Ski holiday in Austria

Austria has always been favorite countries for skiers all over the World. Austrian Alps offer high quality skiing, both in terms of snow, hours of sunshine and beautiful nature and views. In addition, most of the ski resorts in Austria are good party places with great après ski, something that attracts a lot of people, especially younger ones. Add to that Wienerschnitzel, Jägermeister, straw rum as well as high quality beer and you have all the good reasons to plan your next skiing holiday to this wonderful country.

The ski season in Austria usually runs from mid-December to early April, but of course it varies between ski resorts, primarily depending on their altitude. There are also several ski resorts that have glacier skiing in Austria, where the season is thus extended, and the most famous and popular of these are Sölden and Stubai Gletscher. However, the only ski resort with a glacier that is open all year round is Hintertux Glacier.

Austria's most popular ski resorts

The list of ski resorts that are popular in the Austrian Alps could be made very long, so we will content ourselves with listing the absolute most popular ones here.

  • Zell am See is one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the entire Alps which is located along the beautiful lake Zeller See, with its adorable mountains surrounding the lake.
  • Bad Gastein is a real classic ski resort that basically all skiers have heard about, and it is great for both for skiing and summer trips. In addition to the world-class skiing, it is also very popular for its spas and thermal baths.
  • St. Anton is located at the Arlberg massif, which has fantastic skiing, but is also very famous for its blasting après ski, which is one of the main reasons why many choose this ski resort.
  • Another ski resort known for its fine après ski is Ischgl, something they got unwanted attention for when it was one of the major epicentres at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in Europe.
  • To continue on the subject of good après ski, we can also add Saalbach, where the ski area itself is called Saalbach-Hinterglemm as it is connected to the ski resort of Hinterglemm.
  • Mayrhofen is located in the middle of the Zillertal Valley and is known for being an excellent ski resort for families but also offers fantastic skiing for more experienced skiers.
  • Wagrain is only one hour from Salzburg and is therefore very easy to get to. The ski resort is connected to lots of nearby ski resorts, which means that there is a huge number of slopes to explore here
  • The classic ski resort of Schladming has, among other things, been named Austria's best ski resort and has hosted the Alpine WC and is a recurring host of the Alpine World Cup, which says a lot about the fine skiing that can be found here.
Additional well-known ski resorts include Sölden, Söll, Flachau, Kitzbühel and Obergurgl, just to name a few.

There are of course plenty of other ski resorts than those that "everyone goes to" but which still have world-class skiing, and if you want to explore some of these less well-known ski resorts, you can for example try Maria Alm, Fieberbrunn, Lech / Zürs and Leogang.

Major ski areas in Austria

If you go on a ski holiday for a short week/long weekend, all the major ski resorts in the Austrian Alps have more than enough skiing to offer to keep you satisfied. On the other hand, if you are going on a ski holiday for a whole week or more, or if you have even thought of spending a season in the Alps, it can be interesting to choose a ski resort that is connected to others, and thus forms larger ski areas. This gives you access to more slopes and terrains to explore. In that case, Austria is the optimal country because several of the world's largest continuous ski areas are located here.

You will find all the major ski areas in Austria here, but three specific ones that all offer 270 kilometres of skiing or more are Arlberg (which includes St. Anton and Lech/Zürs, among others), Ski Welt (including Söll) and Skicircus (with Saalbach and Fieberbrunn as members, among others).

In addition to all these already huge ski areas, there is also something called Ski amadé. This is an area made up of five interconnected ski areas and includes a total of 25 ski resorts and villages. All together there are 760 kilometers of pistes to discover here. However, it should be mentioned that these areas are primarily connected by buses, so even though everything is within a short distance of each other, they are not directly connected in the usual way.

Airports in the Austrian Alps

A big advantage if you want to go to Austria on a ski trip is that there are plenty of decently big airports with direct flights from all over Europe to choose from. In the middle of everywhere, so to speak, are both Innsbruck airport Kranebitten and Salzburg Airport. Especially during the winter, there is no difficulty in finding direct flights here, and since both airports are so centrally located in the Austrian Alps, you can reach several of the larger ski resorts in around an hour, and many smaller ski resorts (still with excellent skiing) in less than an one hour. With such short distances, the transfer cost is also lower, something that can otherwise be a large cost of the total price of the ski trip.

But it is not only the airports in Austria that you can fly to. It is perfectly possible to fly to Munich in Germany and with transfer ore rental car get to ski resorts such as Söll, Kitzbühel and Alpbachtal in around two hours. Another possible option is to fly to Zurich in the east of Switzerland, but then you have to expect a somewhat longer and more expensive transfer.

Price level at ski resorts in Austria

As for the price level of the ski resorts in Austria, it is quite high even for being the Alps. A ski pass costs on average 64 euro and the prices are highest in Montafon where a one-day pass costs 77 euro, and lowest in Zahmer Kaiser - Walchsee where a ski pass for one day costs 35 euro.

Renting skis in a shop at the larger ski resorts is about the same price as you would have to pay in most other countries within Europe. You can expect to pay from 150 to 200 euros for a week's rental for an package of skis, boots and helmet for an intermediate skier.

When it comes to food, the prices are not too high, for example, a pizza is usually 10 to 15 euros. When it comes to drinks, a pint of beer costs between 4.50 and 5 euros. Both food and drinks costs are lower than Switzerland and about the same as in France and Italy, to compare with other Alp countries.

Dishes you should try on a skiing holiday in Austria

When visiting another country, it is of course a must to explore the food culture and try typical dishes of that country, and Austria is naturally no exception. Here are some Austrian dishes you should try on your skiing holiday in Austria:

  • What could be more Austrian than Wienerschnitzel? This Austrian national dish is a slice of veal that is flattened and then breaded and served with potato of some kind.
  • If you are in Tyrol, you must try Tiroler Gröstl. This dish contains potatoes and meat, is often served with a fried egg and is traditionally prepared on Mondays from the leftovers from Sunday's Sonntagsbraten (Sunday roast).
  • Brettljause is simply a charcuterie tray served on a wooden platter (often a cutting board). Not a unique concept perhaps but an excellent opportunity to try the local delicacies. As a rule, the tray also contains cheese and pickled cucumber, and bread is normally served with it.
  • Knödel is perhaps not a specific Austrian dish, but it is eaten a lot here. Prepared from potatoes, eggs and stale (dried) bread that is formed into a ball and boiled. This dish is completely vegetarian.
  • Käsespätzle (can also be called Kasspatzln) is a type of egg noodle in the shape of large peas that is gratined with of cheese, different types depending on where it is served, and then topped with roasted onions.
  • For those with a sweet tooth, Apfelstrudel is a must. This pastry, with documented origins dating back to the 17th century, is made with puff pastry filled with apple, raisins, cinnamon and sugar and served with cream.
  • Sachertorte is not specific to the Alps as it originates from Vienna, but if it is available it is a must during a coffee break. This is a rich chocolate cake with apricot jam between the chocolate layers served with plain whipped cream.

Map Austria

Alp2Alps - transfer to your ski resort