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.
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.
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.
Tirol's capital has a total of 9 ski regions that make up the OlympiaSkiWorld.
One of Austria's most famous resorts, especially thanks to the iconic Hahnenkamm race.
In the midst of Zillertal 3000 ski region with around 118 miles of slopes.
The winter sports region looks back on a long tradition and is particularly popular with families.
Zell am See
Situated right on Lake Zell, this beloved resort is the gateway to three ski areas, including the Kitzsteinhorn glacier ski area.
Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein look back on a long winter sports tradition. www.gastein.com
A perennial favourite winter sports destination, with around 200 kilometres of slopes. www.saalbach.com
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.
Centre of the Schladming Dachstein ski region with the 4 Mountain Ski Area.
A popular winter sports destination, and the setting of the winter scenes in the Beatles film "Help"
A ski and world-cup mountain village draped in tradition, in a ski area with guaranteed snow on a sunny plateau.
Skiing is one of the most exciting sporting experiences there is and Austria plays a leading role in its success.Read more