09 Jan Why Austria is the Perfect Ski & Winter Sports Destination
Austria is possibly the mother of all ski and winter sports destinations. With the northern and eastern sections of the Alps running through a large section of the country, it’s no wonder Austria is such a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. For travellers that haven’t had the chance to visit this incredible country and experience its ski resorts, we’ve put together this quick guide to tell you everything you need to know.
Innsbruck – The Perfect Entry Point
One of the best places to start your Austrian winter sports holiday is the medieval picture postcard city of Innsbruck, which is the capital of the western state of Tyrol. You can catch reasonably priced flights to Innsbruck from around a dozen UK airports throughout the ski season, with a fight time of just two hours from London airports.
Innsbruck definitely has all the credentials required, having hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, as well as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. The city centre itself shouldn’t be overlooked though, in your rush to hit the slopes. The city only has a population of about 130,000 (although this does increase during the winter season), which gives the place an intimate atmosphere. In the centre of the city is a grand Habsburg Palace and baroque cathedral, which leave you in little doubt about where you are.
In terms of the best ski resorts within an hour or two drive of Innsbruck, we recommend the following:
This small town is now part of the Ski Juwel area, which is linked to Reith, Oberau and Niederau, which together makes up more than 145km of runs. The town that hosts the resort is famed for being the prettiest town in Austria, which provides charming views from the slopes. The resort is known for its friendliness and family atmosphere, which some of the larger ski resorts can lack. It’s also a great place for beginners.
Sölden is geared more towards intermediate skiers, with its high altitude slopes in the Ötz valley. The resort has becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, thanks in no small part to its appearance in the 2015 Bond film SPECTRE. There’s now a James Bond ‘experience’ at the Gaislachkogl peak which opened in 2018. Due to its incredibly fortunate location between three mountains, the snow is very reliable here.
Located in the Tirolean ski area, Kitzbühel is on the map for being home to the Streif which hosts the world famous ski race the Hahnenkamm. It’s also one of the oldest resorts in the Alps, having been around for more than 125 years. And with its history comes plenty of glamour, with the rich and famous known to frequent the area.
If you like to combine heavy partying with heavy snow, then this could be the place for you. Not only is it known for its partying, but it’s also particularly popular with Brits. The runs here are aimed more towards confident skiers, although the allure for many is the nightlife, with the skiing often more of an afterthought.
You may recognise Kühtai from off the TV, as it played host to the Channel 4 reality show The Jump. It’s known as one of Austria’s more exclusive ski resorts and is one of the highest in the country, at 2020m. Although it has an air of exclusivity, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and it’s under an hour from Innsbruck. It’s also great for touring through forests.
Buy Your Winter Sports Travel Insurance From Coverontrip
A winter sports holiday definitely comes with a few more risks than the average trip to a Spanish beach. Even if you have an EHIC card, this doesn’t guarantee access to medical services that are free at the point of delivery for all types of treatment, nor will it cover you for cancellation, baggage and money, and trip delay, as well as the many other benefits that travel insurance provides.
Here at Coverontrip we now provide specialist winter sports and ski travel insurance, which comes with loads of bespoke features such as ski equipment cover, piste closure cover and avalanche cover. And the cost of a 4 day winter sports travel insurance policy to Austria starts at just £22.28 for a 25 year. So to get cheap ski travel insurance to Austria, get a quote from Coverontrip travel insurance today.