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Nestled within the heart of Central Europe, Austria has been a well-known holiday destination for hundreds of years. Some major attractions include the capital city of Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg and St. Stephen's Church. However, the natural beauty to be encountered here should never be overlooked. This is due to rugged mountain ranges, pristine forests and a plethora of freshwater lakes. One of the best ways to catch a first-hand glimpse of such sights is through the use of a well-planned skiing holiday. What does this country have to offer, what are some of the best resorts and how can you make sure that your next excursion is free from any unexpected surprises? Let's discover the answers to these three questions.
Much like the majority of other European destinations, Austria is able to cater to the needs of professional skiers as well as those who might be hitting the powdery slopes for the first time. This normally depends upon the number of pistes (slopes) as well as their rating. A good way to determine this is to visit the website of the resort in question and scroll to the technical information. This displays the number of slopes, their level of difficulty and other metrics such as what types of lifts are offered.
The other major concern is the altitude of the resort itself. This is important in reference to snow cover as ell as what you can expect in terms of weather. From a very general point of view, locations 1,000 metres or less in altitude will likely need to rely upon snow-making machines during specific times of the year. Any resort found at or above the 3,000-metre mark will normally not encounter such issues. However, the trade-off is that these higher destinations can be quite cold during the autumn and winter season.
Now that we have taken care of the basics, let's examine the top Austrian ski resorts.
Alpbach is one of the most popular locations due to the fact that it is considered to be ideally suited for beginners. As this location is only 40 minutes by car from Innsbruck Airport, it is also quite convenient compared to some other destinations. The village of Alpbach has been voted one of the prettiest in all of the country and this quaint charm will certainly not be lost on travellers. 46 ski lifts serve an impressive 109 kilometres of slopes, so you will always find something new to encounter.
Saalbach is another destination worth mentioning. While beginners can enjoy their stay here, the slopes and their degree of difficulty are generally more suited for those with a bit more experience. It is 90 minutes from Salzburg Airport and thanks to its sheer size, no fewer than 270 kilometres of slopes are open throughout the majority of the year. 70 lifts service these trails and the town of Saalbach offers a unique glimpse into traditional Austrian culture.
If you consider yourself to be an expert, the pistes found at St. Anton are worth a closer look. As you can access peaks as high as 2,810 metres, the condition of the slopes should normally not be an issue. Its 340 kilometres of trails are great to experience life from the fast lane and many of these are off-piste; ideal if you are looking to challenge yourself. Excellent accommodations and access to other nearby resorts round out the benefit offered by this location.
As Austria is without a doubt one of the most popular skiing destinations in the world today, it pays to book in advance. This is even more relevant if you plan on visiting during the busier times of the year. Try to make any reservations at least ten weeks in advance of your intended departure date. Not only will you be able to save a significant amount of money, but the chances are high that you will have more of a variety of rooms to choose from. Finally, be sure to search for all-inclusive holiday deals. These can save even more money; allowing you to fully enjoy what can only be termed the experience of a lifetime.