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Oetz, Lofer or Rauris for 4 year olds

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I can hold back no longer. I have decided my young twins will be old enough to be taken skiing next year.
I've read up many of the posts about taking little ones skiing and the importance of short transfers, good ski schools and accommodation near the slopes and have come up with the 3 villages above on my short list. This is due to their family friendly deals and comparatively low cost/ excellent offers (we plan to go in March 2021). I'm prepared to sacrifice extensive skiing for myself in return for my children's enjoyment and bank manager's approval. What a great Dad I am!
Does anyone have any suggestions or opinions about the 3 villages listed? There is relatively little about them on here, especially Oetz.
I'm happy to consider other options but I've found good accommodation in these 3 places for under 700Eur for the week.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I’ve skied Lofer and Rauris. The former is much closer to Salzburg and slightly larger than Rauris. IIRC, Lofer doesn’t have beginner or nursery slopes at valley level, which would mean you catching the gondola up to the slopes. Rauris is much more isolated and a bit more traditional. It’s a lovely village but quite quiet. It has a super nursery slope within short walking distance of the village centre. For your requirements, there seems little to choose between the two. For access to the slopes, I’d be inclined to choose Rauris, as you’d be much closer to your accommodation.
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@Austrian Seagull, thanks for the useful info. It seems to bear out what I've seen online. Sounds like there is little to choose between these two, except maybe the transfer time to Salzburg. I know Oetz is very close to Innsbruck as well.
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@EdYarker, definitely agree that Lofer offers much easier transfers. Postbus 260 goes direct from Salzburg Airport to Lofer for about €10 per person each way.
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Zauchensee in Salzburgerland.
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@Austrian Seagull, that really is a bonus!
@Bob, I've skied Zauchensee and really enjoyed it. Not sure the village is that good for my young ones and the accommodation generally looks nice but a bit pricey. But thanks for the suggestion.
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Not been to any that you listed but I have been to Steinplatte which is similar in size to the ones you listed and is just down the road from Lofer and is delightful. No idea about quality of ski schools but there seem to be various options.
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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!
Friends have done Rauris a few times in past, they really rate for learners and all very convenient. Also some nice runs top to bottom for Dad whilst kiddo's in ski school.
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@t4tomo,

Definitely agree. Rauris offers better skiing than Lofer for Ed.
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That’s interesting as looking at the piste map alone you would guess Lofer is a bit more extensive and interesting.
Just shows the benefit of first hand knowledge. Many thanks
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I'm in Lofer at the moment. It's a small area with only 10 lifts, very easy slopes and, once you get up to the second gondala station, kind of bowl like - similar to Les Arcs.
For a starter/intro to skiing for little ones I think it would be perfect.
The resort is super family friendly - because the slopes are so benign it doesn't seem to have any inconsiderate users - seems to be parents with children or learners going so slowly and carefully they are no bother.
The gondala is in the town centre. Very baby slope is just there with a drag lift, or they had a nursery area of probably 20 metres before that.
Up at the "bowl" there are more nursery/beginner slopes, think there is a magic carpet there.
It's not high. In the valley it's raining at the mo (but that may be true for most of Austria this year) but the snow yesterday was good.
I can take some photos of the kids bits tomorrow if you want.
For experienced skiers you parents will probably be bored unless it really is a kids-focussed holiday. I'm a cruisey blues/easy reds skier and had covered the area in a couple of hours - no problem for me as I'm trying to improve and the wide, non mogully slopes were fab to practice on with no fear of being mown down by nutters.
There were lots of tourers yomping up and untracked snow just off piste but I think it had been rain damaged.
All in all, I like the feel of the town - mostly German visitors judging by the car regs. It's "sedate" - perhaps there is wild apres ski somewhere but I doubt it!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.


"Bowl" from the gondala
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Have a look at their FB page for extra info. They do this sort of thing.

