The best ski resorts in Austria are simultaneously also the top winter sports areas in Europe and the world, and that for a good reason.
Picture-perfect landscapes, assured snow conditions and well-maintained slopes await you in this region.
As an Austrian, and one who has worked in the Austrian tourism sector, I share my top recommendations for the best winter sports resorts in the area.
These are the best skiing destinations for 2023/24 in Austria, in no particular order.
Table of Contents
1. Kitzbühel KitzSki
The town of Kitzbühel itself is known for hosting yearly one of the most difficult down-hill-skiing races, the Hahnenkamm race. Jet-setters and celebrities like to hang out in winter in this dreamy, world-renowned town.
The Kitzbühel ski resort is one of the most exclusive in the world, and the rich come to ski here in Austria if they are not in St. Moritz in Switzerland or Chamonix in France.
KitzSki was awarded, for 11 consecutive years, the best ski area title in the alps and world by German ski test websites in the industry. Here you will find top slopes, service and accommodations, making it worthwhile your money.
A good variation of well described slopes will make the biggest skiing enthusiast happy. At the same time, I can personally attest that the slopes are also great for beginners (I learned as a kid on a school trip to ski on those slopes).
|Ski Resort Size||110 miles (177 kilometers), 57 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€72.00|
|Altitude||800 to 2000 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners and advanced, families, après-ski.|
|Closest Airports||Salzburg, Innsbruck but also Munich in Germany is a good option.|
2. Ski Arlberg
The Ski Arlberg resort is special for various reasons.
Just like Kitzbühel, Arlberg is known as an elite ski resort, with manicured and well-maintained slopes and top of the art new ski lifts and cable cars.
The first skiing lift in Austria was installed in 1937 in the village of Zürs, which gave them a head start early on. Incidentally, their slogan is “The cradle of alpine skiing”. The famous skiing instructor, Hannes Schneider, who popularized alpine skiing, was native to the area.
Seven smaller skiing towns, including St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs, Lech, Schröcken and Warth, were transformed into a massive interconnected skiing area. It’s the largest of its kind in Austria and one of the biggest in the world!
|Ski Resort Size||186 miles (300 kilometers), 87 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€75.00|
|Altitude||1300 to 2800 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners, advanced, freeriders, après-ski|
3. Ski Amadé Salzburg
It’s not an interconnected ski resort like Kitzbühel or Arlberg, but thanks to its variety of resorts you will find a town that suits your needs.
You can choose between the following regions: Hochkönig, Salzburger Sportwelt, Schladming-Dachstein, Gastein and Grossarltal.
Hochkönig is the best rated of the five. Gastein, with Sportgastein and Bad Gastein has the highest slopes. Moreover, the remaining three are known for catering to different skiing levels and needs while providing reasonable budget-friendly skiing passes. Especially, the Schladming area is value for money!
|Ski Resort Size||472 miles (760 kilometers), 270 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||variable, between €41 to €73.50|
|Altitude||up to 2650 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||newbies, budget-friendly, families, advanced, freeriders, après-ski|
|Closest Airports||Salzburg and Graz|
4. Zillertal Arena
If you are looking for a hidden gem, you have come to the right place.
The Zillertal Arena is tucked away in the dazzling Zillertal valley in the Tyrol region and also includes Krimml in the Salzburg region, which is prominently known as the tallest waterfall in Austria.
The area has been repeatedly awarded a 5-star status, thanks to the seamlessly perfect slopes, natural beauty and family-friendly program. Everything is just topped by the unforgettable views!
Kids will love a trip to the Zillertal arena because everything is geared towards the smallest members of our society. Ski instruction schools are dedicated to children. You will find special children’s hotels and restaurants scattered in the various villages which come with a full-day care program and plenty of fun!
Fortunately, the valley of Zillertal is just a stone’s throw from Innsbruck, the region’s capital, and therefore you can comfortably land at the international airport there and get to the Zillertal Arena within an hour.
|Ski Resort Size||93 miles (150 kilometers), 52 lifts are cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€72.50|
|Altitude||570 to 2500 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners and advanced, families,|
5. Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn
I count the Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm as one of my favorite ski resorts in Austria because I had some of my best skiing days as a kid there. Their slogan is “the home of cool” and it definitely sets the tone.
