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Austria 15-22 Dec - Intermediate + kids

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all, would value your suggestions on best option for Aussie family of 4, week before Christmas for out first Europe ski holiday.

Was all set on St Anton but read reviews it’s not suitable for beginners and ski school doesn’t seem great for kids. Is Lech better option? Our girls are 4 and 8 and have done ski school in aus 4 times so very much beginners. Then thought Mayrhofen but concerned may not be snow sure in mid Dec.

Wish list:

Austria - but if you think we should go elsewhere happy to hear your advice
Snow sure pre Xmas
Charming village with apres ski but not fussed about party scene but we are not opposed to it either.
Good kids ski school
Good range for all levels so we can do some family skiing and then enough variety for hubby adv skier and Mum - intermediate.

Thanks so much!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Lcetro, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead
Lech much better than St Anton but still not a perfect absolute beginners resort. When you say 4 times do you mean 4 days or 4 weeks? Makes a huge difference.

Consider somewhere like Ellmau or Hinterglemm maybe. Lots of snowmaking so shouldn't be a deslbreaker.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If you’re looking for snow sure mid December then head to somewhere with a glacier. Conditions anywhere may be fantastic, but they may also be dire. Experiences of the past few years have shown us to be cautious pre-January however high a resort/ski area.

Head higher up from Mayrhofen you have Hintertux. Kaprun, Sölden and Stubai tend to be the other common glacier options. Glacier skiing tends to be limited, so this will effect the range of difficulty level available. This is pre high season so apres will be limited, although most areas will have a bar or two open.

If you are willing to risk it a little bit more then hold off booking anything apart from flights. That week is going to be quiet almost everywhere. If conditions are good with plenty of snow you’ll be able to find somewhere to stay in a lovely village/ski area fairly easily. When conditions are good early season, the limiting factor for opening an area is number of visitors/staff, but it’s easy to find out the areas with comprehensive early season opening. If conditions aren’t great then you can then decide to head to and stay near a glacier.
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Thanks for your thoughts.

Re 4 times, just 4 days, can snowplough, basic turns and Ride a chairlift. That’s it!

Re: idea of leaving to last week to book I don’t feel comfortable with that idea because I don’t want to spend first part of trip in Berlin looking for where to go.

Also on booking sites there’s not a lot of availability in st Anton, Lech and mayrhofen for our dates. I’ll look into the places you suggest with a glacier.
Thanks so much! Very Happy
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Obergurgl the highest parish in Austria (1930m), quaint village near the Sölden glacier. Ski Lifts 1800m to 3000m. Typically opens mid Nov, never heard of it being shut in mid Dec.


http://youtube.com/v/pcSmbV5Qf48


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sun 29-07-18 6:44; edited 3 times in total
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I second the suggestion from Hammerite that leaving it until the last minute is best overall.
I can see that if you are visiting Berlin before skiing that you don’t want to spend your trip researching skiing.
How about picking two possible destinations now, one “snow sure” and one “chocolate box pretty” and doing the planning now. Leave the final decision between the two until later.
For “chocolate box pretty” consider Alpbach.
Don’t rule out the Dolomites. Not Austria but the Northern part especially can have a very “Tirolean” feel to it, linguistically, visually and culturally. Unsurprising as it was a part of Austria until 1918. Snowmaking is very good and even in a poor season they get a lot of runs open.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
My vote would go for Obergurgl.

They open early December and pretty snow sure.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Lcetro, there might not be a lot of availability on booking sites at the moment, but it won’t be because those resorts are full. A lot of the hotels and guest houses will probably not have advertised that week yet, or might not be opening until 22nd.
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@Lcetro, for snow sure Obergurgl is perfect (as above) but advanced hubby may get bored. No real challenges to speak of and quite small area. Not a problem if you will be doing a lot of family skiing though, we loved it there with our kids, great ski school. Apres quiet mainly but few places to party and friendly / easy with kids.

The link to Hochgurgl is approached I think by a red (not steep but little kids or timid beginners may not like it). But best skiing on the Hochgurgl side. A day at Solden also covered on the pass where there is some seriously good skiing available.
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If you are Worried about linking runs between there is a bus as well that links the two areas which I had cause to check out when I ruptured my ACL on the Hochgurgl side (not that I knew that was what it was but I certainly couldn’t carry on skiing we had to down load on a gondola... reached by a lift on a skidoo and take the bus back)
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If the advanced skier in the group likes to ski blacks then Serfaus could be a good option although Serfaus doesn't have the same quaint small village atmosphere as Obergurgl.

