Unmissable ski destinations in Austria
Austria’s precipitous pistes, picturesque villages and top-quality resorts, attract ski enthusiasts from all over the world. The appeal of Austria’s mountains knows no limits – not only for their outstanding skiing opportunities, but also for their lively après-ski scenes, and warm, Austrian traditional welcome – or Gemütlichkeit.
Excellent accommodation, culinary delights and a variety of culture, make Austria the ideal choice for skiers and boarders looking for an all-round experience. There are many different options for those of all levels of ability looking to enjoy a memorable time. Here are our eight suggestions – in no particular order – on where you can enjoy the best of Austria this winter…
A great choice for beginner or intermediate skiers, Zell am See-Kaprun is just an hour from Salzburg airport. Situated by a lake in the town of Zell am See, the resort has 16 different ski schools, a perfect option for those looking to improve their skiing skills. For more confident skiers and boarders, the 2,000 metre high Schmittenhöhe mountain is an excellent bet. The village of Kaprun is just nearby and is most known for the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, where lifts and slopes rise to over 3,000 metres. Away from the action, there’s the opportunity for some upmarket retail therapy on Zell am See’s high street. Find out more >>>
The Tirol is a province in Western Austria that boasts some of the country’s best-known resorts. This includes Kitzbühel, renowned for its popular World Cup Hahnenkamm downhill race. Steeped in tradition, this medieval town has much to offer visitors, with its Austrian hospitality, charming walled town centre and jovial après-ski. With its 54 ski lifts and 179 kilometres of pistes, Kitzbühel is a great destination for skiers and boarders of a variety of levels, and a good place to polish up on skiing proficiency, with a range of legendary ski schools to choose from, such as ‘Rote Teufel’ (Red Devils). Find out more >>>
Counted among the world’s top ten biggest ski areas, Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn is composed of four different ski resorts. The area stretches from Tirol to the Salzburg province and is surrounded by 270 kilometres of intermediate pistes, linked by 70 modern lifts. Visitors can enjoy a lively après-ski scene, as well as top-notch food and local entertainment. Saalbach’s Rave on Snow, one of the best winter electronic music festivals in Europe, and unique mountain bike contest “White Style”, are worth keeping an eye out for. Find out more >>>
Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau includes two of the prettiest resorts in the region: Alpbach and Wildschönau. Their combined forces ensure that skiers and boarders have access to some 109 kilometres of pistes, 50 kilometres of cross country skiing paths and 40 kilometres of cleared winter walking paths. Covered by a single lift pass, the skiing options here prove that quality trumps quantity, with one of the best features including skiing from top to bottom, with multiple run options, ensuring that every descent is new and interesting. There’s a generous beginners area that is well suited for families, with a Race n’ Boarder Arena for the more adventurous, while the views from both the Schatzberg summit and Wiedersbergerhorn, are not to be missed. Away from the slopes, pop to the famers’ museums or have a celebratory Krautinger – schnapps made of local turnips.
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Vorarlberg is a region situated in the far west of Austria known for having one of the best snow records in the Alps – as well as its outstanding cuisine. The province offers a variety of ski resorts that are not only great value for money, but that also have something for everyone, as cliché as this may sound. Lech Zürs am Arlberg is popular with the glamorous crowd, while Brandnertal is noted for its family-friendly atmosphere, 55 kilometres of pistes and children’s activities. Then there’s Bregenzerwald, with over 100 kilometres of pistes, it’s a place where skiing, architecture, design and craftsmanship go hand in hand. Good news for skiers and boarders is that all resorts on the Arlberg are now connected, due to the Flexenbahn cableway link between Zürs and Stuben/Rauz. This will ensure that skiing at the Arlberg is even easier – and makes the area the largest contiguous skiing area in Austria. Find out more >>>
Recently voted ‘Best European Winter Destination’ by a leading luxury magazine, Innsbruck is the capital of the Tirol region and is also known as the ‘capital of the Alps’. The Habsburg university town is conveniently located, within just half an hour nine ski areas can be reached, with one right above the city itself, combined in the Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck. A single ski pass gives you access to the combined 300 kilometres of pistes and the free ski bus can get you wherever you want to go pretty quickly. Off the slopes, there are restaurants, museums and an array of Christmas markets just waiting to be discovered. Find out more >>>
Kitzbühel Alps is one of Austria’s largest and most diverse ski regions. Easily reachable by car, bus or train and just an hour away from Salzburg and Innsbruck airports, all of its regions are covered by its AllStarCard ski pass. This covers Hohe Salve Holiday Region, Brixtental Valley, St. Johann and PillerseeTal, including 916 cable cars and 2,750 kilometres of runs, as well as 70 lifts and 800 ski lodges. The slopes are well endowed with natural snow and snowmaking facilities, ensuring a long season. There are also other winter sports activities on offer, such as climbing, tobogganing and ice-skating. Famed for its Austrian hospitality, visitors can also make the most of museums and traditional events. Find out more >>>
The unique Tiroler Zugspitz Arena merges seven holiday villages around The Zugspitze, which reaches almost 3,000 metres. The area covers 139 kilometres of slopes and 58 lifts easily accessible by free buses. In terms of skiing, there’s much variety on offer, for both beginners and advanced skiers alike. Away from the slopes, there’s night tobogganing and torch hiking as well as a multitude of gourmet delights for foodies, and spas for pampering. Tiroler Zugspitz Arena is also family-friendly, with a range of camps and courses for children aged two and upwards, and children under six ski free in all areas. Find out more >>>
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