Austria Best Ski Resorts for Winter Sports Adventure

Austria offers a high density of ski resorts, second perhaps only to Switzerland in Europe. However, most of them are medium-sized. Austria’s ski resorts are not as spectacular and glamorous as the mega-resorts found in Switzerland and France, but they are more cosy, less prone to mass tourism and a little cheaper (particularly for beer). Due to their proximity and the common language, most winter sport tourists in Austria come from southern Germany.

How to Plan a Trip to Austria Best Ski Resorts

There are numerous ski and snowboard rental shops in every larger resort. The choice is normally best made by convenience to the slopes or to accommodation.

When hiring equipment it’s a good idea to turn up early, and since Austrians get out of bed early in general, that can mean before 8:30 am. Queuing for an hour to have your ski boots fitted can be very frustrating when you’re eager to get to the pistes.

It is almost always better to try to arrange ski hire, ski lessons and lift passes as soon as possible after arrival in the resort–i.e in the arrival afternoon when you most likely won’t go skiing. Most of the offices will stay open until late afternoon on a Saturday (the main resort arrivals & departures day).

Austria’s ski and snowboard instructor industry is centrally regulated by the government. Licensed ski instructors must take a series of comprehensive state exams to climb up the hierarchy of Skilehrer (conventional ski instructor, mostly part-time workers) , Landesskilehrer (regional ski instructor) and Staatlicher Skilehrer (national ski instructor). Courses can be taken privately or in groups (Ski school). Beginners normally book a ski school for their first week.

Food on the ski slopes normally consists of Austrian specialities of the stodgy variety, but is often overpriced. Some larger restaurants have a canteen styled service where the food is mass produced and the quality can be mediocre when compared to the rest of Austria. It can be hard for a vegetarian to have a varied diet throughout their stay as even the salads are often served with chicken.

In the towns themselves, choice and quality of food is better than on the slopes. Hotel food is normally excellent, since hotels compete for guests with their cuisine, while slope restaurants compete with their location. Therefore it might be a good idea to book half-board instead of eating on the slopes. Guest houses can provide you with traditional cuisine but it is always easy to find a Kebab or Pizza/Italian restaurant.

Book accommodation as far in advance as you can. The number of beds in most resorts is limited, and the later you book the less likely you are to find good value. Be aware that accommodation in some cheap packages is not located in the main ski resort, rather in a nearby town from which you must connect by bus.

Many hotels in Austria are family run and offer personal service and surprisingly good facilities at reasonable prices, especially in smaller resorts. Going to the sauna after the pistes to warm up and relax tired muscles, as well as fine dining is considered as important as the skiing itself by many Austrians. You’ll miss out on a great part of the Austrian ski experience if you book accommodation without sauna facilities.

Self-catering accommodation is also widely available, but bear in mind that the difference in total price between a half board hotel and a self catering apartment is not huge, and many skiers find they have little energy or desire to cook a meal and clean up themselves after a tiring day on the pistes.

Click here to read about 5 most beautiful places to visit in Austria.

Below Article contains list of Austria Ski Resorts for Winter Sports Adventure:

1. Soelden

Sölden is an Alpine resort in the Ötztal Valley, in the Austrian state of Tyrol. Lifts including the high-tech Giggijoch mountain gondola provide access to ski slopes. The panoramic Ötztal Glacier Road connects with the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers. Lookouts on the Gaislachkogl, Tiefenbachkogl and Schwarze Schneid peaks, all more than 3,000 meters high, offer sweeping views of the Ötztal Alps.

Facts about Solden Ski Resort | Austria Tour

Single day pass: Euro 39 onwards

1 Week Card: 302.50 Euro onwards

2 Week Card: 475.50 Euro onwards

Flexi Card: 252.50 Euro onwards

Note: There are discounts on passes for children, youth and seniors. Rates are high during Winter main season.

Region: Otztal valley of Tyrol, Austria.

Highest peak: Wildspitze, at 3,768 m (12,362 ft)

Nearest Airport: 82 Km (Innsbruck, Austria)

Nearest Railway Station: 38 Km (Otztal Bahnhof, Austria)

Zurich by road: 273 Km

The most popular time to visit is during peak ski season (Dec–Mar). Skiing is usually possible Oct–May. The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season commonly begins with races near Sölden (Oct).

