Ski Austria resorts and updates

SKI Austria and the Alps…so much choice!

Austrian flag over snowy mountain


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 SNOW REPORTS FOR THE SKI RESORTS


 Ski town plagued by dog poo on the pistes!

A ski town in the heart of the Salzburg Alps has declared war on dog poo after complaints that ski-tourers who like to ski with their dogs are letting the animals run free and do their business on ski pistes and tracks.

Austria dog dirt

Photo: Salzburg Heute/ORF

Up to 400 ski-tourers a day use an alpine climbing route in St. Johann im Pongau which is designed for ski touring – and many have dogs with them. For weeks skiers, climbers and local farmers have been complaining about the mess the dogs leave behind in the snow – saying that the poo is a slip hazard and unhygienic.

“We have a problem with the many dog owners who enjoy ski touring and let their dogs run free – and then spoil the experience for anyone else enjoying the mountain,” the mayor of St. Johann, Günter Mitterer, told the ORF. “These dogs are contaminating the ski slopes, and many owners aren’t cleaning up after them,” he added.

Mitterer said that the dog mess was a particular nuisance this year as there has not been much snow, so skiers and ski touring groups are all using the same areas on the mountain where there has been a good covering of snow.

The mayor said that currently the law stipulates that dogs must be on the leash when walking in the town and that it would be a shame if this had to be extended to the mountains. He is appealing to ski-tourers to clean up after their pooches and has published an article in the local newspaper about the problem.


Austrian avalanches be warned!

If you are tempted to ski off-piste…think twice…is it worth the risk to crushed under a few tons of the white stuff??

Avalanche forecasts for Tyrol are available online at https://lawine.tirol.gv.at/home/lagebericht/


Five of Austria’s best ski resorts but not all!

They may not be as famous as some of those in the French and Swiss Alps but many of Austria’s ski resorts offer better value for money – alongside a friendly service and a sincere welcome.

Here’s our pick of five you should consider visiting, but remember there are many more that are not in the package holiday brochures! These are popular with European market but less well known by the Bristish ski fans.


Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel recently dethroned France’s Val Thorens to be named the world’s best ski resort 2015. Located 95 km from Innsbruck in the heart of Tyrol, this former medieval mining town set against the backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser mountains boasts a 120-year-old skiing tradition.

It features 170 km of slopes including the Streif, one of the most challenging downhill ski race tracks famed for its high-speed jumps, steep slopes, curves, compressions and bumps. It’s also the venue for the annual Hahnenkamm, the toughest of all downhill ski races, held in late January.

The local slopes are divided into two separate areas – the Kitzbüheler Horn and the much more extensive Hahnenkamm. Kitzbühel also links (via a short bus ride) to the 280 km and 91 lifts of the Skiwelt area, which includes Westendorf and Söll.  The ski area features 155 days of guaranteed snow from December through to April. Kitzbühel also appeals to non-skiers who enjoy exploring its pretty, medieval streets lined with luxury hotels, designer boutiques and cafés.

St Anton

This is one of the top resorts in Europe for serious skiers, and its runs are not for the faint hearted. The Valluga, its highest lift, is at 2,810m. If you’re confident on steeper intermediate runs and want to go black, you will enjoy this resort.

The off-piste skiing is one of the area’s major attractions and an excursion to Zürs off the back of the Valluga is recommended for expert skiers. The Rendl ski area on the other side of the valley is more gentle.

Beginners can always take the ski bus to the easier slopes of Lech and Zürs which are included in the regional Arlberg lift pass – in all, the pass covers 340km of slopes. But don’t miss out on the nightlife of St Anton, which is as good as the skiing.

Saalbach

Saalbach and neighbouring Hinterglemm are a 90-minute drive from Salzburg airport. Saalbach is the larger of the two villages and its centre boasts traditional cafés, bars, and designer boutiques. Hinterglemm is quieter and offers better value for families.

The two villages are at the centre of a ring of 2,000m peaks. An impressive lift system with 55 lifts give access to 200 km of pistes. The area is also linked to the village of Leogang, in the next valley. As most of the slopes face south, good snow isn’t always guaranteed and the best time to visit is mid-winter, rather than spring.

One of the locations for the latest James Bond film, Sölden is the place to go if you want reliable snow. It offers intermediate-friendly slopes in the Ötz valley, less than an hour’s drive from Innsbruck.

It’s not one of the prettiest resorts, with no real centre, but it has a very lively après-ski scene and extensive slopes with lots of off-piste opportunities. Gondolas from opposite ends of town go up to the peak of Gaislachkogl and the lift junction of Giggijoch, with most of the shops, restaurants and hotels in between them.

Two glaciers link into the ski area, the Rettenbach and the Tiefenbach, meaning the season continues for most of the year. The ski area closes at the beginning of May, but reopens for summer in June.

Sölden

One of the locations for the latest James Bond film, Sölden is the place to go if you want reliable snow. It offers intermediate-friendly slopes in the Ötz valley, less than an hour’s drive from Innsbruck.

It’s not one of the prettiest resorts, with no real centre, but it has a very lively après-ski scene and extensive slopes with lots of off-piste opportunities. Gondolas from opposite ends of town go up to the peak of Gaislachkogl and the lift junction of Giggijoch, with most of the shops, restaurants and hotels in between them.

