Around 60 per cent of Austrian terrain is dominated by the Alps range, so there’s no shortage of resorts for beginners learning the ropes of the slopes or experts lusting for a challenge on perilous off-piste descents.
Picture a snowscape where cosy mountain villages that ooze charm meet world-renowned music festivals and steins of beer flow in their hundreds at après bars’ most popular parties – it’s no wonder gemütlichkeit, the state of warmth, friendliness and good cheer, is so closely associated with an Austrian winter.
With high altitude and snowsure spots peppering pistes from the famed Alberg to the SkiWelt regions, here are the best Austrian resorts to embrace the long ski season in traditional Tyrolean style.
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Almost 305km of pistes welcome – almost guaranteed – shedloads of snow each season in the Austrian Alpine resort of Lech, making it a deluxe spot for seasoned skiers to holiday in lavish hotels and chalets. An extensive lift network, the legendary White Ring circuit, transports skiers not only to well-groomed runs lined with firs but elegant après ski haunts above the upmarket Alpine village.
Off-piste there’s some serious culinary action in Lech village, where fuss-free fine dining meets simple fondue stops in traditional slopeside huts.
How to ski in Lech
Crystal Ski Holidays has seven nights at the family-run Hotel Omesberg, an eight-minute walk to the Rüfikopf lift. It’s home to a first-class spa for unwinding with panoramic views over the Madloch Piste and the Red Wall Mountain. From £1,309pp, half board, including return flights from Birmingham, 20kg of checked luggage per person and airport transfers. Departs 16 December 2023.
St Anton sits in the Arlberg ski region – the largest interconnected region in Austria – and is one of eight resorts in the area. With over 300km of slopes available to visitors (and an additional 200km of marked off-piste routes), the Chalet Girl set is the ideal destination for advanced skiers to tackle thigh-burning off-piste descents from the Valluga peak.
A resort well-known for its plethora of party options, St Anton’s renowned après spots MooserWirt and Krazy Kangaruh offer lively slopeside fun well into the early hours.
How to ski in St Anton
Inghams is offering seven nights at the contemporary Chalet Albona in the Gastig area of St Anton from £799pp, chalet board catering, based on two adults sharing. Think buffet breakfasts, afternoon cake breaks and three-course menus of regional dishes. Return flights from London Gatwick, transfers, access to the wellness area and plunge pool and a free ski bus stop 300m from the chalet are included in the package. Departs 16 December 2023.
The Austrian resort of Ischgl is known for its snowsure, high-altitude slopes and buzzing apres-ski. There are 239km of slopes to explore with peaks up to 2,870m. Plus, it’s also linked across the border to the Swiss ski resort of Samnaun.
Ischgl charms with some of the biggest outdoor concerts in the Alps from November to May and, with most slopes north-facing, the Swiss side of the area brings the sunshine to the sprawling ski region in the Austrian Tirol’s Paznaun Valley.
How to ski in Ischgl
Ski Solutions is providing a seven-night stay at Hotel Solaria, a traditional four-star hotel in Ischgl, for £1,590pp, half board, with return flights and private airport transfers. Highlights of the cosy Solaria include a wood-panelled wine bar, comfortable junior suites and wellness facilities kitted out with hot tubs, saunas and a gym. Departs 9 December 2023.
With one of the longest ski seasons in the whole of the Alps, high-altitude Kitzbühel offers a total of 57 ski lifts and cable cars and 233km of pistes to tackle. Each year, the Hahnenkamm World Cup race sees the pros hurtle down the Streif run - 3,312 metres long, with a maximum gradient of 85 per cent - in a tradition that stretches back to 1931.
The slopes open from as early as mid-October with the famous Seidlalm mountain hut ready to welcome weary skiers in for a plate of moosbeerschmarm pancakes.
How to ski in Kitzbühel
Inghams has a modern fairy tale retreat above Kitzbühel town, Hotel Schloss Lebenberg, that sleeps guests in characterful castle rooms. Standout features include a rooftop spa, a fire-lit lounge and an elegant restaurant. A seven-night stay, B&B, packaged with return flights from London Heathrow and a daily shuttle bus service will set couples back £1,139pp. Departs 16 March 2024.
Söll in the SkiWelt region has 288km of slopes to explore and lifts –100 per cent powered by eco-electricity – to ride all while enjoying views of the WilderKaiser mountain range. The traditional village set below the dome-shaped Hohe Salve mountain is home to wide cruising runs, lively bars and clubs to carry on the après party.
If you’re looking for more piste time after dark, Söll has Austria’s largest night-time skiing area, with 10km of floodlit slopes leading the way down the mountain.
How to ski in Söll
Crystal Ski Holidays offers seven nights half board – that’s hearty buffet breakfasts and four-course evening meals – at the Hotel Tyrol in Söll, just a three-minute walk from the heart of the village, from £836pp. Return flights from Birmingham, 20kg checked luggage per person, transfers and access to stylish spa facilities are included in the package ski holiday. Departs 16 March 2024.
Mayrhofen, offering access to over 544km of piste, blue runs, red runs and Europe’s steepest incline – the Harikari – is an ideal snow sports spot for beginners and experts alike nestled between the snowy peaks of the Zillertal Alps.
It also hosts Snowbombing, a five-day festival in April known for its music line-up, fancy dress-clad revellers and creative activities – think igloo raves, enchanted forest parties and chair lift speed dating amid the powder slopes.
How to ski in Mayrhofen
With Iglu Ski, the ski savvy can spend seven nights at the Hotel Ramsauerhof in Ramsau, self-catered, for £521pp. On-site spa facilities, speedy ski bus links and a bar for après tipples complement post-slope sessions in the Mayrhofen and Zillertal Arena ski areas. Return flights from London Stanstead and airport transfers are also included in the price. Departs 13 January 2024.
You’ll soon see why Saalbach is known as the “Home of Lässig” (translation: casual) once you arrive in the laid-back resort. Thanks to hi-tech lifts – including a 10-person gondola – it’s easy to get around the thrilling snow parks and nursery slopes divided between Saalbach and its near neighbour Hinterglemm.
The whole area is now part of the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn ski domain, of which 140km of the sprawling 270km pistes in Austria’s SalzburgerLand are cruisy blues ideal for beginners and families with little ones.
How to ski in Saalbach
Heidi has seven-night B&B packages to the ski-in/ski-out Sportpension Enzian starting from £936pp including return flights from Manchester, private airport transfers and steamy sauna access. Keen skiers will stay in comfortable and spacious double rooms with balconies a 13-minute walk from the centre of the resort. Departs 6 January 2024.
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