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8 great places to ski in Austria

Whether you’re a skier perfecting your glides or a snowboarder looking to twist some turns in freshly fallen snow, you’ll find everything you need in abundance out and about the slopes of Austria. Come here for pristine pistes, top-of-the-notch resorts, world-class ski schools and optimal snow conditions, all amongst some of the most beautiful mountains and scenery in the world.

As the beauty of Austria’s mountainous landscape knows no bounds and with its abundance of high-quality ski resorts it can be difficult to know which destination to pick for your next holiday. So to help you along we have compiled some of the top 8 great places to ski in Austria.

Freeriden in Kitzbühel © Kitzbuehel Tourismus / Michael Werlberger Freeriden in Kitzbühel © Kitzbuehel Tourismus / Michael Werlberger

Kitzbühel in Tirol

The small medieval town of Kitzbühel is steeped in tradition. Both the town and its ski resort (where every year professional skiers reach speeds of 140km/hr in front of some 60,000 spectators every January) are bywords for Gemütlichkeit - that particular brand of Austrian hospitality that guarantees the warmest of welcomes.

In addition to great off-piste action you can follow the 35km circuit to take in some of the equally delightful surrounding villages and areas. Polish up your skiing skills at any one of the area's legendary ski schools such as the 'Rote Teufel' (Red Devils), and take your pick from Kitzbühel's 50-plus cosy mountain huts to join in with the legendary love of après ski beats long into the night. Come here for hot winter action in an unrivalled Tirolean fairy-tale ski village setting.

Fabulous views of the Steinberge mountains © TVB Saalbach-Hinterglemm / Mirja Geh Fabulous views of the Steinberge mountains © TVB Saalbach-Hinterglemm / Mirja Geh

Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn

Composed of four ski areas, it stretches from Tirol to the Salzburg province and has rightly earned its placed amongst the world’s biggest top ten. Its areas are as diverse, varied and prestigious as each other. Fieberbrunn transforms into a free rider's paradise for the Swatch freeride tour every winter, Saalbach is home to Rave on Snow, the world’s biggest winter festival of electronic music, and Saalfelden Leogang’s annual ski marathon attracts professionals and amateur skiers alike.

270 kilometres of immaculate pistes, 71 modern lifts and an enjoyable circuit creates a winter oasis for skiers, snowboarders and tobogganers. From easy family slopes to deliciously demanding professional runs, there is something for everyone. Foodies will find their own culinary heaven with first-class gourmet delights in mountain eateries. A lively Après ski scene awaits when around 60 chalets, snow bars, pubs and discos throw open their doors to all after a fun-packed day on the slopes.

ski region Arlberg © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Josef Mallaun ski region Arlberg © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Josef Mallaun

Vorarlberg

This region has one of the best snow records in much of the Alps. Take your pick from Brandnertal, Lech Zürs am Arlberg or Bregenzerwald for your winter adventure.

A favourite amongst celebrities, royalty and gourmets alike, a new cable car links Zürs and Stuben/Rauz, making Arlberg the largest contiguous skiing area in Austria.

Brandnertal is prized for its family-friendly vibe and offers 55km of neatly groomed pistes, easy runs and many activities for children.

The Damüls-Mellau resort in the Bregenzerwald boasts a Gipfelbahn gondola linking Mellau with Damüls and ensures that moving between the shadier north-facing slopes and sunny south-facing ones is quick and easy, and this in an area which is world renowned for its innovative architecture, design and craftsmanship.

Snow-covered winter landscape with a breathtaking view at Lake Zell © Faistauer Photography / Nikolaus Faistauer Snow-covered winter landscape with a breathtaking view at Lake Zell © Faistauer Photography / Nikolaus Faistauer

Zell am See-Kaprun

An hour away from Salzburg Airport is the gorgeous lakeside town of Zell am See, which shares the same lift pass as the equally picturesque village of Kaprun about 8km down the road. Beginners and advanced skiers are well catered for. You can take a combination of gondola and chair-lifts from Zell am See town centre and from the satellite of Schuttdorf for intermediate skiing on the 2,000 m Schmittenhöhe mountain and snow-sure skiing is guaranteed on the 3,030 m-high slopes of Kaprun's Kitzsteinhorn Glacier.

Beginners or those returning to the sport can hit the wide range of nursery slopes or polish up their skills at any one of the area’s 16 different ski schools. Away from the slopes, the chic shops lining Zell am See’s cobblestoned high street are fantastic for some retail therapy, or you could treat yourself to some rest and relaxation at the impressive SPA Water and Sauna World just outside Kaprun.