$ 120 to $453 per night.

2. St. Anton am Arlberg

St. Anton am Arlberg is an Austrian village in the Tyrolean Alps. It’s known as a gateway to the Arlberg ski region and is often called the “cradle of alpine skiing” for its role in inventing the sport. The Museum St. Anton am Arlberg chronicles local ski history in a traditional chalet. Lifts and cable cars provide access to the slopes of Valluga and Rendl. The village is also known for its lively après-ski scene.

Facts about St. Anton am Arlberg Ski Resort | Austria Tour

Single day pass: Euro 25 onwards

1 Week Card: 289 Euro onwards

Terrif Card: 268 Euro onwards

Note: There are discounts on passes for children, youth and seniors. Rates are high during Winter main season.

Region: Landeck of Tyrol, Austria.

Highest peak:  Valluga at 2,811 metres (9,222 feet)

Nearest Airport: 96 Km (Innsbruck, Austria)

Nearest Railway Station: StAnton am Arlberg Railway Station

Zurich by road: 191 Km

The Arlberg ski region is one of the most reliably snowy areas in the Alps. The busy ski season runs Dec–Apr. Popular months for mountain hiking are May–Sep. The St. Anton Village Festival (Jul) presents traditional Tyrolean music, dance, costumes and food. Adventure sports films are the focus of the outdoor Filmfest St. Anton (Aug).

3. Ischgl

Ischgl is a ski resort village in western Austria’s Paznaun Valley. Many of the lifts and cable cars converge on the Idalp plateau, and provide access to the larger Silvretta Arena ski area. The town is known for its lively après-ski scene. Trails in the surrounding mountains lead to Alpine lakes like the Vidersee. Nearby is the Vider Truja Adventure Park water playground.

Facts about Ischgl Ski Resort | Austria Tour

Single day pass: Euro 28 

1 Week Card: 346 Euro 

Flexi Card (4+2): 275 Euro

Season Pass: 811.50 Euro 

Note: There are discounts on passes for children, youth and seniors. Rates are high during Winter main season.

Region: Paznaun Valley in Tyrol Austria.

Altitude: 1,377 metres (4,518 feet) 

Highest peak:  Idalp at 2,300 metres (7,500 feet)

Nearest Airport: 100 Km (Innsbruck, Austria)

Nearest Railway Station: 44 Km (StAnton am Arlberg)

Zurich by road: 223 Km

Ischgl has cold winters (Dec–Feb). Summers (Jun–Aug) are mild and frequently damp. The peak months for visitors are Dec–Mar, during the height of the ski season. Skiing is usually possible Nov–May. Bands take to the open-air stage at Idalp for “Top of the Mountain” concerts at the opening of the ski season (Nov/Dec), Easter (Mar/Apr) and season’s end (Apr/May). Runners follow mountain paths on the Silvretta Run 3000 (Jul). Ischgl Ironbike (Aug) is a major mountain-biking event.

$ 195 to $650 per night.

4. Lech am Arlberg

Lech am Arlberg is a mountain village and an exclusive ski resort in the Bludenz district in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg on the banks of the river Lech. In terms of both geography and history, Lech belongs to the Tannberg district. In tourist terms, however, it is part of the Arlberg region. Lech is administered together with the neighbouring villages of Zürs, Zug, Oberlech and Stubenbach. The municipality is an internationally known winter sports resort on the mountain range Arlberg.

Facts about Lech am Arlberg Ski Resort | Austria Tour

Single day pass: Euro 25 

1 Week Card: 337 Euro 

Flexi Card: 275 Euro

Note: There are discounts on passes for children, youth and seniors. Rates are high during Winter main season.

Region: Bludenz in Vorarlberg, Austria.

Altitude: 1,444 m (4,738 ft)

Nearest Airport: 97 Km (Alterhein, Switzerland)

Nearest Railway Station: 15 Km (Langen am Arlberg, Austria)

Zurich by road: 194 Km

Although destination is perfect to travel troughout all the seasons. One of the most beautiful palces to visit in world is most amirable for winter sports from dec to march. 