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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for sending the info. It does look very family focussed, which is what we are after and there seems be a lot of accommodation near the lift. It looks like there is a toboggan run from the top/ mid station of the gondola which might help as a break. The village looks quite cute as well
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@EdYarker, As Scamper has described, the skiing at Lofer is concentrated in a bowl. Rauris is essentially two adjacent mountains, linked at mid-station. Rauris offers more interest for intermediates. I wouldn’t fret too much about choosing between the two resorts. You’re the best judge of what’s important to you and your kids.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
All my kids learnt to ski in Lofer, excellent ski schools and very family friendly resort, always recommend Lofer to anyone starting out with small kids.
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Some of the slopes at the base gondala. Very small button lift on the right.
Mid week some of it was roped off for the little ones, with instructors doing stuff.
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Button lift
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Button lift


And as it looks from the gondala
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Looks like each ski school has it's own area in the bowl
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I’ve only been to Lofer out of those three. I just add the ski area is extremely picturesque.
It’s often first in line for snow from the North and gets a lot more than better known resorts a bit further South in that situation.
The skiing is easy, and pretty empty on a lot of the pistes even in peak season.
There were some lift queues on sunny days.

Finally I’d second the suggestion of looking at Waidring/Steinplatte. A bigger and better ski area IMO and a
nursery slope down in the village.

Lofer, Waidring and St Johann iT share a lift pass so you could nip to these while the kids are in ski school.
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I have always felt that Lofer was optimal for beginners, for after the actual beginners' area the main pistes offer a good progression. However, this does mean that (apart from the very small beginner area in the village) you have to take the gondola up to the slopes on the Loferer Alm.

If my memory serves me correctly, in Rauris the beginners' area is near the bottom station of the gondola. After that the pistes are probably a little more challenging than on the Loferer Alm, though great for intermediate skiers. That maybe offers more interest for more experienced skiers (though the Loferer Alm does have some steeper stuff too).

As others have said, there probably isn't a great deal of difference between them.

There are several photos from both areas in my albums in the snowMedia zone.

Can't comment on Oetz, never having been there.
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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!
Thanks so much for all of this info guys. It’s really helpful, even if to confirm that both Lofer and Rauris sound like excellent places for a first time family holiday. I think it would come down to best/ best value accommodation on offer.
For non skiing options both villages seem to have decent tobogganing options and are typical pretty Austrian resorts.

Oetz seems to be less well known to Brits. I’m keen to hear from anyone who knows it, as there is an excellent value offer which includes free tuition/ crèche for the kids. I know there is no run/ pistes to the village so a gondola up is required for beginners but it’s also higher than the other two options, which.could be useful in March
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@EdYarker Just to add my thoughts on the above my boys (twins as well!) learned to ski in Rauris a quiet village for sure but safe to, As others have said a bit out of the way but that suited us, good nursery slopes and areas to progress to ,Accomadation wise we stayed at the

Hotel Rausherhof in Rauris (really nice hotel, great family who own it to) guess i may be a bit bias but i'd go back again Very Happy Thing is as well one of the boys came to the 16th BB the other week with me,while sitting having a beer together we did mention Rauris where did that time go? Shocked
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Lofer and Hoch Oetz promote themselves as super children friendly and family ski resorts
I would choose definitely something between those two
for March i think is better Hoch Oetz...you have to take the Gondel and go high, which i think is better for a Warm March Week....
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We visited Hoch Oetz last march. It was a nice small compact area, high enough for March and what looked to be a large creche at the top gondola station. We commented that it would be perfect if you were to have a child in the creche as all of the slopes where never to far away from that base therefore you could get back quickly if needed.

Lots of tree lined slopes so it was pretty good in low visibility. If you buy the Otztal valley pass, you can also use for Soelden/Obergurgl/Gries/Niederthai, so does give plenty of other options.

Also, 15 minutes down the valley from Oetz is Aqua Dome. this has childcare included in the entrance fee. A really nice nursery with softplay included. Easy to drop the twins off there for a couple of hours in mum/dad want to realx in the outdoor spa pools.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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@turms1, and@ribblevalleyred, thank you for the info. It’s the first I have seen about Oetz on this site, so invaluable.
Sounds like it could work very well for us, especially with the special children deal I saw. I doubt we would get to Solden or Obergurgl but I understand Kühtai is on the local pass and a short bus ride away, so l if the girls seem settled we could try a day there later in the week.
If I tell my wife about the Aquadome we will be there in a shot, so just weighing it all up now!
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We've just returned from Rauris (we were out there the week you posted this). It was the first time for all of us as a family and was recommended to us as an excellent beginner and family friendly resort.

