Blessed as it is with snowy alpine peaks, Austria boasts an incredible number of ski resorts catering to winter sports enthusiasts of all abilities. Having chosen Austria as your ski destination of your choice, which resort should you head to?
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It can be difficult to know where you’ll enjoy some of the best skiing in Austria and whether or not the runs will be suited to your ability.
To help you choose, here are some of the best Austrian ski resorts to consider.
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Zell am See – Kaprun
The Zell am See – Kaprun Ski area consists of three main ski resorts: Schmittenhohe, Kitzsteinhorn Glacier Ski Resort – which includes Maiskogel and Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn (covered in more detail below).
The two resorts closest to Zell am See and Kaprun cater to all levels of skier – including cross country skiers – with Maiskogel being particularly family friendly. With 62 slopes covering more than 130 kilometres of pistes, this is one of the most widely regarded Austria ski resorts.
Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, at a height of 3,203 metres above sea level, offers 100% snow reliability and one of the longest seasons, stretching from October until early summer whilst Maisi Park at Maiskogel is perfect for children.
At Schmittenhohe, it’s not only the skiing that’s breathtaking – a stunning panoramic view also awaits. Up to thirty 3,000-metre high mountains of the Hohe Tauern can be seen, as well as Lake Zell, and there are 77 kilometres of pistes
Families are looked after with a special children’s slope, there’s night skiing available three times per week and there are activities and exhibitions for non-skiers, too.
The après ski scene is well catered for at both resorts with numerous bars, restaurants and cosy chalets ready to welcome you.
Access to the slopes is easy with high tech cable cars whisking skiers to the mountain tops from either Kaprun or Zell am See in no time at all.
Having snowboarded (sorry, skiers!) extensively in Austria, including a ski season a long time ago, I was a little skeptical about our ski trip to Hopfgarten as I hadn’t heard much about it AND we were also going on our first family winter sports holiday so we really didn’t know what to expect.
As it happened, Hopfgarten was a great little resort and it was perfectly set up for a family ski holiday. From the family-focused Familhotel we stayed in, through to the modern ski lifts and well-maintained facilities we really enjoyed our family ski trip to Hopfgarten with our then two-year old.
Staying in a hotel at the foot of the mountain, close to a standalone practice slope reserved for beginners and ski school activities, we had a five minute walk to the main cable car up the mountain to a small but adequately-sized collection of slopes that then connected to the larger Ski Welt area.
From here there are several options for connecting to bigger resorts like Söll,Brixen im Thale and Westendorf, and as always in Austria, all the areas were well connected with free ski buses if you were too tired to ski back.
One of the reasons we keep returning to Austria for our ski trips is because of the food, drink and atmosphere you can enjoy up on the mountain and we were not disappointed with what we found both in Hopfgarten and on the mountains in the many schialms scattered around the Ski Welt area.
I’m biased, of course, because our time in Hopfgarten was indeed for a family ski holiday but I would definitely say that Hopfgarten itself is best for a family ski holiday. Our son was actually a bit too young for ski school so enjoyed complimentary daycare at the hotel while we were up on the mountain but we’re hoping to return next year now he’s nearly old enough to learn.
We also noticed a daycare facility in the main lift building and the shops sold lots of baby- and toddler-friendly products from nappies to snacks. These are essential if you want to be regarded as one of the best family ski resorts in Austria.
I would also say Hopfgarten could be a good resort for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Its small size means that it’s not an overwhelming place and you can quickly get your bearings, and the ski school slope at the bottom of the lift is great fun for playing in the snow and a bit of tobogganing with your kids, or for practising your turns.
There’s also a good range of different accommodation options, and it’s fairly easy to get to from the airports, with a train station that is also walking distance from the main ski lift.
All that said, my partner and I are very experienced snowboarders and we still greatly enjoyed Hopfgarten and were certainly exhausted enough to really enjoy the spa facilities when we got back to our hotel!
Contributed by by Frankie of As the Bird flies
At the end of the Ziller Valley, lying beneath the beautiful Penken and Ahorn mountains, you will find one of Austria’s best ski resorts – Mayrhofen. Boasting 57 lifts, 136 kilometres of skiing and Austria’s steepest run, Harakiri, Mayrhofen is diverse enough to suit all abilities.
Although the resort is probably better suited to intermediates and advanced skiers, with a variety of challenging runs and some impressive off-piste, I found there to be plenty of blue runs suitable for brave beginners (you can read about my experience of this as a first time skier here). Be a little careful though, as many of the blue runs here could easily be classed as red runs in other resorts.
