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New in Austria this Winter

Austria's modern and sophisticated ski infrastructure receives significant investment each year, continuously upgrading the offer, variety and choice offered to its winter guests. From higher, faster and bigger top-of-the-notch ski lifts to new hotels and flights and a unique James Bond installation, here are some 2017/18 winter season highlights.

Top investments

  • New Ski Deposit Ski Welt Scheffau © Christian Kapfinger New Ski Deposit Ski Welt Scheffau © Christian Kapfinger

It's not only its natural arena that makes Austria a top choice for winter sports enthusiasts from around the world. The country makes substanstial investments in upgrading and modernising the ski infrastructure and equipment every year.

One example of this is SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, who have invested 4.5 million Euros in the up-coming season, adding 300 heated ski storage units at the bottom lift station, expanding and improving the snowmaking facilities across the resort, and introducing seven new piste bashers to ensure even smoother slopes.

Kleinwalsertal has spent a whopping 40 million Euros modernising the Ifen ski area in stages. Since last winter the Olympiabahn has replaced the two lifts between the mountain station and the Ifen hut. The winter 2017/18 season sees the Ifen I and Ifen II Bahn opening, as well as a gourmet mountain restaurant. The new cable cars replace the Ifenbahn and the Hahnenköpflebahn.The snowmaking facilities in the valley areas are also being extended.

Get greater lifts

  • New Palinkopfbahn D1 in Ischgl © Tourismusverband Paznaun-Ischgl New Palinkopfbahn D1 in Ischgl © Tourismusverband Paznaun-Ischgl

In December 2017 the new Patscherkofelbahn opens in the Innsbruck ski area. A barrier-free 10-seater modern monocable ropeway replaces the four pre-existing lifts, and the environment benefits too, as 30,000 square metres of forest can be replanted on the old groomed pistes. In the future all ski slopes on the mountain will be accessible via the new monocable ropeway. You can reach the mountain station at almost 2,000 metres in just ten minutes from the Römerstraße.

The new 10-cabin areitXpress in Zell am See, SalzburgerLand, carries skiers much more comfortably and quicker than before to the slopes. It offers up more leg room, comfortable seats, safe boarding at ground level and free wi-fi on request.

In the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau, there's a new eight-seater gondola lift from Auffach to Schatzberg as well as an Alpine Coaster in Alpbach, next to the Wiedersbergerhornbahn top station. From December this year, more than 2,500 per hour will be transported on the new gondola, and thrillseekers will be treated to a one-kilometre track towards the Kolhgruben lift on the Alpbachtaler Lauser-Sauser rollercoaster, which will remain open all year round.

Ischgl's lift system has benefited in substantial investment for years, and now high-capacity lifts are being replaced by even more sophisticated versions which have an even greater hourly capacity such as the PALINKOPF D1, which will transport 2,800 people per hour from winter 2017/18.

World-championship ready

  • Cross-country skiing in Seefeld © Tirol Werbung / Josef Mallaun Cross-country skiing in Seefeld © Tirol Werbung / Josef Mallaun
Preparations for the Nordic Ski World Championships 2019 are in full swing at Olympiaregion Seefeld. From the winter 2017/18 season you can look forward to a new cross-country skiing trail and a lift which projects ski jumpers up in the air with the touch of a button. There are also new buildings and ski jumps for the athletes and teams. The 1985 WSC-Hall is being renovated, as is the fitness centre. Brand new are a technical centre and volunteer centre. A new reservoir at the Gschwandtkopf mountain enables snow production, and a pretty new lake is also being created at the Medal Plaza around the Seefeld "Seekirchl" landmark. In spring 2018 a new floodlight system will be unveiled, in good time for the 2019 world championships.

