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Badgastein 2020

 Poster: A snowHead
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I was trying to write a trip report but somehow pressed the wrong button a long way through and lost it all and frankly cannot face starting again.

However, if anyone wants more info either put Q on this thread or PM me.

Sorry, I hate computers and the chromebook whilst being excellent overall has things on the lefthand side that do mean if your finger errs you lose the whole lot or it is still there in the ether but heavens knows where
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@countryman, great timing - have just started looking at this area for the first time, due to finding ridiculously cheap Salzburg flights.

We wouldn't be going until the last weekend in March, but it would be good to get your thoughts on the ski area as a whole and the best place to base yourself in the valley.
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There are four ski areas which are connected by bus. Between areas half hour frequency but from hotels to lifts within a town seemed more frequent than this. So unless close to a lift the bus timetable is vital. Main area is badgastein and badhofgastein. They link in a valley station called Angertal which you can get to by skibus. Actually quite a lot of skiing is above treeline for an Austrian resort sort of 1/3 above and 2/3 below. Whilst here are some lovely blues most of the skiing is on reds which are good challenging and long. I would say on the blacker end then bluer. There is a lovely 11k red run claiming to be the longest valley descent in salzburgerland down to badhofgastein sadly served by a two person fixed grip chair (or perhaps happily!). Even there worst queue was less than 10 minutes. Best access seemed to be Angertal or badgastein - the only day I tried badhofgastein horrid queues at the gondola. Second area half hour two busride from badgastein was dorfgastein. A lower and more tree covered area of a reasonable size, reds arguably slightly easier and a very nice long slightly challenging blue top to bottom on dorfgastein side. Some nice looking restaurants. Third area graukogel in badgastein and fourth area sportgastein not skied. Whilst I was there high winds shut top lifts for a couple of days and although it snowed I felt sportgastein might have been a little scalped in places. Listening pretty good. Piste marking excellent. Mostly good lifts. A lot of gondolas. Rail accessible 1 1/2 hours from Salzburg. Stunning valley. Badgastein town where I stayed is a rather tired old spa town in a steep valley with a waterfall through the middle. The action is up at the top by the rail station and gondola - bars, shops etc. The corner bar shows six Nations although commentary in german! Couldn't really comment on badhofgastein or dorfgastein although the last looked a bit dormitory and apartmenty around the lift. Travelled with sunweb.
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@Valluga, It's on my short list for exactly the same week.

@countryman, many thanks for starting this thread. What I'd be specifically interested in, over and above what you've written is:

whether it's a good place for a non-skier to find things to do then get a gondola up to meet for lunch or at the end of the day?

and whether there are plenty of good value places to eat out in town which would make self-catering a viable option?
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Non-skier. Spas. Suspect a bit of walking but for a whole week? Salzburg is E30ish 1 1/2 hours train return and places like kitzbuhrl and sell am see again train gettable. Suspect more valleyish walking in dorf or badhof. Although the train goes through a tunnel to the south the valley stops south of badgastein so it effectively a south North valley. I assume that one can get a pedestrian pass on gondolas and as always with Austria plenty of places to eat on the mountain. Ahornhutte just below badgastein gondola middle station superb goulash soup. More goulash than soup. As for badgastein not quite so sure as I was on HB. Suspect a few places up near the rail station and gondola but further down the hill probably more restricted. It is quite a steep hill. Cannot comment on badhof or dorfgastein although nice bar restaurant close to lift station at dorfgastein.
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Thanks for posting.
We're thinking of going to that area next week but are hesitant because the piste maps seems to be mostly reds - I don't mind reds but I want to be able to ski them, not fight my way down.
When you say the reds are at the black end - narrow? Steep? Bumpy?
Are they all difficult reds would you say, in that the whole resort is downgrading the markings?
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@Scamper, unlike some resorts where they seem to 'invent' red runs, the reds in the Gastein valley are genuine reds. They are not overly steep, narrow or bumpy but consistant in gradient and in most cases fairly long runs.

