Austrian ski resorts are in a class of their own. Don’t come looking for one massive ski area next to another like you would find in France. Austria’s ski appeal rather lies in a choice of smaller resorts (if you can call resorts with more than 100 piste kilometres small). There are 439 Austrian ski resorts to suit all levels of ability and off-piste interests like après ski.
Given the big choice of resorts, deciding where to ski in Austria can be hard. That’s why I put together this overview of the best Austrian ski resorts. So, why not consider the Alpenrepublik for your next ski holiday in the Alps?
In a recent study of Austrian ski resorts, the online retailer Ladenzeile.at made some useful comparisons to help people decide where to ski in Austria. Unfortunately, the article is only in German. But I included some of the most useful findings in this post.
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The biggest Austrian ski resorts
|SKI RESORT||BLUE||RED||BLACK||TOTAL KMS|
|SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser||122||129||33||284|
|SkiCircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn||140||112||18||270|
|4 Berge Skischaukel Schladming||46,4||68,3||8,3||123|
Ski Arlberg – the biggest ski resort in Austria
With more than 300 kms of slopes, Ski Arlberg is the largest interconnected ski area in Austria. It encompasses 11 villages on the border of the Austrian states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg. A grand total of 111 ski lifts, ranging from funiculars to gondolas and heated chair lifts to magic carpets, have the capacity to transport 144,577 people per hour.
St Anton am Arlberg is the biggest village in the Ski Arlberg Area. The other villages are Klösterle, Lech, Oberlech, Schröcken, St Christoph am Arlberg, Stuben, Stubenbach, Warth, Zürs, and Zug.
|Prepared slopes||131 km blue, 123 km red, 51 km black|
|Deep snow runs||200 km|
|Lifts||88 plus 23 magic carpets/drag lifts*|
|1-day ski pass price||€54,50|
|7-day ski pass price||€324,00|
|Click here for the interactive ski area map|
Tips for planning your St Anton ski holiday
Getting to St Anton
The biggest ski resort in Austria is around 100 km west of Innsbruck, with St Anton very close to the A12 Inntal motorway. It’s easy to reach by car or train from either the airport or main train station in Innsbruck.
It’s possible to check in to your St Anton Hotel or other Arlberg hotel within 2 hours of arriving in Innsbruck. The fastest train connection with the Railjet Express takes just over an hour. Tickets cost from as little as €16,80 with the early booking saver fare, while standard tickets are around €35. You can check connections and prices here.
If you’d like to be more independent, there are several options to rent a car at the Innsbruck Airport.
Once in the Arlberg area, the blue ski buses between Lech, Oberlech, Zug and Zürs are free of charge.
St Anton hotels
Austria’s biggest ski resort has been welcoming skiers for more than 100 years. The hotels and other ski accommodation providers know what you’re looking for before and after a day on the slopes. Many have their own spa areas with pools, sauna’s and whirlpools to relax sore muscles.
Here are some hotels in the Ski Arlberg area that fits this bill:
St Anton – The Arlen Lodge Hotel is only 400 m from the Nassereinerbahn Cable Car while there is also a bus stop right outside. Returning after a day on the slopes, you can relax in a sauna, steam bath, or infrared cabin.
Zug – The family-run Adler Hotel Palma is next to the Zugerberg chair lift in Zug. Skiers can look forward to ending their day in a dry water massage bed, Finnish Sauna, infrared cabin, and relaxation zone. You can hire your ski equipment just down the road.
Klösterle – If you’re looking for the comfort of an apartment but with the convenience of a B&B plus a rooftop sauna area, the Alpine Lodge Klösterle Am Arlberg is a great aparthotel. It’s not so close to a ski lift, but the free ski bus stops right there and there are supermarkets and restaurants close-by.
St Anton ski packages
If you’d rather leave all the planning to someone else, Crystal Ski Holidays offer regular ski packages from various UK airports to St Anton, St Christoph, Zürs, and Lech. Most include half-board at top-rated hotels as well as the transfer from Innsbruck.
|Austria ski trivia #1
What does Princess Diana and Bridget Jones have in common? Both loved the village of Lech (featured in the 2nd Bridget Jones movie). In fact, it’s where Princess Di took Prince Harry and Prince William on their very first ski trip in 1991.