Two glaciers link into the ski area, the Rettenbach and the Tiefenbach, meaning the season continues for most of the year. The ski area closes at the beginning of May, but reopens for summer in June.

Ischgl

Ischgl is known as the party resort, with a full-on nightlife and high-quality intermediate pistes. It’s famed for its opening and closing parties that host some of the world’s most famous pop artists. This year cult Californian band The Beach Boys open the season on Saturday November 28th, and organisers expect a crowd of between 15,000 and 20,000.

Accommodation tends to be mostly upmarket and more expensive than in many resorts. From late afternoon the atmosphere in the village and at the foot of the pistes is all about après ski and it’s very friendly.

With 238 km of pistes to explore – the area is linked to Samnaun in Switzerland – the slopes suit all standards and the lift system is constantly being updated.

If you’re not into the raucous après scene with its table dancing, pole-dancing and lap-dancing, the quieter and more family-orientated Galtür and Kappl resorts are just a few kilometres away up the valley. These offer an alternative, less expensive base and are connected with Ischgl by a free bus service.


5 less well known resorts more than worth checking!

Nassfeld – in Carinthia

Lakenhof Oetscher – in Lower Austria

Hockar – in Lower Austria

Dachstein – in Upper Austria

Hintersee – in Salzburgland

 

 Austria Ski areas open or opening soon

A few resorts are already open and others will be opening this weekend…depending of course on snow conditions. Here is the piste open link for the main Dachstein ski region.

http://www.dachstein.at/en/winter/ski-region/panorama/open-lifts-pistes/

Want to ski in early December?

Kaunertal Glacier

The Kaunertal Glacier is Tirol’s youngest glacier. There is plenty of room on the 38km of wide open slopes, with hardly any lift queues. Snow is guaranteed from October until June thanks to the high location and you will find plenty of variety here. From the legendary opening party to the family-friendly ski area in Fendels, there is something to suit all ages.
www.kaunertaler-gletscher

Pitztal Glacier

Feel on top of the world on the Pitztal Glacier, Tirol’s highest glacier. With guaranteed snow from September to May there is nothing stopping you from tackling all 41km of groomed runs. Round off your day by taking the Wildspitzbahn cable car to 3.440m where you can kick back on the panorama terrace of Austria’s highest café.
www.pitztaler-gletscher.at

Glacier Skiing in Sölden

Snow is guaranteed from October until May in Sölden thanks to the high alpine location, two glacier ski areas at Rettenbach and Tiefenbach, plus artificial snow-making systems covering more than 67% of the slopes. Those in need of a break can indulge at one of the gourmet mountain restaurants or browse the top-class event schedule.
www.soelden.com

Stubai Glacier

Tirol’s biggest glacier ski area is just a 45 minute drive from Innsbruck. Skiing is guaranteed from October to June on the Stubai Glacier and the 34 runs ranging from easy to challenging make this a particularly family-friendly resort.
www.stubaier-gletscher.com

Hintertux Glacier in Zillertal

The Hintertux Glacier is Austria’s only year-round ski resort, offering winter sports enthusiasts perfectly groomed, snow-sure runs 365 days of the year, great food and stunning nature at altitudes of up to 3.250m.
www.hintertuxergletscher.at

Kitzsteinhorn

Wide glacial slopes with natural snow, varied routes for freeriders, three snow parks and Austria’s largest super-pipe for freestylers – the Kitzsteinhorn offers an unequalled range of winter sports opportunities. Plus, there’s unforgettable experiences at Gipfelwelt 3000, highly enjoyable moments at the stylish ICE CAMP presented by Audi, and lots of varied events. From early autumn to late spring, Austria’s first glacier resort offers wintery freedom at 3.000m.
www.kitzsteinhorn.at

Dachstein Glacier

The Dachstein is the ideal playground for skiers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers and sun worshippers throughout the year. While you have to wait for snow in the valley, there are already perfect snow conditions on the glacier. All lifts are in operation until the summer months, providing an opportunity to “break yourself in” for the winter.
www.derdachstein.at

Ischgl

One of the biggest interconnected ski areas in Tirol. From skiing in the Silvretta-Arena to concerts with global stars, shopping and top culinary performances, the famed Ischgl exhilarates with its exuberant holiday style. The season starts early here and there were already 26 lifts in operation on in December.
www.ischgl.com

Obergurgl-Hochgurgl

A snow guarantee from November until May, a dream-like mountain panorama and first-class hotels make Tirol’s Obergurgl-Hochgurgl a top choice. 14 out of 21 lifts were in operation on 2nd December 2014.

Kühtai

At 2.020m above sea level, Kühtai is Austria’s highest ski resort. The season is exceptionally long here, with 3 out of 13 lifts operating on 2nd December 2014.
www.kuehtai.info

 


Some of the best offers in car hire. Plus FREE up grades on-line. Book a compact car and get an intermediate at no extra cost.

Dachstein is a vast ski area and this site has English version.

This area is just south of Salzburg and perfect for families and beginners. This site doesn’t have an English version but don’t forget about google translator.

The family-friendly skiing area before the gates of the city Salzburg.

The Gastein region is a true winter sports paradise.

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