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Austria’s ski resorts are the epitome of the perfect winter holiday. Charming alpine villages nestled in snowy valleys with nothing but tree-lined slopes as far as the eye can see, coupled with plenty of apres-ski fun.
|Resort||Ski-in/ski-out||Distance||Lift pass price (3-day adult pass)||Is there a resort village?|
|Söll||No||50-minute drive from Innsbruck||£115||Yes|
|St Anton am Arlberg||Yes||70-minute drive from Innsbruck||£140||Yes|
|Kitzbuhel||Yes||70-minute drive from Innsbruck||£139||Yes|
|Kühtai||Yes||40-minute drive from Innsbruck||£102||Yes|
|Ischgl||Yes||80-minute drive from Innsbruck||£145||Yes|
|Ellmau||Yes||60-minute drive from Innsbruck||£107||Yes|
|Mayrhofen||No||50-minute drive from Innsbruck||£130||Yes|
|Sölden||Yes||70-minute drive from Innsbruck||£139||Yes|
Decide which of these winter wonderlands you’ll be taking your skis to this season.
Forming part of the SkiWelt, Austria’s largest interconnected ski area, Söll attracts a varied crowd of young groups, couples and families.
They’re drawn to the resort’s wide range of ski runs, fantastic ski and snowboard lessons and, most of all, world-class apres-ski. From the classic Oompa bands and sophisticated three-course dinners to floodlit toboggan rides and steins overflowing with beer, this place has something for everyone to enjoy after a day on the slopes.
Established in 1921, St Anton is one of the oldest ski resorts in the world and a must-visit for any skiing enthusiasts travelling to Austria. Its ski runs are challenging, its scenery unbeatable and its apres-ski unforgettable… or perhaps too easily forgettable for some.
While novices to the slopes can book lessons here, the slopes are better suited to intermediates and experts looking for a challenge. Just be prepared to ski around the crowds.
Put on the map for its historic downhill ski races but kept popular by its stylish resorts and varied ski runs, Kitzbuhel is one of Austria’s most chic resorts. Circling around its picturesque medieval quarter are over 50 boutique and high-class hotels, ready to welcome you after a busy day on the slopes. Expect nothing but top-class service and spectacular views from your balcony.
Sitting at an elevation of just over 2,000 metres, Kühtai is almost guaranteed to be blanketed in a thick powder from December through to April. Despite these fantastic conditions, its slopes remain quieter than its neighbours and the village emanates a more intimate feel. If friendly and laid-back is the vibe you’re after, you’ll find it here.
Ischgl may have gained a reputation for its raucous apres-ski and end-of-season parties, but there’s so much more to this ski resort than partying. Boasting a high altitude terrain, Ischgl is usually the first to open at the start of the season and the last to close in spring. While there are plenty of runs for beginners and experts, this place really comes into its own with its intermediate pistes, which are wide, long and just the right level of challenging.
Linked to Austria’s vast SkiWelt area, you’ll find a little something for everyone near Ellmau. Once you’ve found your ski legs, hop on the newest addition to the resort’s chair lifts, a 10-seat gondola that’ll fit the whole family, and have a go at one of Ellmau’s many blue runs.
If you find that skiing simply isn’t for you, there’s plenty to keep you otherwise occupied, including beautiful winter hiking trails, tobogganing slopes and plenty of cosy cafes stocked with gluhwein.
One of the most popular resorts among the Brits, Mayrhofen has managed to retain its traditional alpine village feel while still putting on stellar apres-ski celebrations. So you’ll be able to work hard and play hard.
Even better, it’s less than an hour’s drive from Innsbruck Airport, which sees plenty of direct flights from the UK’s major transport hubs. So, if you’ve found yourself with a few days to spare, why not jump on a plane to see what Mayrhofen can offer you?
Spanning across two glaciers and three well-connected mountains, Sölden caters for all abilities. Experienced boarders will love tackling the longer runs along the glaciers, even during summer, while newbies can snag a few lessons from the experts before jumping on the slopes.
In the evening, the village’s main strip comes alive with classic Austrian entertainment including table dancing and singing. While this jovial atmosphere tends to attract a young crowd, you will see a handful of families and older holidaymakers joining in with the fun too.
|Resort||Number of runs||Length of runs||Vertical drop|
|Söll||224 runs (47% beginner, 49% intermediate, 4% advanced)||279km||1,209 metres|
|St Anton||141 runs (40% beginner, 48% intermediate, 12% advanced)||306km (1,102 acres of skiable terrain)||1,519 metres|
|Kitzbuhel||68 runs (36% beginner, 43% intermediate, 21% advanced)||188km (1,401 acres of skiable terrain)||1,200 metres|
|Kühtai||32 runs (19% beginner, 60% intermediate, 21% advanced)||46km||500 metres|
|Ischgl||85 runs (20% beginner, 64% intermediate, 16% advanced)||238km (1,272 acres of skiable terrain)||1,470 metres|
|Mayrhofen||55 runs (28% beginner, 59% intermediate, 13% advanced)||142km||1,960 metres|
|Ellmau||186 runs (47% beginner, 49% intermediate, 4% advanced)||280km||1,209 metres|
|Sölden||40 runs (52% beginner, 31% intermediate, 17% advanced)||147km||1,900 metres|
The majority of Austria’s ski resorts can be found in the west of the country, clustered around Innsbruck and nestled in the heart of the Alps.
Austria’s ski season runs from December through to April, though some of the lower sitting resorts may open later and close earlier. Christmas remains the most crowded time, so it’s best to avoid visiting in late December/early January if you’re hoping to beat the crowds.