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HEIDI GUIDE TO
Austria Ski Holidays
It may sound cliché, but Austria really does tick all of the ski holiday boxes.
From the beginner-friendly nursery slopes of Alpbach to the near-vertical faces of St Anton, skiers of all abilities will revel in this high-altitude snowy wonderland.
Why choose to go skiing in Austria?
Heaps of resorts for all abilities
Ample snow-sure glacier skiing on offer
With lofty peaks and glaciers galore, there's normally plenty of great snow all season when it comes to an Austria ski holiday. Mess around on snow tubes with the kids, dance on tables with a cold beer in hand, or have your choice of swanky restaurants if savouring fine food is more your thing.
From the beginner-friendly slopes of Zell am See, to the near-vertical faces of St Anton, skiers of all abilities will revel in this picturesque wonderland. For a big ski experience, hit up Mayrhofen and its huge troves of terrain - it’s arguably one of the best places to ski in Austria. Or head to Kitzbuhel, another firm favourite and be enchanted with the warmth of its traditional charm.
Already ticked off the most popular Austria ski resorts? Then read on, because we have plenty more gems to choose from...
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Family skiing in Austria
Some of Austria’s best ski resorts for families are the vast slopes of the Ski Juwel region. Here you'll find Wildschönau, with heaps of gentle runs and ski schools, it's perfect for a fun-filled family ski holiday to Austria.
Skiing in Austria with teenagers is made easy, when you leave them to hang out in the snow park overlooking the lakeside ski resort of Zell am See. While the world's longest toboggan run in neighbouring Wildkogel will put a smile on the face of small and big kids alike.
If you are heading out early in the season for Christmas, or late in the season for Easter, then Obergurgl is perfect. It's one of the most snow-sure resorts in Austria, with plenty of quiet, family-friendly slopes.
Group skiing in Austria
If you and your mates are looking for group ski holidays in Austria with a fun party vibe, look no further than Saalbach or Mayrhofen. These Austrian ski resorts pack plenty of cruisy pistes for beginner and intermediate skiers, and deep off-piste powder and snowpark obstacles galore for those more advanced.
For more experienced groups who like to let their hair down, St Anton is a no brainer. Aside from the legendary apres, it’s also in Austria's largest linked ski area, the Arlberg, which packs 303km of pistes.
If ski miles is what it's all about, then Zell am See is also ideal for group skiing in Austria. From here, you can access one of the largest ski regions in Austria, the Saalbach-Hinterglemm Skicircus.
Austria ski holidays Your questions answered by our Austrian ski holiday expert
Alexander Blunt (Co-Founder)
When is the best time to ski in Austria?
The best time to ski in Austria means heading over in mid-January. It’s the coldest time of the year, but it means the snow conditions will usually be at their best. Avoid Christmas and New Year if you want quieter runs and cheaper rates. February can be busy too.
Luckily, Austria’s ski season starts early and ends late, thanks to some high-altitude and glacial resorts such as Obergurgl and Kaprun. Both are great options for early and late-season skiing, with March and April still a great time to ski in Austria. With longer daylight hours, you'll have more time on the slopes (and more time to enjoy a cold beer in the sun!). Apres anyone?
What are the best ski resorts in Austria for beginners?
Looking for cruisy blue runs, spectacular mountain vistas and easy resort access? Austria's beginner-friendly ski resorts are guaranteed to deliver. One of the best resorts for beginners, the stylish Seefeld, is quiet with shed loads of gentle terrain. While jaw-dropping valley views await at the friendly resort of Alpbach.
Mayrhofen’s big après atmosphere is great for beginner ski holidays filled with fun on and off the slopes. And for families learning to ski in Austria, St Johann in Tirol offers gentle nursery slopes and wide sweeping descents.
What are the best ski resorts in Austria for advanced skiers?
From insane gradients to technical trails, Austrian ski resorts are filled to the brim with thigh-burning terrain. Advanced skiers wanting a true test can tackle Mayrhofen’s catalogue of black runs. This includes Austria’s steepest piste, the ‘Harakiri’, and its mind-blowing 78% gradient.
St Anton is another of Austria’s best ski resorts for advanced skiers. The bravest here can tackle the world-famous ‘Kandahar’ piste or any of its 200km of marked powder runs. And for even more leg-aching terrain, advanced skiers should head on over to Kaprun, where the snaking 63% gradient of ‘Black Mamba’ will really test their resolve.
What are the best ski resorts for off-piste skiing in Austria?
One of our faves for off-piste skiing in Austria is St Anton. Steep descents, narrow chutes and deep powder prove too big a temptation for most daredevils wanting to experience expansive backcountry skiing. Venture off the beaten track for the first time in Mayrhofen, where most off-piste runs are accessible from the main ski lifts. Or shred the colossal backcountry playground of Zillertal (such as Zell am Ziller) with over 300km of unpisted terrain.
For virgin powder and quiet off-piste descents, Fieberbrunn provides an irresistible entrée to some of Austria’s best off-piste skiing. It's a stop on the Freeride World Tour, no less. Or you could shred the colossal playground of Kaltenbach’s backcountry, with over 300km of unpisted terrain for lovers of freeride skiing.
What are the best high-altitude ski resorts in Austria?
