Six of the best Austrian ski resorts


Austria's best-known ski resort is part of the interlinked Arlberg ski region, which comprises a half-dozen other resorts connected by over 85 lifts and 300 kilometres of slopes. Needless to say, the skiing is terrific, particularly for intermediate and advanced skiers. Off-piste options are outstanding, especially below the 2812-metre Valluga peak. This is Austria's best resort for free-riders and boarders, too. Holidaymakers also flock here, however, for the fashion boutiques, wide choice of hotels and energetic partying, which starts at on-slope bars such as the infamous Mooserwirt around 4pm and continues into the small hours at nightclubs. See


Though connected with St Anton on a series of exhilarating runs over several mountains, Lech has a quite different vibe, with lively après-ski rather than rowdy nightlife, and sophisticated glamour rather than bling. It has excellent, upmarket dining both in the village and on the slopes. Above all, Lech is a resort for serious skiers, thanks to its great powder snow and (a rarity in Austria) heli-skiing. You can ski all day and never do the same run, most famously on the 22-kilometre White Ring circuit which provides 5500 metres of descent, no backtracking and magnificent scenery. See


This is a resort for middle-aged fashionistas keen to sit in fur coats on cafe terraces, shop in the pretty pastel old-town, and wallow in chic wellness resorts. Don't be fooled, though. Kitzbuhel in the Tyrolean Alps enjoys 200 snow days and some of Austria's best skiing, including the famous Hahnenkamm run, venue for world championship ski races. It can take all day to ski from Hoolerback back to Kitzbuhel without ever using the same lift twice. In all, 54 lifts link 180 kilometres of slopes. Off-piste powder hounds and those after terrain parks will also be satisfied. See


An hour from Salzburg in northern Styria and centred on the resort of Schladming, this region is a great under-the-radar option for intermediate and advanced skiers thanks to over 100 lifts draped over four mountains with 230 kilometres of runs. Elite skiers train here, with Reiteralm's black pistes providing ample challenge. High altitude means invariably reliable snow conditions, the chance to glacier ski and some exhilaratingly long runs, such as the 7.7-kilometre, swoop-worthy Hochwurzen. Hochwurzen is a good family option, with easier slopes, a fun park and a great sledding trail. Dachstein peak at 2700 metres has some noteworthy, glass-bottomed viewpoints. See


Though not well known internationally, these three linked villages an hour from Innsbruck provide 180 kilometres of slopes for all levels of ski prowess, creating one of Europe's most family-friendly resorts thanks to great ski schools and kids' clubs and on-slope facilities such as tubing courses, bouncing castles, sledding runs and dinosaur trails through the forest. Children from as young as three can join introductory ski lessons, and restaurants provide nursing rooms, playrooms and pram parking. It's low profile, relaxed and good value, and adults don't miss out either thanks to great restaurants, wellness facilities and surprisingly vigorous après-ski. See


If you want to combine sport with culture, consider staying in Innsbruck, which has a delightful old town, good museums and a baroque palace. Nine nearby, easily-reached ski regions are all less than an hour away, and one is a lift ride straight from the town centre. They offer a combined 285 kilometres of runs and some 80 lifts, accessed on the same ski pass and on free shuttle buses from downtown. Most cater to beginner or intermediate skiers. Kuhtai and Rangger Kopfl have night skiing, Axamer Lizum and Stubai Glacier great snowboarding facilities and specialist snowboarding schools. See

Brian Johnston was a guest of the Austrian National Tourist Office.