Skiing in Austria – here’s what you need to know.
Ski resorts in Austria are among the top winter destinations in the world. With breathtaking slopes, scenic views, and relaxing atmosphere Austria is truly irresistible. From medieval structures to rustic mountain huts, Austria has them all. Austria’s snowy slopes might not be on the same scale as the ones that are found in France. They do, however, make up for it with some hefty investments that have been made to improve the skiing experience. This is one reason why their ski resorts always deliver the best skiing experiences in Austria.
Austria is home to a multitude of skiing resorts. If you are wanting to experience some of the best skiing in Austria, check out St. Anton and Lech.
Located in the Tyrolean Alps, St. Anton is a popular ski resort in Austria. It is commonly known as the “cradle of alpine skiing” and the birthplace of Alpine modern skiing.
St. Anton is the best spot for advanced and expert skiers. While it has terrains for all levels, its slopes are considered to be most challenging with 1,304 meters elevation. No wonder why the Alpine Skiing World Championships was held here in 2001.
A skiing capital in Austria, St. Anton offers more than just great skiing activities. Its abundant snowfall attracts hundreds and thousands of athletes and Olympians every year. It has 183 miles of marked trails and pistes and 124 miles long off-piste.
St. Anton operates 88 lifts. You can have one pass and it gives you access to all lifts in the resort. If you’re looking for the best skiing resort in Austria, St. Anton is one of them. With numerous slopes and pistes, you’ll never get wrong with St. Anton.
When you get to the place, don’t forget to swing by the neighboring villages of St. Christoph and Stubenam, Alberg. In fact, St. Anton is so close to Lech-Zurs another popular ski resort. Families can take shelter and enjoy a treat time at Sonnenkopf near Klosterle.
St. Anton is largely known for its pistes and slopes that attract expert and intermediate skiers. St. Anton has recently made improvements and upgrades to their modern lift systems. The resort now has comfortable and accessible slopes for first-time skiers too. There are a number of ski schools in St. Anton too, for those looking to try out skiing for the first time.
Intermediate skiers will enjoy St. Anton’s spectacular mountains. Experienced skiers can traverse St. Anton peak all the way down to the main village. Prepare your legs for 6.4 miles challenging walk. Your legs may go weary but the beautiful location at Ulmer Hutte is your price at the end of St. Anton.
Adrenaline junkies love St. Anton for its unbelievable terrains. The ungroomed slopes of Mattun and Schindlekrar ski routes are always on the bucketlist. A number of difficult slopes lie in the Stuben area with red routes on Albona north.
The off-pistes in St. Anton are legendary such as the The Valluga north facing descent into the Paziel-Tal to Zurs. The place is crowded when snow falls and can be nerve-racking. Just a friendly warning, only best of skiers can handle this place.
On a fine day when there is plenty of powder, the trees are always visible to help the skier move past them. But even expert skiers must thread carefully in these locations. Some cuts towards the right of the slope lead to deep valleys and need to be navigated cautiously.
Afterski & Nightlife in St. Anton
Owing to its popularity, many students and other young individuals, typically having just graduated from high school, travel to St. Anton each winter to experience the party atmosphere and the excellent skiing opportunities.
Despite its influx of tourists, the resort village doesn’t allow cars or motorised vehicles and its streets are only for pedestrians. Multitudes of hotels and boutiques line the streets. St. Anton has a vibrant lifestyle that includes the legendary bars Krazy Kanguruh and Mooserwirt bar. These bars are located on a slope 500 meters above St Anton. Apart from these prime locations, there are plenty of other après ski options in the resort.
Lech Ski Resort is one of Austria’s oldest ski resorts. Did you know Lech is where you can find the first heated chairlift which was launched in 1937? Not only that. It is known as the birthplace of Alpine skiing.
Princes Diana has once visited Lech back in her times. In fact, she spends most of her ski holiday in Lech. No wonder this is her favorite. If you’re coming with your family, Lech is definitely a great place to be with exciting winter getaway and amiable terrains.
Located in the mountainous region of Vorarlberg, Lech is combined with the other 6 neighboring ski resorts, making it the biggest ski resort in Austria. It features 306 kilometers of sloping terrains and 88 operational lifts. This combination provides an extensive skiing terrain called Ski Arlberg.
Foreigners and locals love Lech for its rustic charm. Its popularity blossomed after being features in the Bridget Jones movies. All slopes are perfect for all levels of skiers. From Lech you cross to Zurs, which is just 10 minutes drive away. The terrains in Zurs are most of the time empty, thereby offering a great place for practicing skiers.
Lech is known for its sunny and expansive slopes. It has terrains for all levels of skiers. Expert and advanced skiers can leverage its off-piste terrains. Some have doubled diamonds, making an absolutely amazing place to test your skiing ability.
There are also many insurmountable peaks that are accessible through heli-skiing. Heli-skiing is an activity where a helicopter takes skiers up to the right elevation, where they jump off and ski down the slope. Done right, there are no chances of injury and one gets an experience of a life-time.
Only a small portion of Lech is best for beginners. If you’re bringing kids along, you can head to the Flühen lift close to the 600-year-old church for a snowboarding lesson. Even if you don’t have skiing experience, you can check-in to some classes before heading to the slopes and take refreshment by a the T-bar.
