10 Reasons to Ski in Austria

    Snow-sure pistes suitable for all ages and skill levels, great value for money, and the world-famous "Gemütlichkeit": These are just some of the reasons why you should make Austria your next skiing getaway. Want to know more? Browse our top 10 list below!

    Serfaus ski area / Serfaus in Tirol

    1. Snow is Guaranteed

    Snow-guarantee is a crucial factor when choosing a winter destination. And, luckily, Austria's Alps are blessed with a long and lavish snow season. Therefore, it comes with little surprise that the country is widely recognised as one of the world's best snow-sure skiing destinations. The snow on the ground is generally powdery and fluffy well into spring, packed powder prevails on the groomed runs, and deep powder off-piste. The high altitude of many of its mountains brings about ideal snowy conditions up until springtime - and beyond. In Tirol alone there are 5 glaciers - such as the Hintertux glacier, which offers a whopping 365 days of skiing a year. Or take Zell am See-Kaprun, where skiing is on from October to June thanks to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier.

    And if everything goes wrong, Austria’s resorts also feature top-notch snow-making facilities, ensuring perfectly groomed pistes no matter the weather. Even better: 90% of them use green energy only.

    Family enjoys Kaiserschmarrn at a hut in the ski resort Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau

    2. Austrian Gemütlichkeit & Hospitality

    The Austrian notion of Gemütlichkeit is hard to explain. So special and unique to this country, it embodies cosiness, comfort and homeliness and is a word that just can't be translated. You'll find lashings of this during your winter skiing adventure. Cosy rustic mountain huts invite you to while away the hours, nursing a hot spicy Glühwein or a home-made schnaps in front of a crackling log fire, surrounded by friendly locals you will soon call your friends.

    The service and hospitality in Austria is guaranteed to leave you with a warm glow even on cold winter days. Most of Austria's hotels and guest houses are family-run, giving you the chance to become a temporary port of the owners's everyday life, which further adds to the homely atmosphere.

    Freerider enjoys a ride on an untouched slope / St. Johann in Tirol

    3. Unrivalled Infrastructure

    Looking back on a long tradition in skiing (we are one of the birthplaces of Alpine skiing after all!), Austria has some of the very best winter sports infrastructure in Europe, and seamlessly combines modernity with the authentic vibe of the past. Come to Austria for a wealth of perfectly groomed pistes suitable for all ages and skill levels, fun snow parks, top-of-the-range snow-making facilities and ski-hire equipment, impressive viewing galleries and photo spots, as well as the state-of-the-art lift and cable car installations.

    Austria invests millions of Euros every single year into continuously improving and upgrading the country's already impressive lift and gondola network - and making it more sustainable on top.

    Kids at the Top of Alpbachtal , Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschoenau

    4. Great Value for Money

    Austria is well known for winning on the value-for-money stakes, with everything from lift passes, ski schools, eating out, and partying costing less than in many other comparable popular ski destinations. Not only will you enjoy a skiing holiday that won't break the bank, but there will be so much more thrown in to boot - savvy travellers can find great deals in Austria's ski regions, including all-in passes for transportation or free ski passes for kids, and save even more – an important factor in the current global economic crisis.

    A region especially well-known for its great value for money – according to the British “Where to Ski and Snowboard Guide” – is Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau.

    enjoying the sun in Kühtai - region Innsbruck / Kühtai

    5. Unrivalled Après-Ski

    From rocking beats into the night in the valley to friendly gatherings outside a mountain hut, Austria really does have an enviable and unrivalled après-ski culture. Unlike in other countries, the party kicks off in the early afternoon. You can expect friendly crowds, delicious food, catchy tunes, Jägertee, fantastic local beer or schnaps, and the indescribable uplifting feeling when all the people in the room seem to know the words to the après-ski songs and erupt in a chorus, dancing on the tables.

    But Austria isn't just about partying hard on the pistes. Many ski resorts now double as gourmet foodie destinations, spoiling their guests with a great choice of award-winning restaurants to check out after a day on the slopes. You could literally dine at a new place every single night of your stay. Whatever your après-ski preference, Austria won't disappoint!

