10 good reasons for skiing in Austria

14/12/2021 - SnowTrex

When it comes to skiing holidays, Austria is probably one of the most popular, if not the (!) most popular destination in the world. In addition to the first-class infrastructure, the varied ski areas and unique mountain panoramas, the country impresses with its rustic ski huts, its unique Austrian cuisine and a skilful mix of cosy restaurants and bars instead of the otherwise legendary après-ski. In Austria, both on and off the slopes, you really can find everything that makes a skiing holiday a unique experience.  SnowTrex has compiled ten reasons for a skiing holiday in Austria.

Skiing in Austria offers everything a skier’s heart desires.

1. Modern ski areas

Austria is one of the most popular holiday destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, not least because of its modern ski resorts. Rickety chairlifts that glide up the mountain at walking pace are a thing of the past. Most of the lifts in the more than 400 ski resorts are state of the art.

In numerous ski resorts in Austria, drag lifts have been gradually replaced by chairlifts and gondolas, which transport winter sports enthusiasts up the mountain both faster and much more comfortably. While frostbite sufferers among snow lovers can look forward to heated benches and snow covers to keep them warm in icy temperatures and snowfall, nature lovers can enjoy fantastic views of the fantastic Austrian mountains from the panoramic gondolas. A large number of snow groomers and snow-making facilities round off the winter sports fun and guarantee optimum piste conditions.

Gondola with panoramic view of the Kitzsteinhorn in Zell am See-Kaprun.

2. High snow security

Skiers and snowboarders look forward to a snowy landscape, snow-covered peaks and untouched powder snow on their skiing holiday. This requires one thing above all else: enough snow. Fortunately, there are countless ski resorts in Austria, which are very popular with locals and tourists thanks to the high snow guarantee.

Numerous ski resorts are located at altitudes above 2,500 metres, such as the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, the sunny plateau Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis or the Pitztal ski resorts of Pitztal Glacier, Hochzeiger and Rifflsee, and therefore offer ideal conditions for winter sports in terms of temperatures. In addition, modern ski resorts generally offer the option of artificial snowmaking on some or even all slopes. Austria is of course also known for its 8 glaciers, such as the aforementioned Pitztal Glacier or, in terms of altitude, the Hintertux Glacier. Winter holidaymakers in Austria therefore don’t need to worry about having enough snow.

Some slopes of the ski area Hintertuxer Gletscher are open all year round.

3. Traditional accommodations

After your arrival, a welcoming drink or a traditional schnapps is not uncommon in Austria. The locals care a lot that their guests feel at home right from the start and show this in their warm hospitality.

The accommodations and hotels, which have often been run as family businesses for years, have a very special charm. The rustic rooms are lovingly furnished and provide a homely ambience. Numerous accommodations also have a sauna or wellness area. Guests are invited to relax here after a strenuous day on the piste in every sense of the word. What more could you ask for?

4. Rustic ski huts and charming mountain restaurants

A day on the slopes can be quite exhausting and as such, a day on the slopes also includes a relaxing break. In Austrian ski resorts, snow lovers can expect wonderful ski huts with unique charm. On the terrace, you have a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains – perfect conditions to enjoy schnitzel and yeast dumplings to the fullest. The ‘Cafe 3.440’ in Pitztal, for example, deserves special mention here. As the name suggests, it is located at a breathtaking 3,440 metres above sea level and welcomes its guests with cakes from its own patisserie. You can savour the delicacies on the free-floating sun terrace with an incredible view of the surrounding mountains. You don’t necessarily have to be a skier to get to the café ‘on the roof of Tyrol’. The Wildspitzbahn cable car takes you directly to the café.

Another place for a well-earned break is one of the cosy, lovingly furnished parlours that can be found in Austria’s ski resorts. The atmosphere in the hut is sociable, cosy and authentic and it is not uncommon for conversations to spread to the next table. As an old mountain and hiking rule says, above the tree line you are on first-name terms with everyone anyway.

The rustic ski huts in the ski areas invite you to take a relaxing break.

5. Excellent family-friendliness

For families with children in particular, skiing in Austria is an ideal option for the upcoming skiing holiday. On the one hand, the price-performance ratio in Austria is very good, so that even families with a modest travel budget can afford a break in the snow. Firstly, the price-performance ratio in Austria is very good, so that even families with a modest travel budget can enjoy a break in the snow. In some ski resorts, children even ski for free! Secondly, the diverse ski resorts offer a variety of pistes for a wide range of interests and ability levels, so that the whole family gets their money’s worth. While the little ones learn their first turns on the practice slopes or blue pistes, advanced winter sports enthusiasts can switch to the red or black pistes.

In addition to the diverse slopes, there is usually also an extensive range of activities especially for children and teenagers. In many ski resorts, there are lovingly designed children’s areas and snow parks where the younger winter sports enthusiasts can learn the basics of winter sports in a playful way from well-trained ski instructors or try out their first jumps and tricks. The Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau ski area, for example, should be emphasised here, which boasts another highlight: if you are also looking for skiing fun in the evening, you will find one of the largest night skiing areas in Tyrol here on the Reither Kogel: Experience six kilometres of slopes on Saturdays and Sundays by floodlight and moonlight – a very special experience for young and old.

6. Winter activities off the piste

Austria also has a lot to offer as a winter holiday destination away from the slopes. For example, nature lovers can explore the beautiful snow-covered landscape on snowshoe hikes and enjoy the fresh mountain air away from the lifts and pistes.