About 50% of Lech’s terrain is best for intermediate skiers. In place are pistes that rest perfectly for thrill-seekers who want deep powder runs. Famous pistes include the White Ring circuit, 22-km clockwise route connecting the Lech and Zurs areas. It features steep and very challenging terrains reserved for intermediate skiers.
Lech and Zurs together offers 22 kilometers of ungroomed black marked pistes for experts. Over 200 kilometers are ungroomed and are best only for more advanced skiers. You can trail across the Arlberg mountain but we suggest you go with an expert guide.
Afterski & Nightlife in Lech
Skiing in Lech can be quite expensive as it is home to hundreds of high-quality five-star hotels, glamorous sports boutiques and fine ding restaurants. Despite this, Lech is still a popular destination for families looking to experience some of the best skiing in Austria.
This is all thanks to its large powder-filled and well-groomed terrain for beginners and intermediates and its extensive facilities for children. Lech also offers one of Arlberg’s greatest après ski spots and numerous exciting off-mountain activities.
Saalbach is another ski resort that is counted amongst some of Austria’s biggest party resorts. This resort offers slopes and pistes that are more forgiving than ones found at St. Anton.
Saalback offers the most perfect skiing experience that intermediate and beginners will not regret. Here you will enjoy the natural circuit formed a ring of peaks that come up to 2, 000 meters.
During the winter season, Saalbach also links with Fieberbrunn and Hinterglemm. If you want to see 270 kilometers of pristine slopes you’ll need to come by when snowfall is at its finest. With 70 functional lifts in the area, access to all beautiful pistes and terrains wouldn’t be an issue. About 140 kilometres are best for advanced skiers. There are approximately 112 kilometres of red slopes and 18 kilometres of black slopes.
Saalbach is also known for its aw-inspiring cafes. Here, you’ll find great food to eat and healthy options. After a daylong excursion, you can choose between 60 cosy ski huts. Otherwise, you can spend another day leveraging the toboggan runs, floodlight slopes, and free-riding parks.
The best thing about Saalback is that you can get 1 ticket, which gives you to 408 kilometres of slopes in 3 regions. That is totally amazing right?
A favorite among thrill-seekers, Kühtai boasts 2, 020 metres elevation during winter. It is seated the winter sports village in the Stubai Alps. Though advanced skiers flock her to practice, it is still hailed as the most exclusive resorts in Austria making it a top go-to destination for families.
It is specifically situated on Kühtai Saddle between the Nedertal valley in the west and the Sellrain valley in the east. You can reach her by copter ride or car rental. The roads can reach as high as 2, 017 meters above sea level so expect a long and winding ride. It can take almost an hour or more to reach Kühtai from Innsbruck.
Kühtai opens every November of the year and ends every April. Night skiing is available in the area twice every week. You’ll find the most amazing night-skiing experience here with pistes running down from Zum Kaiser Maximilian. Just be sure to be up between 7:30 to 11:30 in the evening.
Advanced skiers can take advantage of snowy forest. There are family-friendly hotels around the area for you to stay. What is lovely with Kühtai is that it remains to be calm and peaceful even during peak season.
Situated in a small Alpine town east of Innsbruck, Kitzbuhel is probably the most stylish ski resort. In fact, it has the longest snow season with snow starting to roll by mid-October and ending in May. It is known for its medieval ambiance and the best skiing resort in the province of Tyro.
Among other Austrian ski resorts, Kitzbühel will give you a wholesome ski experience. Best identified for its rustic charm, Kitzbühel is a small Alpine town. Every year it hosts Hahnenkamn downhill ski races attracting various tourists around the globe.
Kitzbühel is snow beauty. Thanks to the abundant snow that falls every winter, which goes up as high as 762 meters. When you’re here do not forget to swing by Museum Kitzbühel, which features a lovely artistic display and a rooftop with panoramic view of the snowcappedKitzbühel. You can also find some paintings by Alfons Walde, a popular local artist.
Mayrhofen is a town in the Zillertal Valley, in the west Austrian province of Tyrol just one-hour drive from the Tyrolean capital city of Innsbruck. Apart from other ski resorts in Austria, Mayrhofen offers skiing activities all year round with 633 metres elevation during winter season.
Mayrhofen has a great variety of terrains extending up to 2, 500 metres which beginners and advanced skiers can enjoy. The steepest is called Harakiri piste which is a favorite of advanced skiers.
Beginners who want to take it slow can start at the Ahorn area or the White Lounge with 2,000 metres wide and less sloping terrains. Here, you can enjoy the igloo village and chill at some bars. The Penken, Rastkogel and Eggalm section of the resort is best for well-trained skiers as they are steep and more challenging.
Austria is home to the world’s most popular ski resorts where tourists can enjoy a unique winter adventure. One cannot help but admire its snow-covered pistes and unrivaled après-ski. Though a land-locked state, Austria is definitely a must-visit country for skiers during winter season.
Majority of the ski resorts in Austria are just an hour drive from the airport. The fact that many ski resorts continue to have their doors open even after winter make it the best place on earth for skiers of all levels. Trails and lift networks are available in the area.
The ski resorts in Austria are usually full during winter. Price can also hike specially during peak season. If you plan to visit this place, it is important that you book in advance to secure a wonderful, carefree skiing vacation.