1. It’s More Affordable than You Might Think
A number of key elements determine the cost of a winter vacation: transportation (usually air plus transfer), accommodation, meals, lift ticket, local taxes and tips, and, for many skiers, equipment rental and ski instruction. It takes careful unwrapping of the package to find that an American package just doesn't contain the same things a European package does.
For someone on or close to the East Coast, a trip to an Austrian ski resort could be between US$ 100 and US$ 300 less than a trip in a Western ski resort. With lift tickets, transfers, food, taxes and tips factored in, a skier who lives on the West Coast will find that a one-week ski vacation in Austria costs about the same as an equivalent ski trip to a resort in the Rockies.
2. Temperature and Climate
Europeans listen with great curiosity to tales of sub-zero, wild-wind-chill skiing in North America. Daytime temperatures in the Alps average around 20 degree Fahrenheit even in January. Strong winds don’t last long and usually bring snowfall.
3. Vertical Drop
What matters to a skier is vertical drop, the difference in altitude between the highest lift-served point and the end of the ski run: in Austria usually the village. Big verticals mean long runs and uncrowded lifts. A few figures say it best:
Elevation of Resort: 1,897 ft./575 m
Highest Liftserved Point: 7,444 ft/2255 m Vertical Drop: 5,547 ft./1680 m
Elevation of Resort: 4,303 ft./1304 m
Highest Liftserved Point: 9,273 ft./2811 m Vertical Drop: 4,970 ft/1507 m
Elevation of Resort: 4,544 ft./1,376 m
Highest Liftserved Point: 10,725 ft./3,250 m
Vertical Drop: 6,181 ft./1,874 m
4. Charming Resorts with an authentic village life
Austrian mountain resorts not only meet the best standards in the U.S., but often exceed them in value and service. Most of the four- or five-star hotels in Austria have their own spa facilities. As is the Austrian way, service and gratuities are always included. You can ski right into the village, and the lifts are usually within easy walking distance to your hotel. Beautiful, picturesque hotels, with fluffy down comforters and cozy rooms, await you. Along with a hot spicy 'Gluehwein' or 'Schnaps,' of course!
5. Austrian Ski Schools are acclaimed throughout the world
Austria is world famous for its ski-schools and instructors, who have founded ski-schools at home as well as in the United States and in Canada. Ski lessons in English are available. Runs for every level skier are available on Austria's slopes.
6. Perfect Snow
The Austrian Alps are blessed with a long and lavish snow season. The snow on the ground is generally powdery and fluffy well into spring. Packed powder prevails on the groomed runs, deep powder off-piste. The Austria Ski Resort Report (to the right side of the screen) gives you the latest snow conditions at the top ski resorts in Austria.
7. Ski Run Marking System
Austrian ski resorts are typically nestled in valleys, surrounded by mountain ranges, which start above the timberline and feed into the resorts below. Generally, there are mid-run markers on all Austrian ski slopes above timberline. In addition you will find orientation maps at the lift stations, numbered run designation, danger signs, rope barriers, safety nets and much more.
8. More than just skiing...
For non-skiers, there's plenty to do and see. Sleigh rides, snowshoe adventures or ice skating are all available at most resorts. Most ski resorts offer great spa facilities for you to chill out, check out the local sights, shop in uniquely Austrian boutiques, take excursions to some of the beautiful surrounding areas and meet the international crowds that love to gather in the outdoor cafes.
9. Austria, the ultimate difference
Austrian ski resorts are built around villages that have been there since centuries, where the architecture and traditions of the region are integral to the daily life of the community and its visitors. Welcoming friendly faces, gourmet restaurants, a sense of history and tradition are at every turn. When you hit Austrian slopes, you are arriving in another place, another time, another culture. You can't repeat the experience anywhere else.
10. The Real Deal
If you're planning a winter sport vacation, do it right and make it the experience of a lifetime. Go to the birthplace of downhill skiing, where it is rooted in the awesome Alpine landscape and climate and is indelible from the heart of the people. Be a part of the real experience, and take it with you.