A set of diverse slopes and difficulty levels provides you with access to an extensive and one of the largest interconnected skiing spaces, set in the Salzburg and Tyrol alps.
Additionally, you can get hold of a Ski ALPIN CARD and with this ski pass, you can access not only the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski resort but also two other neighboring exclusive resorts, Kaprun and Zell am See.
Saalbach, Leogang and Fieberbrunn are great for intermediate skiers, while Hinterglemm is better frequented by beginners and total newbies.
|Ski Resort Size||168 miles (270 kilometers), 70 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€72.00|
|Altitude||830 to 2096 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners, intermediaries, families, après-ski, freeriders|
6. SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental
Located in the neighborhood of the KitzSki and Saalbach Hinterglem resort is the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser.
I count this ski station as one of the best in Austria’s because of its location, top-notch slopes and state of the art newest machinery. Especially, the Hartkaiser gondola in the village of Ellmau takes you up the mountain within 9 minutes.
Several towns and skiing slopes were merged into another grand resort. Included in your skiing trip is the view to the raw Wilder Kaiser mountain range and national park.
Unique highlights of the area include Austria’s largest night skiing slopes, the three flood lit sledge runs and the many homely and family-friendly mountain huts.
|Ski Resort Size||168 miles (270 kilometers), 82 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€69.00|
|Altitude||670 to 1870 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||families, beginner, intermediary, night skiing, après-ski|
|Closest Airports||Salzburg or Innsbruck|
7. Ischgl-Samnaun Silvretta Arena
The Ischgl-Samnaun Silvretta arena is a border crossing international ski station, merging Ischgl in Austria and Samnaun in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland.
This particular skiing resort is known as the Ibiza of the alps, thanks to its countless Après ski pubs and bars in the valley and mountains.
Groups of friends in their 50s from the UK and Netherlands love to hang out in this area, so this ski resort comes with a full-blown party-vibe.
Another advantage and reason to visit is the 100% snow certainty in November and December. You can ski from November to May, and only a handful of ski resorts can offer this in 2023/24.
|Ski Resort Size||186 miles (239 kilometers), 46 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€72.00|
|Altitude||1360 to 1870 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||intermediary, advanced, après-ski, freeriders|
8. Ski Resort of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
The ski resort of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is a self-proclaimed family-friendly ski station in the higher alpine ranges. But don’t get deterred by this label because freeriders can find some best powdered off-piste fun in the Austrian alps.
Here you will also get to try a speed run, a racing run and the resort offers various freestyling and obstacle runs.
It’s a wonderful all-rounder ski resort known for perfectly groomed slopes and a 99% snow guarantee in spring.
|Ski Resort Size||134 miles (215 kilometers), 39 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€68.00|
|Altitude||1200 to 2830 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners, intermediary and advanced, families, freeriders,|
Sölden Ski in the Ötztal alps is the smallest of the ski resorts on this list, but it’s also one of the top skiing regions in the Tyrolean alps. The yearly FIS downhill skiing world cup kicks off in October in Sölden.
High Altitude groomed pistes are accessible from September to May, and this is Söldens main selling point.
Combine this with a unique experience to ski on three 10000 feet (over 3,000 m) summits with varied terrain and alpine glaciers, and you get a perfect skiing vacation to remember.
|Ski Resort Size||89 miles (143 kilometers), 31 lifts and cable cars|
|Adult Peak Season Day Pass Price||€73.00|
|Altitude||1350 and 3340 meters above sea level|
|Suitable for||beginners, intermediary and advanced, freeriders, glacier skiing, après-ski|
What are the best ski resort for beginners, intermediates and experts?
The Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser, KitzSki and Saalbach-Hinterglemm all offer a great mix of black, blue, and red slopes for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike.
What’s the best Après ski resorts in Austria?
Ischgl is the most well known Après ski party resort with a vivid nightlife. It’s also known as the Ibiza of the alps.
What’s the best budget-friendly ski resort in the area?
Ski Amadé includes many areas and here you have the biggest choice of budget-friendly ski resorts.
What are the best family-friendly ski resorts in Austria?
Both, the Zillertal Arena and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis offer a greater focus on family travel.
