Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Have the Perfect Winter Holiday in Austria

Winter Holiday in Austria

The Austrian Alps have for a long time presented some of the most luxurious skiing and snowboarding opportunities in Europe. The country's mountain resorts have catered to thousands upon thousands of satisfied holidaymakers, without compromising their traditional beauty and charm. But how do you make sure you get the best holiday for your group, and all at a price that will be pleasantly surprising?

Steep thrills or beginner's paradise?

There's a wide variety of resorts to choose from in Austria, and you're sure to find the ideal place for you; whether you're booking a holiday for a family of beginners, a pack of daredevils or a group with a wide range of abilities, Austria's resorts will be able to provide. For beginner skiers and boarders, Obergurgl and Lech are a couple of the finest resorts to go for at this level. Set in a small traditional village, Obergurgl is the quieter of the two resorts, but it is almost guaranteed to have good snow. You are unlikely to meet any big crowds or queues in the resort, and with the easy level of the pistes it makes for an excellent place to learn. Lech is a larger and busier resort, and more suitable for groups of varying abilities as there is a lot of off piste on offer and a snow park and half-pipe for boarders. While some of the slopes back to the centre are a little steep for beginners, there is nothing too challenging.

For those who want something to get the adrenaline pumping, St Anton is a great place to go. Situated in the western end of the Tirol region, the resort offers a wide area of mountain to explore as the ski pass allows you to venture into Lech and Zürs as well. Like Lech and Obergurgl, St Anton experiences a lot of snowfall, so it's unlikely that you'll be stuck scraping your skis across the rocks. While it can get a bit crowded, cars are not permitted in the village centre so it still feels like the picturesque Alpine town you want it to be. It's got good après ski opportunities too, as does Saalbach. Saalbach is one of the four resorts that make up the "Ski Circus" – a ski area of over 200km of marked piste. Saalbach has something for everyone, with a selection of easy slopes and ski schools for beginners, as well as a variety of harder runs and some fantastic off piste for skiers and boarders alike. There are a number of snow parks and half-pipes to enjoy too, giving large groups a great range of mountain activities to keep them occupied.

In February, Saalbach hosted the legendary Ästhetiker Winter MÄSH, an exciting three-day snowboarding festival that saw some of the world's best snowboarders entertaining the eager crowds. MASH stands for 'Music, Art and Snowboard Happening', and perfectly sums up the type of event that it is. There were team snowboarding contests galore, adding a little something special to everyone's ski and boarding holidays.

Booking the holiday

Getting to a resort can often be difficult and a complicated process to organize for yourself. Booking a package deal will eliminate any problems, however, as the company will arrange everything for you to ensure a hassle-free holiday. There are plenty of cheap ski holidays on offer, whether you're booking for a large family group or with a small group of friends. There will be an option of catered or self-catered accommodation for you to choose from, so you can choose the one that best suits you. 

The catered chalets on offer provide food that is cooked to a high standard, and saves you from having to find a supermarket in the mountains or cooking at the end of a tiring day on the slopes. Austria does, however, have an excellent range of mountain restaurants to choose from, so whether you're dining out every night of just once throughout your stay, you're sure to find something to suit you.

Whether you're looking for a quick weekend getaway for two or an exciting winter holiday with family or friends, Austria's resorts will be able to cater to your needs. With an excellent snowfall record and plenty of exciting mountain activities on offer, they certainly won't let you down.

Written by:  Jennifer Beckman, 25/3/2013