Austria is one of Britain’s favourite ski destinations. It’s relatively easy to reach (although nothing is easier than skiing in Britain’s very own indoor slopes), often cheaper than French ski resorts and has a certain charm, especially after a few après-ski Schnapps. Whether you’re taking the whole family or enjoying a well-deserved ski break with a couple of mates, Austria is always a good choice for ski holidays. Below are ten reasons we love skiing in Austria. Are you with us?
Nothing beats the scenery of an Austrian ski resort town. As you come off the slopes and wind your way through the quaint village streets, a cheery chorus of “Grüß Gott!” greets you, even the H&M’s will be displaying lederhosen and dirndls. In the village centre you’re sure to find everything your heart desires, whether it’s a cosy restaurant or a spot of window shopping.
Thanks in part to the many glaciers, most places in the Austrian Alps are blessed with guaranteed snow from early until late in the season. In addition, the infrastructure is modern, as are the facilities and the rental equipment. No hour-long queues for a rickety old two-person lift!
Uncrowded slopes at the Turracher Höhe
Yeah, yeah, yeah – the snow is great and the lifts are speedy, but let’s get to the important stuff: the food! Well, Austria doesn’t disappoint in this category either. Kaiserschmarrn, Tiroler Gröstl, wiener schnitzel and a large mug of hot cocoa... this should provide enough calories to keep you skiing for a few hours!
Après-ski as it’s known today pretty much originated in Austria at legendary institutions like the Krazy Kanguruh and the Mooserwirt in St. Anton. France and Switzerland just can’t hold a candle to après-ski in Austria, which starts in the early afternoon and ends with hordes of drunken revellers skiing back down to the village on very wobbly legs at the end of the night. No wonder Austria is the home of après-ski!
No après-ski like Austrian après-ski
Yes, Switzerland offers top-quality skiing and France offers impeccably groomed pistes, but those ski holidays come with a price tag. Austria hits the sweet spot, with decent skiing for an even more decent price.
The ski areas in Austria have the added advantage of offering a blue, a red and a black piste down from every lift, so that most of the time, mixed-ability groups will have plenty of options and won’t have to worry about splitting up and meeting at the end of the day.
Austria is one of the best options for a family ski holiday, as anyone with small kids will tell you. Most well-known ski areas have dedicated children’s areas with special fun slopes and mascots, where the little ones can learn to ski in total confidence. Some ski resorts will even give free kids’ ski passes or special family deals.
Child-friendly skiing in Austria
Whether it’s a bottle of home-made Schnapps, a carefully tended pot of geraniums or the adorable sight of an old man relaxing on the balcony in his thick knitted jumper, it’s the homey touches that round out the idyllic image of Austria as the best place for a ski holiday. In many cases, that alpine chalet has been in the family for several generations, as the landlady will tell you over a mug of glühwein. You just can’t beat that kind of charm!
French sounds snooty, Italian just sounds plain made-up, but German is the most fun of all to try to pronounce. Especially after a rousing après-ski sesson. Viel spass!
Last but not least on the list is that delicious Austrian beer... and the fact that it’s considered socially acceptable to start drinking well before lunchtime! There’s possibly nothing better in life than a frothy mug of Weizen or Märzen with a view of the alpine peaks.
Delicious, well-deserved beer!
What do you most love about skiing in Austria?
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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