Endless slopes for skiers of all levels. Countless bars along pistes. And bare-chested locals dancing on tables to the oom-pah band—Austria is well-known for the lively après-ski scene and abounds with alpine villages. You can find 440 ski resorts peppered around the country. And best of all, Austria is more wallet-friendly than France or Switzerland.
From lesser-known places like Ellmau to the mega ski resorts of Kitzbühel and St. Anton, here’s a guide to the top ski resorts in Austria.
Discover the winter party capital of Ischgl
Snuggled into Tyrol’s Eastern Alps near the border of Vorarlberg and Switzerland, Ischgl is one of the best party ski resorts in Austria. It boasts groomed pistes, cable cars, chair lifts and T-bars aplenty. After a fun-filled day on ski trails, you can explore lively scenes in mountain huts and umbrella bars and dance in your snow boots.
But après-ski is by far not all that makes Ischgl so irresistibly attractive. The lift-linked Silvretta Arena is a ski resort with 239 kilometers (148.508 miles) of broad and groomed pistes, an area for free riders, plus hiking trails galore.
On the same lift pass, you can access Ischgl’s neighboring villages of Galtür in the upper Paznaun valley, plus Kappl and See. In a word – ischglorious!
Getting to Ischgl
The best way to get to Ischgl is via train, for example, from Zurich to Saint Anton am Arlberg, you can hop on a local train to Ischgl. You can also ride the train to Landeck and continue your journey to Ischgl by bus or taxi.
Follow in 007’s footsteps in Sölden
Connected to two glaciers and three mountains 3,000+ meters (9842 feet) above sea level, Sölden offers guaranteed snow all year.
A few years ago, international tourists ignored Sölden until 007 caused a worldwide furor in the James Bond movie Spectre. Whether it’s the ice Q, an architectural masterpiece at Gaislachkogl’s craggy peak, or the Ötz valley glacier road where the speedy car chase was filmed, the region has become a skiing hotspot for adrenaline fiends.
Riding the cable car to Gaislachkogl you can soak up the winter wonderland and feel on top of the world.
Sölden has ski runs of 144 kilometers (89 miles) with plenty of slopes for beginners and intermediate skiers, particularly at Gaislachkogl.
Keen for a challenge? Head to the Rettenbach Glacier, a venue for the Alpine Ski World Cup since 2000.
Whatever your level, you can quickly move around the area via the ski runs and lifts.
Getting to Sölden
You can fly or ride the train. Sölden is only an hour’s drive away from Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck, also known as Bridge over the Inn.
Experience the gnarly feel of Kitzbühel’s Hahnenkamm
Kitzbühel is one of the ski resorts in Austria near Salzburg and is world-renowned for the Hahnenkamm, a World Cup alpine ski race.
While the Hahnenkamm looks and is scary, its terrain varies and offers pistes for advanced winter sports enthusiasts and intermediate skiers. There are 188 kilometers (116 miles) of groomed and marked ski runs in the Kitzbühel/Kirchberg region, including 14 valley runs ideal for beginners.
Besides, the country area of Kitzbühel, with its old-world feel, is worth seeing, too. You can ooh and aah in admiration of the colorful village houses mingling with the posh hotels and swanky boutiques. The medieval quarter comes particularly alive at après-ski o’clock when the air tastes of mulled wine. Enjoy!
Getting to Kitzbühel
Getting to the ski resort of Kitzbühel is child’s play via the airports of Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Munich. You can jump on a public bus, ride a train, or hail a cab to get to Kitzbühel. If you’re a railway buff, you can also watch Europe’s winter scenery roll past on a train journey to Kitzbühel’s train station.
Challenge yourself on the ski runs of St. Anton
Home to the daunting slopes of the Valluga Mountain, 2,811 meters (9222 feet) above sea level, and the hamlet of Nasserein, more suitable to beginners and intermediate skiers, St. Anton is a mega ski resort.
The region includes 302 kilometers (182 miles) of groomed pistes and 200 kilometers (124 miles) of deep-snow runs—all accessible with just one lift pass valid for all 89 cable cars, chair lifts, and more.
Hiding in a narrow valley, the historic, car-free village offers fresh mountain air and is the birthplace of the Alpine skiing tradition. Here in the Lechtal Alps, the first group ski lessons were held in the 1920s when one of the Alps’ first cable cars was erected in St. Anton.
Once you’re done pounding powder, it’s time to experience St. Anton’s cheerful vibe. The Austrians know darned well how to let their hair down come après time.
Getting to St. Anton
It’s a 75-minute drive to St. Anton from Innsbruck airport. From Friedrichshafen airport, it’ll take you about 90 minutes, and from the Swiss airport of Zurich, it’s a two-hour car ride.
You can also ride the train to St. Anton—the railway station is a five-minute stroll to the village center.
Get off the beaten path in Ellmau, ideal for families
Little-known Ellmau is one of the ski resorts in Austria near Innsbruck.
Yet, it’s a world away from resorts where the air is filled with schnapps scents. What Ellmau lacks in ebullient après-ski oi-oi-oi-choruses, it makes up for in the peaceful atmosphere.
Also, since the village is tucked away in a quiet corner, it doesn’t come with the high prices of more popular ski resorts, making it more family-friendly.
Ellmau features a small ski hill with gentle slopes, shared with its neighboring village Going am Wilden Kaiser.
Aside from the excellent value for money, you can look forward to child-friendly facilities like parallel ski tows. In addition, snow-covered pine forests offer quality time with your family. You’ll love the night strolls on cold, packed snow that crunches beneath your boots.
Getting to Ellmau
While Salzburg and Munich’s airports are near, with transfer times between an hour to an hour and a half, Innsbruck (INN) is the closest airport to Ellmau. The more scenic option, however, is to ride a train to Ellmau. The journey takes two hours and 12 minutes from Munich via Munich Ost and Kufstein.
Both countries have good skiing, but it’s more affordable in Austria.
Ellmau—it’s not as well-known as the others, and therefore, it’s more affordable.
January. After the crowds have gone, the prices will dip, and the snow is still fantastic.