Whether your idea of winter is fast, fun and free-spirited, or one with a more gentle, relaxing approach to appreciate the essence of the season, Austria is unsurpassable in its ski and snowboarding opportunities, family-friendly resorts, genuine culture of hospitality and a foodie scene that stretches from valley to mountain top. British visitors will also appreciate the outstanding value for money that a winter holiday in Austria brings, whether booking an attractive package or deciding on a self-chosen itinerary.
Big-Time Mountains, Big-Time Ski & Board
Austria always puts on a spectacular show during the snowy season. Ski and board on incredible alpine terrain, with snow-sure resorts and an après–ski scene consistently ranked tops in Europe. Some numbers to get you thinking winter fun: Austria’s largest interconnected ski area –SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental – offers 280km of piste, 90 modern cable cars and lifts, plus over 70 ski huts. A 100% snow guarantee in the holiday region of Zell am See-Kaprun, where the majestic peak of the 3000m Kitzsteinhorn offers real winter highs amongst a landscape of glaciers, mountains and lakes. And recognized among the Top Ten of Tirol’s 87 resorts, Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau features a total of 109km of runs, 47 lifts, 24 mountain huts and 3 snow parks all waiting to be explored. Whether fulfilling your inner athlete or simply in search of some of the finest ski and boarding opportunities in the world, Austria is your winter ticket.
With children as young as two years old welcomed at many Austrian ski schools, this is clearly a culture where winter sport is a family affair. One “sure to impress the kids” destination is the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. Close to Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich airports, the celebrated Skicircus promises the big-time snowy fun you’d expect from the world’s second largest ski resort. Huge investments in infrastructure and guest facilities mean there’s always something new. Set to open December 2015 is a 10-seater gondola – with a capacity of 2600 guests an hour – linking the Skicircus with the Fieberbrunn ski area and boosting the amount of pistes by 20% for a total of 270km and 70 lifts. On the exhilarating menu there’s a boarder and skicross park at the new Bernkogel 6-seater cable car, floodlit slopes, race and speed slopes, toboggan runs, and the Flying Fox XXL in Leogang that, at over 80mph, is one of the fastest steel zip wire slides in the world. Watch yourself racing down on the “SkiMovie” race slope and, new for the upcoming season, perfect those tricks at 5 natural freeride parks.
Be Our Guest – A Long Tradition of Hospitality
Austria is well-known for its special brand of hospitality – arrive as a visitor, leave as a friend soon to return. Whether the fourth generation owners of your family-run accommodation, the friendly ski instructors ready to ease any worries, or the staff at a mountain hut where you’ve stopped to refuel, the warm authenticity of every interaction will leave you with a real joie de vivre and memories of a truly unforgettable stay. If “practice makes perfect” as the old adage goes, then why not begin where it all started. Alpine skiing was “born” in the Arlberg region ofVorarlberg, Austria’s westernmost province, some 100 years ago. In the century that’s followed, Vorarlberg has been attracting visitors with the distinctive character of its holiday regions, compelling architecture, fresh, regional cuisine and an abundance of natural snow as a result of its well-positioned location on the northern rim of the Alps.
The Softer Side of Winter
For those less keen to conquer the mountains, Austria offers plenty of slower paced alternatives that celebrate winter and promise equally as thrilling of an experience. Many of Austria’s lakes offer vast natural ice surfaces for skating, curling, ice hockey, ice diving and ice golf (no white balls on these courses!). Stretching kilometres of winter hiking trails showcase the beauty of the season all around, and how about snowshoeing to the top of a natural toboggan run that stretches an impressive 5.5km? Warmed up to the idea of a winter holiday yet? Don’t forget that Austria is also a top destination for wellness, with award-winning spa hotels found throughout all holiday regions. It’s winter, relax.