It ticked all the boxes. My children (aged 8 and 6) learned to ski with the excellent Adventure Rauris ski school. The accommodation was a five minute walk from the lift/ski school/nursery slopes (we stayed in a self catering apartment at the Schonblick Mountain Resort).

The nursery slope is set up so that the children are able to get themselves up the drag lift independently once they've learned some confidence. They start on the opposite side of the gondola in the nursery section, which has a magic carpet, and progress over to the nursery slope after a couple of days. They set ski school up so that you meet them for lunch at 12 (ours then rejoined at 1 as we opted to put them in full days). As they progress throughout the week, you meet them at different stations on the mountain. My children started as complete novices on the Sunday, and on Friday skiied a couple of short reds.

As we were beginners ourselves, we were often on the same blue runs as the children, so we had the opportunity to watch the lessons in action. We were pleased and reassured by what we saw. We saw one child (aged about 4) fall from the drag lift on the nursery slope, and as a parent it was so reassuring to see how swiftly and calmly the instructor handled it. Same when I saw tumbles up on the mountain.

Regarding location. It is fairly isolated, but we were still able to get to it using public transport easily. We got a bus from directly outside the terminal to the main train station in Salzburg, which took 10 minutes and cost €8. Then a direct train to Taxenbach Rauris which took 90 minutes and cost approximately €40. Then a taxi for the last 11km. That was a flat rate of €30. Prices are all one way. If you hired a car, it would take a little over an hour to drive.

We saw a lady at the airport getting on the transfer to Rauris. She arrived at the train station 10 minutes after we did (as we were waiting on our taxi, next year we'll pre-book). And we had not rushed from the airport. We'd managed to wait for a bus, stop for a coffee in the train station, buy our tickets, wait for the train to depart etc. And we were able to move around and not drive to lots of other resorts en route. We'd definitely do it that way again. Especially with young children.
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You know it makes sense.
Hoch Ötz (Oetz) is a great little ski resort. The main town for accommodation (Oetz) is low so if you´re staying there you have to head up and down with the cable car to reach the ski area. It is however a modern cable car so comfortable and quick. In main half term holidays you can expect morning and evening queues at peak times (and on the other lifts in resort throughout the day), but outside of main school holidays it is so quiet that you often feel like you´re skiing alone.
For ski in and ski out you can stay in the village of Ochsengarten, higher up on the other side of the resort. Beautiful place but not really a large enough town for other activities or restaurants, etc. From Ochsengarten is the ski bus connection to Kühtai, which is another lovely small resort that is included on the ski pass. At roughly the same height as Obergurgl, rest assured there will be plenty of snow.
There are plenty of ski schools to choose from with good children facilities and several English instructors who have stayed in the area after white water raft guiding in the summer. Groups are often very small outside of school holidays (3-5 children).
New for this season is that the multiday ski pass also covers Sölden and Obergurgl, so that you can also get your skiing kilometers fix if you need it. A 45 min-1 hour bus ride or a 25-30 min taxi/private transfer to Sölden and 15 mins more to Obergurgl.
Transfer time to Ötz from Innsbruck airport is around 35-40 minutes. To Ochsengarten around 55 minutes.
For more details feel free to drop me a line, it´s my home resort Very Happy
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Thanks @Owlette, and@whitedescents, for coming back to this thread.
Not surprisingly I have yet to book for next year. In fact I am targeting this weekend in 12 months as our probable travel date, being off peak but hopefully just early enough to keep some reasonable snow.

I have looked at apartments in the Schonblick resort in Rauris. It looks like a well appointed spot as you say and the accommodation looks like good value for money, with a small pool on site. I also appreciate your info re the transfer. With two young ones a private transfer is tempting but you have probably persuaded me to use the train, especially with the savings made!

@whitedescents, thanks for sending some elusive insight into Oetz! You back up what my research has shown, that it is a good resort for beginners in an area high enough to likely have good conditions well into March. At the moment the best deal I have found is in Oetz, as children's lift passes and ski lessons are free (not to mention the short transfer time). If we go for this I will come back nearer the time to pick your brains about specifics.
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