I was quite curious to see how the new ski route 12 Peaks Trophy could be “mastered”. Last season, the conditions would have been right, but due to the Covid situation, the connecting lifts were understandably not in operation. Therefore, I was particularly excited this year to be able to tackle this “adventure”. The lifts opened this season on 16th December and it was announced that all the lifts needed to complete the tour would be in operation the following day. Since I was supposed to do this tour with a journalist on the very first weekend, I was allowed to explore the route beforehand. Such working days – when you are allowed to go skiing – are really “hard”, I can tell you 😊😊😊😊.
Adventure 12 Peaks Trophy
The weather on day 1 of the 12 Peaks and 5 Valleys Tour was excellent and, apart from a little high fog, perfect. I started punctually with the first cable car ascent from Alpendorf at 8.30 am. Then I went over the Sonntagskogel lifts towards Wagrain. During the pre-Christmas period, there are not yet so many skiers and I make special use of the slopes for a little time out. Over the Grafenberg we went to the G-Link and immediately left the station heading up to the Griessenkar.
New Flying Mozart as absolute highlight
During the crossing through the high fog, I was already curious about the new middle station of the “Flying Mozart”. The Flying Mozart was also completed this summer and is quite impressive. You leave the G-Link cable car and can now board the new 10-seater XL cable car at the same height. The station area has been completely relocated under the ski slope and the dimension is not noticeable from the outside. The new lift is very comfortable and of course plays all the “pieces”, including the welcome and announcements by Herman Maier. The ascent to the Griessenkar now ends at the same height as the Starjet 3, so you are flexible in all directions. I decided to take the descent in the direction of the Spacejet line and on the way there I came across a very “daring” fighter from British climes, who, without being able to ski, courageously fought his way down the slope. The slopes in our region are easier to conquer if you seek support from our numerous ski schools in the region. After the nice and grateful British guest “inevitably” fell and lost his skis, I tried to teach him the basics of alpine skiing on the go. My training last winter – I had time to take my ski instructor’s exam – came in very handy. With the words “Thanks mate, please show me the way to the blue track” – we parted ways and I wished him all the best.
Turn for turn to the next highlights
After ascending the aforementioned Spacejet lines 1-3, we went to the “Panorama link”, which was opened last year and connects the Flachau-Wagrain-St. Johann area with Kleinarl-Flachauwinkl. The route then leads past the “Absolutpark” freestyle area, which is well frequented by exceptional skiing talents, down towards the ascent to Zauchensee. The bus transfer runs at regular intervals and arrived immediately. Afterwards we went via Highliner 1 and 2 to Zauchensee. Arriving in Zauchensee, I then boarded the Gamskogel Cable Car to the highest point of the tour at 2,100 metres above sea level. The easy descent would have been worth doing a second or third time, but since I had the time pressure of the return trip, it unfortunately didn’t come to anything. Instead, I went up again towards Gamskogel and back to Zauchensee via the Kälberloch World Cup course. I then took the Rosskopf cable car back to the starting point at about 11.30 am – in the meantime 3 hours had passed. Via Flachauwinkl (the shuttle bus was back at the valley station) I then headed towards Kleinarl until I reached the valley. Turn for turn to the next highlights.
First BIO-certified ski hut “Lumberjack“
From there you take the Champion Shuttle to the middle station. As I hadn’t been to the new “Lumberjack Foodhall” yet – I took a break there and tried the “Bio-Burger”. The new restaurant is quite different and has an interesting concept. I have to admit that I was welcomed by a member of staff as soon as I entered and “explained” (payment only possible with card or “Lumberjack Card” – you get the Lumberjack Card if you hand over cash) – so I had a “starting advantage” and, in this weather, a sensational view of the Ennskraxn. Well fortified, I then took the chairlift of the same name in the direction of the Panorama link. When I reached Griessenkar, I skied all the way down to the valley to take a look at the new valley station of the Flying Mozart. The current entry to the gondola lift is uncomplicated and directly possible. This time I used the cable car from the bottom and I think the ride up to the top station took less than 10 minutes. The entrance and exit from the middle station of the Flying Mozart have become very spectacular. The widening of the piste in the area of the Flying Mozart is also very successful and contributes to the overall concept.
Pleasant return trip to Alpendorf
Slowly the afternoon drew to a close and via the G-Link, Grafenberg express, Sonntagskogel cable car 2 I was now back in the ski area of St. Johann. To top it off, I took the Hirschkogel lift to the summit of the same name and finally the Strassalm lift to the Gernkogel. The downhill run from the Gernkogel to the Alpendorf (over 1,000 metres in altitude) was the crowning glory to a perfect day’s skiing 😊.
Conclusion: after 6.5 hours (pure skiing time, without a break) approx. 11,500 metres in altitude and a distance of approx. 105 km (incl. lift rides), the route is easily manageable. Additional lift rides or repeat rides are no problem depending on your skiing ability and should definitely be underaken 😊.
You can find more impressions of the 12 Peaks Trophy experience in the following video:
Photo credits: Hannes Rieser