SKiiNG iN AUSTRiA
Austria has absolutely everything you’re looking for to have a fantastic memorable skiing holiday. With traditional ‘chocolate box’ villages, the authentic Austrian charm is very appealing. Austrians understand what us Brits need to have a good time with a great choice of ski areas for all abilities, family-friendly fun off the piste, legendary après ski, breathtaking scenery and short transfer times, what more can we ask for?!
The geography of Austria creates different skiing terrain. Steep, high altitude mountains towards Innsbruck and Switzerland, for example resosrts St Anton, Obergurgl and Solden, verses the more rounded, but more extensive terrain around Salzburg and down towards the Italian border.
A great value for money destination, superb local bus links bring many valley villages within a short bus ride of world-class destinations. The ski school tuition is excellent, many Austrians speak excellent English and also welcome other nationalities to teach in their ski schools, so English is widely spoken aiding progression. The ski areas in Austria are big enough for you to discover exciting new slopes daily on your holiday. The supersized lift-linked area of Ski Welt offers over 279km of pisted runs to swish swish down on, combining resorts of Soll, Ellmau, Sheffau, Westendorf, Itter, Going, Brixen and Hopfgarten. The most visited of these is the popular Soll due to its fun-filled après scene. The region has opened up a new connection that can take you over to get close to Kitzbuhel’s skiing area of 160km, creating an area large enough to be in the world’s top ten largest skiing areas.
The Alberg Ski Circus is the most popular skiing area destination, linking party town St. Anton, and quieter, high- class resorts St. Christoph, Lech and Zurs. The Europa ski region boasts picturesque Kaprun and Zell am See by the lakeside, both nestled up on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. The Zillertal ski area interlinks popular Mayrhofen and Finkenburg. Mayrhofen hosts the annual famous Snowbombing music festival, a highlight of the calendar that draws crowds from all over the globe, with its irresistible combination of great music with the winter holiday experience. Obergurgl and Hochgurgl resorts are some of the most snow-sure ski areas situated at an altitude of 1930 metres above sea level.
Ski Amade is an established resort that is gaining popularity with skiers and snowboarders from the UK. It’s easily accessible as it’s only a quick drive from Salzburg. The collection of 5 regions offers some serious skiing and is named after the city’s most famous resident, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The area encompasses Salzburger, Sportwelt, Schladming-Dachstein, Gastein, Grossarltal and Hochkong. You’re eyes won’t believe it, but Ski Amade has 356 pistes covering 860km of downhill slopes and 270 lifts, all on one very reasonably priced lift pass!
Austrian ski resorts are well known for their après vibe, you’ll be dancing on the tables in your ski boots! With generous beer glasses and schnapps-fuelled nights out, Austrians certainly know how to party. The fun begins sharing funny ski stories of the day in one of the many mountain bars during the late afternoon. Then après seekers can progress onto resort nightlife with the traditional restaurants or cheaper cafes, bars and clubs.
Unique to Austria, you won’t see any monstrous concrete buildings spoiling your ski holiday snaps. Due to strict planning laws, the resorts are only allowed traditional style buildings, making the resorts incredibly picturesque with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Skiing in Austria also generally means you will have short transfer times from the airport, which is ideal for family ski holidays where children won’t need to be confined to the coach or car for too long. Families will also enjoy the activities on offer such as sleigh rides, tubing, tobogganing, ice skating, bowling, indoor/outdoor swimming pools, paragliding and shopping excursions. There is an abundance of family friendly ski holiday options in Austria.
Being towns, taxis are plentiful, cheap and spacious in most Austrian resorts. This means that missing the last lift isn’t such a bank-breaking experience, as in Austria you can often get a local taxi who will take you home in 20 minutes. It is also handy when coming out of the pub and needing a lift to your hotel a bit outside of resort! Accommodation in Austria is comfortable and affordable. The country has a reputation to maintain for high-standard accommodation, so finding the luxury ski holiday in Austria you’ve been dreaming of shouldn’t be hard with some of our great ski holiday deals we’ve got on offer. With lots of lovely family run places to stay it’s also easy to find the perfect bargain ski holiday.
Recommended resorts for groups for Austria
Ischgl, Kitzbuhel, Lech, Mayhofen, Saalbach, Soll and St Anton.
The Heidi-country ski resorts handiest airports for pre-packaged holidays are Innsbruck, Salzburg’s W. A. Mozart International Airport or Germany’s Munich, all offering a multitude of international carriers.
Innsbruck is the closest airport to centrally located Austrian resorts Ellmau and Mayrhofen. It has two inbound flights daily from budget and scheduled airline carriers. Lech and St Anton (Ski Alberg ski area) are also accessible from Innsbruck airport, however, you why not choose from one of the several daily flights into Swiss airport Zurich which are more popular for this area.
Innsbruck flights are available through budget and scheduled airlines. ATS.net offer private and shared transfers to Ellmau, Kitzbuhel, Scheffau and Westendorf (Ski Welt ski area), Ischgl (Silvetta ski area), Lech and St Anton (Alberg ski area) Mayrhofen (Zillertal ski area), Saalbach, Hinterglemm, (Ski Circus ski area), Zell am See (Europa Sport ski region) and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl amongst others.