5. Kitzbuhel

Kitzbühel is a small Alpine town east of Innsbruck, in the western Austrian province of Tyrol. It’s a fashionable winter resort, known for the annual Hahnenkamm downhill race. Upscale shops and cafes line the streets of its medieval center. Museum Kitzbühel chronicles the history of the town and the area’s winter sports, with paintings by local artist Alfons Walde. Its rooftop terrace has sweeping town views.
Kitzbühel’s rooftops are overlooked by 3 church towers. The Church of Our Lady, with a baroque interior, is renowned for its melodious bell. Neighboring St. Andreas church blends Gothic and baroque architecture. The Gothic St. Catherine’s church is known for the “Kupferschmied Altar,” intricately carved from wood. More than 50 cable cars and lifts transport skiers to prepared pistes and freeride areas in the ski region, including the iconic Streif slope. Marked hiking paths radiate from Kitzbühel, leading to Alpine pastures with views of peaks in the Kitzbühel Alps, including the Grosser Rettenstein.
Facts about Kitzbuhel Ski Resort | Austria Tour

Single day pass: Euro 58 

1 Week Card: 286 Euro 

Flexi Card: 367 Euro onwards

Note: There are discounts on passes for children, youth and seniors. Rates are high during Winter main season.

Region: Kitzbühel Alps in Tyrol, Austria.

Altitude: 762 m (2,500 ft)

Highest peak: Kitzbühler Horn at 1,996 m (6,549 ft)

Nearest Airport: 74 Km (Salzburg, Austria)

Nearest Railway Station: Kitzbuhel, Austria

By road: 123 Km (Munich, Germany)

Kitzbühel has mild summers (Jun–Aug). The cold winters (Dec–Feb), have temperatures regularly falling below freezing. Jan–Feb and Jul–Aug are peak times for visitors. The ski season usually runs Nov–Apr. Fireworks on New Year’s Day (Jan 1) attract thousands of spectators. Ski fans and partygoers descend on the town for the Hahnenkamm Race (Jan). Hiking conditions are best during the warmer months (May–Sep).

How to reach Austria for Best Ski Resorts Tour

Austrian ski resorts are compact and pedestrian-geared so you’re unlikely to need a car during your stay in a resort. Some areas (such as Ski Amade in Salzburgerland) offer many different towns spread about a large area all on one ski pass so if you wish to try different places to ski each day then a car is advisable. If you arrive in your own car, bear in mind that driving conditions can be challenging on routes to some higher resorts although roads are often cleared, gritted and salted very regularly. However, it is a good idea to take snow chains and to have some experience in winter driving. Instead of renting a car for a week, it is often cheaper to connect by taxi on departure/arrival.

Most resorts are served by public transport. The skibus networks are normally very well organised and punctual and almost always included in the lift pass. For solo travelers looking to visit Austria Best Ski Resorts for Winter Sports Adventure bus is cheap and best option to explore.

Some ski resorts are poorly served by rail services due to their remoteness. Arlberg, Bad Gastein, Kitzbuehel, St. Johann im Pongau and Zell am See are larger ski resorts served by frequent rail services, and are easily accessible by train from neighbouring countries. Most large ski resorts that don’t have a rail station can be accessed by train followed by a 30-45 min bus transfer.

There is a train from Zurich airport to Arlberg which serves St Anton via Feldkirch.

Unlike many countries, getting in to Austria for skiing shouldn’t imply flying to the capital city first.

Consider the following alternatives to Vienna; when comparing alternatives, consider:

  • cost and duration if driving by a rented car
  • cost, duration, connection time and number of connections if riding by a train
  • cost of plane
  • final arrival time: whether it will allow you to prepare everything to start skiing just from the very next morning

Only with all these factors considered, choose your interinary.

It also reverses a typical sequence of travel planning when you first buy airplane tickets to a capital city, and then start choosing your final destination.

The majority of Austrian ski resorts are no more than a 1-2 hour drive away from a large airport.

Closest airports are:

  • for resorts in Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Salzburg: InnsbruckSalzburgZurich, and Munich;
  • for resorts in Carinthia, Styria and East Tyrol: InnsbruckGrazKlagenfurtLjubljana and Venice.

Vienna airport is best avoided; it’s a 4 hour drive away from the nearest medium-sized resort, and even longer by public transport due to its proximity to Slovakia and the eastern part of the country.

Many packages include the flight and transfer to the airport. If you’re travelling independently, you’ll need to take a taxi and/or train/bus. Some hotels will offer shuttle buses for their guests for a good price.