Is the Axamer Lizum link to Mutters and Goetzens going ahead?

A dotted ‘project’ line on the piste map has been there for over a decade, linking the top station of Mutters / Goetzens to Axamer Lizum. Above Innsbruck there are two ski stations at Goetzens and Mutters and these 2 areas share a common top station. Recent investment has been substantial including restaurants and new gondolas and chair lifts. Both areas combine to make a decent beginner’s ski area but better intermediates will soon exhaust the on-piste options. Then some ca.700m above these ski stations is Axamer Lizum, the highest ski holiday resort around Innsbruck and offering some excellent on and off-piste skiing and boarding. It is possible to ski out of Axamer Lizum into either Goetzens or Mutters but not the other way round. Hence the projected lift to connect skiers and snowboarders in these lower areas with Axamer Lizum.

mutters-lizum-link

The red link between Mutters and Lizum seems like it is finally going ahead

False starts have been many but there finally seems the impetuous to create this link and make the largest ski region in the Innsbruck vicinity a reality. Firstly rumour has it that the Birgitzköpfl double chair in Axamer Lizum has had its safety license suspended due to its age (not great news for those currently hovering above the slopes on it right now). The lift accesses both the Birgitzköpfl mountain restaurant and crucially the ski route out of Axamer Lizum and into the Goetzens and Mutters ski areas. It was previously suggested that a chair would connect the Goetzens Alm area of the mountain to the Birgitzköpfl top station. It now seems that the plan could be to develop a continuous link from Axamer Lizum to Birgitzköpfl and over to the Goetzens / Mutters top-station, with an intermediate station at Birgitzköpfl – thereby replacing the obsolete Birgitzköpfl chairlift.

Secondly there is general acceptance that to make the ski region commercially successful the area needs to attract visitors from outside the region and they will only be drawn to the destination when the disparate areas are linked to form an impressive, continuous ski region. Essentially the combined area will exceed the sum of the 3 parts. Speaking to the local ski partners in the area the area is losing out to bigger, better marketed areas and to arrest this decline it is essential to produce a better combined product for the consumer. It seems there now exists a real imperative to see this realised.

Lastly it seems that the nails in the coffin of the alternative link from Axamer Lizum to Schlick 2000 in the Stubai valley are too numerous for the project to have any future. The mountain ridge that the lift was supposed to cross is a protected alpine park and opposition to development is fierce (and in my opinion justified) – this really is a remarkable area of geology and lift would certainly damage it.

So whilst a start date for the link has yet to be published, the signs are there that the coming winter will see one of the most logical and impactful lift links in the Tirol will be realised.

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Posted in Innsbruck, Tirol
6 comments on “Is the Axamer Lizum link to Mutters and Goetzens going ahead?
  1. Donna Hicks says:

    I skied in Axamer Lizum last week for the first time. It was great (with school children) but I’d like to find a comparable resort that provides more extensive skiing for next year. The link above, if it comes up, would be the perfect solution I think. I guess that this won’t be in place before next season though?

  2. matt says:

    Hi Donna, thanks for your thoughts and we are really glad that you had a great time in Axamer Lizum. This has been my home ski hill for over a decade now and in all that time the piste map has shown a projected lift link. As mentioned in the article there are a few things happening right now that make this more likely than ever. Talk is that the link will go in later this year for the next winter season – if I had to give the chances I would say 50-50 for this later this year. It is really interesting hearing your feedback on the scale of the area and the possibility of linking it to the other Innsbruck ski hills – we have had a great deal of similar feedback regarding the area from other clients. Axamer Lizum will always exist as a locals’ ski area but if the Innsbruck tourist marketing boards want to attract overseas clients then they have to realise that size does matter and at the moment these great resorts are significantly disadvantaged. It would be interesting to know from you how many days it was before you felt a little too familiar with the terrain in Axamer Lizum?

  3. Mary Creighton says:

    Hi Matt,

    Do you know what the conclusion to this was? Is there a connection being built this season, or are they waiting?

    Thanks,

    Mary

  4. matt says:

    Hi Mary

    Thanks for the post – this is a very hot topic locally. I have found nothing officially released and even then it doesn’t substitute for the sight of heavy machinery dragging things up the mountain. But I have had some recent updates from reliable sources including the local ski school and the thinking is that the lift links are set to open for winter 2015/16. If I had to give an estimated likelihood on progress then I would say that there is a 20% chance they will be open for the coming winter and a 75% chance they will be running by the time of the following winter. This discussion has rumbled on for years now and many here lost hope that it would actually happen but I am genuinely (if cautiously) confident that these links will be in place by the winter 2015/16 and there seems to be an assumption within the local ski community that it is when and not if they links these areas. Austrians are usually very good are seeing through investment projects but the money spent on upgrades to Mutters and Goetzens ski areas is really undermined by the lack of a link to Axamer Lizum – the combined area will certainly be a big draw both locally and internationally when it is finally realised.

  5. Mary Creighton says:

    Thanks for that info Matt, I’ve recently moved to Goetzens so have been trying to keep up with the latest through the local news, but all the discussion seems to be centred on the Schlick – Axams link. Went hiking up there this weekend and doesn’t look like anything’s happening between Axams – Mutters yet!

    Mary

  6. matt says:

    Hi Mary, good to hear from you again and welcome to Goetzens – our 6 months in the village became a lot longer many years ago now! Yes the chatter around the village has been about the Schlick 2000 connection but if I had to give a best guess it would be 10% chance of it happening. There really is a lot of opposition to the Lizum – Schlick link, not just from environmentalists but generally around the local villages and even from accommodation suppliers. The ridge the lift would cross is a strikingly beautiful area and the lift really would be crossing some cherished terrain. Why the lift company behind the Goetznerbahn didn’t have the vision to locate the present gondola close to the Goetzneralm over to the Birgitzerkopfelhaus is beyond me. Then again they did go bankrupt a few years back so maybe that is indicative of their strategic thinking? So Mutters / Goetzens link yes, but who knows when The Lizum – Schlick link – very, very doubtful despite the continued speculation.

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