Now, we’re on the hunt for the best ski resorts in Austria and we’ve packed our list with everything from mega-resorts to secret hideaways. It’s easy to get lost among the wooded slopes and snow-capped peaks, so hopefully this will give you an array of bases to choose from.
It’s true you’re never short of alpine villages and charming resorts in Austria – it wasn’t easy to whittle our picks to a list of favourites. And yet, with jägerbombs in hand and bottles of schnapps inbound, we hunkered down and tried our best to include something for everyone.
Of course, you’ll find options that cater for beginners who need a helping hand as they inch down foothills. Intermediates will find locations to ski on piste all day, with broad slopes and a sparsely dotted obstacles. Then there’s some off-piste fun thrown in for Europe’s expert skiers as well.
Whatever you’re looking for, Austria is a world-class skiing destination with no shortage of incredible (and relatively cheap) ski resorts. Some are big and well groomed, others are more homely and intimate.
Many of these resorts can compete with the best offerings of France and Switzerland. It’s also worth noting that everything from accommodation to lift passes is likely to be less expensive.
If you’re looking for fast life systems and short transfer times, I’d pay extra close attention to our picks. Not all ski resorts in Austria are of equality, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the time of your life at any one of these places.
Spiritual Home Of Après Ski
Some say Austria is the spiritual home of après ski, rich in world-famous venues like Mooservirt and Ski Arlberg – the largest connected ski area in the country. In fact, Ski Arlberg has 305 kilometres of slopes and no less than 87 ski lifts. That’s a lot of powder being carved on a daily basis!
The slopeside bars serve as warm lookouts with views over forested valleys and the pistes are hard to top in terms of skiing freedom. You can pick any one of Austria’s 435 ski resorts and we’re sure you’d be guaranteed to find locals dancing on tables and lapping up ‘oompah trance’.
If accordions and club beats aren’t your thing, simply don your snow gear and wind down tranquil mountains. There’s plenty for peace lovers too in this land of soaring alpine summits.
Who doesn’t want to soak in a spa after a day on the slopes? Ischgl is the right place for lovers of snow and steam – it has some of the best ski resort spas in the world, like Silvretta Spa.
Silvretta Spa was built into the resort only recently (late 2022) and is themed for alpine wellness, with all the soothing additions you could ever want. The resort itself is found in the Eastern Alps and has a lively après ski atmosphere that rivals anywhere else in Europe.
Expect perfect snow-covered slopes and an impressive lift system to give you everything you need for a full-on ski holiday. There’s also three neighbouring resorts: Galtür, Kappl and See. These are available on the same lift pass.
Ischgl is a great choice if you’re just as keen on parties as pistes. This is an Austrian après ski experience you definitely won’t forget. For example, the Hotel Elizabath is famous for its oompah trance and dancing girls.
Next up, we’ve picked a resort that’s a little more secretive, tucked in among the slopes of Austria’s Arlberg region. Many are drawn to the nearby St. Anton resort, but discerning clientele still make their way to the more expensive delights of Lech.
Keeping its head down to avoid the wandering eyes of developers, Lech is an ideal base to explore the Ski Arlberg area on foot, or on skis. The Flexbahn Gondola arrived for the 2016-17 season and there are plenty of links to reach and roam the broad, groomed pistes.
In fact, 88 lifts and cable cars connect the surrounding 300 kilometres of pistes in Ski Arlberg – it’s actually one of the largest ski areas in the world!
Innsbruck is a gateway of sorts – the city most skiers fly to before they begin their journey up into the Austrian Alps. The city is actually a skiing destination in its own right and has recently evolved from transit hub to terminus.
The Ski Plus City Pass was introduced in 2019 and it’s pretty much turned the entire city into a sprawling resort. This single pass allows you to access 13 of the nearest ski slopes and 22 museums and other attractions.
There are ski resorts that overlook the city as well and each one offer a slightly different experience. For example, Mutteralm is favoured by beginners and Nordkette is famous for its fun parks.
On one side of the upper Ötztal valley is Obergurgl and its twin, Hochgurgl. Together these two combine to form one of Austria’s most impressive resorts. The secret is high altitude (the village of Obergurgl sits at 1,930 metres). It has a wealth of snow-covered slopes, with lifts that soar up over 3,000 metres.
Any gaps are filled by a high-tech system of snow generation. The resort also faces north-west and snow coverage continues deep into May. Skiers can linger here and soak up all the après attractions.
Backcountry explorers might want to seek out the nearby town of Vent. It’s there that you can use your Ötztal lift pass to access twin chairlifts, which rise to high altitude. You’ll find mountain huts for ski tourers who want to stay overnight as well.
If you’re looking for a party, you might want to head to the noisier haunts of Sölden – accessible with the Ötztal lift pass. This is your best hope of a big night out. It’s also a popular destination for day trippers before they catch buses back up the valley.
1. St. Christoph
Finally, we’ve found our way to the smaller resort of St. Christoph, which is just a 10-minute drive from St. Anton. Beginner skiers love this resort for good reason. It’s a friendly village in the Arlberg area, which consists of chalets and a few luxury hotels.
The village is small and intimate, with less than 30 building and an atmosphere that caters for travelling families. This is certainly a great option if you’re not in the market for stumbling nights out and trance-induced table dancing.
Let’s not forget that there’s plenty to eat when you work up an appetite as well. If you’re not in a catered chalet, you can seek out the village’s many hotels, which are famous for their food. There are popular restaurants at the Arlberg Hospiz as well (it has a 600-year-old wine cellar too)!
The family-run Arlberg Hospiz is found beside the nursery slopes. There’s plenty to discover throughout the large skiing area on your doorsteps. It’s here that you’ll escape the bustle of other major resorts and all that booming oompah trance.
The Arlberg area includes Lech and Zürs as well – you’ll be especially spoilt for peace and quiet once the lifts stop running. The nursery area is great for anyone looking to hone their snowploughs and blue runs surround the mountain station, Galzig.