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Backpack & Budget

What's In in Innsbruck

October 09, 1994|LUCY IZON

Innsbruck, Austria, was practically built for youth and sports. It's been a university town since 1669, and played host to the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976.

Backpacking travelers who want to add a few days of skiing to their European adventure will find that it's easier now to take advantage of this city's special free ski services.

Innsbruck's tourism publication, High Mountains, Terrific Town, says travelers are eligible for free Club Innsbruck cards after staying just one night in this charming Alpine city. The cards are valid for free travel on Alpine and cross-country ski buses in the Innsbruck area, which operate between Dec. 19 and April 17.

The cards, issued at hotels and hostels, are also valid for discounts on ski passes, mountain railways, museums, the Alpine Zoo, and are valid for a free introductory cross-country ski course in the suburban village of Igls.

Alpine skiers can use the free ski bus service to reach the six Innsbruck ski areas. If there is insufficient snow for skiing, free transport will be arranged to the Stubai Glacier, where skiing is available 365 days a year.

Inexpensive shared accommodations are available at several hostels affiliated with the Hostelling International network. Don't expect self-catering facilities at Austrian hostels.

Youth hostels scheduled to be open through the winter are:

* Jugendherberge Glockenhaus, at Weiherburggasse 3. It has 28 beds. The fee per bed is $9; breakfast is $4.

* Jugendherberge Innsbruck; Reichenauerstrasse 147. It has 178 beds. The price for bed and breakfast is $11.60.

* Jugendherberge St. Nikolaus, Innstrasse 95. There are 100 beds for $9 each. Breakfast is $4.

Single-day ski passes for individual ski areas range from $20 on a weekday at Glungezer to $36.50 at the Stubai Glacier.

There are also two new ski passes for this winter.

The Innsbruck Super Ski Pass covers all Innsbruck areas, the Stubai Glacier, Kitzbuhel and Arlberg. This gives skiers access to more than 300 miles of ski runs and 200 ski lifts. Ski bus transportation is included. An adult pass valid for four days within a six-day period is $140.

The Glacier Ski Pass covers all Innsbruck areas and the Stubai Glacier. Skiers have access to 75 miles of ski runs and 52 lifts. Free ski bus transportation is also included. The rates for Club Card holders are: three days for $80; six days for $150; a pass valid for three days within a four-day period is $88; three days within a six-day period cost $94.

Ski passes are not transferable. They can be purchased at all ski lift bottom stations and at the Innsbruck Information Office at Burggraben 3.

Ski rentals range from $22.25 for skis, boots and poles for one day to $92.50 for six days.

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