The Tirol region in Austria is one of the most exciting places to be this winter. With the rise in UK arrivals in the area last season there have been lots of new and improved innovations in Tirol over this summer. From new linked ski areas, to enhanced lift infrastructure and new accommodations, there has never been a better time to visit Austrian Tirol. Find out more about what's new for the Austrian Tirol this season.
Here are the top 5 ski resorts that will be well worth the visit this season:
After years of talk about linking up with Saalbach, this will finally be a reality from December 2015. This area will become the talk of Austria as huge possibilities will open up. The new, high speed Tirol S gondola will link Fieberbrunn in Tirol with Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang in Salzburgerland. This new connection will join up 270km of piste and will become the largest interconnected ski area and most varied in Austria.
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Sölden will be the talk of the town when it hits the silver screen this winter in the James Bond film, Spectre. Anything good enough for 007 will be popular amongst fans and will be the place to be this season. Sölden is an Alpine Ski World Cup venue and one of the most famous ski areas in the world. The state of the art lift system teamed with the 145km of perfect pistes makes this resort a dazzling diamond in Tirol. The 3 mountain peaks over 3000m and 2 glacier ski areas makes the resort one of the most snow-sure in Austria. Powder hounds will bask in the freeride ski and snowboard area at the Gaislachkogl peak. If you heading over this way this winter, don’t forget to ski down the 15km route from Schwarze Schneide at Rettenbach Glacier.
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Mayrhofen is popular among Britons because it is a great all-round resort for both skiers and snowboarders. This season Mayrhofen will be unveiling the new and improved Penkenbahn which is now a state of the art 3S gondola. This will dramatically reduce the lift queues and waiting times getting up the mountain. Mayrhofen and the Ziller Vally resorts (which are linked by easy bus and train links) have a hugely varied circus of pistes which cater for all levels, including high glacier runs, expert parks, pretty tree lined runs and leisurely slopes. The après is up there with the best of Austria; from on-mountain après at the igloo White lounge to dancing on the tables at Brück'n Stadl to late night partying at Harakiri. With brilliant skiing, fun après, large town with plenty of shops and restaurants, plus easy transport links to explore the surrounding areas it’s no surprise that thousands of Brits head here.
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This first rate ski resort is consistently our top seller in Austria. Whilst you’re not skiing or snowboarding on your holiday you want to be discovering the best après ski, and St Anton is renowned as the best ski party town in the world. Intermediate and advanced riders will love the range of challenging pistes across St Anton and the Arlberg region, plus there are plenty of back country areas if you are looking to head off piste with a guide.
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The charming fairytale town, large ski area and friendly Austrian atmosphere keep skiers and snowboarders coming back year after year. Kitzbuhel is the text book example of Austrian skiing and offers everything you would want for a ski holiday in Tirol. In the recent Ski Club of Great Britain consumer research report, Kitzbuhel had the biggest jump in the Top 10 ski resorts, jumping up an incredible 36 ranks to spot number 8 confirming its popularity over last season. The home of the prestigious Hahnenkamm ski race offers 170km of varied ski slopes across the large mountain range. From the mix of blues and red runs on the home mountain, to the fun freeride areas around the 3S and Jochberg to the wide blues at Pass Thurn and the beginner slopes at the Kitzbuheler Horn, there is something for everyone.
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Whether you are enjoying the last of the winter snow in the Alps, or back in the UK for some spring adventures, Butta’s latest collection is the perfect inter-season wear. It’s that time of year when the weather is so unpredictable in the UK, one minute the sun is shining and then the next it’s chucking it down. If you’re like me and always get caught out by either wearing too many layers or just not enough, then Butta can save you this spring. Their 2015 collection was created and designed for active lifestyles and this erratic British climate.
Butta's 2015 collection
If you’ve had your head under a rock the past few years and haven’t heard of Butta, this awesome company was started in 2011 with an aim to make eco-friendly waxes for skiing, snowboarding and surfing. With greener waxes this can help preserve the mountains and oceans that we love to ride. Last season we named Butta as our top British Brand for Winter 2013/14.
As well as continuing to fine tune and develop their existing wax range, Butta have now created a range of stylish, lifestyle apparel and accessories so you can take Butta on the road with you, whatever your adventure. Last month I went on an end of season snowboarding holiday to Tignes in France to test out the new Butta range. The sun was blazing throughout the week which meant it was too warm for a jacket so I had the perfect opportunity to try out The Crew Sweat.
Spring riding in the Butta Crew Sweat in Tignes
This jumper quickly became my favourite riding top as I abandoned my other hoodies for the rest of the week. The extra length is ideal for snowboarding as it doesn’t ride up your back, plus the longer length adds extra style! The sweater is fleece lined and the elasticated neck, sleeves and waist make sure that there are no cheeky draughts when you’re on a long chairlift. The jumper is also great for weekend adventures, whether it’s a walk in the woods, an evening stroll along the beach or camping at a festival.