Where can one go freeriding off-piste skiing and snowboarding?
Sölden, Arlberg and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis are known for the best choice of freeriding skiing and snowboarding?
Can I go Ski touring in all ski resorts?
Certain ski resorts, such as KitzSki, have dedicated ski touring areas. In doubt, I recommend reaching out to the ski resort of your choice.
What’s the most exclusive luxury ski resort in Austria?
Kitzbühel is the prime elite luxury ski resort, second comes Sölden in Austria.
Where to go skiing in snow-poor seasons?
High altitude areas and glaciers resorts have snow in October, November, December, March, April, and May, and they are suitable for skiing in those months. High altitude resorts in Austria include Arlberg, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis and Sölden. Please be aware that there is no snow guarantee in December in all other ski resorts, but they do prep the slopes with artificial snow.
In which months is there 100% snow in Austria?
January and February.
👍 Pro and Cons of visiting Austrian Ski Resorts
I worked in hotel receptions in the area in another life, and visitors would always provide feedback about the ski resorts that they visited in Austria.
Combined with these insights, and my observations, I have compiled a list of pro and cons on why you should, or not, visit any of these Austrian ski resorts.
Guaranteed Snow Conditions — While snow fall has been decreasing all over Europe in the last years, it has been getting more difficult to find a ski resort with snow in the earlier winter month. The Austrian tourism sector has been maintaining slopes meticulously with artificially created snow.
Massive Ski Resorts — Many of the smaller ski resorts and villages have been combined over the years into massive ski resorts. Each is accessible from various points and is well interconnected, adding countless more blue, black and red skiing slopes to your preferred skiing region.
Beginner-Friendly Slopes — Skiing schools can be found wherever there is a skiing slope and a lift in Austria. These schools teach beginners of all ages. As young as 3 and 4-year-olds take part and people from all over the world of all ages. You will find skiing instructions in your language in the top skiing resorts.
Top Infrastructure — All roads lead to the mountain in Austria, yet you will be surprised to know that the Austrian government has been working on a more climate-friendly alternative. The rail network has been extended with more frequent connections and budget-friendly ticket options. Furthermore, free-of-charge skiing buses take you from your hotel to the skiing slopes.
Best Equipment and Service Rentals — Regardless of where you go, you will always be offered the best skiing equipment in Austria in all ski rental stores. You will find a rental store just beneath the slope, and they will guide you to the right size of shoes and skies. As a beginner, getting the right equipment can be daunting, and these professionals will show you how to wear your skiing shoes. They will wax and prep your skies properly before you go on a slope.
Free-of-Charge Winter Sports Activities — Austrian ski resorts offer many more winter sports activities besides down-hill skiing and snowboarding. Extensive country cross skiing trails are prepared and can be accessed completely free of cost. The same goes for ski touring and snow shoes walking and sledging trails. They can all be accessed for free. Activities such as ice-skating and Thermal spas with sauna are not free, but bucketlist items.
Cheaper than Switzerland — No other country in the world is as expensive as neighboring Switzerland. In Austria, you get the same service and skiing experience as you would get in Switzerland for a fraction of the price.
Great Culture and Food — On your skiing trip to Austria, you can experience unique traditional Austrian festivities, such as the Krampus run, Christmas markets, the carnival Fasnach celebrations among many others. Don’t forget to try some typical Austrian food specialties on your visit.
Après-Ski Culture — Partying in a snowed in mountain hut belongs to one of the must-try experiences in the world. Austria is king in this!
It’s Expensive — Accommodations, food, skiing day cards and the equipment are costly. To give you a brief idea of what to expect, a four-star hotel room with 1/2 or 3/4 board averages at €200 per person and night in winter. A whole set of skiing equipment costs about €45 per adult and day. A meal with drink in a restaurant can cost about €22 per person.
Locals can appear cold — Austrians, especially in the west, tend to appear to be a bit cold and not as easily approachable. It’s just their way, and the language barrier adds another layer of distance.
Language — English is spoken in the Tourism industry only, and the local language is Austrian German. This isn’t a problem if you intend to stick to tourist hot-spots only, but the moment you move out of the bubble you will find yourself surrounded by people not speaking English. Our Austrian German to English for traveler list might be useful in this case.