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Planning next year’s Austria trip already....

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all,
Just looking for some advice, and apologies if these questions have been asked and answered a thousand times before.
I’m starting to plan next year’s ski trip to Austria and wondering about choice of resort, best dates etc etc.
To set the scene, it will be my 3rd week skiing and we’re likely to have two beginners and one more who has skied many times previously. I was in Niederau this year and really enjoyed it, I thought the place was lovely, the nursery slopes excellent, the instruction great and the only thing I disliked was all the t-bar lifts everywhere. I can see how it might not be great for strong or experienced skiers, but I’d happily return if it’s our best option bearing in mind our two beginners. We’re all late 30s & early 40s so all night apres isn’t a huge deal but we do enjoy ourselves at the same time. So I guess I’m wondering what other resorts should I be considering that might suit us ? Trying to keep costs reasonable without necessarily being bargain basement.
And also, I 100% know weather can’t be predicted, but realistically, is it much of a risk booking Austria this far in advance ? This year was obviously epic snow, but I’d hate to end up skiing down 5 meter wide ribbons of snow on green mountainsides. I booked my trip this year at two weeks notice so knew there was snow, and we can go anytime from mid Jan to early March next year.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/comments !
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With those dates you’d be very unlikely you’d need to worry about snow cover.
As it’s your third week, I’d go somewhere with a bit bigger ski area.

Possibilities could include:
Kitzbühel - staying in Kirchberg is cheaper if that’s an issue.
SkiWelt
Saalbach-Hinterglemm
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+1 to the suggestions above. Other places might include Ski Amade (easy access from Salzburg) and Serfaus / Fiss (see recent thread).

If you have a choice of when to go I would suggest late January / early February. Snow conditions are likely to be at their best and it is before the half term peak weeks.

T bars have been slowly disappearing in recent times. There are not many left away from the nursery slopes
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Thanks for those suggestions guys, much appreciated.
Two questions, 1) re Ski Welt, are the resorts much of a muchness or is there a standout ? My first trip was to Westendorf and tbh I’m leaning slightly towards returning once I convince myself snow cover isn’t an issue ! Very Happy Ye’re right though, late Jan/Feb will be fine unless there’s no season at all.
And 2) Ski Amade, that’s all the Gasteins, right ? Is there a preference between Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein?
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wk1974 wrote:
And 2) Ski Amade, that’s all the Gasteins, right ? Is there a preference between Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein?


It's much more than that, the Gasteins are just one of the five areas in the Ski Amade region!! https://www.skiamade.com/en/winter/skiresorts/ski-amade
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Alastair Pink wrote:
wk1974 wrote:
And 2) Ski Amade, that’s all the Gasteins, right ? Is there a preference between Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein?


It's much more than that, the Gasteins are just one of the five areas in the Ski Amade region!! https://www.skiamade.com/en/winter/skiresorts/ski-amade


Thanks for that link, apologies, please excuse my ignorance of the area ! It looks massive and definitely worth considering alright.
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@wk1974, Ski Amade is much more than just the Gasteins. Bad Hofgastein is a lovely town and I really like the skiing there, but you need to know that you need to use a free ski bus to get to the slopes and the terrain in the Gastein valley is generally quite steep. There's easier skiing and piste access in other parts of the Amade, like Flachau or Wagrain.

My first week on snow was in Niederau and like you I loved it. I reckon the best place for a modest step-up in size of resort and variety of pistes is Obertauern. It's a smallish village (mostly hotels) at the top of a (high for Austria) pass with skiing on both sides of the pass. Can't remember there being many drag lifts aside from the absolute beginner's area. Couple of good apres bars and some good places for lunch on the mountain. It'll also be very convenient for you as it features in most of the UK tour company brochures and you should get a decent deal if you book a week or two before you go.
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@wk1974, From your perspective, the issue is that the beginners and probably you are going to require lessons and that is going to tie you to a single location. Large unconnected areas that require buses or a car to get the most out of could be left for a future trip when the group is more confident.

In addition to the suggestions above, consider Mayrhofen. Having to acces and return from the mountain by cable car is a bit of a pain but apart from that, it has a lot to recommend it.
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@Valkyrie, not Flachau for absolute beginners...
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Riccardo wrote:
@wk1974, From your perspective, the issue is that the beginners and probably you are going to require lessons and that is going to tie you to a single location. Large unconnected areas that require buses or a car to get the most out of could be left for a future trip when the group is more confident.

In addition to the suggestions above, consider Mayrhofen. Having to acces and return from the mountain by cable car is a bit of a pain but apart from that, it has a lot to recommend it.


Absolutely, both the beginners and myself will definitely get lessons (tbh I can’t imagine not needing/wanting them for several more trips yet). You’re right, it might be just as easy to stick to somewhere relatively small and self contained. What I loved about my two previous trips to Niederau and Westendorf was being able to literally walk across the road to the nursery slopes and gondolas.
Just how much of a pain is the cable car in Mayrhofen ? Slight annoyance or after two days you don’t even think about it ?
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It's not a pain any more since they put a new gondola in. Previously there was always a huge queue to get up at peak times.
Realistically you are likely to be going up a cable car/ gondola which ever resort you go to. Your beginner friends might start on some village level slopes (like in Niederau & Westendorf) but it's not a bad thing for beginners to have lessons nearer the top of the mountain, as snow conditions are normally better. The only problem with Mayrhofen is not being able to ski into the village from the main ski area at the end of the day, but again this isn't the end of the world, as often runs are slushy and busy near the end of the day, so downloading might be recommended anyway. You can also fully partake in the very lively Apres which goes on at the top of the gondola without having to clip the skis back on again.