The Ski School at Obergurgl do freeriding groups
https://www.obergurgl.com/freeriding

and there's a very good Mountainguide setup in nearby Vent - used them to ski-tour up the Wildspitze.
https://www.vent.at/mountain-guides-vent
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Which ski school have you looked at in St Anton? If just Ski School Alrberg, look at what New Generation have to offer, see if that suits?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I would agree about leaving booking as late as possible as snow conditions in December are notoriously unreliable, if it is the week before Christmas you should be find accommodation without any great problems. Keep an eye on conditions from late November onwards, if there is a good amount of snow then it is a reasonable assumption that conditions will be OK a few weeks later.

St Anton is actually quite good for complete beginners as there is a nice nursery area up the mountain at Gampen. What is not so good is moving off the nursery slopes and finding a selection of easy blues to practice on. If it is a quiet week prior to Christmas with reasonable snow then I am sure it would be perfectly good. I suspect many of the less positive reviews are from when the place is busy (sometimes too busy) in which case it would be less than ideal for new skiers. If you are still keen on the Arlberg than Lech might be better.

Personally I would aim for Ischgl. It is just about the most snow sure of the Austrian resorts despite no glacier. The main skiing area starts at around 2000m and that is where the nursery slopes are with a good selection of blues and reds as well as more challenging stuff. The main disadvantage is that most of the skiing is above the tree line so if the weather is poor there is no shelter which can be pretty miserable for kids.

Other relatively snow sure places might be Obertauern, Obergürgl (never been and not been enticed to by the reports I have heard) and Serfaus / Fiss.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
You refer to booking sites. Have you included tourist offices within this? Many will respond to email requests with availability where owners do not list on booking.com etc. I have successfully arranged late trips pre Xmas when snow has arrived and found no problems with availability. The suggestion of shortlisting one snow sure and one other is a good one and then email the tourist office fairly close to the trip or send in an enquiry form on their website.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
You refer to booking sites. Have you included tourist offices within this? Many will respond to email requests with availability where owners do not list on booking.com etc. I have successfully arranged late trips pre Xmas when snow has arrived and found no problems with availability. The suggestion of shortlisting one snow sure and one other is a good one and then email the tourist office fairly close to the trip or send in an enquiry form on their website.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Lcetro, Thats a very quiet week in Arlberg and i'd definitely say that St Anton Arlberg Ski School would be perfect for your kids, and more adventurous husband to scoot off and find some powder fields around Galzig and Stuben. there'll be very small ski groups and the instructors looking for customers. Its very easy to get around to Lech also so i'd have no concerns. Nowhere is snow sure that early season but St Anton is as snow sure as anywhere else, unless you consider Solden or Hintertux glaciers etc but you'd then be busy with ski clubs and racing teams.

I've just looked on the St Anton website under accommodation and searched your week with 2 children and it brings up 125 search results, plenty options there i'd say, book direct rather than with bookings.com etc, the Austrians don't use these if they can avoid, and then only late if bookings are down (which they normally aren't).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
have you thought about innsbruck area.
Depending on what kind of holiday you want, but the pass covers 7 different skiing areas including Stubai Glacier. Free bus linking up the resorts, so you could stay in Innsbruck itself, or just outside in one of the resorts.

Also, for family there are the various Christmas Markets. I think your dates may even be lucky enough to catch a Krampus Run, Night of Colours Show (think this is in Schlick) as well as the Disney Concert (Hmm Disney show now cancelled?) + the usual Christmasy stuff, sleigh rides, tobboganing, reinder walks, etc.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Lcetro, Just seen the thing about booking sites. I would very much agree that they are of little use booking accommodation in Austrian resorts. All the resort tourist offices run their own accommodation booking service which covers practically all available accommodation in their resorts. They are easy to use and have an English option but you could simply email them if you want.
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Innsbruck is a good call for the Xmas markets etc. Glacier resorts are snow secure but you can lose a lot of time on the buses & lifts before getting on the snow, esp if you don't have a car.

Maybe this booking site helps.
https://www.tiscover.com/at/guide/5,en/objectId,RGN6at,modulId,home/home.html
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Have skied both Obergurgl and Obertauern at this time. You could also take a look at Kuhtai & Hoch Oetz. But as others have said, better to leave as last minute as poss. Most places at that time of year have free rooms
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come on snowheads, get real. With a young family leaving this until last minute isn't really a viable option especially as they are flying over from Australia! I'd want everything sorted myself if flying half way around the world.

I'd also caution against heading to a super high glacial area with 4 and 8 year olds, you really need somewhere with a good chance of lower skiing in the trees if the weather does close in.

I don't recall Lech not offering skiing at Xmas, even through some of the recent "bad" starts to the season. If you want Austria, a nice village and a high chance of having skiing then I don't think you'd go far wrong with Lech, if your wallet can stomach it!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Lech.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Lcetro, Saalbach-Hinterglemm, lots of Snow making, Great selection of runs, town centre accomodation, helpful tourist office, good variety of apre. Selection of ski schools, 1.5 hours from Salzburg aiport. @Tatman shoukd be along to give more insight
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