Higher, larger, wider: The ski areas offer everything to the heart´s content of winter sports enthusiasts. Often the focus is on the large ski resorts with their big events. However, this shouldn´t distract us from smaller ski areas. They convince through diversity, family-friendliness, serenity and last but not least, moderate prices. And are thus the real stars in the field of winter sports.Skiresorts-Test.com presents 10 different excellent and cutting-edge ski resorts, each offering up to 20 km (12.5 mi) of ski trails in Austria.
Small ski paradises for families
The small mountain village Filzmoos is located amidst the ski network Ski Amadé in the Salzburger Land region. Despite of this, it isn´t very crowded here. “The ski area is cut off from the rest and all slopes lead away from the village”, explains Heather Vierthaler from the local tourism association “Tourismusverband Filzmoos”. Therefore, this village is perfectly suitable for families and for those who like it somewhat quiet in their winter holidays. In total, there are 13 km (8 mi) of ski trails to discover here. One can enjoy enchanted holidays while cross-country skiing, snow shoe hiking or having a romantic horse-drawn sleigh tour. The village is easily reachable as it is well-connected allowing all guests a comfortable and quick arrival in their dream holidays.
Hochkar, located in Lower Austria, is a fantastic ski location for families. It intertwines the characteristics of both small and large ski resorts. Modern chairlifts will ease the mobility on-site. Additionally, the varied slopes are fun and suitable for anyone, whether you are a complete beginner or a professional skier. “The Hochkar is perfectly suitable especially for families. Due to its great slopes and its relatively small size it is highly recommendable”, analyses the ski resort tester Martin Bauer. But professional skiers love the Hochkar as well! The ski resort is a second home to celebrities such as Andreas Buder, Thomas Sykora and Kathrin Zettel.
In the Heidi-Alm Skipark am Falkert, located in Austrian Carinthia, one can literally experience the best snow as the ski area is situated between a height of 1800m (1970 yd) and 2300m (2500 yd) difference in altitude. Emphasising the advances of the ski resort he is in charge for, general manager Lukas Köfer explains: “Our rather small but otherwise impeccable skiing area is suitable for any lovers of skiing and snowboarding. It is ideal for families with children, beginners or guests returning to skiing as well as for ski professionals and free riders. Anyone will feel at home in the Heidi-Alm Skipark.” Above all, this ski area is perfectly suitable for families as it offers specialised hotels for children and children skiing schools with specially trained ski instructors, who will take care of your children and allow the parents to have relaxed and recreational winter holidays. In the Heidi Skipark, the little ski stars learn the nitty-gritty skills of skiing with Heidi and her friends, while the adults can comfortably take their stress-free swings on 12 km (7.5 mi) of ski trails.
World Cup, Olympia & Co.
Smaller ski resorts are not necessarily only cut out for families, as the following ski areas impressively proof. This is the place for world cup competitions and Olympic medals. The Zauberberg at Hirschenkogel, located in the Lower Austrian Semmering region, is the mountain of choice for the inhabitants of Vienna when it comes to skiing and totally lives up to the slogan “small but powerful”. With its 14 km (8.7 mi) of ski trails, the Austrian Zauberg is one of the smaller ski resorts. Despite of this, it hosts the FIS world cup with one slope. Every two years the women ski world cup is held here. Anyone who likes it fast, will love being in Semmering. “Skiing at night is excellent here. There are six out of seven slopes, including the Zauberberg sled run as well as the Split-Park for snowboarders and free skiers”, explains Kristina Altmann, a team member of the Zauberberg crew. Everything one needs to spend some splendid days of skiing in a magical winter world is provided here.
Another extraordinary ski area is Hochficht. The family-friendly ski resort is not far from the German border. Anything skiers love one can find here: Slopes for any level of difficulty, modern lift installations, cosy huts, a guaranteed snow reliability and excellent slope quality. “A similar offer is difficult to find in the Bayerwald or the Böhmerwald. The Hochficht skiing area might be a perfect alternative to a long journey into the Alps”, concludes ski resort tester Andrea Berger. Children have their own Fichtl Kids Park, which is lovely designed, including a designated children ski trail, making it a special day for any child visiting. Adults will have as much fun as their offspring on the 2 km (1.25 mi) long slope.
The local mountain of Innsbruck, Patscherkofel, offers true Olympic feeling on its 18 km (11 mi) of ski trails. In 2012, Olympic contests were held here for third time in history. But this does not necessarily mean that exclusively professional skiers could cope with these ski-runs. Quite the contrary, anyone can! The Patscherkofel does not only offer Olympic slopes and one world cup slope, but also fantastic slopes perfectly suitable for the whole family. In total, one can catch sight of approximately 400 mountain tops from the Patscherkofel. Being up here offers a fantastic chance to slow down for once and enjoy the stunning and unique panorama view.
Small, but exciting!
“It's always worth paying a visit here”, is the declared motto of the Reuttener Seilbahnen. The ski resort at the Hahnenkamm, indeed, has a lot to offer. Using the gondola, one will easily be taken onto a height of 1900m (2080 yd) difference in altitude. From there you can ski down the mountain various ways. In the valley, though, they all lead towards one slope, making it is almost impossible to lose track of one of your family members or friends. No one will get lost here! Experienced skiers will find 2 km (1.25 mi) of designated black ski trails, while all young skiers might want to practice their “snowability” at the Schollenwiesenlift. What is more and might come handy for some of the visitors, the Reuttener Seilbahnen are in comfortable distance for skiers driving up here from Bavaria or Tyrol.
The ski resort Jungholz is special, above all, due to its location. This Tyrolese ski area is an enclave in the Allgäu, a German Alpine region. The children are in the centre of the attention here: It doesn't matter whether your kids are in the N'Ice Bear Land, the Snow Learnland, or for the quicker and more advanced ones, the Snow Raceland. They will certainly enjoy themselves here in any of the three areas. In total, there are 10 km (6.2 mi) of blue and red categorised ski trails. And should you ever need a time-out, take a break on the two sunny island relaxation oases, where you can plan your next slope and receive the latest news about the ski resort with the Jungholz App.
The ski area Andelsbuch/Bezau is perfectly suitable for anyone wanting to escape their stressful everyday life. This ski resort offers 15 km (9.3 mi) of ski trails and despite of this, it is surprisingly diverse. Not only are there slopes suitable for any level of experience, but also powder snow slopes and a free skiing area. “Chilled carvers and adventurous powder snow fans will love this ski resort as much as families with little children will”, says Andrea Berger. In addition, the 3 km (1.9 mi) long natural sled run is highly recommendable.
The Präbichl, located in Austrian Styria, offers slopes for winter sports athletes as much as for families. The Funslope is facilitated with some waves and steep turns that will be an extra bit of challenge and a variety to keep all skiers happy and highly entertained. A particular highlight is also the children's area. Playfully, your children can practise their first moves on skiers in the “Schlumperwald” and the “Purzelwiese”, two separate areas for children and beginners offering a magic carpet and a baby lift.