I think Mayrhofen could work for you, but would probably put Saalbach, Kitzbuhel and even Zell am See ahead of it just about, but it would depend on what deals you can get.
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Hochkonig is beautiful, the slopes are wide easy blues and reds and it is always much less busy than its better known neighbours. Very easy transfer from Salzburg and Maria Alm is a pretty village. There is an independent company who seem to specialise in trips there, ski fix I think. Well with a look. I ski a lot in the Salzburg area and always have a few days in Hochkonig. People I introduce to the area are blown away by how good it is despite nobody knowing about it!
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Someone above suggested the first week of February, but I would say avoid that. It's Vienna week, pretty much the busiest week of the season.
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Lech.

Go in March.
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@wk1974, re Skiwelt, whilst Westendorf is popular and is a nice village I would suggest Brixen is a better spot. It is more central to the skiing and there are plenty of nursery slopes at Hochbrixen, better than low down in the village. The main downside is the piste down from Hochbrixen the lower parts of which are almost always in a poor condition, best for any less than confident skiers to take the gondola down. Conversely the long piste on the other side of the valley often has some of the best conditions in Skiwelt, it is fairly graded as a red, there is a steeper section in the middle (shown as black on some maps) but there is a track detour around that part.

I would say many Austrian resorts will fit your specifications, as you can see people have their own favourites. If you stick to mid January to early March and avoid Fasching week (the week with Ash Wednesday in it) you should have a good time where ever you end up.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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munich_irish wrote:
@wk1974The main downside is the piste down from Hochbrixen the lower parts of which are almost always in a poor condition, best for any less than confident skiers to take the gondola down.

Or any competent skier/boarder who values their gear and/or gets annoyed at having to take their skis/board off and walk when there turns out to be a lack of snow - it's a nice gondola ride down though. We skied it once and have vowed never to make that mistake again.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 22-04-19 19:23; edited 1 time in total
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munich_irish wrote:
@wk1974,
I would say many Austrian resorts will fit your specifications, as you can see people have their own favourites. If you stick to mid January to early March and avoid Fasching week (the week with Ash Wednesday in it) you should have a good time where ever you end up.


This seems to be the case alright. As long as we stick to that sort of time window we should be fine pretty much anywhere. I think I have an inbuilt mistrust of the weather hehe !! Very Happy
Thanks all for the advice and suggestions, certainly reassured me and given plenty of food for thought re destinations !
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Quote:

Someone above suggested the first week of February, but I would say avoid that. It's Vienna week, pretty much the busiest week of the season.


What is Vienna Week? A google search got me a page full of suggestions for things to spend doing for a week in Vienna.
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@mr. mike, it is semester holidays for Vienna and Lower Austria. Essentially it means 30% of the population of Austria goes skiing. There are also a few parts of Germany on holiday the same week. Usually the first week of February. The following week Salzburg & Tirol have holidays, together with more of Germany and half of the Netherlands. The third week is the rest of the Netherlands, the rest of Austria, and more of Germany. Fasching can fall any time from early February to mid March and is when Bavaria have their semester holidays.

These are the busiest weeks in Austria outside of Christmas and New Year.
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@queenie pretty please, when is it please?
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@Bennyboy1, re-read my post.
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Quote:

@queenie pretty please, when is it please?


Fasching week next season appears to be the w/c 22nd February.

Quote:

If you stick to mid January to early March and avoid Fasching week (the week with Ash Wednesday in it) you should have a good time where ever you end up.


FWIW the best skiing conditions in my neck of the woods (and therefore presumably elsewhere in eastern Austria) last season were in mid-December, mid to late January, and mid-to late March. The previous season it was more or less the same - good early conditions in December, and cold snaps with fresh snow and blue skies in mid-January and mid-March. In both seasons we've also enjoyed the skiing in early April - the lack of people on the pistes helps to compensate somewhat for the softness of the pistes on sunny afternoons - lots of corduroy and no moguls.
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We are early 50s and like a bit of apres and music in the pubs and find Soll ticks all the boxes for us.
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2waterford wrote:
We are early 50s and like a bit of apres and music in the pubs and find Soll ticks all the boxes for us.


Thanks for that. Ya I'd say somewhere like Ski Welt is most likely at this stage. We've firmed up on dates and it will be either 18th or 25th Jan, turns out from February onwards doesn't suit for one of the party next year and we're all happy to work round that. We'll be using a tour operator also which maybe limits the options to an extent, so for convenience we'll probably end up with Soll/Westendorf/Kitzbhel etc or very similar, especially given at least 3 of us will be getting lessons so don't need huge mileage, just good snow really.
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