The Austrian resort of Christlum lies 52km northeast of Innsbruck in the province of Tirol, but its intimate size and proximity to the German border make it feel a universe away from the sprawl of the Ziller Valley ski resorts and the world famous slopes of Ischgl or St Anton. It is small, contained, and reassuringly difficult to get lost.
Because of the size it’s fair to say that this is a resort better suited to a daytrip or a short stop while passing through the Achensee region, but this is really part of the appeal. Despite its proximity to Innsbruck, Christlum feels delightfully isolated. Besides, if your idea of good skiing involves carving up immaculate (and extremely wide) pistes, then Christlum definitely has that covered.
A top (1800m) to bottom (950m) run on any of the red or black runs covers nicely undulating terrain, allowing a variety of speeds and turn shapes. Highlights include the steep and wide Gfoellalmgraben off the top station, and the Nordhangabfahrt to the valley. The latter was particularly nice as other pistes became crowded, while this route to the base facilities remained relatively calm.
After a few hours of “turn left, turn right, repeat as necessary”, it would be easy dismiss Christlum as strictly for the skinny-ski crowd. But sandwiched between the monstrously wide pistes are some inviting and perfectly spaced trees, with patches of what looked like fresh powder – untouched several days after the last snowfall. A couple of hours happily spent amongst the glades… with barely another skier or snowboarder in sight.
There are plenty of touring possibilities too… the west-facing view from the top of the resort takes in some mouth-watering terrain, with classic ski touring day-trips including the Schreckenspitze.
And if you think desserts are as important as descents, Christlum does admirably on this front too – the Germknodel at Gfoellalm made for a great “warm-down” run to top off day of pistes and powder under bluebird skies.
www.christlum.at [The website is in German – but is worth visiting if only for the apres-inspiring theme song]