I don't think they are on the black end they are just not on the blue side. I have had several holidays in the Gasteinertal and the skiing is excellent. The area however does not have much easy blue run skiing. For blue's Dorfgastein/Grossarl is the best bet but this area is still mainly genuine red skiing. The Dorfgastein valley run has been downgraded to blue since it was widened slightly but it is still the trickiest run in the area in my opinion when the snow is soft.

Schlossalm probably slightly easier skiing than Stubnerkogel with the exception of the Hohe Scharte run which is outstanding, a proper red which tests your stamina doing it top to bottom.

Some excellent huts, Hirshenhutte and Waldgasthof both in Angertal I can recommend from last season and Wengeralm at Dorfgastein is the best in the Valley.

Never had the need to visit Sportgastein since we have always had good snow and its a trek from where we normally stay in Dorfgastein.

To sum up, don't expect easy (blue/red) red runs, they are lengthy red runs of a consist pitch.
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For non skiers you can get the Gastein Guest card from most hotels which gives reduced fares on buses and trains

There is some cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the area and Bad Hofgastein has a lovely spa area with heated indoor and outdoor pools

There are walks along the valley by the river and some lovely walks up by Angertal starting in the ski area

As others have stated there aren't really any easy blue runs as most have a consistent pitch

Non skiers can get to mountain restaurants but bear in mind that the restaurants are not adjacent to the gondola arrival stations, most that we visited you had to walk approx. 200m down/up the side of the piste
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@3offthetee, thank you, that gives me a good idea of what to expect.
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@countryman, @3offthetee, @gazza330, Thanks for all the invaluable advice. I's a complex group I'm trying to plan for, incuding 2nd week skiers, so I'll cross this one off the list.

What would I do without snowHead
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I think for a second week skier it might be a bit challenging. The long blue B21 is accessible off a chairlift in the Angertal as are a couple of other blues. Reds are very nice and wide but definite reds. Lots of ski schools there tho' so there must be lots of developers other than the local schollkids having their ski days

3offthetee +1 for Wengeralm had very good grostl there and excellent waiter service.
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Sounds a great area. Close to an interesting city, scenic and doable by train. Rugby on the telly. Why haven’t I heard about the area before?

I like the sound of lots of real reds. We have been to quite a few resorts where many of the reds are not too far off the blues, its tempting just to cruise around and you don't progress or get pushed.
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There is a good week of skiing there for intermediate skiers. Early intermediates not so much and I would not recommend it for beginners or early intermediates. Not many cruisey blues.For non skiers the Spas in Gastein and Hofgastein are topclass. Non skiers can take the gondolas from Hofgastein, Gastein and Angertal to get to the top of the mountain for the views and the restaurants. Special mention for the single chairlift that brings you to Belleview Alm from Gastein. A mountain restaurant that is hundreds of years old.
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Great info, sounds very promising. Aside from the slope grading and the need for buses, can anyone advise on how it compares to other resorts in the Salzburg area (I'm thinking Saalbach, Schladming and Flachau)?
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@Valluga, my recollection of it was that the skiing was okay, though disconnected, the apres was almost non-existent (although I was staying in a catered chalet, which had its own bar), and there was an annoying walk to get to the main gondola by the railway station.
Plus points were the spa, and the Ski Miquel chalet we stayed in.
However I much preferred Saalbach (even before I’d acquired my own place there) in every respect except the spa.
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@tatmanstours, thanks for the info.

Yes, Saalbach is our favourite place, but we've just come back from there and have vowed to try somewhere new!
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I am sure Saabach is great and would love to go there but seems to have got very expensive and unless you book very early, which my diary never allows, no single rooms left which makes it even more expensive. A victim of its own success which is why one tries to search out other places. I would also look at Flachau area and Hochkonig if I could find places there, as accessible by public transport at a sensible price. Many have also mentioned Serfaus etc but getting there independently without hiring a car looks to be a bit of a schlep.
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Thanks for the info above, we are now in Bad Gastein snowHead
It's quite a place and I've enjoyed skiing here. The reds are pretty good, nothing too scary. But I've also had fun gliding through the trees on all the blue "roads". Went over to Bad Hof and back again. Despite the ski bus this morning being rammed such that it didn't stop at the last few pick ups, the slopes were not overly crowded.
Pistes were hard with a covering of fake snow but skied well. Lower down it's grainy.
Clouds have just arrived so fingers crossed for a few cms or more.
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Have cancelled trip to Madonna di Campiglio from 22nd to 29th March (prompted by flight being cancelled) and looking at alternatives. Gastein valley seems up my street. Have skied Schladming a few years back and loved the long red runs there - this looks to be similar, but perhaps more varied. Couple of questions:

