greifenburg area - the drautal
greifenburg area - drautal, kAerten
The small village of Greifenburg lies at 620m ASL at the easterly end of the World Famous Drautal in the state of Kaernten, Austria.
Greifenburg derives it's namefrom 'Greifvogel,' meaning bird of prey. Those who enjoy sharing the sky with the real masters won't be disappointed here.
Embergeralm, the main launch, at 1750m, finds itself facing south surrounded by numerous 'house' thermals, giving pilots plenty of options and chances to climb out. The surrounding peaks along the ridge reach around 2600m with some a touch higher.
The valley is known as the Southern Alps Highway, allowing many long XC flights. All of the flying here is along these unbroken mountain chains, offering the advantage of rarely getting low after making long glides. So faster average speeds result in longer distances overall.
Behind the Drautal is the Moelltal, north of this valley is the main ridge of the Alps. Here you'll struggle to find granite peaks below 3000m. This is the 100km plus FAI triangle route regularly featured from Greifenburg.
The flying here is most definitely Alpine in feel and look. Due to local topography the valley winds are usually light from the East, as you might expect, reducing the chances of rough conditions when low in the valley breeze.
There are many ridges going off in all directions. The potential for long-haul XC flights is some of the biggest in the Alps. Distances are limited only by imagination and a pilot's stamina. Routine XC pilots regularly beat their PB here with us.
Our accommodation here is on the mountain, next to launch at around 1700m. In addition to pilots staying at the Ficthenheim, hobby astronomers also like it there. The village is small with only a few places to eat and sleep so for us this is the best option. Plus we'll be eating up there too, half-board is possible.
There is a great swimming lake at the LZ with a restaurant and full facilities. The village is a very quiet place with nothing really going on in Greifenburg itself.
It is very special to spend the night at 1700m. It's great being so near to the launch, around 2 minutes in the van, so no rush in the morning. The Fictenheim is a nice family run hotel, with honest Austrian hospitality, a different feel to the main 'generic' ski resorts.
Not only good food is on hand, but it's very flyer friendly while the owner has flown hang gliders since the early days and knows the area intimately.
Thermals can be moderate to strong, depending on the day but mainly manageable. somewhat to the North, a real plus point here.
The valley floor is wide making available large volumes of warm air, enabling thermals to last longer and diffusing the 'valley wind.' Expect South side reliability with North side panorama.
This area is already very famous amongst pilots all over Europe. More kilometers are flown from Embergeralm, Greifenburg than anywhere else in Austria, often even Europe. Check the 'xc planner' picture in the right-hand bar.
It's easily reached by flying to Salzburg, 2hrs train to Greifenburg.