Historically, Austrian resorts are famed for their hospitality, laid back charm, and pristine pistes. But not only that: They are pioneers in ski manufacturing and world leading ski lift makers. So, it comes as no surprise that Austria has developed its ski resorts to a standard that gives their European counterparts a run for their money. Glitzy ski resorts, charming mountainside villages, world class ski schools, glaciers for year-round skiing – Austria has it all. According to the latest skiresort.info report, the world’s largest evaluation and test portal for ski resorts, the best 5 ski resorts in the world are in Austria, with altogether 13 Austrian ski resorts ranking in the world’s top 20.
These world-class ski resorts are the best in Austria right now:
Austria’s best resorts have it all: the challenging terrain, the family slopes, cleverly designed lift systems, the après ski, the cuisine, and the best spa hotels to stretch your legs after a fun, exhausting day on the slopes. With the ski season just around the corner, you may be wondering where to head for your solo ski holidays or single parent trip this season. To make it a little easier for you, Single Parents on Holiday have written up a list of the best ski resorts in Austria:
1. Kitzbühel/Kirchberg in Tyrol: KitzSki
Kitzbühel like many other Austrian towns, has a long history in skiing. The KitzSki area comprising Kitzbühel, Kirchberg, the world-famous Hahnenkamm Streif racecourse, and a number of smaller ski areas offers world class skiing, with at least 56 ski lifts, and approx. 233 km of slopes. There are 46 blue runs for beginners, 32 reds for a challenge and no less than 18 black slopes for the more seasoned skiers. A perfect resort for all levels, families, cruisers, and pros. With 60 huts dotted across the mountains, there is plenty of choice to eat, drink and be merry.
Despite its popularity – it is regularly voted the best ski resort in the world – Kitzbühel has maintained its traditional character and charm. Its medieval town centre, with its cobbled streets, quaint church and town walls brims with character and could easily pass as the prettiest Austrian village in the Alps. There is something here for everyone, from cosy cafés to après ski bars, to eating and shopping for every budget.
Green credentials: Kitzbühel runs free ski buses to cut the need for driving to the resort, and now has the largest electric ski bus network in the Alps. You can also charge your electric or hybrid vehicle in some car parks. The lifts use energy saving direct-drive and some heating system now use biomass as fuel.
2. Ischgl: Silvretta Arena
Ischgl is one of Austria’s best ski resorts reaching an altitude at 2,872 m at its highest point. Together with the Swiss resort of Samnaun, it forms the Silvretta Arena, with 240 km of ski runs one of the largest interconnected ski areas in Tyrol. The cross-border skiing area offers reliable snow conditions for many months of the year due to its high altitude. There are runs here for every level of skier or snowboarder, from easy blues to challenging blacks as well as plenty of off-piste skiing. The Silvretta Arena is particularly popular with intermediate and advanced skiers and adrenaline junkies who will delight in tackling the descent from the Greitspitze to the Höllkar, just one of the challenging 20 black slopes here. There are also exceptional snow and terrain parks here for free riders and speed freaks. If you are after a hearty meal or some good après ski, stop at the centrally located Paznauner Taja mountain lodge.
There is plenty more action to be found in the town of Ischgl, which like St. Anton is a mecca for après ski loving jet setters. Traditional lodges with live music, people dancing on tables (often still in their ski gear), cocktail bars, nightclubs, and even lap dancing clubs – Ischgl has it all. This destination has a loud and clear singles ski holidays vibe. Despite the buzzing nightlife, the expensive boutiques, and the top-notch restaurants, the town maintains much of its Tyrolean character with countless historic buildings, pretty chalet style buildings, and cosy wooden lodges. You can find a wide range of accommodation here, from budget friendly apartments to chic spa hotels.
Green credentials: As of 2021 Ischgl only uses green electricity produced mainly in hydro power stations in Austria. In addition, snow groomers are equipped with GPS technology reducing energy required to operate them. Ischgl also has a comprehensive bus network in operation to and from lifts. There are flora and fauna conservation areas in the ski resort.
3. SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental is not only one of the best ski resorts in Austria, but also one of the largest and most modern ski resorts in the world. With 270 km of perfectly prepared slopes, 83 lifts, and 3 fun parks, there is something here for skiers and boarders of all abilities. Experienced skiers can test their nerve on the extreme black run with a gradient of 80%. Other highlights include the panoramic views across no less than 70 mountain peaks, the enchanting Igloo Village complete with ice bar and ice art exhibition, and the floodlit night skiing and tobogganing.
