice cream sellers, restaurants, bars. The Penken gondola to, you guessed it, Penken, runs all day long. From Penken you can walk, paraglide or mountain bike back down to town. There are restaurants up there too.
The other lift from Mayrhofen town is the Ahornbahn. This is a classic (large) cable car on a very long steel rope. At the top you will often find Didi Wechselberger, our next door neighbour (quite literally, he lives in the next house up the road from Chalet Vista) giving his birds of prey flying exhibition. Beautiful birds, as close up as you could ever imagine.
Brandberg valley lies to the east of Mayrhofen. You can drive there through the tunnel, or take a bus from Mayrhofen. It’s a great area to walk as there is a good choice of small mountain roads/tracks (= ability to walking abreast, sociably and safely) and foot paths; some through fields (=sunny), some through forest (=shaded, for days when it’s too hot), some by the river. There’s also a mountain heritage trail and a museum barn showing how the land was farmed in days of yore. Fun, healthy, educational. The trails are coded like ski runs, Blue=easy, Red =intermediate, Black=difficult. Pick the one that suits, most have eateries along the way.
Summer Skiing On Tux Glacier.
The Zillertal valley proudly boasts that guests can ski here 365 days a year. And rightly so. As an ex-racer I have spent many weeks training on various glaciers so know what it’s like to ski out-of-season. Personally I wouldn’t plan to spend a week skiing the glacier in the summer. While it is possible to do so, there are so many fun other activities to do in the valley as well. Why not combine a morning ski with a sunbathing or white water rafting afternoon? Do whatever suits you and boast about it to your friends back home on Skype that evening! It is however worth noting that skiing in the low seasons (late spring and autumn) can offer good conditions and great value. The snow that has built up during the winter months often remains skiable on the north face of the mountain below Tux glacier for a month after the rest of the resort has closed (i.e. until early May). In autumn many national and lesser teams train for weeks at a time on the glacier, Oct-Dec, in preparation for the forthcoming season. In addition, the resort often shape a park/kickers/half pipe for training and competitions. Mayrhofen glacier usually hosts the first snowpark to open in Europe each winter season, normally opened with a big air or ski aerial comp in October each year. Chalet Vista rates are lowest pre-season. Why not grab yourself a bargain? Other, including the British Army Ski Team, have done so already. BAST stayed with us last October; they had a productive training camp, skiing mornings, aerobic training in the valley afternoons, preparation, lectures and relaxation in the evenings. A winning combination? They (and we) clearly think so.