Austria is one of Europe’s most popular and best skiing destinations and for good reason: there’s great snow, beautiful scenic villages along with well developed resorts with plenty of runs to suit all levels. While France has long been Europe’s favourite destination, Austria is quickly catching up and in this introduction to Austria ski holidays we’ll tell you why.
In 2010 over a quarter of all European ski holidays were at Austrian destinations in part prompted by Austria’s relative affordability compared to France. The largest concentration of resorts can be found in the Ziller Valley and Tiroler Unterland areas, although the majority of Austria ski resorts are located outside of these skiing meccas.
Expert skiers who love the most complex black runs will find plenty of opportunities. St Anton in Tyrol has many black runs and is famous for epic off-piste. St Anton links up with Lech in Vorarlberg to create the incredible Arlberg ski area that is famous for great snow and freeride.
Those prepared to put up with the lengthy airport transfer should try the Bad Gastein resort in the Salzburg area, which is particularly popular with Austrians and has size, altitude and variety of difficult runs in its favour.
Austrian Ski resorts have some of the best selection of runs for intermediates and beginners along with world class lift systems and ski schools. Those on family holidays or coming as beginners should consider Seefeld in Tyrol which has a great ski school and is only a half hour transfer from Innsbruck.
Alternatively Zell am See near Salzburg offers great altitude with stunning views alongside several excellent ski schools, and great mountain top skiing. Ischgl offer great slopes, off-piste and apres that opens in November with a big party and close in May with another party.
No introduction to Austria ski holidays would be complete without talking about the summer. While in the UK Austria hasn’t traditionally been thought of as a summer skiing destination, glacier resorts are becoming increasingly popular.
Many close only for July and August, and some such as Hintertux offer skiing year round although it’s a little difficult to get to. Others such as Stubai are easier to get it being located close to Innsbruck airport, but typically close sometime in June and reopen mid-September.