Often thought of as the national sport along with hiking, skiing in Austria is popular and a lot of fun. From the well-known and bustling resorts of St. Anton and Kitzbühel to the smaller more personal skiing resorts spread throughout the country, Austria has so much to offer in the way of great pistes and parties.
Some of our staff recently went for a day out in the resort of Hinterstoder in Upper Austria, most famous for hosting the Super G and Giant Slalom events of the 2016 Ski World Cup. They enjoyed the full range of slopes on offer and even sampled some of the traditional goulash and of course Glühwein.
Après-ski is said to have its origins in Austria. In some resorts the parties do not start after (après) skiing, but noon at the latest. You can have beer, champagne or Jagatee (tea with rum) in cosy huts close to the slopes or in bars and discos down in the valley. Austria is also home to alpine “Gemuetlichkeit” (coziness) and delicious local cuisine. Most of the inns and huts are run by local families who are happy to serve you traditional cuisine, such as dumplings, pasta with cheese, schnitzel, and tons of sweet pastry. Some fruit schnapps afterwards is highly recommended.
Hinterstoder is also the most frequented destination for the young skiers of Ski Mittel Schule (middle school) in Windischgarsten. They spend 120 days of the year skiing early in the morning until midday when they stay at school until 6pm catching up on their lessons. Roughly every two years a student from this school make it to the world of professional skiing.
Austria is very much a country of skiers, in most of the resorts around the world there is a 50/50 split between snowboarders and skiers but here I would say it is closer to 75/25 in favour of the skiers. I can only compare the skiing to that of the French Alps as I only skied for one day in the U.S. France has large, sprawling resorts that cover entire mountains and normally once you are on your skis you aren’t required to remove them for the whole day. Austria has some resorts like this but often you need to drive to other parts of the mountain to access all of the slopes.
What Austria lacks in some regards it makes up for with its charm and beauty. As a passionate skier it is fantastic to live in a country surrounded by so many others who share your passion. The country’s obsession with the sport has lead them to produce world class talent, like every student’s favourite celebrity Marcel Hirscher.