The problem for mixed ability groups lies in the fact that the best nursery slopes are in a separate area to the majority of other slopes. If you aren’t a complete beginner (or are a quick learner) then there are some good blue runs in the main ski area. I can also highly recommend the ski school in Mayrhofen which will help you to progress quickly onto those challenging beginner slopes.
One of Mayrhofen’s big draws is the Hintertux glacier, which is snow-sure all year round. It’s not a place for beginners to ski, with only one very tricky blue run, but if you have the time, then the views from the top ski lifts are incredible.
Off the mountain, there are several toboggan runs, ice skating, winter walking trails, snow shoeing, ice climbing, paragliding and hang gliding, horse riding and sleigh rides. And if you’re done with skiing but your friends aren’t, why not chill out at the bar of the White Lounge igloo village and wait for them there – it’s a hotel too!
The well known festival ‘Snowbombing’ is held annually in Mayrhofen, with famous artists filling the line up. It is also a great place to be on New Year’s Eve, with fireworks lighting up the traditional Austrian resort and many pubs and bars open late with live music.
If you are looking for a huge range of varied runs, incredible scenery and a buzzing apres ski scene, then look no further than the Austrian resort of Mayrhofen!
Contributed by Emily of Two Get Lost
If you are looking for beautiful mountains, world-class ski trails and a relatively short distance from an airport , think about going to Filzmoos – a stunning winter resort located in the state of Salzburg.
With amazing panoramic views and excellent snow records this Austrian part of the Alps is one of the best ski regions in all of Europe. No wonder it gets very busy every winter!
There are many easy and medium-graded trails among the ski runs around Filzmoos. Across 14 pistes, covering almost 12 kilometres of trails, there is something for everyone! It is a perfect place for families with children if you are looking for a winter trip with your loved ones.
If cross country skiing is your thing, then you will be delighted to hear that there are around 40 kilometres of trails around Filzmoos. An additional advantage of Filzmoos is a lot of other attractions that you can visit during your stay. A well-equipped ski backpack for hiking trips off the slopes will be useful.
There is another benefit of visiting this stunning location – a few famous day trips you can do from Filzmoos. This will include a trip to a fairy-tale town Hallstatt or Stairways to Nothingness – one of the best places to visit in Austria, in my opinion.
All food-lovers will be delighted to try some of the Austrian traditional dishes in many local restaurants. Try gulaschsuppe at Unterhofalm or a delicious sausage platter at Alpenhotel Wurzer restaurant.
Why should you choose Filzmoos as your next skiing destination?
This beautiful village is situated at the foot of the Bischofsmutze mountain and Dachstein glacier. This means the views, and most importantly perfect winter weather, offer great snow for skiing-lovers.
Filzmoos, with its traditional Austrian village atmosphere, makes it an ideal choice for ski holidays in Austrian Alps!
Contributed by Darek of Darek and Gosia
Seefeld has the best ski resorts in Austria. A popular day trip destination from Munich, this beautiful village is set high up in the Tyrolean Alps.
Although it is a perfect destination for avid skiers, with an impressive descent of 900 metres, the large resort town has terrains for skiers of all levels, from beginners to advanced skiers. Aside from the 225 kilometres of cross country ski trails that it offers, Seefeld also has a terrain park and half-pipe for snowboarders.
The resort town of Seefeld also has a multitude of activities for non-skiers. It has several scenic routes for hikers, cyclists, and climbers as well as world-class spas that offer the best treatments and facilities.
It is no wonder that most of its visitors are tempted to stay in this lovely winter wonderland. All it takes is a walk along the flat Promenade Walking Trails and this place will capture your heart forever.
Located close to Munich, it is easy to get to Olympiaregion Seefeld by driving along the A95 and B52 or catching a train from München Hauptbahnhof station which costs around 14 euros one way. Another option is to go through the nearest airport in Innsbruck.
As for accommodation, there are many hotels near the pistes which will make the slopes more accessible. There are, however, several family hotels that are best suited for people travelling with children. The top-rated family accommodation is Hotel Galtenberg in Inneralpbach which has a ski practice area for children.
Contributed by Karolina of Lazy Travel Blog
Bad Gastein, also known as Badgastein, is a spa and ski resort town in Austria, not far from Salzburg. It’s located in a valley in the mountain range of Hohe Tauern, in the historic Pongau region.
