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Bad Hofgastein - any recommendations please ?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Now booked into a 4 star at Bad Hofgastein - The Germania - on half board (free booze with the evening meal. I expect that it will be poor quality booze - but, if you stick to beer, how bad can it be in a country like Austria ?).

The snow looks alright and I think the hotel is near the lifts. So does anybody know this resort well enough to give any advice ? It would be particularly useful to know about getting from place to place. Is the ski bus OK, or is a car necessary ? Is the ski school doing anything of interest other than 'follow the leader' stuff for intermediates ?

Also have a night in Innsbruck - so any non-skiing advice for there would be appreciated.

I did try to get fixed up in Ischgl, but most of the places were booked from 24th January. I basically tried all the ones that had websites I could understand and also some places previously recommended by Snowheads. Lots of the Ischgl websites are in German only. They are comparatively expensive too, but if Ischgl is the place the Germans want to be then it is just supply and demand.

I was surprised at the number of Austrian hotel websites that feature the family in Austrian dress. I reckon they must hire a few photogenic families and stick their pictures on all of them. They all seem to the same age. They are very blonde Aryan types -no nasty foreigners amongst them. Also a surprising amount of really naff music on some of these hotel websites.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Latchigo, I think that you might be pleasently surprised at the quality of the food and wine and not to mention the hospitality. I am breaking the habit of a skiing lifetime and am going back for the second time to Bad Gastein on 4th February 2006 after 3- 4 years going to Switzerland.

At the moment the snow is good, sunny and very cold -10 today, with the possibility of some snow later on this week.

The area is called the Ski Amede region with two linked areas - BG and HBG. Dorfgastein and Sportgastein are about 15 - 25 minutes away by bus ( private hire last time in 2004 as the public busses are not that freqiuent ). The ski bus service is not efficient and a car is an asset here - and besides you can go a bit futrher afield, say to Kaprun, Zell am Zee, Obertauren and Schladming as the Ski Alliance Amede lift pass covers 30 resorts.

BHF - a strung - out village the slopes of Schlossalm are reached by funicular to Kitzstein, ski busses go to Angetel, for lifts to Schlossalm and busses to BG.

Do not know about ski schools nor Innsbruck.

BG is only one hour by train to Salzburg, a substancial city in its own right, and a nice place to have a break from sking half way through the week.
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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?
Latchigo, we went to Bad Gastein up the road for New Year week. If it's a 4 star hotel then the food will be good and the beer drinkable I imagine. The ski area between BG and BHG is well linked and for an intermediate (cruiser) there is more than enough in this area alone for a few days.

We found the bus service to be very good. They may have added more to the timetable in recent years with respect to Hibernia's comment but the service to Dorfgastein was every hour off peak and every 20-30 mins peak. This is well worth it as it is an excellent ski area. THe buses can get quite packed though so it might be wise to catch an early one. From BHG to Dorf, it's about 15 mins and free with the lift pass. We didn't go to Sportgastein due to the sheer volume of snow over the new year with the avalanche risk too high in this area and it was shut for a day or so, but the bus service seemed pretty regular.

We didn't have lessons but I did find the piste signs a bit limited and we did use the map a lot, so perhaps a guide for a day to get to know the place would be a good idea.

A trip to the thermal baths is worthwhile to. It was quite novel soaking outside amongst the snow! I can't comment on the nightlife in BHG as we stuck to BG.

Generally, we had a great week skiing the area but we were very fortunate with the snow. That said, volume wise there is plenty there at the moment so you should have a great week's skiing also. Try run 1 and 2 in BHG for a real thigh burner and No.1 in Dorfgastein for the same. They are huge and really varied and probably the best reds I've ever skiied in my 11 weeks skiing.
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