Even easier access

  • Olympia Skiworld Innsbruck © TVB Innsbruck Olympia Skiworld Innsbruck © TVB Innsbruck

A skiing getaway in Austria is becoming even more convenient. Choose to ski in Innsbruck you could be making tracks on the slopes just 4 hours after leaving the UK. Great news, then, that British Airways have increased its flights to Innsbruck, as well as doubling the number of flights from four per week to Salzburg (making it more convenient to get to ski resorts such as Zell am See-Kaprun), giving you more opportunities than ever to take in some festive charm on your ski holiday. This winter season also sees brand new direct easyJet flights every Saturday from London Gatwick to Klagenfurt. Not only does this mean easy access to this historic city with its museums and internationally renowned galleries but you have easy access to top ski resorts in Carinthia, Nassfeld and Bad Kleinkirchheim being only an hour away, with Gerlitze a swift 30 minutes away.

Snuggle up near the slopes

  • Trattlerhof delux chalet © Trattlerhof Trattlerhof delux chalet © Trattlerhof

Exciting news from the romantic 4-star Trattlerhof hotel this year is the opening of 14 brand new ski-in ski-out chalets. Located in a central location with direct access to Carinthia's ski slopes in the Bad Kleinkirchheim region, these cosy mountain cabins combine rustic charm with the comfort of modern homes. The chalets are serviced by the hotel, and breakfast is provided each morning. For your evening meal you can take a horsedrawn sleigh ride to Trattlers Einkehr chalet restaurant where regional cuisine is served up against a stunning mountainous backdrop.

Two brand-new hotels are opening up in Lower Austria. Fit in some pampering in between your time on the slopes of the Gemeindealpe at the heart of the Mariazell region at the 4-star R&R Residenz Hotel Mitterbach. With 28 rooms, a wellness area, winter garden and ski stall with a drying room, it also offers up glorious views of the Gemeindealpe. The 3-star Das Holzbach in Kirchberg am Wechsel is Lower Austria's very first solid wood hotel. Boasting 16 solid wood rooms there's not a nail or screw in sight, and no sign of any glue either.

The new Explorer Hotel in Hinterstoder, Upper Austria, right next to the valley station in Hinterstoder, brings the number of this trendy hotel chain in Austria up to four. Come here for a relaxed atmosphere, great value for money and modern design. The hotel is designed with sporty types in mind, so you'll find a ski centre offering courses and rentals, a workbench and washing area for cleaning and repairing sports equipement as well as a sports spa with sauna, steam bath and fitness room.

The best of the rest

  • Freeskiing selfie at Ski amadé © Ski amadé Freeskiing selfie at Ski amadé © Ski amadé

Competition: Ski amade are launching an exciting "Rookie of the Year" contest. To qualify you must be 16 years or under and an enthusiastic snowboarder or freeskier with a nack for filming. Hit the snowpark with your friends a GoPro and selfie stick in tow and shoot a cool video for the chance of winning an exclusive "Rookie of the Year" contract with Ski amade, becoming the face of Ski amade's Kid's/Youth campaign and receiving a complete ski or board kit.

Sponsorship: Even one of the UK's most successful skiers can't stay away from Austria! Dave Ryding has trained in Pyhrn Priel in Upper Austria, and this year for the second time running he will be sponsored by this region, becoming the face of this Alpine jewel.

Offers: From 16th November 2017 Sölden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl are offering their guests a lift pass for both ski areas when buying a lift pass for 3 or more days. This will open up the gate to 254 kilometres of slopes, and 56 top-notch lifts. Prices for this fantastic offer start at €154 for adults in the high season.

For families: New from the family ski area KellerjochBahn at Pillberg for the 2017/18 ski season is a children's play area with two conveyor belts and an additional tow lift. Winter guests can also look forward to an additional descent, taking them between Arbeser and Gafenast.

Ski Your Limit: Are you ready to “ski your limit”? If so, take The Challenge, one of the toughest ski circuits in the Alps in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. If you conquer 69 km of pistes and 12,000 vertical descent with the help of 32 lifts in just seven hours, you’ll be awarded with the well-deserved Challenge badge.

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