The Essential Skiing Guide: Austria

Austria is where the Alpine style of downhill skiing was first invented just over a century ago. It was the most popular destination for Britons through the 1970s and has been regaining ground against France for several years as its more traditional village resorts become popular once again.

More than 600 villages in Austria have ski lifts and, unlike in other Alpine nations, the resorts are almost all traditional (rather than purpose-built). They adhere to strict planning guidelines, keeping the architecture in the traditional wooden chalet-style design.

Most of the ski areas are smaller and lower than in France, which can cause snow-cover worries. However, the Austrians vehemently reject that this is a problem and have invested heavily in snow-making facilities.

On the positive side, many skiers find that they prefer holidaying in pretty little villages and skiing through woodland rather than having hundreds of kilometres of featureless and exposed high-altitude terrain on their lift pass that they can't make much use of.

Bigger isn't always better.

Did you know?

Last month, Kitzbühel and Schladming became the first non-glacier ski areas to open within the Alps for winter 2010.

At one kilometre long, Saalbach's new Treetop Path is the world's longest. It loops around the forest and incorporates a 200m hanging bridge, which is 40m high.

Austria has the best nightlife – try Ischgl, St Anton or Sölden.

The Innsbruck area pass gives inclusive access to eight ski areas around the city, and prices are low because the winter months are off-season for the Tyrolean capital.

Look out for the new eight-metre, six-seat, heated designer chairlift with orange-tinted weather covers on Ischgl's highest peak.

Best resorts for novices

Alpbach (004 3 5336 600600; alpbachtal.com); Galtür (00 43 50990 5443; galtuer.com); Igls (00 43 512 377101; innsbruck.info /igls); Obertauern (00 43 6456 7252; obertauern.com); Serfaus (00 43 5376 62390; serfaus.com).

For intermediates

Kitzbühel (00 43 536 777; kitzbuehel.com); Ischgl (00 43 5444 100; ischgl .com); Saalbach Hinterglemn (00 43 6541 680068; saalbach.com); Sölden (00 43 5254 510; soelden.com); Westendorf (00 43 5357 200 0300; westendorf.net).

For experts

Bad Gastein (00 43 6432 3393560; badgastein.at); Flattach (00 43 4785 615; flattach.at); Innsbruck (00 43 512 59850; Innsbruck.info); Pitztal (00 43 5414 86999; pitztal.com); St Anton (00 43 5446; stantonamarlberg.com).

For families

Kaprun (00 43 6547 8080; zellamsee-kaprun.com); Maria Alm (00 43 6584 7816; hochkoenig.at); Mayrhofen (00 43 5285 6760; mayrhofen.at); St Johann (00 43 5352 633350; kitzalps.cc); Wildschönau (00 43 5339 8255; wildschoenau.com).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral