Overview of Austria
Written by Greg and Heather Burke • Last updated Sep 21, 2017
Skiing in Austria is amazing. Austria was the birthplace of ski school, host of the first modern chairlifts – home of Doppelmayr, and much of the best skiing in the Alps – with the most highly concentrated ski resorts - over 400 in a country about the size of Maine. The Austrian Alps are like New England skiing with the Rocky Mountains on top, reaching elevations up to 3,000-meters, 10,000’. Austria has the most spectacular scenery of snowcapped peaks, genuine mountain chalets serving hearty local cuisine – Weiner Schnitzel and Goulash soup, the best après ski anywhere and historic ski villages with top ski hotels. But it’s the magnificent Alpine skiing that makes the best Austrian ski trip, vast slopes of well groomed skiing (which Austrians refer to as prepared pistes), big mountain high elevation, above tree line bowls, chutes and wide open off-piste terrain.
What’s most impressive about Austria is that they spare no expense in the design, location and engineering of their ski lifts and routes. No peak is un-skiable and no lift is too steep or expensive to reach the best ski terrain. Beautiful glass lined gondolas and cable cars are more the standard than the exception, often with Wi-Fi. Bubbles cover most quads, six and eight passenger chairs with cushy leather heated seats, truly the lap of luxury for skiers and snowboarders between ski runs. Austrian ticketing systems are electronic RD cards in your pocket also good on the efficient bus systems if you ski off-piste and find yourself in a nearby town. Many ski villages offer regional passes, like the Ziller super ski pass, Olympic Ski World pass and Tyrol pass which are good at all the surrounding ski areas.
Skiing in Austria is part history, as you ski up to a charming hut on the slopes serving homemade schnitzel for lunch on a sun terrace, and part modern skiing with the best lifts and terrain in the world. Austrians love winter, skiing, ski racing, and their après ski - which is a big part of the ski tradition with music, beer, Schnapps, and dancing in your ski boots. Austria’s best ski resorts include Kitzbuhel, St. Anton, Lech Zurs, Innsbruck, Solden, Obergurgl Hochgurl, Mayrhofen, Hintertux and Stubaier Glacier.