Observing wild animals in the mountains such as ibex, marmots, foxes and chamois is certainly a very special experience, although this is usually only possible under trained guidance. One way to do this is in the Hohe Tauern National Park around East Tyrolean ski resorts such as Matrei and Kals am Großglockner, where professional national park rangers offer guided tours. Put on your snowshoes, put on your binoculars and then quietly immerse yourself in the snow-covered world of animals – wonderful and unique! And in the very region where Austria’s highest mountain rises majestically into the sky – the 3,798 metre-high Großglockner. The sunset is even more spectacular!

Instead of observing animals, holidaymakers can also explore nature together WITH animals in some places. In the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, for example, there is the opportunity to go on free llama hikes. Children in particular will definitely take these animal companions to their hearts, while their parents enjoy the view ‘over the border’ to Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. What a photo opportunity! And for those who like a bit more action, the tobogganing evenings are a great way to speed down into the valley. A very special experience by moonlight!

Speaking of driving experiences: in the traffic-calmed ski resort of Serfaus with the associated Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis ski area, ski holidaymakers can travel on the world’s smallest, highest underground railway, which floats on air cushions: It’s even free for guests! The ski area also boasts a whopping 214 kilometres of pistes at altitudes of up to 2,820 metres. Beginners in particular get their money’s worth here on a total of 125,000 square metres reserved just for them. So it’s no wonder that the region bears the ‘Tyrolean Family Ski Region’ seal of approval.

Families should plan a toboggan ride or two during their holiday. Tobogganing is not just fun for children and there are well-developed toboggan runs in many ski resorts, some of which are even floodlit in the evening. Activities such as ice skating or ice climbing are also suitable for families. A horse-drawn sleigh ride through the picturesque villages or the snow-covered landscape is also an experience you won’t soon forget.

Culture lovers among winter sports enthusiasts will also get their money’s worth in cities such as Salzburg, Innsbruck or Vienna. Skiing holidays and city breaks can be perfectly combined. Especially when the roofs are covered in snow, there is a very special atmosphere in the cities.

7. Cross-country skiing paradise Austria

Many winter sports fans initially associate Austria with classic alpine skiing on the snow-covered slopes of the Austrian Alps. However, friends of cross-country skiing are also guaranteed to get their money’s worth in Austria’s cross-country skiing paradise. No matter where you are in the country, the next cross-country trail is certainly not far away. The varied routes are usually very well prepared and often artificially snowed, so that snow lovers do not have to do without the pleasure of cross-country skiing even when there is little natural snow. Many cross-country ski trails are also prepared for classic and skating styles.

Austria attracts many hobby athletes from all over the world with its multi-facetted selection of trails, in addition to professional athletes who take advantage of the good conditions for their training. The most popular cross-country skiing regions in Austria include the Achensee region, the Olympiaregion Seefeld, Saalfelden Leogang and Schladming-Dachstein. Whether through snow-covered forests, wide valleys or on the mountain: cross-country skiing in the picturesque nature of Austria is definitely a unique experience!

Cross-country skier in the popular cross-country skiing region of Seefeld.

8. Delicacies of the Austrian cuisine

During your skiing holiday in Austria, snow lovers can look forward to traditional Austrian cuisine. Whether during a short break at the hut or in the evening in a rustic restaurant in the valley, winter holidaymakers with different culinary preferences and tastes will get their money’s worth in Austria. The thought of a golden-brown “Wiener Schnitzel” with cranberries or spicy “Käsknöpfle” (cheesy egg noodle dish) with roasted onions is enough to make quite a few connoisseurs’ mouths water. Tyrolean dumplings and various roasts are also very popular in Austria and are an excellent way to round off a successful ski day.

In addition to the hearty dishes, Austria is of course also known for its sweet treats, which can be enjoyed particularly well at a hut in the ski area. Germknödel, yeast dumplings filled with plum puree, are usually served with vanilla sauce and sprinkled with a sugar poppy seed mixture – a feast for the palate that everyone should have tasted at least once. Other sweet treats of Austrian cuisine are “Kaiserschmarrn” (pancake-like dish) with raisins and apple puree, “Wiener Sachertorte” (Viennese chocolate cake) and apple or curd strudel with vanilla sauce. Austria is a true paradise for food lovers!

Kaiserschmarrn is probably one of the most popular Austrian desserts.

9. Winter openings and events

When the first snow falls in Austria, the ski resorts open their gates and the fun on the slopes begins. Eventful winter openings usually take place in numerous resorts at the start of the season. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this cannot take place in the usual form in the 2020/2021 season. However, a look into the past gives party-loving ski holidaymakers hope that there are numerous opening and event concepts that can certainly be ‘dug out’ again in one of the coming winter seasons: These include the legendary Top Of The Mountain Concerts in Ischgl, the Electric Mountain Festival in Sölden and the Rave on Snow in Saalbach-Hinterglemm.

10. Lounge atmosphere instead of legendary après-ski

Even the most hardened après-ski fan can understand that après-ski as we know it from Austria will have to be cancelled in the 2020/2021 season. Instead of the ‘wild partying’ in the huts and bars, this year Austrians are opting for a cosy lounge atmosphere or safe restaurant and bar operations – whether in the valley or directly in the ski area. The unique ambience of the often rustic (après-ski) huts definitely comes across! After an exhausting day of skiing, you can still enjoy a schnapps. Dancing and swaying on the tables – that will have to wait for now.

Our conclusion: Ski holidays in Austria really offer everything that makes the hearts of winter sports fans beat faster!

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