 
Mountains, lake and glacier
Alpbachtal in the winter © Alpbachtal Seenland Tourismus / Linda Reichsöllner Alpbachtal in the winter © Alpbachtal Seenland Tourismus / Linda Reichsöllner

Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau

"Ski Jewel" is formed of two Tirolean ski resorts - Alpbach and Wildschönau. Just 45km from Innsbruck,  Alpbach has been voted the prettiest town in the region, and Wildschönau boasts picturesque little villages. With some 109km of pistes, all variety of blue, red and black runs and ski roads, 50km of cross country skiing paths and 40km of cleared winter walking paths there’s much to experience, and the abundance of ski lifts ensure you enjoy your time to the max.

Families are well catered for with a generous beginner’s area on the Schatzberg and there's a park for freestylers and boarders. With romantic horse-drawn sleigh rides, farmers’ museums and the Wildschönau slow train which takes you to the most gorgeous spots in the Alpine valley, any time off the slopes will be delightfully spent.. Why not top off a day’s skiing with a celebratory Krautinger, a unique schnapps made of local turnips?

 
Skiers on a mountain plateau in the Kitzbuehel Alps © Kitzbueheler Alpen / Mirja Geh Skiers on a mountain plateau in the Kitzbuehel Alps © Kitzbueheler Alpen / Mirja Geh

Kitzbüheler Alpen in Tirol

This area is steeped in tradition and famed for its outstanding hospitality. Numerous cultural activities, museums and traditional events await, and the mountainous arena offers up the perfect stage for skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. Available as a 1 to 14-day ski pass, 10-day flexible ski pass and season pass, the Kitzbüheler Alpen AllStarCard ski pass covers the Hohe Salve Holiday Region, Brixtental Valley, St. Johann and Pillersee Tal, covering use of 916 cable cars and lifts 2,750 km of runs and giving access to 800 ski lodges, making Kitzbühel Alps one of Austria’s largest and most varied ski areas.

The slopes have plenty of natural snow and snowmaking facilities, guaranteeing winter sports enthusiasts a long season. The gentle runs of the St. Johann resort lend themselves perfectly to family fun, and there are all number of romantic rustic huts to take a rest and refuel along the way.

Christmas market in Innsbruck's old town © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christof Lackner Christmas market in Innsbruck's old town © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christof Lackner

Innsbruck in Tirol

For a ski holiday with a very different feel, the stunning Habsburg university town of the 'capital of the Alps', Innsbruck, will not disappoint. Recently awarded the title of ‘best European Winter Destination’ by a leading luxury magazine, it has hosted the Winter Olympics three times and is famous for hosting Channel 4’s 'the Jump'. Nine ski areas form Olympia SkiWorld. A single ski pass gives you access to the combined 300km of pistes and the free ski bus whisks you to your chosen spot in no time.

Peppered with small boutiques, beautiful museums, fabulous culinary establishments and a wealth of glistening Christmas markets, come here to combine culture, shopping and sports and to get you into the seasonal cheer. With only 2 hours from the UK to the slope, it’s a perfect destination for adventurous thrill seekers and culture-loving metropolitan travellers alike.

Tiroler Zugspitz Arena - cross-country skiing © Tiroler Zugspitz Arena / Christoph Jorda Tiroler Zugspitz Arena - cross-country skiing © Tiroler Zugspitz Arena / Christoph Jorda

Tiroler Zugspitz Arena

At 2,962 m the Zugspitze mountain is the tallest in the area. Tucked beneath this fantastic backdrop are the seven ski resorts making up the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. 139km of slopes (including 93km artificial snow) and 58 lifts can be reached quickly by free buses and can all be covered by the same pass. There’s no end of variety with the range of packages for all different budgets. Gentle slopes offer a relaxing experience for beginners and returners to skiing, whilst challenging slopes provide exhilarating runs for the experienced.

Many packages offer free childcare, there are numerous ski courses and camps for children aged two and upwards, and children under six ski free in all areas. With much emphasis put on relaxation, culinary delights and enjoyment, away from the slopes you can soak in the après ski experience, relax in your hotel’s spa or while away the hours in a pretty local village or town.

True Tirolean experience


Wherever and whenever you go you’re certain to experience more than a touch of that unrivalled Austrian hospitality and are sure to be pleasantly surprised at the outstanding value for money that a winter holiday here offers.

 

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