Transfers can be anything from as little as 30 mins to 2 hours 30 minutes, although the majority are about 90 minutes to take you up the mountain.
Salzburg’s W. A. Mozart International Airport serves Ellmau, Kitzbuhel, Scheffau and Westendorf (Ski Welt ski area), Saalbach and Hinterglemm (Ski Circus ski area), Zell am See (Europa Sport) ski region. It is possible to get to most ski resorts by shuttle bus or train from Salzburg, although why not treat yourself to a private transfer to avoid stress of bus stations and expensive taxi fees?
The Austrian train network is excellently maintained, with train links to most ski resorts from the nearest international airport. To go green and avoid air travel you can take the Eurostar from London to Brussels, from which you can take the overnight Bergland Express to some of the big player Austrian resorts including Kitzbuhel, St Anton, and Zell am See.
The best self-driving route is taking a P&O or Sea France ferry from Dover to Calais. By cutting across Belgium and Germany you will arrive into western Austria. The 12 hour drive from Calais to resort is a cheaper option than self-driving down through France as you avoid paying tolls.
Resorts located within Austria
Alberg Ski Circus
A top destination for group ski holidays, St Anton, Lech, Zurs, Zug, Stuben, St. Christoph make up the Austrian ski paradise 'Alberg.' Exciting St Anton leads the pack with its lively night life and reputation for excellent skiing. The area boasts 260km of immaculate pistes for the immediate mile-hungry, served by 80 fast, modern lifts with a skiing altitude of 1450m-2460m all under one single lift pass.
Ski Austria! A classic Austrian Tyrolean resort, Alpbach is a renowned picturesque winter wonderland. Voted 'Austria's prettiest village' in 1983, the traditional resort still retains all of its chocolate box charm despite its expansion over recent years. Primarily a beginners' and intermediates' resort, there's a variety of tree-lined runs. A good resort for non-skiers, it benefits from 20kms of winter paths and excursions to Innsbruck or Rattenburg.
Bad Gastein is the biggest settlement in the Gastein Valley, sharing with Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein. One single ski pass grants access to three resorts, sharing a total of five main skiing areas. Lift-linked with slightly smaller Bad Hofgastein, they collectively make up one of the largest lift-linked areas in Austria. A year-round population of 15,000 helps to create a buzzing Austrian atmosphere in the ski resort, welcoming to both groups and families. A popular destination for the non-skiers, prepare to be pampered in one of the many luxurious spas and glamorous boutiques.
At the heart of the Gastein Valley, Bad Hofgastein is neighbours with traditional spa town Bad Gastein and Dorfgastein. One single ski pass gives you access to the entire Gastein Valley ski area, which encompasses 5 different skiing areas. Lift-linked only with Bad Gastein, together they make up the largest connected skiing area and one of the largest in Austria. It's easy to reach the other areas by bus. A pretty market town has a pedestrianised centre, which appeals to families booking group ski holidays.
An authentic Austrian feeling combined with surrounding majestic views over the Wilder Kaiser, the picturesque ski village boasts a friendly atmosphere and highly-rated skiing holidays suitable for all ages and abilities. The Tyrolean style of ski chalets and charming churches make this village a great choice for your family or group ski holiday. Part of the 'Ski Welt' ski area, you will be spoilt for choice with the largest ski area in Austria!
Hinterglemm is really a satellite ski resort of Saalbach, the two ski villages have only a short distance between them, sharing the large linked 'Ski Circus' ski area. Hinterglemm skiing holidays tend to be slightly lower key than Saalbach for night-life, but there are still some traditional bars to have relax with a post-skiing beer. Based in a Cul-de-Sac, the well spaced layout of the neighbouring ski resorts gives easy accessibility to the pistes. This small family-friendly resort has everything you need to make the most of your big skiing holiday.
Tyrolean village Hochgurgl is gondola linked to neighbouring resort Obergurgl. Situated up high in the Otz Valley, the high altitude guarantees snow for skiing holidays throughout the winter season. The very laid-back skiing area has car-free zones, perfect for getting away from the hustle and bustle we are all too familiar with. Open from November to May, Hochgurgl and neighbouring Obergurgl are the first skiing resorts in Austria to open for the season. A fairytale-like resort, Hochgurgl has many ski in/ski out places to stay on offer. The family owned restaurants sit alongside pretty luxurious four star hotels.
Ischgl is an exciting and picturesque ski resort dating back a thousand years, benefiting from a well designed piste and lift infrastructure (kind of old meets new in the best of ways). One of Austria's largest skiing areas, Tyrolean Ischgl has high altitude skiing granting a snow-secure season longer than most other European skiing resorts. Relatively undiscovered outside Austria, the highly regarded ski resort has a chic feel combined with a lively après scene, perfect for group and family skiing holidays.
Ski Austria! More than a thousand years old, the traditional Tyrolean ski resort is surrounded by the breathtaking Kitzsteinhorn Glacier scenery of the Europa Sport Region. Overshadowed by neighbouring lively Zell am See, Kaprun is an underrated skiing destination in its own right. The year-round resort is good for group skiing holidays as it has plenty to do off the piste. Families will adore its Austrian authentic charm.
