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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Ski in Austria
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Waehringer Strasse Station in Vienna, Austria


Best Places to Ski in Austria

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Are you eager to hit the slopes in Austria? Our detailed guide showcases the best places to ski in Austria. From the most thrilling runs for avid skiers to welcoming family areas, and from dining options to additional leisure activities, we cover it all for the ultimate ski trip.

As an expat or digital nomad, embracing the Austrian lifestyle means indulging in one of the country's most beloved pastimes: skiing. Austria's alpine scenery provides a stunning backdrop for some of the best ski areas in the world. Whether you're a beginner looking to take your first slide on snow or an expert chasing the thrill of challenging runs, Austria has a ski resort that fits the bill. Here are the 7-10 best ski areas in Austria, each offering a unique experience for those looking to combine work and play in this winter wonderland.

Innsbruck

Ability Level: All ability levels
Location: Capital of Western State of Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Innsbruck, known as the 'Capital of the Alps', is not just a city with a rich history and culture; it's also a haven for ski enthusiasts. With the Nordkette Ski Resort just a stone's throw away from the city center, and several other ski areas within an hour's drive, Innsbruck offers a unique urban and alpine experience. It's perfect for families, with plenty of beginner slopes and ski schools that cater to young learners.

We Recommend: After a day on the slopes, visit the cozy Stiftskeller Innsbruck. This traditional Austrian restaurant serves up local Tyrolean specialties in a historic setting, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Kitzbuhel

Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
Location: Eastern Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Kitzbuhel is synonymous with skiing glamour and hosts the famous Hahnenkamm race, one of the most challenging downhill races in the World Cup circuit. The medieval town charm and the extensive skiing terrain make it a favorite for those seeking both adventure and ambiance. Families will appreciate the variety of ski schools and gentle slopes designed for children and beginners.

We Recommend: For a culinary experience to match the prestige of the slopes, visit Restaurant Schwarzer Adler. Their exquisite menu and wine selection offer the perfect end to an exhilarating day on the mountain.

St. Anton am Arlberg

Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
Location: Western Tirol
Family Friendly: No

St. Anton am Arlberg is often referred to as the 'cradle of alpine skiing' and is a hotspot for serious skiers and snowboarders. The challenging terrain and vibrant après-ski scene make it more suited to those looking for high-octane adventure rather than a family retreat. However, the interconnected ski areas offer a vast playground for those capable of tackling its slopes.

We Recommend: MooserWirt is arguably one of the most famous après-ski bars in the Alps. Known for its lively atmosphere and great music, it's the perfect place to unwind after a day on the mountain.

Saalbach-Hinterglemm

Ability Level: All ability levels
Location: State of Salzburg
Family Friendly: Yes

Saalbach-Hinterglemm is a paradise for skiers of all levels, with a vast network of slopes and state-of-the-art lift systems. The area is particularly family-friendly, offering numerous activities for non-skiers and a variety of ski schools for children and beginners. The après-ski scene is also quite lively, with something for everyone.

We Recommend: For a unique dining experience, head to the Pfefferalm, where you can enjoy traditional Austrian dishes in a rustic, alpine setting.

Ischgl

Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
Location: Paznaun Valley in Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Ischgl is renowned for its high-quality slopes and state-of-the-art lift facilities, as well as its legendary après-ski parties and concerts. While it caters to a more adult crowd, families can still find suitable slopes and excellent ski schools for children. The resort is also known for its cross-border skiing into Switzerland.

We Recommend: Schatzi Bar at Hotel Elisabeth offers a lively atmosphere with its famous après-ski parties, complete with dancers and live music, making it a must-visit for those looking to experience Ischgl's renowned nightlife.

Lech Zurs am Arlberg

Ability Level: All ability levels
Location: Western Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Lech Zurs am Arlberg is a favorite among European royalty and celebrities, known for its picturesque village, luxurious accommodations, and excellent skiing conditions. The area is part of the larger Arlberg ski region and offers a wide range of slopes for all abilities, as well as a quiet and refined atmosphere for families.

We Recommend: Hus Nr 8 is a charming restaurant that serves traditional Austrian cuisine in a centuries-old farmhouse, providing a warm and authentic dining experience.

Solden

Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
Location: Otztal Valley in Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Solden is known for its extensive ski area, including two glaciers and three mountain peaks above 3,000 meters, ensuring a long ski season. The resort is family-friendly with a variety of runs, but it's particularly popular with those seeking a vibrant après-ski scene and challenging pistes.

We Recommend: Ice Q Restaurant, located at the peak of Gaislachkogl, not only offers gourmet cuisine but also breathtaking panoramic views of the Alps. It's a dining experience that's not to be missed.

Mayrhofen

Ability Level: All ability levels
Location: Zillertal Valley in Tirol
Family Friendly: Yes

Mayrhofen is a dynamic ski resort that caters to both families and thrill-seekers. With the Vans Penken Park for snowboarders and freestyle skiers, and plenty of gentle runs for beginners, it's a versatile destination. The resort is also known for hosting the annual Snowbombing music festival, blending snow sports with live music and entertainment.

We Recommend: For a cozy and traditional meal, head to Gasthof Zillertal, where you can enjoy hearty Tyrolean dishes in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Schladming-Dachstein

Ability Level: All ability levels
Location: State of Styria
Family Friendly: Yes

Schladming-Dachstein is part of the Ski Amadé network, offering a vast array of slopes suitable for all skill levels. The region is particularly family-friendly, with excellent ski schools and plenty of winter activities beyond skiing. The charming town of Schladming provides a picturesque base for exploring the surrounding mountains.

We Recommend: For a taste of local Styrian cuisine, visit the Brunner Alm, where you can savor traditional dishes in a cozy mountain hut atmosphere.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Waehringer Strasse Station in Vienna, Austria

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