Austria has many high-altitude ski resorts, so it is pretty reliable for snow throughout the season. For some epic off-piste action, explore Austria's highest ski resort, Pitztal, from as early as September. You can also zip up the lifts to explore its highest piste at 3,440m, (making it one of the highest ski resorts in Europe). The powder is often plentiful on Solden's lofty 'Big 3' mountain peaks, another of Austria’s high-altitude ski resorts. Or dare to drop in on the Black Mamba on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier in Kaprun. With descents up to 63%, it's one of the steepest runs in Austria.
What are the best resorts for snowboarders in Austria?
For powderhounds hungry to blast through deep pillows of powder, St Anton offers snowboarders some of the best off-piste. If big open groomers are more your thing, then take your snowboard holiday to Ischgl where a big party atmosphere will greet you with open arms.
A group snowboard trip to Saalbach is always a great choice. It offers mellow terrain for beginner snowboarders learning the ropes. While advanced snowboarders can carve hard on the heaps of technical terrain. Another of Austria’s best resorts for snowboarders is Mayrhofen. With one of the top freestyle snowparks in Europe, it’s no wonder pros from across the world visit here to compete. And if you love the apres-ski or a party in the snow, make sure to check out Snowbombing or the Altitude comedy festival.
Which Austrian ski resorts are best for food and drink?
If it's chilly, a bowl of delicious goulash soup will warm you up, ready for a fun afternoon on the slopes. Or, if you need to replenish the energy levels, a plate load of Wiener Schnitzel and chips or a generous portion of Käsespätzle (aka cheesy pasta) will do the trick. For a sweet treat, apfelstrüdel is top of our list, closely followed by Kaiserschmarrn pancakes with applesauce. You’ll find fantastic restaurants in Kitzbuhel, whilst the resorts of the SkiWelt (like Ellmau and Söll) are known for having loads of great mountain huts. Yum!
What are the best Austrian resorts for après-ski?
The hills are alive with the sound of music. But not as you might think. Dance on the tables and party until dawn in the piste-side bars of St Anton, one of Austria’s best ski resorts for après-ski. Or head to Ischgl, dubbed 'Ibiza of the Alps, ' for street parties and lively ice bars. Home of Snowbombing Week, Mayrhofen plays host to some of the world's best DJs. Meanwhile, Europop beats blare out over the slopes of Solden, and you won’t go far wrong in Kirchberg or Gerlos either if you are after a party vibe. If you're looking for a more glamorous après-ski scene, head to Lech. Sip champagne and enjoy fine dining in this classy resort.
What are the best ski resorts in Austria for ski weekends or short breaks?
Want your ski fix but only have a small window to play with? Flights to Austria are swift and plentiful. Plus, transfers to the mountains take no time at all, so you are spoilt for choice.
For a short ski break or weekend trip, with quick transfers and maximum slope time, try Söll or Ellmau (one hour from Innsbruck and 90 minutes from Munich). Combine a ski weekend with relaxed, immaculately groomed runs and chic hotels in Lech. Or if you and your pals are of mixed abilities, a short ski trip to Zell am See will keep everyone entertained. Our last tip is Fugen, which is ideal for a short ski holiday, thanks to being just 45 minutes from Innsbruck and about 90 minutes from Salzburg.
What is the ski accommodation in Austria like?
Austrian ski accommodations provide a perfect alpine home, bubbling with Austrian charm. From cosy family-run retreats to luxurious spa hotels, it’s easy to find what you’re after.
Virtually all Austrian resorts have bed and breakfast accommodations, making it easy to fuel up for the day on hearty Austrian delicacies. Half-board is just as common, with the numerous hotels providing you with a stress-free dining experience, especially helpful if you have little ones in tow. Meanwhile, self-catered accommodation is far less common in Austria, than it is in neighbouring France. But it gives you ample opportunity to experience the best of Austrian alpine cuisine. And one big top Heidi tip, Austrian sauna culture is big on nakedness. Something to expect if you’re a big fan of spas.
Most ski resorts in Austria are historic slope-side villages and towns. Unlike the purpose-built giants of France, you’ll find more space and more charming locations when staying here. And while there are fewer ski-in ski-out accommodations in Austria, the often brilliant bus services in the resort make it easy to get to the slopes, for those staying further away.
What are the entry requirements for Austria?
Entry requirements are completely dependent on your nationality. Things can change, so for the most up-to-date visa and passport information, we advise checking the international travel advice for your nationality, below are two examples.
Here are just some of our top ski resorts. To find the perfect one for you, speak to one of our specialists.
Mayrhofen is a traditional Austrian village with some of the liveliest apres-ski in Austria. The piste is reached by gondola and offers diverse and challenging skiing and boarding. There is also an easy bus link to the Hintertux Glacier skiing.
Zell am See is a picturesque, lively village with a car-free centre overlooking Lake Zell and the vast mountain scenery. The ski area is split in two; Zell am See - Kaprun, and although not connected by piste, the resort offers a free shuttle bus service connecting them.
Saalbach is known for its lively atmosphere and Austrian charm. The skiing is great for all abilities and an excellent lift system connects Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn (skicircus), making it one of Austria's largest ski areas.
With easy slopes for beginners, fun parks for freestylers, and a cozy atmosphere, St Johann in Tirol is perfect for families and beginners looking to carve their first turns. There's plenty to explore beyond the slopes too, with charming onion-domed churches, museums, and beautifully fresco-painted buildings.
Kitzbühel is a renowned Austrian resort known for its picturesque appeal, luxury hotels, and the iconic Hahnenkamm downhill race, which transforms the town into a lively party hub. With 230km of slopes, including the famous Streif, and two terrain parks, it offers diverse skiing opportunities.