10 best Austrian ski resorts for families
|SKI RESORT||KM OF BLUE SLOPES|
|Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn||140|
|SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental||122|
Of course, the best Austrian ski resorts for families are also great for beginners. They all have excellent practise facilities, making it fun and easy to learn the first techniques on the snow.
Kids are entertained by ski instructors and childminders in children’s ski courses or day care facilities while their parents have the freedom to enjoy the slopes unhindered.
Austrian ski resorts are also increasingly catering for older kids who are already confident on the slopes. Almost every year there is a new fun park with ramps and halfpipes for M to enjoy. He also loves the race tracks where his time is measured, like the one in Rosshütte Seefeld.
Kids ski free in the company of a paying adult
No, it’s not too good to be true. Many family-friendly ski resorts in Austria give free ski passes to children who are in the company of one or two paying parents. The ages differ from resort to resort, and in some cases, the free offer is only valid in the low season.
5 Austrian ski resorts where kids ski free (always or sometimes) are:
- Stubai Glacier
- Pitztal Glacier
- SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixenthal
- Silvretta Arena
Want to take the kids skiing in Austria? Maybe consider a family ski package for the small resort of Rauris where, in addition to ski passes, even equipment hire is free for kids under 12.
Is Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis the most family-friendly ski resort in Austria?
It may not have the highest number of blue ski slopes, but Serfaus-Fiss Ladis stands out for other reasons. It is here where the first conveyor belt for children and beginners was developed and introduced to the ski world in 1996.
In 2019, Fiss-Ladis introduced another worldwide first in the form of Berta’s Märchenexpress or Bertas Fairy Tale Express. The double conveyor belt in a weatherproof transparent glass tunnel can take 3600 children and beginners per hour up the practice slopes in Berta’s Kinderland.
The special touch? Scenes from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, complete with moving characters, are encountered on the conveyor belt while learning to ski.
On the weekly Kids Night on Tuesday evenings, Berta’s Märchenexpress even lights up in luminous colours.
Highest ski resorts in Austria for snow-sure skiing
Good snow can make or break a skiing holiday. If you’re planning on skiing in Austria before Christmas and after February, you’ll want to choose a snow-sure ski resort. The highest Austrian ski resorts are guaranteed to be just that.
5 highest ski resorts in Austria
|SKI RESORT||HIGHEST POINT|
|Pitztal Glacier||3,440 m|
|Hintertux Glacier||3,250 m|
|Stubai Glacier||3,212 m|
|Mölltall Glacier||3,122 m|
It’s worth noting that many of the biggest ski resorts in Austria, although not the highest, are pretty snow-sure thanks to state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment. You’ll still find good skiing in Austria at the end of the season in St Anton, Kaprun, Mayrhofen, Ischgl, Schladming, Obergurgl, and KitzSki.
|Austria ski Trivia #2
The Hintertux Glacier is the only ski resort in Austria which offers year-round skiing.
How much do ski passes in Austria cost?
The price of ski passes in Austria compares extremely well to those in France and Switzerland, the two other major ski countries in Europe.
The Ladezeile comparison found that the price of ski passes in Austria for resorts with more than 20 km of slopes lies between €32,50 and €57. The Glungezer ski resort close to Innsbruck is the cheapest, with KitzSki proving to be the most expensive.
If one considers the cost per piste kilometre, Arlberg Ski and Wilder Kaiser offers the best value for money at 0.18 cents per piste kilometre. The cheapest day ticket among the 15 biggest Austrian ski resorts is €48 for the Nassfeld ski area.
In an attempt to attract more skiers in the low season, many resorts have special offers before Christmas and in March and April. Generally, multi-day ski passes in Austria works out a lot cheaper. And if you’re travelling in a group of 10 or more, the 10th ski pass is often free.
- Always check the individual ski resort website for up-to-date offers before buying your ski pass.
Austrian airports for skiing
The 2 international Austrian airports from where you’ll be on the slopes in no time, are Innsbruck Kranebitten and Salzburg (Mozart).
The Innsbruck Airport, also called the Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport, is a mere 10-minute drive from the city’s historic old town. On a cloudless day, the approach to Innsbruck is probably one of the most beautiful in the world.
