Last week we looked at French resorts that have reliable snow until late in the season. Now it’s the turn of Austria. The resorts are often quite a bit lower than those in France, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they receive less snow since they are further east with a different snow pattern from the rest of the Alps.
The snow’s not nearly as deep as it is in France at the moment – but all the high-altitude resorts have had a substantial top-up of 35cm to 135cm over the past ten days. Our forecast suggests it’ll be snowing on and off all week.
For guaranteed early and late cover you could opt for glacial resorts such as Kaprun, Solden, Hintertux, Solden and Neustift, where skiing continues throughout much of the year – but a few others are also open late.
Here – in no particular order – are 11 resorts with a ski season that finishes at the end of April or later still.
This little resort has a firm place on the list because it is family-friendly, crowd-free and snow-sure. Due to its location at the end of the Ötz Valley, Obergurgl benefits from having no through-traffic. The high-altitude resort has a reliable snow cover from November until the beginning of May, with skiing rising to 3080m.
Stay: Chalet Verwall (sleeps 29-35) with Esprit Ski, or Hotel Austria with Crystal Ski. Lifts close: May 1 and reopen November 17.
This is where to choose early in December or late April – when other resorts are short of snow Ischgl usually has plenty of it. The slopes here have doubled their cover in recent days. Some of the best skiing is at Palinkopf, which at 2864m is the highest point, reached by two chair-lifts from Idalp.
Stay: Chalet-Hotel Abendrot with Ski Total, or Arthotel Elisabeth with Ski Independence Lifts close: May 1 and reopen November 26.
Kuhtai offers 44km of pistes, a laid-back atmosphere, and a reputation for good snow. It is only 35km from Innsbruck, so the transfer is quick and it makes the resort a good choice for weekend breaks. This snowy corner of the Alps normally has good snow until late in the season on north-facing pistes. Stay: Chalet-Hotel Elisabeth with Inghams, or at Alpin Lodges with Erna Low. Lifts close: April 23 and reopen end of November.
Hintertux is the best of the Alpine glaciers – thanks to the steep pitch of its slopes. It’s located in the Tuxertal at far end of the Ziller valley in Tirol. Together with neighbouring Mayrhofen, it offers a wide range of terrain both above and below the treeline. Stay: Chalet Stoanerhof with Ski World, or Chalet Tyrol with Inghams – both are in Mayrhofen. Lifts close: The Hintertux Glacier lifts are open 365 days per year.
Zell am See is a beautiful lakeside town with a pedestrianised centre and skiing that’s mainly intermediate level. However, 13km to the south lies the other main skiing sector: the Kitzsteinhorn near the village of Kaprun. Here, the slopes rise to a snowsure 3030m, offering skiing 10 months a year.
Stay: Hotel Toni with Crystal Ski in Kaprun, or Mountain Lake Resort with Mark Warner in Zell am See. Lifts close: July 23 and reopen in October.
St Anton is open fairly late, although you won’t necessary be guaranteed snow lower down. And this is one of the exceptions to the rule that Austrian resorts are set in rolling mountain pastures. Here you will find some extremely steep skiing – in fact some of the most difficult in the Alps.
The big news in December 2016 was the opening of a lift between Zurs and Stuben, which connects the St Anton and Lech-Zurs ski areas. As a result, the Arlberg is now the largest ski area in Austria and among the biggest in the world. Photo: © Welove2ski. Stay: Chalet Montfort with Kaluma, Chalet Artemis with Scott Dunn, or Hotel Montjola with VIP Ski. Lifts close: April 23 and reopen December 1.
Neustift and the Stubai Glacier
This area is a 30-minute drive from Innsbruck and has one of Austria’s best developed glaciers. The highest run on the Stubai is at 3210m, and most of the skiing is above 2600m. Only one piste drops below the 2300 mark. Most of the slopes face north, so as well as lots of stupendous high-mountain scenery you get top-quality snow, too. Most people choose to stay in the pretty village of Neustift, which is a 15-minute drive from the Stubai.
Stay: Relais & Chateau Hotel Jagdhof in Neustift with Zenith.
Lifts close: May 21 and reopen October 21.
You might not have heard of it, but the Kaunertal is certainly worth considering. There is snow until summer on slopes that rise to 3160m. It’s never crowded – but first of all you’ll have to tackle the Kaunertal Glacier road, which winds its way up through 29 hairpin bends. Eight lifts serve a total 30km of slopes. Stay: Erlebnishotel Fendels in the nearby village of Fendels (ski-bus to and from the glacier). Lifts close: May 6 and reopen October 9.
Not the highest resort, but owing to an excellent microclimate, winters here can be cold and snowy, with the first snowfall sometimes as early as September. Due to the opening of lift links between Zurs and Stuben, the Lech-Zurs ski area is now connected with St Anton’s – making it one of the biggest in the world. Stay: Chalet 1597 with SNO, or Hotel Austria with Powder Byrne. Lifts close: April 23 and reopen December 1.
Larger and livelier than nearby Obergurgl, Solden has a network of snow-sure slopes that includes two glaciers and skiing up to a height of 3250m. Its pistes suit all levels, but it is intermediates who will get the most out of it. Solden rose to international fame in 2015 when it featured in the latest Bond movie, Spectre.
Stay: Das Central with Snow-wise, or Hotel Bergland with Ski Weekends. Lifts close: May 7 and reopen October 7.
The Pitztal valley comprises four resorts: Arzl, Wenns, Jerzens and St Leonhard, with the Pitztal Glacier the highest in the Tirol. The slopes on the glacier are mainly wide and suit all levels of skier. The six lifts include the Wildspitz, which whisks you up to 3440m where Austria’s highest restaurant is located.
Stay: Hotel Tieflehner Hof at the foot of the Pitztal Glacier.
Lifts close: May 7 and reopen in September.