    Freeriding at Paznaun-Ischgl

    6. Variety Galore

    Austria’s skiing regions offer no end of variety of ski runs, activities and stunning scenery. Whether you're looking to mix it up and prefer not to ski the same slope more than once during your stay (for example at Skicircus, one of the top 10 biggest ski resorts in the world, or Arlberg, now Austria's largest contiguous skiing area) or small and intimate is more your thing (such as hidden gems like Sankt Johann in Salzburg or Hochkönig), you're certain to find the right thing for you amongst Austria's 426 ski areas.

    For a literal change of scenery, you could ski on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier on a cold morning in Zell am See-Kaprun before making your way down to skate the frozen Lake Zell in the afternoon. Austria provides a wealth of varied pistes for all ages and skill levels - and all come with stunning views on top.

    Winter holidays in the Alpbachtal valley

    7. Charming Resorts with an Authentic Village Life

    Austria's mountain resorts not only meet the best standards, but often exceed them in value and service. Most of the four- or five-star hotels in Austria have their own spa facilities, so you can relax your mind and muscles in style after a long day on the slopes. As is the Austrian way, service and gratuities are always included in the rate. You can ski right into many of the villages, and the lifts and cable cars are usually within easy walking distance to your home away from home. Beautiful, picturesque hotels, with fluffy down comforters and cozy rooms, friendly hosts, and hearty Austrian food await you.

    All this happens in chocolate box villages that grew organically, expanding over the centuries. The result is an Old-World atmosphere for your perfect winter fairy-tale.

    Two skiiers with a ski instructor in the Schladming ski area

    8. Premier World-Class Ski Schools

    In Austria, there are world-class ski schools for all levels with roughly 18,000 ski instructors from all over the world. Most ski schools have at least one English-speaking instructor, so you don't even need to be able to speak German to attend. What's more, the Austrian instructor training is considered to be the leading in the world, with those making it to the end having mastered more training days and a higher qualification than in any other country. The ski schools of St. Anton am Arlberg look back on a long tradition, with the first school there being established in 1921, and Kitzbühel was the first place in Austria to introduce ski instruction, with prestigious schools such as the Rote Teufel ('Red Devils').

    Runs for every skill level can be found on Austria's slopes, giving you the chance to practice your newly learned moves and techniques.

    Snow Safety Conference / Lech at Arlberg

    9. Safety Is a Priority

    Not only does Austria rank high up on the safest countries to travel and live in worldwide, but all the investment in the sport and its infrastructure means that slopes are incredibly safe for winter sports enthusiasts. The high quality of its ski lifts, meticulously groomed pistes together with the well-trained ski patrol and emergency services means that skiing in Austria is safer than in many other European countries. Unlike other places, it is obligatory for children under the age of 15 to wear helmets when skiing.

    And, in spite of the fact that the last few years have seen an increase of skiers in Austria, the number of skiing accidents has actually fallen by around 50% in the last ten years. Before you put on your skis, check out our tips on how to stay safe and get fit for the slopes.

    Christmas Market on Marktplatz in Innsbruck / Innsbruck

    10. There's Lots to Do Beyond the Ski Slopes

    Thanks to the fantastic arena of mountains and lakes, snow and ice, Austria's winter wonderland offers up countless activities off the slopes. Owing to its extensive areas of natural thermal water and fresh Alpine air, the country looks back on a long tradition of health and well-being with a wealth of superior spas just a stone's throw from the winter slopes, such as Zell am See-Kaprun's Tauern Spa resort.

    Spectacular panoramic views, wild animals and winter flora can be experienced snowshoeing, and particularly impressive routes can be found in the Rauris Valley. Tobogganing slopes all over the country offer unbridled fun for the whole family, such as at Wildkogel, which prides itself as being the world's longest floodlit toboggan run. Take a Segway tour across snowy meadows, such as those offered in Serfaus in Tirol. Adrenaline junkies can get their fix scaling the dizzy heights of frozen waterfalls whilst ice climbing.

    Put some magic into your winter adventure by taking a romantic horse-drawn carriage or sleigh ride, sample local schnaps or taste hot doughnuts under the twinkling lights at one of Austria's internationally renowned Christmas markets or skate around a frozen lake.

    The possibilities really are endless, and you're guaranteed never to have a dull moment on your winter holiday in Austria.

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