The large picturesque village is centred around a large church and shares its skiing area with neighbouring famous Kitzbuhel, which is just 6km down the road. Kirchberg has ever-increasing popularity with British skiers, but has for a long time been well loved as a cheaper option for accessing this ski area. The pretty central square has a wide choice of bars and restaurants, making it popular for family ski packages, group ski holidays, couples and singles.
Pretty Kitzbuhel is one of the most famous ski towns in the world thanks to the annual Hahnenkamm race, and the incredible party the town hosts to celebrate it. Located at the heart of the Tyrolean Alps, its medieval historic charm makes it a popular and a regular choice for British skiing holidays. Probably the ultimate 'traditional Austrian' ski resort, non-skiers love it here too!
Kitzbuhel Ski Pass
The Kitzbuhel ski pass encourages the accomplished skier to try the ski safari route which takes you on a stunning journey to Pass Thurn. Encompassing 170kms of pistes, the Kitzbuhel Ski Pass spans resorts Aurach, Jochburg, Kirchberg, Mittersill/Hollersbach Reith and medieval town Kitzbuhel.
Sharing the famous Alberg skiing area with St Anton, Lech is an exclusive and well established skiing paradise. Linked with Zurs to form the 'Weiss Ring' (the White Ring) ski circuit, Lech attracts the rich and famous. Classic and cosmopolitan, the resort is bursting with stylish hotels, shops and eateries. The glamorous après ski scene means there is plenty to do off the slopes. With well maintained mixed skiing terrain here, this resort is perfect for mixed ability groups. With luxurious heated ski lift seats to keep you warm, Lech is a great all-rounder resort.
At the heart of the stunning Zillertal Valley skiing area, legendary Mayrhofen lives up to its name for being a top ski resort of Austria. The traditional Tyrolean village hasn't lost any of its charm despite its expansion into a resort that has everything – breathtaking scenery, well groomed skiing, excellent off-piste, attractive architecture, family-friendly atmosphere, short transfer times and a lively après scene.
Tyrolean village Obergurgl and gondola linked Hochgurgl are the twin gems linked up high in the Otz Valley. Recently voted the best snow-sure resort in Europe, it benefits from a large, fun mountain. Obergurgl has a serene relaxed feeling, with car-free zones and bursting with alpine charm. It's quite hard for locals to drive to, so the slopes don't get too busy and you can enjoy quiet and queue-free on your skiing holiday to Obergurgl.
Attractive and lively Saalbach and neighbouring lower-key satellite resort Hinterglemm are two villages a few kilometres apart sharing the large linked 'Ski Circus' ski area. Based in a Cul-de-Sac, the well-spaced layout of the ski area gives easy accessibility to all the slopes. Nestled at the end of Glemm Valley, this family-friendly resort has everything you need to make the most of your ski holiday!
Scheffau is a pretty chocolate-box Tyrolean village situated at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser mountain. Based between Ellmau and Soll, it's a more traditional village rather than a tourist resort. Part of Austria's largest lift-linked skiing area, the Ski Welt, the ski resort is ideal for couples or those going on a family skiing holiday. The very friendly village is welcoming and has an inviting alpine charm feel.
One of the largest interconnected ski areas in the world, the Austrian Ski Welt circuit encompasses Brixem im Thale, Ellmau, Going, Itter, Scheffau, Soll, Westendorf and Hopfgarten. Popular for group, family and couple skiing holidays, the affordable 'Ski Welt' ski area was awarded the title of 'Best Ski Resort in the World' out of 70 ski resorts by Ski Resort International Service International.
Great value for money, perfectly balanced ski resort Soll benefits from a welcoming atmosphere, vibrant night life and superb skiing. A favourite for British skiing holidays, it's positioned in a wind-protected and sunny basin right at the base of the Wilder Kaiser mountains. With pretty village Tyrolean fairytale-like buildings, Soll is the most popular resort of the massive 270km 'Ski Welt' skiing area, and well worth a visit during any skiing or snowboarding holiday in Austria.
St Anton, what a resort! Known as one of the finest ski resorts in the Alps, it has a friendly atmosphere, stunning scenery, a picturesque car-free village centre and arguably the world's most exciting and challenging terrain. The endless powder fields guarantee delivering excellent off-piste opportunities for those looking for adventurous skiing holidays. A wide, spread out resort with skiing split over two sides of the valley. Ski bus links are excellent around the resort, so it doesn't really matter where you stay. Arguably the best resort in Austria, it has held its popularity for over a century as a popular British skiing holiday destination.
Zell Am See
Offering something different than your stereotypical Austrian skiing holiday, the pretty medieval town is situated next to a lakeside, but has easy access to the 'Europa Sport' slopes with neighbouring Kaprun. The resort is popular year-round with extensive choices of snow sure skiing and snowboarding. The picturesque mountain views over the lake and 3000 metre high peaks make skiing in Zell am See a top skiing holiday destination.