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The Biggest Ski Areas in Austria

Austrian ski resorts are well known for their short transfers, fantastic skiing and world-class après ski. In the past resorts were generally connected via buses, however, with the advent of the super size ski areas in France, this put pressure on Austria to change and now we see large ski areas well connected by lifts. This is a guide to the 7 biggest ski resorts in Austria.

1. Arlberg ski area

305km of pistes
Altitude: 1304m - 2811m

The Arlberg is the biggest ski area in Austria and the villages are well connected with a modern lift system, these include;

  • St. Anton
  • St. Christoph
  • Lech
  • Zürs
  • Oberlech
  • Stuben
  • Warth-Schrocken
  • Sonnenkopf

The ski area is world-class, and a particular point of pride is the ski club which was established in 1901. Over the years, the area has influenced modern-day skiing techniques and broke records with its athletes collecting a record number of Olympic and World medals (91 so far).

Since 2017, the Arlberg has been the biggest linked ski area in Austria. Each of the areas tends to target a different segment of the ski market, so for example St Anton is well known for its après ski and hard skiing, Lech for its beginner, intermediate skiing and high-class town, Zurs for its wonderful off-piste and St Christoph for its family-friendly nature. Overall there is something for everyone with over 305 km of pistes and 200km of marked ski routes.

It’s also a winter wonderland for the non-skiers with; snowshoeing, tobogganing and sleigh rides on offer. Most of the resorts have their own gyms and spa facilities as well as great shopping.

Learn more about each resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria -  Arlberg

2. SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental

279km of pistes
Altitude: 620m - 1957m

Austria's second biggest ski area is the SkiWelt and it is well known for being one of the most affordable areas in the world. Here you’ll find over 270km of fantastic skiing connected via a great lift system. The resorts in SkiWelt include:

  • Ellmau
  • Söll
  • Scheffau
  • Hopfgarten
  • Westendorf

The SkiWelt has fantastic snow conditions, is perfect for families and intermediates, and is famed for its ski schools and variety of pistes. Within the area, the best base for beginners is in Ellmau or Scheffau, where there are great runs to learn on and progress. Intermediates are happy anywhere, with an amazing selection of well-groomed, tree-lined blues and reds. For advanced and experts the area is more limited with only 6% of the area being black runs. However, Westendorf is great and when there is fresh powder there is a nice range beneath Hohe Salve, here the slopes are steeper and there are nice backcountry sections.

Although the area is not as well known for its après, if you are looking for the liveliest village then Söll is the one for you and you should try and visit the Moonlight bar and the Hexenkessel while there. There is a large array of restaurants and bars within the SkiWelt with over 70 spread over the area.

Learn more about each resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria -  SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser - Brixental

3. Ski Circus

270km of pistes
Altitude: 834m - 2020m

In third place for the biggest ski areas in Austria, comes the Ski Circus which connects Saalbach, Leogang and Fieberbrunn by a great lift system. The area has over 270 km of downhill skiing and something for everyone. The Ski Circus challenge is a dream for those that love to cover many miles. The perfectly groomed slopes are great for families, beginners, intermediates and for powder hounds the conditions around Fieberbrunn are some of the best Austria has to offer.

If you include the connection with Zell Am See the area is actually larger. The Gondola enables you to ski Zell Am See and Kaprun giving a grand total of 408km, however, the return journey is via a short bus ride.

The prices here are more in line with the Arlberg rather than the Skiwelt. If you are a party animal then the off-piste bar in Saalbach is a must.

Learn more about each resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria - Ski Circus

4. Silvretta Area

230km of pistes
Altitude: 1377m - 2872m

The fourth biggest ski area in Austria is the Silvretta area, linking Ischgl to the duty-free village of Samnaun in Switzerland.

An efficient state-of-the-art lift system, high-altitude skiing and stunning scenery make the area a paradise for skiers. Groups and families alike love the area with something for everyone; the beginner area by Idalp is great, intermediate skiers shouldn’t miss out on the duty-free run down to Samnaun and for experts, there are steeper runs in the Palinkopf sector. In the area, there are also some great fun parks and freeriding available.

