The Tirol’s Oetztal – where social distancing is an established bonus

For those accustomed to overseas travel the last twelve months has been a time of great frustration, but also represented an opportunity to reflect on the places we have missed so much, and what makes them special to us. It is now twenty years since my first visit to the Oetztal, which served as a…

Climate Change demands diversification away from winter sports, but viable alternatives are far from obvious – nor straightforward

With 40 fewer days of snow cover than 60 years ago, the alpine regions of Austria are not only losing the very element on which its leviathan winter sports sector relies upon, but also the use of melted snow that impacts river flow, hydroelectric capabilities, and the ability of farmers to harvest precipitation to water…

Kitzbuehel retrospective

In my penultimate alpine retrospective I focus on Kitzbuehel, the chic Tirolean resort situated within its eponymously named alps. Having travelled for over 20 years to Austria's mountainous regions, predominantly throughout the Tirol but also within Salzburgerland and Carinthia, the two resorts seemingly visited by nearly everyone who insist they have stayed in the country…

Zell am See retrospective

It is now several years since I last stayed in Zell am See, one of Austria's most famous lake resorts. Its proximity to Saalbach Hinterglemm and Kitzbuehel coupled with excellent public transport links have though enabled me to visit it on several occasions since. Framed by majestic peaks and on the cusp of the Tirol,…

Neustift im Stubaital retrospective

It has been several years since I last ventured over the Europa Bridge towards the Stubai valley/Stubaital in the high Austrian Tirol. Initially alarmed by the amount of traffic which this in effect 'one way in, one way out' valley receives, particularly heading towards Neustift, its all year round epicentre and the Stubai Gletscher(glacier), it…

New lift projects seek to keep the Stubaital competitive, but do they represent tired, out of date thinking?

The new General Secretary of the Austrian Alpine Club, Clemens Matt, recently made a bold statement which will resonate with those seeking to install more and further infrastructure in the mountains of Carinthia, Salzburgerland, and the Tirol, suggesting that every mountain does't need a cableway, nor a connection between neighbouring valleys. As winters shorten and…

Big money threatens to homogenize distinct alpine regions

Undeveloped land within the Austrian Tirol, in particular along the Inn Valley and where it is more tableland than vertiginous peaks, is in great demand and under growing pressure - in equal measure. There is little doubt that the region's popularity as a tourism destination and the location of second homes for wealthy Austrians, and…

Tirol: Will the onset of Climate Change make sustainable development in the Alps unrealistic?

Architecture, similar to many areas of modern life, has become highly subjective as tradition gives way to the Avant Garde, the controversial, and a general feeling that 'anything goes' in an era of declining standards, moral ambiguity, and disrespect. Even in the Alps there is no longer a uniform design template to which architects must…

Kitzb├╝hel: Shopping, Skiing, Hiking. In that order.

The allure of Kitzb├╝hel to the well-heeled is there for all to see. A short survey of the main street immediately highlights the Tirolean town's slavish devotion to luxury brands, and how those sashaying along its pristine thoroughfares are tacitly judged by their own attention, or lack of, to high-end couture and jewellery. For a…