Charming Village of Meallau
Meallau is a quaint village located in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, in the Bregenz forest. It is absolutely beautiful and a haven for not only winter sports, but summer activities as well. As we approached the beautiful village of Mellau, a very thin layer of snow was seen on the ground. It was unseasonably warm this January (2023), usually there is a thick blanket covering the landscape this time of year. The village has several hotels, restaurants, a beautiful church, and retail stores. The Alps shoot out from the ground, giving the village a gorgeous backdrop. From my understanding Mellau is the town to begin, and one may hit the slopes of Damüls and Fashina. I only skiied on the Mellau Damüls pistes.
We drove through the village and arrived at the base of the slopes. Here you can see a small slope that is covered in a blanket of snow, just adjacent to the ski lift resort. This little area is set aside for the kinder ski (little kids) school.
Navigating To The Entrance
The parking lot is fairly easy to navigate, and is an easy walk to the restaurant and ski lift ticket kiosk at the gondola base. The entire ski area (Mellau / Damuls / Faschina) has 29 gondola lifts and cable cars. 109 km of pistes ( slopes or runs) . There are a variety of ticket choices ranging from the number of days to the slopes and mountains.
We arrived around 11:30. Not fully understanding the pricing, we purchased lift tickets for the full day. What we should have done was purchase the lift tickets starting at noon, and grab lunch prior to getting on the lift. The price is prorated starting at 11:00am. There is also an option to purchase this spicific gondola ticket (atleast from our understanding), which can be a great option if you have young kiddos and one parent isn’t planning on skiing or snowboarding. We utilized this option on another trip, and it did save us some money. There is a restaurant adjacent to the ticket counter, which is a great place to grab some food if you have that bit of time to kill and want to take advangate of a prorated rate. The apres skii takes place in this building as well.
Getting Off The Gondola
Getting off this initial gondola brings you to a couple of restaurants, and immediately another lift. The area is vibrant and full of skiers and snowboarders of all levels. You can see other gondolas at a distance, and an area for beginners with a T bar. Here you can hop on another gondola to hit the pistes on Damüls.
The quality of the food is about what you would expect. It had the typical German foods such as: schnitzel, currywurst, and chicken nuggets for the kids. The selection was pretty decent- these just happened to be our go to orders. They were quick and easy meals. The restaurant itself was set up as a cafeteria style, and offered a wide variety of beers. We claimed a table at the back, and had that as our base camp. Having a toddler, we needed an area that we could easily meet. We didn’t have any issues with our things. Most people wanted to sit outside, so the inside wasn’t crowded.
Overall Quality of Mellau Damüls
We stayed on the Mellau Damules pistes. The markers were clearly defined. The snow quality was good, but not as good as it typically is this time of year due to the unseasonably warm temps. The bunny slope was easily accessible, and not a far walk from the restaurants. As a beginner, I can only personally speak for the red and blue slopes. They were clearly marked, and overall great slopes. This is a fantastic area to hop on a variety of gondolas and ski on the other mountains as well. You will need to have a particular ski pass to do this.
At the base and top of the first gondola is an updated list of all of the pistes, indicating whether they are open or closed. Throughout the different slopes, you could see different ski schools for different levels. The classes appeared to be well structured, and many were filled with yound kids. Mellau Damüls offers kinder school starting at age 3. We are super excited about putting our little guy in this school next year!
Apres Ski and Night Life
The apres ski starts vamping up with the closing of lifts. It is located at the base of the first gondola and adjacent to the restaurant. The room was filled with people dancing and drinking. This restaurant had a larger menu than the restaurants on the slopes. We turned our dinner into a pizza party. We left about 6:00, and the apre ski had thinned out significantly. As far as night life, I can’t personally speak for Mellau, but in the adjacent village, Bezau didn’t seem to have any. Even the grocery stores and restaurants close early- 7:00 on a Saturday evening! To make the most of our nights, we played games in our AirBnB.
Managing Our Toddler
My husband and I would take turns, one of us being on toddler duty. For us, it worked best if the shifts were clumped into 3 hour segments. This allowed for significant time on the slopes. Prior to separating, we would set up a base camp- which was in the very back of one of the restaurants. We had so much stuff between the three of us.
The Mellau resort offers rentals for toddlers as well. These were available in the gift shop at the top of the first gondola. Sledding is also a great option. We primarily played in the snow, building a snowman and making snowballs. My little one loved riding the gondolas, so that was a great way to break up the time and get out of the cold. I only have one main complaint regarding this establishment. My husband did manage to get our little guy to fall asleep on the gondola, and was planning on staying on until he woke up from his nap. Unfortunately, the employees did kick him off. I would understand if the gondolas were busy, but it wasn’t a busy day.
The Mellau resoprt did offer a kinder center for kids ages 1-6. I can’t speak personally about the day care since we didn’t utilize it, but it was an option we had considered. It is located downstairs from the gondola lift on the resort. These were the prices they had listed on the door:
Monday- Friday free
Sunday 7,00 Euros
My Review Of Mellau Damüls Ski Resort
Overall, Mellau Damüles is a great resort for families, especially those with young kids. The kinder ski looks great, and starts at the age of 3. I recommend leaving shortly before the lifts start to close on a busy day. It can get very congested with a mass exit.
Honestly, Mellau Damüls was one of the best beginner ski resorts I have ever been to. My overall experience was great, aside from my husband getting kicked off the gondola during nap time. I would absolutely recommend this destination, espeically if you have young kiddos!
As previously stated, Mellau is located in the area of Bregenzerwald Vorarlberg. You can easily hop on the Damüles pistes via the gondolas on Mellau. The closest main airports are Zurich, Innsbruck and Munich. The town of Bregenz is about 40km away and has a major trainstation.
https://www.bergfex.com/mellau/ Is a fantastic source for all information regarding this region! I encourage anyone interested in skiing in this area to check it out. It has everything from ski school information, ticket pricings, rentals, live webcams and more! This website also has a map of the three mountains, and the pistes.