8 great places to ski in Austria
You'll be spoilt for choice with the abundance of high-quality beautiful ski resorts in Austria. To help you choose the perfect one for you, we have compiled a list of the top 8 great places to ski.
Austria's Alps are blessed with a long and lavish snow season and 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. All of Austria's resorts have top-of-the-range snowmaking facilities, ensuring complete and utter satisfaction on perfectly groomed pistes all throughout the winter season. The high altitude of many of its mountains brings about ideal snowy conditions. In the Tirol alone there are 5 glaciers, such as the Hintertux glacier, which offers a whopping 365 days of skiing a year.
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 huts invite you to while away the hours nursing a hot spicy Glühwein or schnapps in front of a crackling log fire surrounded by friendly locals. The service excellence and hospitality that you encounter all over the country is guaranteed to leave you with a warm glow even in the cold winter weather. Most of Austria's hotels and guest houses are family-run, guaranteeing a friendly and unique atmosphere.
Austria, which looks back on a very deep and long tradition in skiing, has some of the very best winter sports infrastructure in Europe, and here you will find old integrated with the new and modernity with tradition. Come to Austria for a wealth of perfectly groomed pistes, top-of-the-range snowmaking facilities and ski-hire equipment, impressive viewing galleries and the most modern lift installations. Millions of Euros per year are invested into continuously improving and upgrading the country's already impressive lift and gondola network. One of this year's highlights is the opening of the new Arlberg cableway link, the Flexenbahn, yielding Austria's largest interconnected ski area. Don't miss out on our selection of the hottest highlights from the winter 2018/19 season.
Austria is well known for winning on the value-for-money stakes, with everything from basic holiday costs to lift passes, ski schools, eating out and partying costing less compared to other popular ski destinations. Not only will your holiday cost you less, but there will be so much more thrown in to boot (see our other 9 reasons for skiing in Austria). Savvy travellers can also find great deals in Austria's ski regions. The Silberregion Karwendel provides free ski schools or lift passes for children, Ski amadé's Ladies Week (Mar 23-30, 2018) offers free skiing for every second person, and the Family Euro package at the Bad Kleinkirchheim/St. Osward ski resort gives children under 12 the opportunity to ski for just €1 per day, to name a few.
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 here in the early afternoon. You can expect friendly crowds, delicious food, catchy tunes, Jägertee, lashings of fantastic local beer or schnapps and the indescribable uplifting feeling when all the people in the room seem know the words to the old-favourite après-ski songs and erupt in a general jolly chorus, dancing on the tables. Check out Ischgl for one of the best-known après-ski vibes, but you can expect to experience this all over Austria's ski resorts.
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 holiday (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-Alpendorf 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 ice skate on frozen Lake Zell in the afternoon. You'll find a wealth of varied opportunities waiting all over the country.
You may well be surprised at how easy and convenient a skiing holiday in Austria is, with an average direct flying time of under 2 hours from most major UK gateways to a choice of popular Austrian destinations. Choose to spend your winter holiday in Innsbruck and you can be skiing down the slope 4 hours after leaving the UK. If flying's not for you, drive to Austria's slopes instead. Then again, within Austria you can travel by Austria's modern and sophisticated rail network in comfortable trains and can take up on the great-value SparSchiene tickets offered by the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways). The height of convenience can be found at one of Austria's many ski-in/ski-out accommodations, such as the Hotel Edelwiess & Gurgl in Obergurgl and Das Central in Sölden in the Ötztal Alps, so you can maximise your time on the slopes.
Trying to find the very best ski schools in Austria would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack - as they are all over the place! In Austria, there are world-class ski schools for all levels with 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. The ski schools of St. Anton in 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 level skier are available on Austria's slopes, giving you ample opportunity to practice your newly learned moves and techniques.
Wondering where to go skiing this winter? We have some ideas – and so do the locals. We’d like to show you around a range of skiing spots you will love, plus introduce you to someone who knows the area inside and out. Because who better to talk to for real insiders’ tips?
Find out where your journey will take you this winter!
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