Kaunertal is an alpine valley located in the district of Landeck, in the Austrian state of Tirol. With a length of 28 km, the valley extends from the town of Prutz (884 m) to the Kauner glacier. The Faggenbach River flows through it from its source south of the Weißseespitze (3,044 m) to its mouth in the Inn River at Prutz.
The journey to the Kaunertal Glacier is a wonderful experience itself. The panoramic Glacier Road has been called one of the "most high mountain beautiful roads in the Alps".
This toll road is the fifth-highest paved road in the Alps and reaches an elevation of 2750 m. The toll is only charged for non-skiers. All skiers with a valid ski pass can use the toll road for free.
From the valley village of Feichten, and after 26 km, 180-degree turns, and 1,500 m change in elevation, Tirol's highway takes you to the edge of the glacier at Weißseeferner.
The Kaunertal Glacier ski area is one of the highest in Tirol and offers snowsure conditions well into spring. Due to the ski area's elevation of 2,180–3,113 m, and the glacier, it is operational from October to May. Additionally, 40 % of the slopes have snow-making facilities.
Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy excellent conditions on 50 groomed slopes, and 36 km of natural ski routes. Those with the necessary staying-power can ski all the way from the top terminal of the Karlesjochbahn cable car at 3,113 meters to the base terminal of the Ochsenalmbahn lifts at 2,180 meters.
The new Weißseejochbahn 10-person gondola lift leads from the middle station of the Ochsenalm lift over 600 meters in altitude to the Weißseejoch at 3,044 meters. The terrain around the Weißseejoch opens up endless new possibilities for skiers.
In February 2020 Kaunertal announced the opening of what is now Austria's steepest slope. The "Black Ibex" has a slope of 41.3°, or a gradient of 87.85%, making the "Black-Ibex" piste even steeper than the most spectacular descent in the Ski World Cup - the Streif (the steepest part of the Streif has a gradient of 85%).
Austria has numerous ski slopes capable of challenging the best skiers. The so-called "Harakiri" slope in Mayerhofen in the Zillertal is also said to be very steep with a gradient of 78 percent. In Der Lange Zug" in Lech skiers must tackle an 80 percent steep slope. The “Black Scorpions” with which the “Silvretta Montafon” ski area beckons are likely to be a vertiginous experience with an 81 percent gradient.
The Black Ibex is 3 kilometers long with an altitude drop of 363 meters. The steepest part is around 500 meters long.
At the bottom, the Black Ibex piste joins the blue piste and then leads back to the glacier car park or to the valley station of the Falginjochbahn.
The Black Ibex was opened after the construction of the new Falginjochbahn 3,113m. “Three slopes of all levels of difficulty lead from the Falginjoch down into the valley. The fact that we can also offer the most difficult of these slopes on the Kaunertal Glacier is made possible by the new barrier-free lift," explained Franz Wackernell, technical director and second managing director of the Kaunertal Glacier Railways.