I've been hiking the the Alps for 20years and normally I go skiing every winter. But I see more and more pictures of people hiking in the snow.

Is it possible to go hiking in February in the alps? If so, what information would I need? I always go to Zillertal in Austria, and on the website are "Winter hikes" but they are mostly just from town to town.

In my eyes it would be perfect to hike in Zillertal as it is very popular for skiing so I can stop in one of the restaurants and refill.

Would there be a risk with avalanches?

2 Answers 2


There are multiple types of winter hiking that you may refer to. First there is the winter hiking trails. These are often found in or near ski resorts. They are often groomed and can therefore be used with normal boots, no snow shoes required. There trails are typically leading from one cable car station to another or from town to town. Lower in the valley there are often winter hiking trails that are not groomed as there is less snow. Groomed trails are usually closed when there is a high risk of avalanches (comparable to ski slopes).

Second there is marked snow shoe trails. Some of these may be prepared but a lot of them are not. These can typically be found higher up in the mountains and they are often exposed to the risk of avalanches.

Third there is unmarked snow shoe trails. These can be found in a guide book or in a special snow shoe hiking maps. As these routes are not maintained, you are required to check the avalanche risk by yourself.

  • 2
    even for marked snowshoes trail, I would recommend checking the avalanche situation. There will probably be a ready-made report that you can read that tells you whether you should or should not go on such or such trail at the trail heads, though
    – njzk2
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 5:30

I agree with the comment above. In the winter Alps, avalanches are always likely to converge. It is not enough to know the trail, you need to know the situation on this trail and it is best to take information from rescuers. As a rule, rescuers have information on routes and they monitor it, since in the Alps there are a large number of tourists and lovers of winter hiking.

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