My family and I live in a valley called Pillerseetal, located in the Kitzbühel Alps region, on the border of Tyrol and Salzburg. It is considered to be the snow richest in Tyrol, earning it the nickname “Schneeloch” (“snowhole”). But not only do we live in the snow richest valley: on top of that, our village – Hochfilzen – has the reputation of being the snow richest, permanently settled village in Tyrol.

Thought that nickname was pretty funny and decided to “steal” it for my website and other social media channels.

The Snow Richest Village In The Snow Richest Valley

How do we know that “we” are the snow richest village in the snow richest valley? Günther Aigner – a winter tourism researcher – performed a study using data from Tyrolean weather stations. He analyzed the data and determined an 30-year annual average with regards to snowfall and snow depth. The results clearly show that the Pillerseetal region has been the undisputed winner with an average snowfall of 517 centimeters and a snow depth of 111 centimeters.

Both pictures taken during the 2012/2013 winter season – the most insane winter I have experienced, with a total amount of 709 cm (274 cm in December, 435 cm in January).
The tip of the roof lies at 250 centimeters – a few days after taking this picture the whole roof was buried as well.

As I already mentioned, there is the valley and then there is Hochfilzen: a staggering 617 cm snowfall and 134 cm snow depth. On average, the village is covered in snow for 143 days every winter. Residents sometimes joke that Hochfilzen has only has two seasons – winter and the time waiting for winter.

The soccer field – the goal posts are just a snowfall away of being buried.

A Comparison With Another Extremely Snow Rich Region

The village of Obertilliach in East-Tyrol, which lies on 1,400 meters above sea level, measured an average of 388 cm of snow fallen and a snow depth of 93 cm within the same time period. That is even significantly less than our neighboring village Fieberbunn (471 cm and 109 cm).

Appreciated and Welcome

The tourist industry is an extremely important economical factor in Austria. The certainty of having huge amounts of snow every winter, secures jobs and is a guarantee for well-visited events like the famous Hahnenkamm Ski Races in Kitzbühel and World Cup Biathlon in Hochfilzen to take place.

Recreational possibilities are endless as well – aside from the classic sports like skiing, snowboarding and sledding, try snowshoeing, splitboarding or riding a e-fatbike in the snow! There is really no reason to get bored.

Of course there are a some downsides as well. Especially if extreme amounts of snow fall within a very short period of time – like we last experienced during the 2018/2019 winter season. From December 29th 2018 until January 14th 2019, Mother Hulda dumped an astonishing 451 cm of snow on our village.

In order to keep up with clearing out those enormous amounts from driveways, entrances and roofs, many hours of shoveling and snow blowing were needed. It was the first time that I couldn’t get to work for a week, as roads were closed and rail traffic was discontinued due to avalanche risk and general poor conditions.

No need for curtains

Luckily We Still Have Real Winters!

The disadvantages cannot weigh up to the advantages of having awesome winters – even if one curses once in a while when having to go shovel snow for the third or fourth time that day. We still experience real winters, winters most people only know from photographs or documentaries. And for that, we can and should be grateful.

With that being said: thank you for your visit and feel free to come back!

I am a photography and videography enthusiast, capturing moments to create memories with my camera and my drone as a hobby. When I'm not taking pictures, filming videos or editing them, I like to go hiking, biking and shoot some arrows in the beautiful nature of the Austrian Alps. The name "snowhole" refers to the area we live, as it is considered the snow-richest, permanently settled valley in Austria.


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