The Hochstein is one of the local mountains in Lienz and in winter is an exceptionally popular tour destination for ambitious piste users, ski tour beginners and racing skiers. After 1350 metres altitude ascent along the steep ski piste ‘H 2000’, and through the darkness of the forest and the romantic Russenweg, Hochsteinhütte, refurbished in 2009, characterises the wide ridge summit and tempts you to stay for a while. Evening “work-out tours’ to the Alpenvereinshütte using the light from your head torch, coupled with the view of Lienz at night-time are legendary and have enjoyed increasing popularity. The actual Russenweg goes around all of the ski piste and starts at Schloss Bruck (725 m, car park), to the west of Lienz. Plenty of snow is however required, otherwise the first 300 metres altitude to the Moosalm (1008 m) is to be tackled by the artificial snow piste, or you tackle this using the cable car, to start the ski hike directly from the Alpine lodge. At the top end of the children’s T-bar lift, yellow route signposts take us past the traditional Holzhüttl into the protected forest. After a forest trail we slowly gain altitude initially via well-kept serpentines. On several occasions there ae glades to cross before we come to a wide goods route (1380 m, toboggan run), which provides the connection to the Sternalm (1500 m, guesthouse). This is where, depending on the conditions, you can leave and enter he Russenweg, which was first developed by World War One prisoners. The ski track now takes us into the forest again, crossing the forest road on several occasions, before we come to a little wooden wayside cross beneath the ridge. Proceeding in a south-easterly direction, between avalanche barriers and climbing slightly, we get to the Hochsteinhütte (3 ½ - 4 hours from the valley station), which provides plenty of views. Descent in an easterly direction with a short ‘board section’ to the mountain station for the T-bar lift and via the ‘H 2000’ into the valley.
Additional ski tour tips can be obtained in the ski tour guides by Thomas Mariacher. These are available here: http://www.grafikzloebl.at/verlag/buecher/