Which would make the best base? Ease of access to ski area, some decent restaurants nearby and good value hotel would be the priorities. Not interested in night-life (in fact the quieter the better from that point of view). From my limited research, Dorfgastein looks pleasant but maybe not as many places to eat and a bit if a faff to get to other parts of the ski area. Plus home runs may be quite slushy. Bad Hofgastein seems to have a nice balance between good hotels, outdoor spa places and eating options but possibly issues with queues to get up the mountain (presumably less of an issue the week I'm going). Bad Gastein may be best for access lifts, but is steep and can be a trek to get from accommodation to lifts.

At that time of year, where is the best snow likely to be? I am terrible at working out slope orientation on ski maps, so can't tell what is north and east facing. Also, which area is the quietest - will probably ski there more often as hate busy pistes, so that will probably affect the choice of where we stay.

Any hotel recommendations? Would like to keep accommodation costs to about £1000 for the week for 2 of us. Would love a hotel with a pool, but if spa/baths nearby, would happily go there.

Finally, anyone out there at the moment? What are the snow conditions like? Bergfex forecast shows fairly frequent small top-ups in the next week which is looking good.
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Bad Gastein or Hofgastein will be better bases than Dorfgastein, which is a good distance from the main ski areas and is the lowest of the areas which is a consideration at end of March.

Both BG and BHG are proper towns with large and impressive thermal spas, decent restaurants and a proper town feel. There is a main lift in each town which brings you to a good central starting spot in the main ski area. I am sure there are plenty of good deals on booking.com or airbnb for 3* and 4* hotels that should be in your budget. You can gauge proximity to the main lift when you are booking accommodation. It won't be busy at that time of year so it is hard to give slope recommendations.

Conditions are very good there at the moment. There is good skiing from the mid station to the valley. If conditions deteriorate you download from MidStation and avoid the lower slopes.

On balance at the end of March I would stay in Bad Gastein as its closer to Sportsgastein which is the highest ski area with the best late season conditions. The only downside is that the village is all steep hills which if this puts you off stay in Hofgastein whichn is flat.
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Can't help you with accommodation as we were on a campsite.

I'd use Bad Hofgastein as a base to avoid all the hills at BG which were a pita to move around.
Hof seemed a nicer town to be in.

We were there when it was a busier time but didn't encounter any gondala queues at either Gastein.

Our ski bus started empty at Bad Brücke and then filled up as we entered Bad Gastein. By the time we hit the last few stops before the gondala it was rammed and not stopping for any more passengers.

I preferred the slopes at Hof. I didn't ski there but understand the ones at Dorf are good too.

Buses run up and down the valley, and up to Angertal, so it's easy to move between all 3 resorts.
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PS there is no issue with lifts in BHG - they installed a new super duper state of the art gondola lift last season resulting in pretty much no queues.
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We were there during Fasching week which may account for the bus congestion. However, it didn't seem all that busy on the slopes.
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The day I tried lift from BHG queues were bad - there may have been a technical issue earlier as I skied down to the bottom and went back up later and the lift kept stopping for no apparent reason - probably a sensor fault or the suchlike. It is a massive capacity new gondola. I would not stay in Dorf but if conditions were right certainly ski at least one day there. I stayed at the Mozart in BG - fine if a little dated and the food was a bit carby but plenty of it. Downhill from the lift tho' 600 yards and you needed the bus up but the stop was right outside. Ski Miquel have a chalet there at the top end of town but probably about 600 yards walk as well but may be flatter (with that useless firm, if you can ever get hold of them - tried this year by requesting a callback which was never made - in the past they have never responded to emails either. I think it because I am a solo traveller and they do not want them).
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Guys, these responses are really helpful. I'll look at Bad Hofgastein as base. Plenty of hotels on there on booking.com and rates seemed reasonable. The waterfall in Bad Gastein looks cool and would probably stay there for a summer vacation, but hills in ski boots and when carrying skis is too much hard work for me!

