Monday 25 November 2013

Where to try Winter Olympic sports in the Austrian Tirol

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will take place from 7th – 23rd February 2014, and we get ready to watch the elite demonstrate the very best in skiing, skating, bobsled, luge, biathlon and more.

Ever thought in a moment of madness that you wouldn’t mind having a go at one of these awe-inspiring sports?

Celebrating 50 years since Innsbruck first hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1964, the Austrian Tirol is the perfect place to have a go! The capital of Tirol went on to host the Games once more in 1976 and then the Olympic flame returned in 2012 for the inaugural Youth Winter Olympic Games (YOG).

With images of Eddie the Eagle flashing through your mind, this is perhaps the most terrifying discipline of all. Ski jumping requires nerves of steel and a certain mind over matter approach. Located in the beautiful Kitzbühler Alps, you can try this in the Hohe Salve region. Receive expert training and full guidance before you launch yourself off the 15m jump into the air and attempt to fly as far as possible. The ski jumping centre in Wörgl offers 5 ski-jumps, which meet the international FIS standard with 3 smaller ski-jumps (15, 30 and 40 metres) and 1 larger ones (60 metres) . ‘Ski Jumping for everyone’ is available at a cost of €50 per person for 3 hours, to book email or call +43 664 34 20 663. Base yourself in one of the village of the Hohe Salve region, such as Hopfgarten or Kelchsau and explore Austria’s largest interconnected ski area, the SkiWelt. To find out more visit

How much?
During the Super Ski Weeks, stay 7 nights on half board at the 3* Hotel Traube in Hopfgarten, with prices starting from €542 per person, including a 6 day ski pass. For this offer and more click here . Daily flights are available with easyJet from Gatwick to Innsbruck, up to 5 times a week with British Airways from Gatwick or fly with Monarch from Manchester up to 3 times a week.

There is no better place in Austria to cross-country ski than in the Olympiaregion Seefeld, with access to over 250km of trails. Made up of two disciplines, Biathlon combines cross-country skiing and shooting, as skiers race with rifles strapped to their backs stopping at a target range every few kilometres to shoot their targets. The sporting event was first included in the Olympic Games in 1960 but it wasn’t until 1992 that women were able to compete in this discipline. You can try biathlon on Thursdays and Fridays in Seefeld, where two hour lessons (noon to 2pm) costs €56 per person. Visit .

How much?
Neilson ( ; 0844 879 8155) has 7 nights on full board at the 4* Superior Hotel Alpenpark & Spa in Seefeld, with prices starting from £704 per person, based on 2 sharing and including flights and resort transfers. For 2013-14 Neilson have introduced learn to ‘langlauf’ packages starting from £115 per person for 3 days tuition and ski and boot hire.

From late December through to March you can have a go at this thrilling winter sport on ice at the Igls Bobsleigh track, which was used during the Winter Olympics in 1964, 1976 and at the Youth Olympics in 2012. From the women's start, this is your chance to ride on an Olympic style bobsleigh, where prices start from only €30 per person in the guest bobsleigh, which holds 5 people, behind a professional pilot. The adrenaline rush couldn’t be greater as you experience this thrilling winter sport on ice, sliding 800m and taking in 10 curves. If you want to ride the full track from start to finish and achieve speeds of up to 115 km/hr, making 14 curves and a difference in altitude of 125 m then opt for the taxi bobsleigh. The bobsleigh seats two passengers in addition to two professional pilots and costs €95 per person. For more info and dates or email .

How much?
Crystal Ski ( ; 0871 236 9501) has 7 nights on half board at the 4* Eagles Astoria Hotel in Igls, with prices starting from £525 per person, including flights and resort transfers.

There couldn’t be a better resort to participate in a ski racing camp than in Sölden. The resort stages the first FIS Ski World Cup race of the winter at the end of October and is also the official training ground for the US ski team. If this inspires you to improve your racing techniques, then check out the Andre Arnold Ski Racing Camps in Sölden. The f ormer World Cup ski racer Andre Arnold runs camps throughout the winter season on selected dates, including 5 days ski training on slalom and giant slalom, with full video analysis and the final ski race with award ceremony.

How much?
The Andre Arnold Ski Racing Camp offers 5 night’s accommodation at the 3* Haus Martina, with prices starting from €660 per person on B&B or from €750 on half board. Daily flights are available with easyJet from Gatwick to Innsbruck, up to 5 times a week with British Airways from Gatwick or fly with Monarch from Manchester up to 3 times a week. For more information visit .

Since the beginning of October, more than 200 training groups have come to the Stubai Glacier in the Austrian Tirol to train on the 1000m long ski cross course, including British number 1 Ski Cross athlete Emily Sarsfield. The Ski Cross course at Eisjochferner features ten waves, jumps and eight banked corners. From late December the ski cross course will be transformed into the Big Family Funslope for everyone to use for free with a valid ski pass.

How much?
Zenith Holidays (020 3137 7678, ) has seven nights on half board at the 4* Hotel Bergjuwel in Neustift, with prices starting from £485 per person, including half board and resort transfers. Flights available with easyjet from Gatwick to Innsbruck from £115pp return (+£29 for a 20kg bag)

For more information on the Tirol region or keep updated at or follow@VisitTirol on twitter.

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