Indagare Matchmaker: Austrian Ski Towns

Indagare reports on four of Austria’s best ski resorts, all of which offer very different experiences.



A city experience with easy access to the Alps

The capital of Austria’s Tyrol combines culture and art with nearby mountain peaks. With a history reaching back to the early Stone Age and thirty museums and art galleries, the city offers plenty to do beyond hitting the slopes. In Innsbruck, the thrills of nature and urban glamour go hand in hand.

  • Best for: A group or family of both skiers and nonskiers, who want to combine active pursuits with intellectual ones.
  • Top Attractions: The Panorama Museum, the Zaha Hadid–designed Bergisesl Ski Jump, the Imperial Palace and the Court Church, where twenty-eight bronze statues stand solemn guard at the stately cenotaph of Habsburg emperor Maximilian I.
  • Getting There: Fly into Vienna or Frankfurt, and transfer to the approximately hour-long flight to Innsbruck Airport.
  • Keep in Mind: Innsbruck is a popular tourist destination, so if you are seeking a secluded mountain village holiday, consider another resort town, or stay in a neighboring village with easy access to the city, such as Seefeld, thirty minutes away by car.

St. Anton am Arlberg


Serious skiing and a lively après-ski scene

St. Anton is a hotspot for thrill-seeking skiers. Along with its challenging runs and dramatic peaks, the town has a lively, fun scene of bars, restaurants and shops, so visitors can end a day on the mountain with music and drinks. The mountain village is both traditional and modern, with an international energy generated by the luxury and backpacking travelers it attracts from all over the world.

  • Best for: Young couples, families with older children, die-hard skiers and snowboarders
  • Top Attractions: The Museum of St. Anton, the Valluga viewing platform and the WunderWanderWeg hiking trail.
  • Getting There: Drive one hour from the Innsbruck airport or just over two hours from the Zurich airport.
  • Keep in Mind: Anton skiers have access to the entire Arlberg area, with its 211 miles of marked runs and numerous off-piste possibilities.



Socializing with a side of skiing

A playground for the rich and the famous, Kitzbuhel is a charming medieval village that also offers the best après-ski scene in the area. It’s perfect for those who aren’t dedicated to hitting the slopes day after day, which is fortunate, because its relatively low altitude means that perfect snow is not a given. The town is home to the epic Hahnenkamn—a downhill race on the alpine skiing circuit that attracts an international crowd. Kitzbuhel also has some great golf courses, making it a popular summer destination as well.

  • Best for: Recreational skiers eager to experience the famous après-ski scene
  • Top Attractions: Schwarzsee Lake in the summer and the famous Hahnenkamn downhill course in the winter
  • Getting There: Drive one hour from the Salzburg or Innsbruck airport, or two hours from Munich.
  • Keep in Mind: The town’s 3S peak-to-peak gondola gondola crosses valleys to link the most popular ski areas together, providing access to 6,000 meters of vertical terrain.



A sophisticated, secluded getaway

The picturesque town of Lech offers consistently good skiing and luxury accommodations, making it one of Europe’s premiere winter resorts. As in St. Anton, skiers here have access to the entire Arlberg area. Once a small farming village, Lech remains relatively secluded. This gives it a more exclusive, five-star feel than enjoyed by some other Austrian resorts. It also means the resort is relatively quiet, which families may find especially appealing, along with its Austrian hospitality and excellent ski school.

  • Best for: Families, especially ones with young children
  • Top Attractions: Arlberg’s famous White Ring, the Strolz Sport and Mode store, hilltop huts for lunch after a hike
  • Getting There: Drive one and a half hours from the Innsbruck airport or two hours from Zurich. The last leg of the drive is very windy and steep, so those prone to carsickness should take precautions.
  • Keep in Mind: Lech comprises four areas—Lech, Oberlech, Zug and Stubenbach—but tourists will likely visit only Lech and Oberlech. The nearby town of Zurs makes a fun day trip.

Published onNovember 13, 2015

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