From Ischgl to Sölden: The best ski areas in Austria

There are many different ways to go on a skiing holiday in Austria – depending on which area you choose. There is a high probability that you will end up in Tyrol, which is where most of the country’s ski areas are located.

So that you don’t lose sight of the offers from other federal states, our Austrian editor Sonja Koller, who was born on the slopes, has selected the best ski areas in Austria and presents them – there is something for everyone.

Ski Arlberg

Arlberg, Austria
  • Slope length: 305 km
  • Number of slopes: 200
  • Number of lifts: 88
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 59 euros

Ski Arlberg has earned a place in this list simply because it is the largest connected ski area in Austria. Incidentally, it is also considered the first in Austria and is especially recommended for families. The area extends from St. Anton via St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs, Lech to Schröcken and Warth. The locations are connected to each other by the lift network.

St. Anton is popular with international high society. In addition to a large snow park and slopes that are among the highest in Austria, St. Anton is also known for après-ski. However, due to Corona, après-ski will not take place in the previously known form this season.

In Lech you can also see one or two celebrities and maybe even members of a royal family. In terms of sport, the area is ideal for beginners and families, and there are also some ski routes here. Families should feel at home in Warth-Schröcken, Zürs is ideal for advanced skiers with many red slopes and deep snow slopes.

A highlight of the ski area is the “Weißer Ring” ski route: It is 22 kilometers long and leads through Lech, Zürs, Zug and Oberlech.

Kitzbühel ski area

Kitzbuhel, Austria
  • Slope length: 230 km
  • Number of slopes: 102
  • Number of lifts: 58
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 59 euros

On the slopes of Kitzbühel you meet the beautiful and the rich. And that – normally – even around 200 days a year. Because Kitzbühel is one of the most snow-sure ski areas in Austria and is open from October to May.

The Kitzbühel Alps include the Hahnenkamm, the Kitzbüheler Horn, Kirchberg in Tirol, Jochberg and Pass Thurn. The Kitzbüheler Horn is especially suitable for families and beginners, but deep snow skiers should definitely stop by the Horn. In general, Kitzbühel is well suited for beginners. The practice lifts in the valley are even free.

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Advanced skiers are in good hands on the Steinbergkogel. The Streif is also a must for the experienced. It takes a little courage to throw yourself down the World Cup slope. Partly it has a gradient of 85 percent, is 3.3 kilometers long and very demanding. Top athletes can reach speeds of up to 145 km / h in the world-famous Hahnenkamm race. It is considered to be the most demanding ski race in the world.

There are also two snow parks in the ski area and plenty of opportunities for deep snow skiers.

Ischgl ski area

  • Slope length: 140 km
  • Number of slopes: 80
  • Number of lifts: 35
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 58 euros

Notorious and popular with celebrities. The Tyrolean ski area calls itself the “Ibiza of the Alps” and, before Corona, lived up to its name with après-ski in a class of its own. The “Kuhstall” and the “Trofaner Alm” are legendary. But you could also spend a lively evening in the “Schatzi Bar” or the “FreeRide”.

Since the Silvretta Arena ski area is at an altitude of 2300 meters, Ischgl is one of the places in Austria where you can ski the longest, because there is the longest snow here. But also in the literal sense, because you can even get to Switzerland on skis.

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There are beginner slopes mainly around the Idalp, black slopes around the Palinkopf and the Greitspitze, where you can also ski a slope with a gradient of up to 70 percent. At eleven kilometers, the “Eleven” is the longest slope in the ski area. Ischgl is also well suited for ski tours. The “smuggler’s tour” takes about four hours and is divided into three levels of difficulty.

Skiing holidays in Ischgl are not exactly cheap. Accommodation in neighboring towns is cheaper and with the ski pass you can take the ski bus to Ischgl and back for free.

Sölden ski area

Ski Resort Soelden
  • Slope length: 144 km
  • Number of slopes: 45
  • Number of lifts: 31
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 52 euros

Sölden is definitely no longer an insider tip: around two million tourists come to the Tyrolean town every year, most of them in winter. In addition to skiing, they mainly want to celebrate. Après-ski in Sölden is legendary – this season, however, due to Corona, it will no longer take place as the holidaymakers were used to.

Beginners and families will find suitable slopes on the Giggijoch, while experienced skiers are in good hands on the Rettenbachferner and Gaislachkogel. You can watch the professionals in mid-October, because the FIS World Cup kick-off traditionally takes place in Sölden.

Freestylers and snowboarders can let off steam in the AREA 47 snow park. Among other things, there is a 680 meter long fun slope.

Even Hollywood has been here before. In 2015, scenes from the James Bond film Specter were shot in Sölden. The installation “007 ELEMENTS” reminds of this and is a must for all Bond fans.

Obertauern ski area

  • Slope length: 100 km
  • Number of slopes: 80
  • Number of lifts: 26
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 49 euros

Thanks to its high location, Obertauern is an ideal ski area for beginners and families from November to May. It is also considered to be the snowiest ski area in Austria and one where you can ski comparatively cheaply.

In addition to the routes for beginners, there is even a “ghost ski run” for children. Experienced ski bunnies are usually drawn to the “S7 slopes”, the Super 7. The slopes for professionals start from the seven highest points in Obertauern. One of them, Gamsleiten 2, is one of the steepest runs in Austria with a 100 percent gradient.

The most famous guests in Obertauern are likely to have been the Beatles, who shot the film “Help!” Here in 1965. The best addresses to celebrate are usually the Edelweißalm, the Lürzer Alm, the Sennbar, the World Cup Parasol, the Lazy Flamingo, the Hasnstall and the Gruberstadl. It remains to be seen what that looks like during the corona pandemic.

Flachau ski area

  • Slope length: 120 km
  • Number of slopes: 62
  • Number of lifts: 45
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 58 euros

The ski hotspot of the area, known as “Snow Space Salzburg”, offers many easy and intermediate slopes. Professionals can prove themselves on the Hermann Maier World Cup course. Those who want to get to know even more slopes can take the G-Link gondola to the neighboring Wagrain ski area. A free ski bus will bring you back.

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Flachau is also – usually – an après-ski stronghold. The steam boiler and the fly agaric were among the most popular party halls. But a visit to the Herzerlalm was also worthwhile. In bad weather, a day trip to the nearby Therme Amadè is a good idea.

Zillertal Arena

Zillertal Arena
  • Slope length: 143 km
  • Number of slopes: 84
  • Number of lifts: 52
  • Day ticket for adults in the main season: 57.5 euros

Lunch in the Tuxer Joch housePhoto: Getty Images

The Zillertal Arena extends over two Austrian federal states, Tyrol and Salzburg, and combines four small ski areas. The towns of Zell am Ziller, Gerlos, Königsleiten / Wald and Krimml can be accessed by the lift network.

The ski area is well suited for both beginners and advanced skiers. There are ideal conditions for beginners around the Arena Center. Gerlos, on the other hand, has challenging black slopes to offer. Runway 36 to the Krummbach Express is particularly tough.

The Krimml Waterfalls, near the town of Krimml, are among the most beautiful waterfalls in Austria. The place itself is an insider tip in the Zillertal Arena. Krimml offers good conditions, especially for families and beginners. Those who want to party after a day of skiing should move on to Gerlos and Königsleiten. There is even a party mile in Gerlos. If you want to go there, you should definitely find out in advance what the Corona safety regulations are and which bars are open at all.

In the other places, ideal for families, it is rather quiet. Options for the evening program are tobogganing or ice stock sport.

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