Ischgl is the premier Austrian party resort and as a result, it is priced higher than St Anton for example. Our favourite après ski bar is the infamous Trofana Alm. If you're looking to stay somewhere lower key, then the pretty little village of Galtür is connected via bus.

Learn more about each resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria - Silvretta

5. Kitzski Kitzbühel/Kirchberg ski area

185km of pistes
Altitude: 800m - 2000m

Voted several times as the World's Best, the scenic Kitzski is the 5th biggest ski area in Austria. There is something for everyone to enjoy; from beginners to advanced with a great range of pistes, mountain restaurants, a fantastic lift system, snow conditions and après ski.

Ski racing started here in 1895 and the resort is well known for the Men’s Hahnenkamm Downhill course. Kitzbühel offers 200 days of snow security every ski season and is a veritable free-riders paradise. The best area for beginners is on Kitzbüheler Horn mountain and for all other standards, the majority of the skiing is on the Hahnenkamm mountain. Here you can ski all the way down to Kirchberg and Aschau, and with the 3S gondola connection to Pass Thurn.

As well as the lifts in the area there is a fantastic free bus system operating throughout the villages on the piste map. You can also catch a train to other ski resorts like St Johann, Zell am See, Fieberbrunn, Westendorf and more.

The town of Kitzbuhel has been voted the most beautiful ski town in Europe. The pedestrianised centre is enclosed within the mediaeval city walls, filled with beautiful buildings, boutiques and lovely restaurants. When the world cup comes to town at the end of January the après ski is even more lively if you can even imagine that. However, there is normally a wide variety of bars and for dancing on the tables our favourite is the Londoner. This area is also great for non-skiers with activities like tobogganing and mountain walks.

Learn more about the resort below:

Largest Ski Resorts France - Kitzski Kitzbühel/Kirchberg

6. Sölden

146km of pistes
Altitude: 1377m - 3340m

Sölden, the sixth biggest ski area in Austria, has two glaciers, beautiful scenery, one of the best lift systems in Europe, and a large number of challenging pistes. Most of the skiing is above 2000 metres and is more suited to intermediate and experienced skiers. Beginners will enjoy the slopes at Giggijoch. There are some really long runs for intermediates on the Gaislachkogel where you drop 1695m and the blacks at Hainbachjoch keep the advanced skiers entertained.

The fantastic Längefeld thermal spa with its lazy rivers, saltwater pools, saunas and more should not be missed. There are plenty of activities like paragliding or winter hikes to enjoy as well. A particular point of pride here is the James Bond film ‘Spectre', which was filmed in 2015 and there is even a museum you can visit.

The lively après ski is sophisticated and Marcos is one of our favourite après bars.

Learn more about the resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria - Sölden

7. Mayrhofen/Zillertaler Superskipass

142km of pistes
Altitude: 630m - 3250m

Mayrhofen has a well-connected speedy lift system with 142km of pistes over two mountains (Ahorn & Penken), making it the 7th biggest ski area in Austria. However, if you want to go large, then upgrade to the Zillertaler Superski pass which extends the area to 542 kilometres!

The extensive ski terrain and glacier make this suitable for all levels. For advanced skiers, there is plenty to choose from, but with an average gradient of 36 degrees, the Austrians are particularly proud of the steepest groomed piste in Austria - the Harakiri. Intermediates will love most of the local slopes and the Penkenbahn and the Penken summit is best for beginners.

Mayrhofen has lively après ski and eating out is cheap and varied. It hosts the snow bombing festival every year but our favourite après ski bar has to be the Pilzbar at the top of the Penkenbahn.

There is plenty to do for non-skiers visiting the area such as Bobsleighing, horse riding and indoor tennis to name just a few things.

Learn more about the resort below:

Biggest Ski Areas Austria - Mayrhofen/Zillertaler Superskipass

Discover more about skiing in Austria here.