Two of Austria's ski areas, once bitter rivals, have teamed up to create the Ski Jewel — the seventh largest ski area in the Tyrol.
Alpbach and Wildschonau — which consists of four villages, Niederau, Oberau, Thierbach and Auffach — have ended local rivalries and formed the 145km Ski Jewel ski area. The newly linked ski area now boasts a total of 47 lifts, 32km of blue runs, 78km or red runs, 18km of black runs, three snow parks and 17km of cross-country skiing.
The resorts are linked by two new cables cars following a €13.5 million investment. The eight passenger lifts are 1.6km & 1.8km long and carry up to 2,400 skiers and snowboarders per hour.
Ludwig Schäffer, Managing Director of the Wildschönau Lift company, said: "For Wildschönau and Alpbach to have a future they both need to offer a modern and sustainable ski area."
Peter Hausberger, Managing Director of the Alpbachtal lift company, added: "Together we have a chance to survive," emphasising how the Ski Jewel connection was made through economic necessity.
For fans of charming, family-centric, Austrian resorts, this is great news, as Alpbach is as picture perfect as they come and now offers three times the skiing than seasons gone by. As the resort's popularity has fallen in recent years there are some real bargains to be found, just take a look at our Alpbach ski deals. Hopefully the new link will help give this charming ski area a resurgence as Austria closes the gap on France for Britain's favourite ski destination.
Written by Charlie Hamilton-Beaufort