There are 9 idyllic Alpine villages with direct access to the SkiWelt: Ellmau, Scheffau, Söll, Going, Brixen im Thale, Kelchsau, Westendorf, Hopfgarten and Itter. Some villages are very quiet, others lively, and you can find everything from budget accommodation a little further afield to superior 4-star hotels directly overlooking the slopes: Söll is great for lively après ski, Ellmau and Scheffau for beginners, Westendorf for links to Kitzbühel, etc.
Green credentials: A fast solar powered chairlift, environmentally friendly snow making, the use of bio diesel for snow groomers, and free ski buses are just some of the initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.
4. St. Anton: Ski Arlberg
Possibly the best-known ski resort in the Austrian Alps, St. Anton am Arlberg has the largest linked ski area in Austria, thanks to the Flexenbahn cable car, which has been in operation for 6 years now. So, if you wanted to cover the ski resorts of St. Anton am Arlberg, Lech am Arlberg, Zürs am Arlberg, Warth, Schröcken and Stuben in one day, you could. Ski Arlberg consists of just over 300 km of extremely well-kept slopes and a lift system of no less than 87 top quality cable cars and lifts. And with reliable snow conditions, perfectly prepared pistes, terrains for all levels, and long seasons, it’s no wonder that St. Anton is one of the best ski resorts in Austria, if not the world.
Challenging slopes and state of the art lift system aside, St. Anton also has a reputation for attracting partying après ski crowds and celebrities from all over the world. So, if you want to mingle with the jet set, this is the place to go. Needless to say, accommodation here comes with a hefty price tag, but as long as you stay in a village other than St. Anton and the neighbouring Lech, you should be able to find quality something to suit to your budget. Of course, visiting the Tyrolean village is a must, not just to witness the lively après ski scene, but also to experience the historic charm and Alpine character of this Austrian ski resort.
Green credentials: Chemical-free artificial snow, a biomass heating plant, and a comprehensive ski bus network are some of the green credential St. Anton states on their tourism website. The biggest carbon reducing impact however would be arriving at the local train station!
5. Hochzillertal/Hochfügen (SKi-optimal)
Strictly speaking, Hochzillertal and Hochfügen are two separate ski areas, which were joined by a cable car over 10 years ago creating a mixed-terrain, medium sized ski resort, with plenty of variety for beginners and intermediate skiers, and free riders. All in all, the snowsure ski resort in Austria’s Ziller Valley offers 181 km of slopes starting at an altitude of 558 m going all the way up to 2,500 m, so you can ski between November and April. There are plenty of beautifully wide blues and reds, as well as great long back run and super off piste skiing here. So if you are a beginner or enjoy cruising, this singles ski holiday in the Ziller Valley will suit you perfectly.
The downside of this ski resort is that there is little going on, with only one hotel at the foot of Hochfügen and a quiet little village, Kaltenbach, which is not much livelier. If you want to experience the real Austria, opt for the Alpine village of Fügen at the entrance to the Ziller Valley which has a choice of accommodation, shops, and several restaurants and cafés serving authentic Tyrolean cuisine. You will also find a few après-ski bars here as well as the popular local thermal spa. Another benefit is that it has its own ski resort “Spieljoch” with 11 lifts and 22 km of slopes, so if you don’t fancy the shuttle ride to Hochzillertal/Hochfügen, or want to take it easy for a day, you have plenty to do here.
Green credentials: The ski resort strives to use green energy where possible by integrating hydro power plans and photovoltaic systems. It also operates energy-efficient snow cannons and promotes the use of ski buses and public transport.
Austria has some truly world class ski resorts and the top ranking five above are all great choices for a winter sports holiday. Of course, our list of the best ski resort in Austria is not exhaustive. There are many more world class resorts to be found in this small landlocked country in Southern part of Central Europe. There are glaciers here, including the year-round skiing destination of Hintertux, and hidden treasures, such as the smaller Obertauern in the Radstädter Tauern of the Salzburger Land. And if you are environmentally conscious, you cannot go wrong choosing one of these ski resort in Austria.