Looking out over snow-capped peaks on either side of the Inn Valley, there’s no better way to get you in the mood for your ski holiday in Austria. If you look carefully, you may even see skiers on the slopes of the Nordkette or Glungezer mountains.
What’s more, is that you can be out of the airport building within 20 minutes of landing. And with most Tyrolean ski resorts between 15 and 60 minutes away from Innsbruck, it’s possible to be on the slopes within 2 hours after arriving.
In winter, there are regular scheduled flights to Innsbruck from London (different airports), Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Eindhoven, and Rotterdam.
In addition, there are flights from Dublin, Bristol, Manchester, Düsseldorf, Kiev, and Helsinki at least once or twice a week. And because the Russians love Tyrol so much, there are even scheduled flights to Innsbruck from Moscow and St Petersburg.
From the airport, you can rent a car or book a transfer to get to your ski resort. Or you could take the bus to the Innsbruck train station and the train or another bus from there.
Flying into Salzburg is not as dramatic as approaching Innsbruck. But it may be more convenient depending on where you’re going to ski.
The W.A. Mozart Airport as the Salzburg Airport is officially known, is 4 km from the city centre. There are a few small ski resorts (Untersberg, Hintersee, Abtenau) within 50 km of the city. Some of the bigger ones (with more than 50 piste kilometres) within 100 km from Salzburg include Zell Am See, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Dachstein West, and Obertauern.
In winter, regular flights to Salzburg include those from London, Amsterdam, Belfast, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Istanbul, and Rotterdam. In addition, various airlines fly from the following UK airports to Salzburg once a week: Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Bristol, and Birmingham.
Having fun in Austria and then writing about it is hard work ?. That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase for your upcoming trip. It’s totally cool if you don’t use them. I love to help anyway ?. But if you do, we’ll probably blow it on another family excursion in Austria. Which isn’t such a bad thing, because it will most certainly result in another blog post for you to read.
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This is a brilliant guide for those looking for ski destinations. I love the way you have detailed out the options along with their key attractions. Well done with the stay options and tips on how to get there. Even though I don’t ski, I am so tempted to visit the highest one – just to be a part of the atmosphere there.
Thanks for such a comprehensive post. Information such as the cost per km of piste is super useful. I would try Arlberg Ski I think. I love the conveyor belt at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis for kids / beginners!
My girlfriend lives in Villach and I’ve been to Carinthia many times, but never gone skiing. This is such a good reference.Especially the family resorts. Bookmarking this post!
I am no longer skiing. But I still love to visit ski resorts and enjoy the winter wonderland from a warm spot. We really do need to plan a trip to the Tyrol area in the winter.
This is a detailed compendium for ski lovers. Unfortunately, I am not one. But my husband is!
I have never skied, but these resorts makes me want to try…or a least just hang out at the resorts.
I have never skied in my life… some of the tragedies of living in a tropical country! But ever since I watched people skiing in Zermatt I always craved to ski. This is one wonderful guide on the different ski resorts in Austria. Hope to get to one of them some day.
I really like the idea of smaller resorts. But I am not at all experienced and would spend all my time with the kids on the conveyor belt! Actually, I just want to kick back in a chair at the top of the mountain enjoying the sun and a cup of hot chocolate!
This post is such a comprehensive guide for skiing while in Austria. Have just heard about Salzburg but did not know that the country has 439 ski-resorts. Just wow. Quite interesting to learn about Bertas Fairy Tale Express. I could not ski for long many times, just because of the weird size of the skiing shoes. The ones here in Asia are either too big or too small for my ‘strange feet’ 😀
I had no idea that Austria had over 430 ski resorts! That’s incredible for such a small country. And the lift ticket prices are very reasonable compared to Swiss and many North American resorts, I’m quite impressed. That Berta’s Fairytale Express is something really extra. I’d want to be a kid again just to go through it during my lessons. Pinned for future reference!
I love that you include the amount of blue, red and black runs. I’m still on blue runs so this really helps me get an idea of which Austrian resorts would be best for my skill level. I love the conveyor belt at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis! I’m terrified of the lifts, so this is perfect for me.