If you like the sound of The Crew Sweat, you are going to love The Lumbersexual. This tall style, heavy weighted check shirt is also made with spring riding in mind. Both the Crew Sweat and Lumbersexual are unisex and come in multiple colours.
Left: Wearing The Snapback in Tignes after a day on the mountain. Right: Packing my snowboarding gear
The last item you need to complete your Butta ensemble is the classic Snapback. As everyone should, I always wear a helmet when snowboarding, but as you come off the mountain and hit the first bar at après, The Snapback is perfect for keeping that afternoon sun out of your eyes (as well as taming that helmet hair!) What I love about this collection is the high quality and versatility for the items. I can enjoy these clothes in the mountains and back at home. There’s no need to pack your Butta wear away between seasons as these garments look stylish throughout the year. They'll be the first items I'll pack when winter 2015/16 comes around! Check out Butta’s website for their full collection
Snowboxx took over Alpe d’Huez for a week of vibrant festivities. When I mean takeover, you couldn't look anywhere without being reminded that Snowboxx was in town. From colourful onsies on the slopes, to gondola cabins kitted out with karaoke systems, to parties spread between nearly 10 venues every day throughout the week. After 2 years of successful festivals in Vallnord, Andorra, Snowboxx moved on to larger pastures to Alpe d’Huez in France. This fine resort hosts 250 km of pistes and is already renowned for its lively nightlife, making this resort the perfect place to ski hard all day and party even harder by night. Read more about Alpe d’Huez here: 10 reasons Alpe d'Huez is a must-ski destination
Horse Meat Disco at Folie Douce. Photo: Gregory Ke
The Ibiza style, grand terrace après parties at the Folie Douce was definitely one of the highlights of the week for me. Even after 4 ski seasons and countless après shindigs, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. As 3 pm strikes, skiers and snowboarders flock to the 2500m high mountainside venue for a 2 hour session of dancing in your ski boots. Eton Messy and Horse Meat Disco headlined the 2 Snowboxx après sessions at the Folie Douce, with these huge DJ acts, the theatrical fun and stunning panoramic views blazed in sunshine, nothing else quite compares to this extraordinary party atmosphere. As it hits 5pm the mountain is evacuated as everyone takes the last run home to carry on the party in town.
Jungle headlining the main stage Other parties included a tropical tea party at L’Etalon Rum Bar, Sticky Banit at Zoo bar, Tom Misch at Smithys, pool party, Retro Rentals Disco at Taburle, plus so much more. With packages starting from just £229 pp it is a great budget choice for a week in the mountains, as well as the access to an outstanding week of partying and experiencing top music acts in the snow. This was such an epic week, the music was amazing, the town was buzzing and the crowds were smiling all week as everyone was having such a fantastic time. The festival sold out again in 2015, and I’m very excited to see what they have in store for 2016. The Snowboxx line up included Jungle, 2manydjs, Blonde, TCTS, Eton Messy, Horse Meat Disco, Tieks, Anushka and more.
Photo: Sam Neil
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Relive the best moments of the ski season with our favourite ski videos from 2014/15. From ski comedy, to next level riding to stunning backcounty cinematography, we’ve included it all in these top picks.
The funniest ski video of the season!
This is one of the most mesmerising ski videos I have ever seen. Watch skiers dressed in custom made LED suits gracefully ski at night through deep pillows and Alaskan spines in the backcountry wilderness.
Filmed in Tignes/ Val d’Isere, this was a submission for the ‘GoPro Find Your Line’ video contest from Transworld Snowboarding and Newschoolers. Kicking off the video with a backflip, Léo skis through super narrow couloirs at crazy high speeds as he dodges people on his decent through this gnarly section of the Espace Killy ski area.
Scott Stevens is one of the most stylish snowboarders out there. His creativity and one-footed airs make him one of the most watched riders on the scene today. After his ground-stomping first part in Defender of Awesome, he has stepped up his game in the Stay Bad Ass sequel and thrown down one of my favourite film parts of this winter. To watch this part you will have purchase the film, put to give you a taster you can catch his b-side segment here:
Wouldn’t we all love to have one of these days! After his first awesome day in 2013, Candide blew up the internet earlier this year with this amazing sequel filmed in his home resort of Val Blanc. Double flips, cliff drops, tree runs and jumping over skiers all crammed into 5 minutes of action packed radness.
Earlier this winter we put together our winter 2014/15 video guide with a full list of all the ski and snowboard films that dropped this year – which one was your favourite?
Already thinking about next winter? Take a look a 2015/2016 ski deals
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"Just home from Christmas in Val d'Isere... this was the best ski holiday I have ever been on. Val is stunning, the hotel fabulous, staff sensational and skiing out of this world. We booked through Iglu. They were fantastic. Peter had great ski knowledge, offered advice and went the extra mile. " - Pamela (Dec 2015)