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Kirchdorf in Tirol, Austria

With Wifey and two children in tow, we opted for the beautiful Tirol in Austria. No stranger to this region or country for that matter, it was however going to be my first visit here with my own family so that meant, child friendly facilities, a good ski school, nice hotel, restaurants and close proximity to the slopes.....we got all of this and more in bucket loads....bucket loads of snow too!

Our home for the week was Hotel Seiwald just outside the pretty village of Kirchdorf and only 10 minutes by car to Kitzbuhel. Our hosts, the Seiwald Family run a lovely hotel with a great emphasis on excellent fresh food and warm Austrian hospitality. Our family suite, was very spacious with a large bathroom, all the mod-cons, storage and a large balcony overlooking the Wilder Kaiser mountain range. The crisp air in the Tirol really brings it all back....the many family holidays in the Tirol we were lucky to have and experience during my youth. Great skiing, wonderful Austrian hospitality, hearty food, apres ski games, Jenga and the likes!

Ski hire was across the street the next morning followed by registering the children into Kirchdorf Ski School. The guys at the ski school were so warm and accommodating and Aussie Geoff took my two under his wing for their first ski experience. Kirchdorf Ski School is well established and very professional with multi-national teachers on hand, many of whom have made the Wilder Kaiser region their adopted home. Geoff came here some 10 years ago, married a local girl and now with two little girls has happily swapped New South Wales for the Tirol. Geoff tells me that the family lifestyle in Tirol is all about the outdoors and community, so much so that he himself has come up with a novel idea that he puts into operation every summer. An ex fund manager, he swopped the high rolling financial life for a life in tourism and escorted small groups out in the Australian Bush, devising challenging treasure hunts for seasoned outdoor adventurers. Having brought the same concept to his adoptive home, he now has an established 'summer gig', which caters to families from June through to August, but more on this another time. After day one, we gathered again at Ski School and headed home, the kids first 'space walk' home back to our base!

Kitzbuhel is famous! Famous for its skiing, its glitz and famous for probably being the home of skiing in Austria? Fabulous 5 star hotels and high end restaurants populate the town and high end boutiques, sports stores and speciality shops line the streets. But Kitzbuhel is a down to earth town with down to earth people who work hard all year round. The successful tourism industry that has mushroomed around the town has come from the core values of the people that worked the land here for generations....that still work the land. The Streif is the most famous ski race in the world and starts just from where the Hahnenkamm station cradles the slopes. Made legendary by the likes of Franz Klammer and Herman Maier, the Strief is an 85 degree gradient of ice and snow, just waiting to take you out. The famous race takes place every February and is the highlight of the year with people flocking here in their droves.

Food in the Tirol is hearty and wholesome and wont disappoint. Wild boar, Snitzel, Struddel, cabbage and coleslaw salads, the Austrians really do great food. It's the perfect food after a great days skiing, guaranteed to build you up for the next day. From Kirchdorf, you really have a great choice of ski terrain to enjoy. In the week I was there, I had 1 day in St. Johann followed by 2 days in Kitzbuhel, 2 days in Steinplatte and a day returning to Westendorf area which is an old haunt of mine. Most of the greater Kitzbuhel area is connected but strangely not to the Kirchdorf area of the Wilder Kaiser....local politics abounds I'm sure.

Basing yourself in Kirchdorf really makes the utmost sense as you really can avail of a huge amount of terrain if you have the appetite for early mornings to 3pm finishes. For families, it really is the perfect village and one that we will be returning to again. For authentic Austrian hospitality and good nature, Hotel Seiwald is perfect and close to all the necessary facilities ; a great restaurant, bar, spa, pool and lounge areas to play games well into the evening. Munich is about 2 hours depending on traffic and Salzburg 90 mins away, both airports well serviced by international carriers. I also recommend Four Seasons Pick Up service for transfers to and from airports and can be booked through the hotel or easy to find online.

made the Wil

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