Bad Gastein is a lovely little town that is also known for its Belle Epoque buildings with a charming architecture mixed with Austrian hospitality.
Bad actually refers to Spa, and it has been a health resort with thermal spring water since at least the 15th century. This, in combination with excellent ski slopes and lots of options for accommodation, makes it an ideal place to base yourself for a ski adventure in Austria.
Both Bad Hofgastein and Bad Gastein are connected to the ski area Schlossalm-Angertal-Stubnerkogel with more than 200 kilometres of pistes. The ski lifts will take you to various mountain tops and there are slopes for beginners as well as intermediate and expert skiers.
It’s a paradise for winter sports lovers and there is also a lively nightlife with plenty of restaurants and after-ski activities.
As for accommodation I recommend Hotel Salzburger Hof Bad Gastein, which has everything that you need for a great combination of skiing, wellness, and a great standard.
Gastein is also part of the Ski amadé ticket alliance, which offers 760 kilometres of skiing in five different ski regions. All you need is to book a pass that is valid for 2 days or longer, and you can enjoy all Ski amadé resorts.
The cable cars are typically open from November to April. Opening hours vary individually. During high-season in December to March, a 1-day Ski pass typically costs around 50 Euros for adults, and 40 Euros for youth. 7-day passes cost around 300 Euros per adult.
Contributed by Alexander of Destinavo
Skicircus Saalbach is one of the largest interconnected ski areas in Austria. Located in the Salzburgerland region, the Skicircus is centred primarily around the villages of Saalbach and neighbouring Hinterglemm. It can be easily reached within an hour’s drive from the city of Salzburg making it one of the most popular ski resorts near Salzburg.
Attracting crowds of eager powder hounds, beginners and families each winter, the succinctly named Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn ski area (try saying that five times quickly), encompasses all four aforementioned ski villages, interlinked by a system of the most high-tech, high-speed gondolas and chairlifts in the world.
Snow-goers are rapidly transported around the ski areas by the most sophisticated ski lift technology, including a 10-person chair lift! At Skicircus, you’ll have over 270 kilometres of perfectly groomed ski runs to tackle on a single lift ticket!
The main villages of Saalbach and Hinterglemm are quaint traditional European-style villages with pedestrian-only streets, boutique shops, a lively bar scene and enough winter activities to suit everyone from adrenaline junkies to the Aprés loving non-skiers.
The pistes at Skicircus are best suited to intermediate skiers, with some good beginner slopes and adventure-fuelled black runs. There are also some great toboggan runs, snow tubing parks and snowshoeing trails.
The best time to visit Skicircus is during late March for the beautiful spring skiing. This is also when you can catch the White Pearl Mountain Days – a weeklong Après Ski Party with foodie events and live music held at various hotels, bars and ski huts around the Skicircus mountains.
The majority of accommodation around the Skicircus is located around Saalbach and Hinterglemm, which also means these are the busiest towns. If you’re after something a little more laid back, I highly recommend Hotel Holzhotel Forsthofalm – a family-run, ski-in ski-out wellness resort in Leogang.
Contributed by Amanda of Bucket List Seekers
The Stubai Glacier is one of the best ski resorts in Austria for beginners and families. The 12 blue slopes totalling 24 kilometres and many slope-side attractions for kids, make it perfect for a family ski-break. For a relatively small ski resort, it has an incredibly well-oiled, modern infrastructure.
The Stubai Glacier is the last ski resort in the Stubai Valley near Innsbruck. This means it’s in a pristine spot far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still within easy reach. Getting there by car from Innsbruck takes about 45 minutes, while the bus ride is just over an hour.
Skiers who like a bit of a challenge can attempt the handful of red and black runs. There are also various options to go off-piste if that’s your thing. Kids and youngsters who find normal runs boring will love practising jumps and tricks in the Stubai Zoo fun park.
There’s a reason why the viewing platform on the glacier is called the Top of Tyrol. From here, you are surrounded by more than 300 Alpine peaks. A walk up the stairs to the platform is well worth it if you want to take a break from skiing. Or you can venture below the glacier to visit the ice cave near the Eisgrat cable car station and restaurant.
With kids under ten skiing for free in the company of one or more parent with a valid ski pass, it’s not hard to understand why the Stubai Glacier is popular among families.
