The Austrian party town with the steepest ski run in the country

THE smell of Jägermeister fills the air as Abba melodies boom and the clinking of glasses echoes through the room.

I’m high up in the Tyrolean mountains, near the Zillertal, and the party is literally in town.

Mayrhofen has established itself as one of the roughest ski areas in Austria

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Mayrhofen has established itself as one of the roughest ski areas in AustriaPhoto credit: Shutterstock
Mayrhofen has 142 km of slopes and 44 lifts in the Ahorn and Penken zones spanning the Zillertal

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Mayrhofen has 142 km of slopes and 44 lifts in the Ahorn and Penken zones spanning the ZillertalPhoto credit: Shutterstock
My home for the long term is the Sport & Spa Hotel Strass, which stands proudly at the foot of the Penkenbahn, which connects the town to the main ski area

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My home for the long term is the Sport & Spa Hotel Strass, which stands proudly at the foot of the Penkenbahn, which connects the town to the main ski areaCredit: Delivered

Mayrhofen has established itself as one of Austria’s gnarliest ski resorts, and no more so than in the final weeks of the season, when two festivals lure revelers ready to play with the snow forecast.

I’m here for the more mature of the two events, the week-long Altitude Comedy Bash.

My home for the long term is the Sport & Spa Hotel Strass, which stands proudly at the foot of the Penkenbahn, which connects the town to the main ski area, some 1,790 meters up the mountain.

The picture-perfect hotel is huge compared to the more basic chalets most skiers are accustomed to, but the triumph of a professional kitchen over a ski seasoner won me over.

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And the food is excellent, with everything from classic Austrian dishes to a buffet of fresh salads and exotic cheeses.

Mayrhofen has 142 km of slopes and 44 lifts in the Ahorn and Penken zones spanning the Zillertal.

The brave or the daredevil can head straight to the resort’s famous black run, Harakiri, which is Austria’s steepest ski run with a 78 percent gradient.

Elsewhere, Unterberg has three timed giant slalom courses and a brilliant fun run.

Or, if you want to gauge your form, make your way to piste 16 near the Moselbahn, known as the ‘Skimovie Piste’. Cameras positioned all over the slope record your descent and turn it into a mini film that you can download for free.

Altitude’s comedy program begins in the early afternoon with three lively sessions per day, including an after-party in Hotel Strass’ basement club.

There’s also an annual clown race where costumed skiers whiz down the 3.4-mile (5.5 km) black run of the Maple and meander their way back into town.

sweat frenzy

Then there’s the final after-party, which was an absolute hoot this year. Each of the 15 comedians featured this week was crammed into one bill in a chaotic two hours of callbacks and inside jokes.

Mayrhofen is Austria’s party town, so no trip is complete without a visit to some of its legendary pubs.

Hotel Strass’s Ice Bar combines European EDM with folk music to send the post-ski crowd into a sweaty frenzy.

Across the cobbled street is Hans The Butcher, serving up succulent sausage baps paired with ice-cold beer.

A must for party-goers is Bruck’n Stadl, a huge barn-style drinking hall where wobbly revelers regularly climb wooden tables in their ski boots.

Or for a more civilized affair, Brasserie Q on the high street serves a hearty espresso martini and a delicious Aussie wine called Gruner Veltliner for five euros a glass.

When it comes to a decent dinner, you won’t miss out either. Locals recommend Italian food at Pane e Vino for a reason, while Goldkind Bistro offers a crunchy cheeseburger.

The Grillhofalm, a mountainside pit stop, offers cheesy spaghetti carbonara that ticks all the boxes.

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Mayrhofen’s last trump card is the fast transfer in one hour to and from Innsbruck Airport.

It’s really ideal, especially if you’ve spent more time plowing through the beers than down a powdery slope.

Sun's Felicity Cross gets ready for the slopes - including the resort's famous black Harakiri slope, which is Austria's steepest ski slope at 78 percent

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Sun’s Felicity Cross gets ready for the slopes – including the resort’s famous black Harakiri slope, which is Austria’s steepest ski slope at 78 percent
Hotel Strass's Ice Bar combines European EDM with folk music to send the post-ski crowd into a sweaty frenzy

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Hotel Strass’s Ice Bar combines European EDM with folk music to send the post-ski crowd into a sweaty frenzyPhoto credit: Shutterstock

GO: MAYRHOFEN

ARRIVAL/STAY: A week half board at the 4H Sport & Spa Hotel Strass is from £1,667 pp, including flights departing from Gatwick on 1st April 2023. See crystalski.co.uk.

FESTIVAL: Early bird tickets for the Altitude Festival from 3rd to 7th April 2023 are available now and cost from £135.45 per week. See heightfestival.com.

Mayrhofen’s last trump card is the fast transfer in one hour to and from Innsbruck Airport.

It’s really ideal, especially if you’ve spent more time plowing through the beers than down a powdery slope.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/20319276/austrian-party-town-with-steepest-ski-run-country/ The Austrian party town with the steepest ski run in the country

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