“For me, part of the Innsbruck feeling is that you can combine skiing and (remote) working in the city perfectly – by bus and train. The motto then becomes the programme: take the public transport from the coworking space to the slopes.” Verena Wagner, author and journalist
Innsbruck has been my home for years – also because the city is a well-known and popular destination for the combination of skiing, hiking and working, especially for digital nomads. Those who love a sporty balance to their job in the mountains will find perfect conditions in Tyrol’s capital. Whether skiing, tobogganing, snowboarding, ice climbing or snowshoeing – in winter alone there is an abundant offer and equipment for every sport to rent in the countless sports shops in the city or at the lift stations. So if you work remotely in the city in a coworking space or hotel, you can use your break on the slopes in between or send the family off if they’ve been brought along.
Innsbruck has around 130,000 inhabitants, the conurbation over 300,000 people. The Alpine metropolis has plenty of urban flair, subculture and cosmopolitan feeling.
Last but not least, the small old town around the Golden Roof also attracts international guests who stay longer all year round. In addition to many from neighbouring Italy, there are also numerous Dutch, Icelanders, Asians and New Zealanders. 30,000 people have their second home in Innsbruck, including many students. Many of them are united by their love of the mountains and the numerous exciting sports in summer and winter.
From the office to the slopes by public transport
A big plus in Innsbruck is the combination of urban lifestyle and closeness to nature – perfect for skiing and remote working on the same day. Not just one ski area, but several are located on the mountain slopes around Innsbruck and are easily accessible by public transport.
At the bus station in front of the main railway station, for example, I take the Postbus L1 to Axamer Lizum, the largest ski area outside Innsbruck and really emphasised with an elongated U. Just get on with your skis, you don’t need a ticket. The bus takes about 45 minutes directly to the new 10-seater gondola lift of the ski area, which has snow guaranteed until April.
In terms of slopes, there is a T-bar lift and easier slopes for beginners; a total of nine lifts lead up to sunny slopes, long runs over easy, medium and more challenging slopes. Ski touring and tobogganing fans also get their money’s worth. From the terrace or in front of the umbrella bar at the Hoadlhaus at 2,340 metres, I often pause for a while. Here you can check your mails again, make phone calls and, if you want, work on your laptop.
If you want to rent equipment, you will find a ski and board rental shop right next to the ticket office in the new shop at the valley station of the Hoadlbahn. Your own winter equipment is stored safely in the ski depot – which also makes skiing and working with your own equipment stress-free.
70 percent gradient obover the City
Skiing on the Nordkette, the rocky mountain ranges that seem to tower directly above the city centre and the Inn River – it’s special too. City bus J runs from the centre of Innsbruck from the terminus at the local mountain Patscherkofel on one side of the city and the Nordkettenbahn on the other. The Hungerburgbahn, designed by star architect Zara Hadid – she also designed the Bergisel ski jump – starts directly in the old town at the Congress station. From there it takes less than 30 minutes by cable car to get to the ski area on the Seegrube.
Even when snow conditions are not so good, the spectacular view from the Seegrube or the Hafelekar (summit station at 2,256 metres) over the city is worthwhile. Both cable car stations have restaurants with sun terraces or vantage points. But only the absolute pros start from the Hafelekar by ski. With a gradient of over 70 percent, the Karrinne is one of the steepest slopes in the world. In any case, the area must be cleared by both the avalanche commission and the Nordkettenbahn. So, I’m more in favour of a relaxed sundowner in the igloo bar after work or an evening meal in the Seegrube restaurant.
Work break directly on the piste
Another exciting skiing area for skiing between work phases that is easy to reach by public transport is located in the beautiful Wipptal valley: the Bergeralm. The S-Bahn (S3, S4) runs from Innsbruck main station to Brenner every 30 minutes. By the way, express trains also stop at Steinach am Brenner station.
Otherwise it is a 15-minute walk from the station to the Bergeralm. However, there are also various bus connection. From Matrei am Brenner station, line 4141 takes to the Bergeralm gondola station.
It is a very special feeling to carve on the slope high above the vehicles travelling on the Gschnitztal bridge towards Brenner. At one point on the valley descent, you almost have the feeling of flying over the bridge with a daring jump – or else racing into the motorway. That doesn’t happen, of course, but from this slope you can wave directly to the car occupants.
But usually I spend the ski day here much higher up in the natural snow area of the Bergeralm and on the slopes at the Hochsonnberg lift and between the middle and top stations. There, nothing can be seen of the motorway and the panorama stretches across the beautiful Wipptal valley. The ski area is a cosy one. The area is a paradise for ski tourers, and a toboggan run also leads to the valley station.
Those who want to stay here for a few days or work from here as well will find their domicile at the top of the mountain, directly at the middle station. The apartments with balconies or terraces for two to six people belong to the Panorama Restaurant, and at the bottom of the car park is also the Jufa Hotel, a newly renovated three-star establishment, less than five minutes’ walk from the gondola. In addition, the building of the “Tunnelwelten”, the interactive museum on the Brenner Base Tunnel construction project, and a trattoria with a large, inviting sun terrace are also located here.
Open coworking spaces in Innsbruck
Where can you work remotely in Innsbruck? There are several coworking spaces that can be booked by the month, by the day or with a ten-person ticket.
The oldest open office community was converted last year: StockEINS in the Kulturbackstube bakery on Dreiheiligenstraße has been hosting creatives, self-employed people and young entrepreneurs for years and recently became the Impact Hub Tyrol.
This emerged from the organisation SETup (Social Entrepreneurship Tirol) and counts Tyrolean social start-ups such as Feldschafft, Re.paro and Greenroot. Since 2022, the event and coworking location Bäckerei has been renovated and integrated.
Just around two bends is another coworking dream house on 800 square metres and five levels in Pembaurstraße: Wundervoll. In these equally inspiring work, meeting and thinking spaces, self-employed people, entrepreneurs, company founders and digital nomads network. Here, too, there is the option of buying day tickets or 10-person tickets. This also applies to the coworking space of the Tyrol Chamber of Commerce.
Another exciting coworking space for tinkerers, technicians and talents of all kinds can be found in the Werkstätte business and creative centre in Wattens – the nearest ski area here would be the Glungezer near Tulfes.
Verena Wagner …
worked for many years as a food and travel editor in Munich and has lived in various places in Tyrol for over ten years, the longest in Innsbruck. Here she has also written two hiking guides, among other things, so her next article for us could well be “Trekking and Remote Working in Innsbruck”.
Photos: © Wagner