Austria certainly has no shortage of first-class ski resorts, mostly thanks to the country’s distinctive geography. The landlocked nation is almost entirely mountainous and home to many noteworthy peaks and beautiful valleys. As you might expect, it’s a place that has a long history of winter sports.

    The best ski resorts in Austria typically have hundreds of km of slopes, generally equipped with exceptional facilities. The ski lifts are practically an experience in their own right, including heated seats and amazing panoramic views. With so many slopes to choose from, there’s naturally something to challenge any skier or snowboarder, from complete beginners to seasoned experts.



    Austria’s largest ski resort

    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    The Arlberg region spans a massive area, incorporating Lech, Zürs, Stuben, Klösterle, St. Christoph and St. Anton am Arlberg. It’s been a popular destination for winter sports since at least 1901, when the first regional ski club was founded.

    Nowadays, it’s Austria’s largest single connected ski resort, with 305 km of downhill routes, 200 km of deep snow runs, 45 chairlifts, 15 aerial tramways and 28 drag lifts. While there are options for any skill level, the highlight of Arlberg is the White Ring. At 22 km, it’s the world’s longest ski circuit and hosts annual White Ring races.

    Location: 6763 St Anton am Arlberg, Austria

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +43 (0)5446 23520



    The home of spring skiing

    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    Kitzbuehel calls itself “the home of spring skiing” as the conditions typically keep the slopes accessible until early May. It’s a particularly beautiful area and fantastic for skiing, with 192 km of marked and well-maintained slopes. This includes 47 blue routes, 32 red routes and 17 black routes, giving a pretty good spread for all skill levels.

    There are an impressive 57 lifts, gondolas and cable cars to get you to the starts of the runs and the beginner lifts are all free, making it great for beginners. There’s more than just skiing to do in the Kitzbuehel valley, too, with snowboard parks, natural toboggan runs and plenty of cross-country ski trails and winter hiking routes also available.

    Location: Hahnenkammstraße 1a, 6370 Kitzbühel, Austria

    Open: Daily 8.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +43 (0)5356 69510


    Zell am See-Kaprun

    Great glacier skiing

    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    The Zell am See-Kaprun region encompasses 408 km of well-groomed slopes, serviced by 121 lifts and cable cars. The area includes the Kitszteinhorn Glacier, adding a snow-sure option to the mix. This also opens up a few intermediate-level slopes and freeride options before the peak winter months.

    It’s definitely worth getting the Ski ALPIN CARD if you’re visiting the Zell am See-Kaprun area. Priced according to the number of days you plan on skiing, it gives you access to virtually the entire region. It works across all 3 of the area’s subdivisions, making it extremely convenient and easy to just enjoy the slopes without worrying about the paperwork.

    Location: Brucker Bundesstraße 1, 5700 Zell am See, Austria

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to noon and from 1 pm to 5 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +43 (0)6542 770


    Seefeld in Tirol

    A mecca for cross-country skiers

    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    Seefeld in Tirol hosted the Nordic events at the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, proving its credentials as a first-class destination for cross-country skiing. To be precise, there’s more than 245 km of highly reliable and excellently prepared trails for all levels. Some of these ski runs are floodlit for night skiing, while others are dog-friendly.

    In terms of alpine skiing, Seefeld in Tirol’s offerings are small and simple. It’s an excellent option for beginners or those who need to refresh their skills, with 34 lifts, tows and cable cars taking you directly to around 26 km of slopes, some of which are floodlit.

    Location: Bahnhofpl. 115, 6100 Seefeld in Tirol, Austria

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +43 (0)50 880



    The largest skiing valley in the world

    • Couples
    • Adventure
    • Luxury
    • Group

    Zillertal is the largest skiing valley in the world, offering 542 km of groomed slopes across 4 areas. As you might expect of such an extensive area, there are slopes for all skill levels and different conditions to choose from, including deep powder and sporty runs. 

    The Zillertal Superskipass will give you access to everything, including the 180 lifts. Along with the slopes are other great winter sports facilities, including snowboard fun parks, permanent racing and speed courses and ski kindergartens. The pass also tracks the distance you’ve skied and altitude difference.

    Location: Postfeldstraße 7, 6272 Kaltenbach, Austria

    Phone: +43 (0)5283 2800



    Heaven for freeriders

    • Adventure
    • Luxury
    • Group

    While the Saalbach-Hinterglemm region boasts an impressive 270 km of pistes served by 70 modern lifts, it’s better known as a freeride destination. The natural terrain lends itself to deep snow skiing, though the local resorts add to that with obstacles and kickers. If you’re relatively new to freeriding, there are also some special ski slopes that are just not groomed after fresh snowfall.

    Runs are available on both sides of the Saalbach valley, with the sunlit south-facing side being more comfortable. The shaded north-facing side has better snow cover and more trees, making it the better off-piste location. Hinterglemm, meanwhile, has a small but exciting snowpark.

    Location: Eberhartweg 308, 5753 Saalbach, Austria

    Phone: +43 (0)6541 6271



    Check out 2 glaciers in a single valley

    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    The Oetztal region is one of the most densely packed winter sports destinations in Austria, with 6 separate ski areas containing over 350 km of slopes, all in a single valley. Remarkably, that area even includes 2 glacier ski mountains, meaning that the there’s plenty of variety, too.

    Among the ski areas in Oetztal is Obergurgl-Hochgurgl – known as the Diamond of the Alps because of its premium quality. There’s also Sölden, which is considered one of Europe’s most popular ski and snowboard centres. Best of all, the glacier slopes are conveniently right by the village.

    Location: Unterlängenfeld 81, 6444 Längenfeld, Austria

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 9 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm

    Phone: +43 (0)5720 0300


    Kitzbueheler Alpen

    Get ready for a ski safari

    • Families
    • Adventure
    • Luxury

    The Kitzbueheler Alpen is a massive area encompassing 4 regions, themselves divided into 9 ski areas. It has particularly well-groomed pistes – 900 km of them! As you might expect of such a massive area, there’s plenty of variety available, with good options for any skill level.

    The best way to explore the Kitzbueheler Alpen is on a ski safari. With the help of a local professional, you can personalise your route around the diverse ski areas in the region according to your skill level and preferences. For example, families may enjoy exploring the Brixental Valley while those looking for deep powder snow slopes often prefer Schwarzloferalm.

    Location: Scheringweg, 6373 Jochberg, Austria


    Wilder Kaiser

    A great place for night skiing

    The Wilder Kaiser area has been named the best ski resort in the world several times, probably because it’s one of the largest. There’s more than 284 km of ski runs to explore, with 21 downhills. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either as Wilder Kaiser contains Austria’s largest night skiing resort, as well as 3 floodlit toboggan runs.

    Wilder Kaiser has also been ranked among the most family-friendly resorts in the world. The prices for ski hire, ski schools and childcare are especially competitive, and the facilities include 3 fun parks and 121 km of blue slopes.

    Location: 6351 Scheffau am Wilden Kaiser, Austria


    Salzburger Sportwelt

    Where the slopes are always ready

    Salzburger Sportwelt is at the centre of the famous Ski amadé – Austria’s largest ski area network. It stands out due to the amount of technology on display, including over 1,000 snow cannons helping to ensure that every single slope has suitable snow throughout the season.

    Salzburger Sportwelt contains about 760 km of pistes, served by 270 lifts that you can access with just 1 pass. The choice of things to do other than skiing is particularly good here, featuring typical Après-ski offerings and unique options like a massage drive-in.

    Location: Hauptstraße 159, 5542 Flachau, Austria

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm, Friday from 8 am to noon (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +43 (0)6457 2929

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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