PS, holiday looks like it will come in cheaper than the original trip to Madonna di Campiglio, so might have some dosh for a lesson or two. Any recommendations for private lessons?
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The Hotel Bismarck in Bad Hofgastein is superb. We always have a car so can't comment on the busses. Only seen lift queues at the bottom in Angertal at weekends. The new gondola is a great improvement on the old Schlossalmbahn funicular.
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suggul wrote:


Any hotel recommendations? Would like to keep accommodation costs to about £1000 for the week for 2 of us. Would love a hotel with a pool, but if spa/baths nearby, would happily go there.



Hotel Palace

Used by Crystal, Solos, SKGB. Has pool, spa, sauna etc etc. They seem to have some availability for the dates you mentioned. E1246 for a double room for 7 nights half board. Food is a huge varied buffet for both breakfast and dinner - you won't go hungry!
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Just finishing a week in Bad Gastein. Great resort. Very good skiing. Great mountain restaurants and decent prices. We spent most of the week playing in the off-piste and was surprisingly good. There are a few apres ski places which kept my friends out to 4am!

We hired a Ford Focus Estate from Sixt in Salzburg for less than £300 ( thus transfers) and used it to drive to Dorfgastein and SportsGastein. We’re going to try Flachau on the same Ski Amade lift pass but the 4am late night spoilt that!

Think I would choose Bad Hofgastein as more convenient for the slopes and little better area.

Came here 10 years ago with non skiers and they loved it.
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2020 ski holidays was cancelled because of corona, got voucher to use, though limited with options. Narrowed it down to Gastein in Austria and Paradiski in France.

pros for Austria:
++ shorter drive, by a lot, 700km;
++ nicer house with sauna;
++ cheaper food and drinks on piste;
cons
-- 2km from gondola;
-- disconnected skiing area, 200km total in three pieces (bad/hof gastein, sportgastein, dorfgastein), need to use car or bus to explore all.

pros for Paradiski:
++ House on piste;
++ huge connected area;
cons:
-- longer drive;
-- older house without sauna;
-- expensive drinks and food on piste;

Not sure what to do, what to choose. Comfort and traveling convenience over huge skiing area and living on piste. House in france is not a ditch by any means, just simple basic stuff and without sauna, a few less bathrooms.

What would you do? Is Gastein area enough for someone who always liked huge connected French resorts? Been to 3V twice, been to same Paradiski, only BSM side, twice, only good memories. Also been in Mayrhoffen, Zillertal, about which memories are not so bright compared to France.
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Having been to and being a fan of both resorts - Paradski is iimho a level above Gastein particularly if you like mileage, snow sure height and connectivity. The Austrian resort scores better on charm, value for money on the slopes, the spa after a days skiing and apres-ski.
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@kosmoz,
If you are driving to Gastein then you have a lot more than just the Gasteins available to you on the lift pass. You have the whole of Ski Amadé or Saltzburger Super Ski depending on which pass you buy. Plenty to keep you busy.
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Skied Espace Killy. Portes Soleil and Gastein this last season. Skied Paradski three times previously. All have pros and Cons. Certainly Gastein better from an Alpine holiday point of view. Better value, better food, better apres ski. Little bit of off-piste but Paradski much better on this front. if you have a car can ski the three main Gastein areas and also the whole Ski Amade.

Think I spent as much on the gastein holiday as I did on an overpriced and hyped chalet in Morzine. Gotta lover Austria

Sorry not much help! Go twice!
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I really like Bad Hofgastein, been a couple of times and I'll happily go again. Really nice town particularly for a non-skier as it is a real town not just a ski station. From most hotels you need to take the free ski bus to the bottom of the gondola, but it's pretty quick and easy. Gondola base station is next to the bus stop so it's possible to switch buses there and go by bus to Angertal (a beginner's area and lift hub between the Bad Hofgastein and Bad Gastein mountains) or to the other towns in the valley. There's a decent pizza restaurant in the top cable car station that's right next to the top of this gondola, so that's a good place for lunch with your non-skier. Angertal would give you another decent option.

