Please choose Language or Country
or

Legendary Winter Charm

Austria's legendary winter sports resorts have mastered the almost impossible art of striking out in new directions, whilst at the same time retaining their traditional charm.
Austria's winter arena, abounding with snow-filled peaks, icy valleys, powder-fresh snow and glacial delights, sets the stage for the most delightful of sporting adventures. It's no surprise that with such superb conditions, the country has played a pivotal role in the history of skiing, and was home to some of the world's very first ski pioneers and ski schools.

Many forefathers of Alpine skiing came from quaint Austrian mountain villages that have now grown into bustling winter sports resorts with all the amenities. Despite now boasting technical progress in spades and the most modern facilities, these resorts have retained their quintessential charm and are the perfect place to experience "Gemütlichkeit" (a term particular to Austria embodying cosiness, comfort and homeliness).

Let us introduce you to just a few of these gems.

The Arlberg

Nestled in the west of Austria, the Arlberg is the birthplace of Austrian skiing, and was home to the very first Austrian ski lift in 1936. Boasting excellent snow records and vast Alpine terrain, the area has easily evolved into a busy and successful international winter sports resort. Lech Zürs am Arlberg, a once sleepy mountain destination, has bred an astonishing four Olympic gold medallists in Alpine skiing, making it the only place in the world to have done so.

Ironically, it's the state-of-the-art technology that makes places like Lech-Zürs and its satellite Oberlech seem frozen in time and helped the area retain its cosy charm. A network of underground tunnels together with a brisk mountain lift whisk visitors around the resort, and ensure a car- and traffic-free paradise. With its tranquility, a wealth of exclusive accommodation and chocolate-box surroundings, it's no surprise that the idyllic area attracts a wealth of prominent guests. The late Princess Diana, the Dutch royal family and Monaco's Princess Caroline count amongst the most famous visitors to this resort. Actor Hugh Grant has also been spotted at the Schneggarei ski lodge and is apparently rather partial to a wiener schnitzel.

Seefeld

The picturesque village, of Seefeld in Tirol is steeped in tradition and charm. Amidst its historic Gothic church, surrounding snow-capped peaks, charm-filled restaurants and rustic guest taverns you'll also find bucketloads of world-famous Austrian hospitality, with the locals regularly going above and beyond to keep their guests happy. In 2012 when Manchester City FC stayed at the Hotel Klosterbräu, the hotel even imported in special mattresses at the request of the club management. There are, however, limits to even the warmest hospitality, such as when local traditions are threatened. The players' request not to ring church bells early in the morning was politely declined.

You'll also find a thriving artistic and cultural vibe in this most picturesque of settings. Time your visit to Seefeld to coincide with the week-long Snowfeld Snow Festival winter party in January to find the village humming with open-air music and live street performances, whilst intricately sculptured snow statues adorn the streets.

Schladming-Dachstein

Styria is renowned for its lush forests, delicious wine, health-giving spas and historic castles. Amidst this beautiful and cultural backdrop you'll find Schladming Dachstein, an internationally famous winter sports resort, former host of two Alpine Ski World Championships, more than 30 World Cup races and the Special Olympics

Rudi Stocker, the senior partner in a hotel in the area has seen many things come and go over the course of his long life. “My brother and I made the first snow plough out of a tractor,” he grins. “We simply attached a huge wooden shovel to it.” Rudi’s father used to transport guests up the mountain in an ox-wagon and in 1960 the first ski slope in the region was groomed by hand. Even today Rudi still goes out on his skis, even though he's now over 80.

 

  • Lech am Arlberg, a ski resort with history © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Felder Lech am Arlberg, a ski resort with history © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Felder
  • The legendary winter resort Lech © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun The legendary winter resort Lech © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun
  • The legendary winter resort Lech © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun The legendary winter resort Lech © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun
  • Seefeld in Tirol, a legendary winter resort © Seefeld Tourismus Seefeld in Tirol, a legendary winter resort © Seefeld Tourismus
  • The legendary winter sports resort Seefeld in Tirol © Seefeld Tourismus The legendary winter sports resort Seefeld in Tirol © Seefeld Tourismus
  • Maesern church in winter resort Seefeld in Tirol © Seefeld Tourismus Maesern church in winter resort Seefeld in Tirol © Seefeld Tourismus
  • Rudi Stocker's first snow groomer © Alpenhotel Waldfrieden Rudi Stocker's first snow groomer © Alpenhotel Waldfrieden

Other Winter Resorts Steeped in Tradition

Innsbruck
Tirol's capital has a total of 9 ski regions that make up the OlympiaSkiWorld.
www.innsbruck.info

Kitzbühel
One of Austria's most famous resorts, especially thanks to the iconic Hahnenkamm race.
www.kitzbuehel.com

Mayrhofen/Zillertal
In the midst of Zillertal 3000 ski region with around 118 miles of slopes.
www.mayrhofen.at

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
The winter sports region looks back on a long tradition and is particularly popular with families.
www.serfaus-fiss-ladis.at

Zell am See
Situated right on Lake Zell, this beloved resort is the gateway to three ski areas, including the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski area.
www.zellamsee-kaprun.com

Gastein
Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein look back on a long winter sports tradition. www.gastein.com

Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang
A perennial favourite winter sports destination, with around 200 kilometres of slopes. www.saalbach.com

Nassfeld/Hermagor
This isn't just popular for its sunny climate. Winter sports guests are particularly fond of the top-notch lifts and cosy mountain huts here.
www.nassfeld.at

Schladming
Centre of the Schladming Dachstein ski region with the 4 Mountain Ski Area.
www.planai.at

Obertauern
A popular winter sports destination, and the setting of the winter scenes in the Beatles film "Help"
www.obertauern.com

Hinterstoder
A ski and world-cup mountain village draped in tradition, in a ski area with guaranteed snow on a sunny plateau.
www.hinterstoder.at

More Winter Legends

Image copyrights

The main purpose of the two main domains www.austria.info and www.austriatourism.com is the promotion of Austria as a holiday destination.