The Austrian Alps are renowned for their picturesque peaks and charming villages. Those looking for the best ski resorts in Austria will be spoilt for choice. There is no shortage of world-class skiing within easy reach of international airports.
The best ski resorts in Austria
We have selected just a few of our favourite Austrian resorts that appeal to all levels of skier. Whether it’s lively apres-ski or deep powder you’re after, there’s something for everyone in our list.
Deep powder and lively apres-ski
Known for its challenging slopes and vibrant après-ski scene, St. Anton is well deserving of its place on our ‘best ski resorts in Austria’ list. The resort is part of the extensive Arlberg ski area – the largest ski area in the world – with 300km of runs and vast off-piste area. It is also connected to neighbouring Lech-Zuers. St. Anton enjoys reliable snow conditions between December and April, thanks to it high-altitude slopes and extensive snowmaking. Advanced skiers can explore the deep powder and challenging off-piste. When the sun goes down, the lively apres-ski scene kicks into gear at the numerous bars, clubs and mountain huts.
Medieval centre and the Hahnenkamm downhill
Stylish Kitzbühel has a big reputation, both for its world-class skiing – most notably the Hahnenkamm downhill race – as well as its charming, medieval town centre. The streets are lined with boutique hotels and shops, but don’t let that fool you – it also has a pretty lively apres-ski scene. Mountain terrain is dotted with numerous traditional mountain huts. Skiing is well suited to all levels, particularly intermediates. Its challenging blacks include the Streif on the Hahnenkamm and the unpisted descents.
Powder bowls and woodland runs
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is a large ski area with a lively après-ski scene. The traditional ski village of Saalbach is linked to neighbouring Hinterglemm and Leogang. Together they offer an extensive Ski Circus ski area of 270km of runs. Saalbach’s local ski area has plenty of blue and red runs for all types of intermediate skier. Most of the slopes boast reliable snow cover thanks to the high-altitude position above the treeline. You’ll also find some powder bowls and attractive woodland runs. The ski area has a good choice of lively mountain bars and restaurants.
Reliable snow conditions and cosy mountain huts
Lech and Zürs are two neighbouring villages that have become well-known for their skiing and snowboarding. They make up part of the Arlberg ski region, which includes interconnected resorts of St. Anton and St. Christoph, and makes up one of the largest and most diverse ski areas in Austria. The local ski area caters to all levels of skiers, from beginners to advanced. Lech-Zürs is known for its reliable snow conditions, with a long winter season. The high-altitude location contributes to a good amount of natural snowfall, and there is also a sophisticated snowmaking system in place. You can enjoy traditional Austrian cuisine in cosy mountain huts or experience the vibrant après-ski scene in the villages.
World-cup skiing and nearby glacier
Schladming has played host to the World Cup Downhill and the Alpine Skiing World Championships. This lively town has a good choice of bars, shops, restaurants and accommodation. Schladming’s north-facing slopes hold the snow well and there has also been significant investment in snowmaking. A bus ride away is the year-round skiing on the Dachstein Glacier. Schladming is well suited to intermediates with its plentiful red runs through the forest.
Family vibe both on and off the slopes
Family-friendly Ellmau is ideal for beginners and intermediates. It is a quiet resort with a good choice of family facilities, including budget-friendly hotels and restaurants. The ski area makes up part of the huge SkiWelt area, but Ellmau’s local slopes are quiet and protected. The beginners’ zone is next to the village. The skiing reaches 1,267m so this isn’t the place if you’re in search of powder. But its low-key, friendly vibe make it a hit with families.
Snow-sure skiing between November and MayKnown as the ‘snow bowl’, Obertauern is a very popular resort with all levels. It is also one of the most snow-sure ski resorts with a season that stretches between November and May. Skiing reaches an altitude of 2,313m and covers 100km of slopes. Its reliable snowfall and wide nursery slopes make it a hit with beginners. Intermediates can stretch their legs on the miles of beautifully groomed slopes. At 1740m, Obertauern is the highest ski resort in Salzburg and is home to five challenging black pistes – one of which is among the steepest in the Alps. Highlights include state-of-the-art lifts, hardly ever any lift queues, and plenty of ski-in/ski-out accommodation.
High-altitude skiing up to 3030m
Obergurgl-Hochgurgl (1800-3030m) is a popular ski resort known for its high-altitude skiing and reliable snow conditions. Located 97km from Innsbruck Airport, you will find diverse terrain for all levels of skier and the high altitude means an excellent snow record throughout the long winter season. Slopes reach up to a lofty 3,030m and are served by modern ski lifts. There are also snow parks and plenty of challenging off-piste skiing. The resort has a lively apres-ski scene with numerous bars and restaurants.
For more information on the best ski resorts in Austria, visit individual ski resorts here.