And if you want to break your ski holiday up for sightseeing or other winter sports activities like sledging, there’s a new ski pass option which allows you to do all that. The Ski Plus City Card includes 13 ski resorts around Innsbruck as well as the city sightseeing card with entry to 22 attractions, including the Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
Contributed by Linda of Travel Tyrol
A few years ago I visited Pillerseetal in Tirol for a ski break, which was one of my favourite ever to this day!
We stayed in the village of Waidring, a really great base as we could visit three ski areas very easily – the slopes of Waidring itself were walking distance from our accommodation, and included a small training slope and a couple of blue runs, making it ideal for beginners.
We spent most of our time skiing at nearby Fieberbrunn, easy to access by cable car, which included a variety of really scenic runs of all levels, plus some great bars and restaurants to fill up on hearty Tyrolean fare really easily.
Waidring was also well located for the famous St.Ulrich am Pillersee ski area, and very serious skiers might want to drive a little further to Kitzbuhel, where it’s possible to ski on World Cup runs.
Non-skiers will find a lot to do in Pillerseetal. It’s possible to try your hand at cross-country skiing if that’s your thing, try snowshoeing, go dog-sledding or llama trekking.
And naturally visiting cute Alpine villages like Waidring is always amazing, especially at Christmas Markets time!
Our accommodation were the super cute Alpegg Chalets in Waidring, individually designed in Alpine style and run by a friendly young family.
Contributed by Margherita of The Crowded Planet
One of the best Austrian ski resorts is Kitzbühel due to trail options, lift access and accommodation variety. Kitzbühel has 234 kilometres of groomed trails for skiers and boarders to explore with a nice mixture of easy to expert trails allowing families with new riders to seasoned veterans’ great options.
This large resort is also known for the largest cable car option with 57 lifts across the entire resort.
The size of the resort allows winter sport enthusiasts to break up the trip into sections, exploring different portions on a variety of days to maintain the excitement of new trails. There are also plenty of lifts to peaks to capture beautiful shots of the Alps.
If you are not interested in hitting the slopes there are plenty of other things to do in Kitzbühel such as snowshoeing, or tobogganing. Otherwise, there are plenty of local restaurants and pubs to spend the day at – even the option of grabbing a lift to the top for a quick bite on the mountain.
Additionally, if travellers plan properly there is the option to visit the resort during one of the most famous downhill ski races, the Hahnenkamm race. This downhill ski race has been occurring since 1953 and typically takes place around the end of January.
During this roughly five-day period, Kitzbühel is packed, and turns into one giant party as visitors crowd around the downhill ski ramp to cheer on the competitors.
Other than during the prime tourist attraction of Hahnenkamm, there are plenty of accommodation options at Kitzbühel. Ranging from the more budget friendly guesthouse options, to more expensive larger hotels. If you want a lavish stay with beautiful views over the Kitzbühel valley, then consider staying at: Austria Trend Hotel Schloß Lebenberg. Click here to check rates.
The hotel has a pool on the top floor that is surrounded by glass windows, so you can swim around in the heated pool while the snow falls just on the other side of the glass. If you want to relax the muscles after a hard day on the slopes there are also saunas with views out over the valley as well.
Contributed by Amy of Oceans to Alpines
St. Anton is hands down one of the best Austrian ski resorts. What makes it stand out from the hundreds of others ski resorts is a beautiful blend of skiing and off the slopes activities. It is known as the “White Thrill” for a reason.
From the longest downhill piste to the most challenging runs in the Alps, skiing at St. Anton is not for the faint of heart. Due to the renowned difficulty of these resorts slopes, it is best suited for experienced skiers or intermediate skiers who want to up the learning curve.
A common surprise for first-time visitors is the size of the town. Although St. Anton is small, there are dozens of things to do at this resort – even if you do not like skiing.
Besides skiing and snowboarding, there are wellness centres, hiking trails, sledding, cable cars, shops, cafes, and inns where you can spend your time. Not only that, but the resort is also known for the lively parties which take place after a hard day of skiing.
So make sure you plan your packing list accordingly to take advantage of everything the town has to offer.
Ultimately St. Anton is one of the world’s best skiing destinations and should be visited by any skier who is looking for a challenge or who wants to spend time in a charming old-world village where you can eat drink and enjoy the ambiance.
Holidays to Europe Tip: Consider basing yourself at Hotel Valluga in St. Anton, a modern, well-appointed hotel close to the centre and ski lifts. Click here to check rates.
Contributed by Lydia from Africa Wanderlust.
Now that you’re armed with details of the best ski resorts in Austria, which one will you choose to visit?
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