5 Top Picks for Early Season Skiing in Austria
“Early Season Skiing” was first published in 2017. It was such a popular blog, we decided to make a few updates and share it once again. So here we go, back by popular demand!
Every November, society divides itself into two distinct groups. There are those who ski and those who should ski. Despite grey skies, and darkness by 5:00 pm, the upcoming ski season fills the skiers’ heart and soul with pulsing anticipation. We check snow reports more frequently than a teenager checks her Instagram account. And despite dodgy pre-season snowfall in recent years, the prepared skier will find the best snow and slope combination.
The team at SkiGala selected 5 great Austrian resorts for your early skiing getaway. It is by no means the definitive guide (there is fierce competition throughout the Alps!) however it is the first step in trading in your bikini for a ski suit.
We have the rental skiwear ready by the way. Just let us know your size and the destination where to send it! Here are some fantastic possibilities:
# 1 Hintertux Glacier: 1500 - 3250 m
Hintertux is largely considered as Europe's best and definitely Europe's steepest glacier. It is open year-round and at the time of writing (November 2019), 16 of 21 lifts are operating on 37 km of slopes.
Photo credit: www.hintertux.com
The “Gletscherbus 3” is the highest-lying bicable continuous gondola lift in the world.
When everything is operational, they have 60 km of slopes to enjoy and during the winter, it connects with the ski resorts of the Zillertal with 196 km of runs. Talk about spoiled for choice.
# 2 Ischgl Paznaun: 1400 - 2870 m
Ischgl offers a large expanse of skiing above the tree line yet without a glacier. They have invested heavily in a high capacity lift system and can transport 95,000 skiers per hour, so no need to worry about lift line-ups. They kick off the season with a free concert at the end of November. This year they have the reggae dance hall band SEEED.
Photo credit: www.ischgl.com
Don’t be fooled by the sleepy appearance of the village. The party continues throughout the winter and has been described as “the absolute aprés ski epicentre of the world”.
Dancing on the bar is almost mandatory. https://www.ischgl.com/en
Sölden: 1380 - 3250 m
Sölden is Austria's high-altitude glacier with one of the longest ski seasons in the country. At the time of writing (November 2019), there is 139 cm of snow on the mountain. It can be an arduous 14 km drive up to the glacier if the lower access lifts are not operating, but well worth it once you get there.
Photo credit: www.soelden.at
The two glaciers, Rettenbach and Tiefenbach, are used as a training location for many champion ski racers and they are also used as test centres for new material.
Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun: 2000 - 3000 m
Kitzsteinhorn is best known for its extremely long ski season from October to well into the spring. This year marks the opening of the 3K K-onnection with a new lift network that connects Kaprun, Maiskogel and Kitzsteinhorn.
Photo credit: www.kitzsteinhorn.at
Don’t miss out on the opening part on November 30th. The legendary Wolfgang Ambros (if you don’t know him and still call yourself a skier, then shame on you) will kick off the season with a concert and light show.
Obergurgl & Hochgurgl: 1930 - 3080 m
Their snow-making abilities cover 99% of the slopes. The high altitude promises colder temperatures. The combination is a November to May long ski season that can move 40,000 skiers per hour. (And if all else fails, there is also a link to the Sölden glacier!) There is an outdoor party every Friday afternoon in the Funzone am Giggijoch.
Photo credit: www.obergurgl.com
Was this an article about early skiing or great parties? In the end, it seems to be both. Having a great time in the mountains never gets old. In the epic words of Wolfgang Ambros, „Schifoan is des leiwaundste, wos ma sich nur vurstelln kann“.
Do you have a favourite? If you think we missed anything, let us know. Happy skiing!