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10 Reasons to Ski in Austria

A huge variety of skiing options for all levels on snow-sure pistes, unrivalled après-ski, hospitality and off-the-slope activities. These are just some of the reasons to choose Austria for your skiing holiday. Browse our list of the top 10.

1. Snow is Guaranteed

  • Serfaus ski area © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Serfaus ski area © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera

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.

2. Austrian Gemütlichkeit & Hospitality

  • Hut in the Wilder Kaiser region © Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Zajc Hut in the Wilder Kaiser region © Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Zajc

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.

3. Unrivalled Infrastructure

  • Travelling by ski lift at sunset in East Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Joe Wörgötter Travelling by ski lift at sunset in East Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Joe Wörgötter

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.

4. Great Value for Money

  • Let's go again after taking a break on the hut © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera Let's go again after taking a break on the hut © Österreich Werbung / Peter Podpera

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.

5. Unrivalled Après-ski

  • Après-ski on the slopes in the Innsbruck region © TVB Innsbruck / Edi Groeger Après-ski on the slopes in the Innsbruck region © TVB Innsbruck / Edi Groeger

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.

6. Variety galore

  • Skiing in the Oetztal Valley in Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Peter Burgstaller Skiing in the Oetztal Valley in Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Peter Burgstaller

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.

7. It's More Convenient Than You Think

  • Enjoy stunning winter landscape on board the ÖBB Regional-Express © ÖBB / Harald Eisenberger Enjoy stunning winter landscape on board the ÖBB Regional-Express © ÖBB / Harald Eisenberger

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.

8. Premier World-Class Ski Schools

  • Two skiiers with a ski instructor in the Schladming ski area © Österreich Werbung / Peter Burgstaller Two skiiers with a ski instructor in the Schladming ski area © Österreich Werbung / Peter Burgstaller

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.

9. Safety Is a Priority

  • Skiing in Stubai, Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Zajc Skiing in Stubai, Tirol © Österreich Werbung / Wolfgang Zajc
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 don your skis, see our tips on how to stay safe and get fit for the slopes.

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

  • Christmas market © Österreich Werbung / Reinhart Bryan Christmas market © Österreich Werbung / Reinhart Bryan
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 waters 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. Toboganning 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 schnapps 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.
Freerider enjoys a ride on an untouched slope © TVB St. Johann in Tirol Freerider enjoys a ride on an untouched slope © TVB St. Johann in Tirol

Austrian Winter Tales

Find Your Favourite Skiing Destination 2018/19

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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More reasons to love winter in Austria

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