The only hotel I've stayed at is the Impuls Tirol and I think it's excellent. Great spa and pools, great food and very good rooms.

I'm a fairly decent skier, I ski quite fast and I don't stop much and I think there's plenty in this area for a week. H1 from the top of the Hohe Scharte back down into town is one of my favorite runs anywhere and with 1400m vertical it's quite a leg-burner. Last time I skied the first day at Dorf because the weather was terrible and it's lower. Mid-week we got a taxi around to Alpendorf and skiied from there to Flachau and back again (great day out). The rest of the week I just started every day from Bad Hofgastein and didn't run out of things to do. Never made it to Sportgastein or the Graukogel side.

A lot of the runs are above the treeline and the area has quite a "high mountain" feel which compared to the rest of the Ski Amade. Most of the runs are proper reds. There are a couple of blacks on the map but they're not significantly different to the reds that they're next to. There are a few nice blues but many of the blues on the map are really just linking roads and it's not a great place for folk who like to stick to easy runs. If you've got fairly timid skiiers in your group then they'll probably be better off downloading from the gondola mid-station, the home run into Hofgastein gets busy, icy and bumpy later in the day.

From my one day in the Salzburger Sportwelt I'd say the pistes over there are mostly easier, even though they're also mostly marked as reds.

While I really like Bad Hofgastein, the town of Bad Gastein I don't like at all. It seems full of very large hotels and the few times I've been there it's felt strangely empty and a bit creepy.
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Pretty much decided on bigger mileage on snow and no car for a week in Paradiski, will stay close to Vannoise express, the center of Paradiski (geographically speaking). Third time is a charm they say Very Happy Maybe will be lucky with weather this time, last two times it wasn't great.
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Is it worth if for a long weekend? Say in Thursday/out Sunday?
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Absolutely worth it. Fly into Lyon or Geneva and hire a car. Its approx 2.45hrs to Les Arcs and slightly less to La Plagne. Accommodation with airbnb or booking.com. If the flights work you could ski half Thursday, all Friday and Saturday and half of Sunday.
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Valkyrie wrote:
While I really like Bad Hofgastein, the town of Bad Gastein I don't like at all. It seems full of very large hotels and the few times I've been there it's felt strangely empty and a bit creepy.


Is there much "apres" in either Gastein? I'm not looking for San Anton/Ischgl level, but at least one bar playing Eurotrash would be helpful
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@FrediKanoute, there are some nice sunny bars for drinks on the mountain above BHg, but from memory only a small place at the bottom of the gondola that was pretty quiet. We always headed back to the hotel for drinks after the lifts stopped. Saalbach would be a better choice if your want the big Austrian apres experience.
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Not much in Bad Hofgastein, as Valkyrie says it is mostly on / at the bottom of the hills. I think there are a couple of bars in Bad Gastein that look like they might be more what you are after. The Silver Bullet I think is the popular one. My kids are the wrong age to do that sort of thing, maybe in a couple of years time ...
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FrediKanoute wrote:
Valkyrie wrote:
While I really like Bad Hofgastein, the town of Bad Gastein I don't like at all. It seems full of very large hotels and the few times I've been there it's felt strangely empty and a bit creepy.


Is there much "apres" in either Gastein? I'm not looking for San Anton/Ischgl level, but at least one bar playing Eurotrash would be helpful


I worked in BG donkeys years ago and managed to revisit 3 years back. Apres will its pretty much the same as when I was there. Silver bullet still going strong. 2 bars that the swedes love coming up the hill on the right. One I think is called Lederhosen bar and the other I believe is still called Haeggobloms. I could be wrong but don't think any of them play your typical eurostrash music.


What I would say is, I love the ski area. Underrated in the UK market, plenty of options with the different areas to visit in the valley, and if you get the right week some excellent off piste opportunities. If the snow is awesome then one thing I would recommend is hiring a guide to go off the back of Sport Gastein, epic run.
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