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Austria - Where do we start?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Having never been to Austria, when my other half suggested that we go there in the coming season, I felt all at sea.

By background - I am a 6-8 week boarder (France and Italy) who is pondering giving skiing a go so as to be on par with she who must be obeyed ie a beginner. We have a 4 year old who will the be 5, and a nearly 2 year old.

Last season we went to La Plagne (well, Montchavin) with Esprit and we had an excellent time. We like the company and want to take that route again as they looked after us and child care was very good.

At the moment we are considering St Anton; Neustift; Scheffau and Kaprun but not until Easter. Which is:

a) going to be as snow sure as possible in the last 2-3 weeks of the season,
b) has loads of easy skiing for beginners 9and ease of acces to) and not just a nursery slope that a 30-something beginner will not be cheesed off by/embarassed by,
c) is family friendly?

As they are the Esprit options are we limiting ourselves? Other locations, other companies?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Of those only St Anton and Kaprun will be guaranteed snow sure at Easter. However St Anton is not massively family friendly or good for beginners, Kaprun's skiing is reasonably limited and not very convenient. May be worth giving Mayrhofen a try as it has some good childcare options (e.g crystal hols, in Hotel Neuhaus), should be ok for snow (and has a glacier as a backup). Scheffau and Neustift are great but can be dodgy for snow, they are ideal for families though, quite small and relaxed. Maybe look at Hinterglemm & Obergurgl as alternatives. Obergurgl will have great snow.
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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?
I would add Sölden to your list. Glacier, not as difficult as St Anton to ski and a far bit of off-piste that doesn't need the services of a guide to ski.
http://www.bergfex.com/soelden/

Serfaus is another one to consider, heard it's very family orientated -
http://www.bergfex.com/fiss-ladis/
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Obergurgl, at 1850m, is family friendly, and being at the end of the valley from Solden it's quite quiet too. The skiing is gentle and there is a large kids ski school called 'Bobos' (I think). It is easy to access the ski area if you stay in the Eidelweiss and Gurgl - or nearby. Solden is on the main road on the way to Obergurgl.
Lech and Zurs are probably a better bet than St.Anton for families.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Peter Leuzzi, Easter is a time to be either on the slopes above 1800m and glaciers if possible.

From Neustift you'd probably be involved in catching a bus up to the Stubai glacier up the valley. From Kaprun you'd probably need to go up to the lift station for the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. In St Anton there's no glacier as such, quite a lot of tricky skiing, and the beginner runs in the resort may have melted by Easter. Sheffau is too low.

So I agree with tips for Lech, Zurs, Obergurgl, and add Obertauern. The first two are expensive. I'd agree with DB, about Solden, which has plenty of glacier but might be melted above the village.

To be honest I wouldn't go to Austria at Easter with small kids and a need for beginner slopes. I'd go somewhere like Les Arcs (which has a great family hotel, creche, and kids ski school based at the Hotel Cachette), or Saas Fee or Graechen (near Zermatt and high) in Switzerland. St Moritz might even be worth looking at. It's high and snow reliable, has an expensive reputation but you might get a deal.

It would be worth talking to the Swiss national tourist office in London for details of high resorts with childcare facilities and ski schools.
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lewis wrote:
Scheffau and Neustift are great but can be dodgy for snow, they are ideal for families though, quite small and relaxed. Maybe look at Hinterglemm & Obergurgl as alternatives. Obergurgl will have great snow.


Neustift bad for snow ? Maybe somewhere near a glacier, like the Stubai valley might be better ?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
sarky git Ise. mis-read neustift as niederau, whoops.
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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!
Lech, Soelden, or Obergurgl.

Never been to Obergurgl but here's my take on Lech:

http://www.dcski.com/news/2003/03_01_2003/lech.php3

and Soelden:

http://www.dcski.com/news/2004/02_16_2004/europe.php3

I'd probably go to Soelden because of all the terrain above the 3.000 meter mark and the cheaper accomodations, but Lech definitely has a cuter town and a slightly better lift system.

Lech is also more family friendly but both Lech and Solden have many easy blue slopes.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Went to Obergurgl a few years ago now (when a first time sk=er) and throughly enjoyed it. Fantastic resort. May remember it more favourably though as it was first time on snow with my dad (and his first time as well) so it was 5* all the way!!!! Laughing since i've been paying my way it's got a tad cheaper!!!

I remember the locals not being very good at pool, and i cleaned up in a local tournament but as i was only 11 they would let me have the 5 litre bottle of scnapps Crying or Very sad Little Angel
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I'm so glad, johnfmh, that you've had good things to say about these Austrian resorts. I love Lech and Obergurgl and I can never understand why they don't get as much 'air time' as the French (and other) resorts. The Austrians are lovely, the ski instruction is good, and the scenery is fabulous. When we were in Obergurgl, for the New Year, we had fresh snowfalls most days - it was wonderful. I contrast that to a trip we made to Soldeu which was heaving with lager louts, had ghastly food, a terrible ski instructor and all the trees had been bulldozed from the mountains.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Erica:

I love Austria and have been going mainly there for the past three years. To be hundred percent truthful, proximity to Slovakia, where my wife hails from, is one reason. We can combine a trip to the in-laws with a ski holiday.

But with that caveat made, there are other reasons I like Austria. It is still one of the more reasonable places to ski in Europe; the people are quite friendly; lifts and infrastructure are excellent; and we have had decent luck with snow and conditions.

For UK skiers, the main negative is distance--the French resorts are closer and therefore attract more Brits. People also think the food is better in France. Although I've never skied in France, I've traveled widely in the country and my take on food is that if you like French food, France is better on the cuisine front. But I have to hand it to the Austrians on the effort front. If you stay in a four star with half pension, you will get fine continental cuisine, including numerous fish and vegetarian entrees. Why? Because Austrian chefs at these establishments are graduates of fine culinary schools. To be honest, the meals I ate last season at Ischgl were as good as meals at some of the better nouvelle restaurants in DC:

http://www.dcski.com/news/2004/02_11_2004/europe.php3

Also, if food is important, a half pension plan at a good hotel can save you quite a few Euros.

With luck, I'll be heading to Schladming and Bad Gastein this year, and then ski two places in Slovakia: Donovaly and Jasna. Can't wait. snowHead
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
johnfmh, excellent articles and good pics in them. Looking forward to further contributions to snowHeads from you. snowHead
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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
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
Thanks IAN. Snowheads is great--lots of excellent info and knowledgeable snowheads.... snowHead Cool

PS If the stars align just right, I'll be hitting Ski Amade sport welt this year, staying at Schladming and Bad Gastein. From there, I'll squeeze in another 3 days in Slovakia: Jasna and Donovaly. Slovakia has invested a lot of money in improving lifts at its major centers. It will be interesting to see how these resorts stack up. With cheap Ski Europe flights to Bratislava, Slovakia could be a good, cheap venue for UK types. We'll see.
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