5 Places to Ski in Austria

5 Places to Ski in Austria

Let me start right off by saying this is an incomplete list that I hope to add on to as I continue to get out into the mountains here. I also know that this list is pretty limited to the few hundred kilometres around Salzburg, but I also hope to get to ski in western Austria one day too.

For now, here are all the places I've loved skiing at this winter; each of them easily accessible by train from Salzburg and doable as a day trip. Before moving to Austria, I had never skiied in Europe (only in Canada!) and it had been more than three years since I was out on the slopes. On top of that, I'd never skiied alone, so as you can imagine I was a little nervous when I first started heading back up the mountains.

However, I got right back into it, and absolutely fell in love with skiing all over again. I had brought over all my ski stuff that had been packed up for the past three years at my parents' place in California while I was traveling the world and finally put some good mileage on my gear again.

Here's my picks for ski hills that I visited from Salzburg in the order that I visited them (and at the bottom of this post, you can find my ranking of favourites!):


Schladming

A fairly small hill, this one has two sides to explore: Planai and Rohrmoos. The grading system only has two categories, blue for easy and red for medium. There's many more red runs than blue, but it's still a fairly easy hill plus there's a little bunny hill for practicing on. The blue runs were actually tons of fun, and I even managed to get myself down a few of the reds too! Planai only has red runs, so stick to Rohrmoos for a bit of an easier day out.

Train from Salzburg: 1.5 hours | Ski tickets here

jana meerman schladming skiing austria (1)

Zell am See

Zell am See is a big hill overlooking a beautiful lake with lots of runs of all three colours (blues, reds and blacks). When I visited, the visibility was extremely poor, having snowed heavily for a few days before and during, so the snow was extra powdery which made it quite bumpy and, as a not-great skiier, I found the conditions tough. However, I felt the runs and snow quality were both better than Schladming, but a more challenging option.

Train from Salzburg: 1.5 hours | Ski tickets here

Check out my photo diary of Zell am See here!

jana meerman zell am see austria skiing snow (11)
jana meerman zell am see austria skiing snow (11)

Bad Gastein

Bad Gastein is by far my favourite ski hill of all the ones I've visited in the Salzburg region and with the conditions I had, it was probably my personal best skiing day ever (like, including Canada). Bad Gastein is a big hill, in the very near vicinity of many other resorts including Bad Hofgastein, meaning there's tons of options to choose from. The Stubnerkogel Mountain which is the main peak from which most runs start is iconic, with views of Austria's tallest mountain, the Grossglockner, and an impressive suspension bridge running across the mountains. Truly a spectacular spot to spend the day.

Train from Salzburg: 1.5 hours | Ski tickets here

Check out my photo diary of Bad Gastein here!

jana meerman bad gastein austria (2)
jana meerman bad gastein austria (12)

Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is world famous, which also makes it very touristy and very busy. If you can look past the long lines at the ticket counters and to get up the first initial gondola ride up the mountain, the runs themselves are wicked fun. There's actually loads of blue runs here which make it a wonderful choice for less experienced skiiers and then the red runs are just a heck of a good time. Aside from the amount of people, I had a blast here.

Train from Salzburg: 2.5 hours | Ski tickets here

jana meerman kitzbuhel austria 2
jana meerman kitzbuhel austria 2

Saalbach Hinterglemm

Saalbach is exceptional and it's huge. The runs and options and lifts here seem to stretch on forever! It's essentially a cluster of different ski towns that are all connected in the mountains with one lift ticket. The conditions were amazing and while the runs themselves weren't that long, so by the time you really got into it it was time for another lift, I thought the variety was great. The train arrives at Leogang and from there you can make your way across the hills to whichever part of the greater Saalbach Hinterglemm resort you'd like to get to.

Train from Salzburg: 2.5 hours | Ski tickets here

jana meerman saalbach hinterglemm skiing austria (2)
jana meerman saalbach hinterglemm skiing austria (2)

So, which were my favourites?

I loved each of my days out on the hills for various reasons, and I can absolutely say that each day I was up there was better than the day before in terms of my skills and confidence levels. But here are my picks:

  1. Bad Gastein - the most beautiful scenery, a wonderful selection of runs of all levels, it's huge, great snow
  2. Kitzbühel - super touristy but for good reason, it's beautiful and massive so there's loads of runs to choose from
  3. Saalbach Hinterglemm - seemingly endless runs and lifts across a whole bundle of resorts connected with one pass and beautiful runs, although not very long so you're spending about half your time on lifts and half on skis
  4. Zell am See - this would have probably been higher on the list, but the conditions were pretty rough while I was there with heavy snow and low vis so I was pretty scared, however in the afternoon the clouds parted and the lake down below was so beautiful, more challenging runs vs easy here
  5. Schladming - I hate to put Schladming so low because actually it was the perfect choice for my first ever day skiing in Europe and first time skiing in over three years as it's a very beginner-friendly low-key hill that made me comfortable, but it's quite small so not a lot of runs to pick from
jana meerman saalbach hinterglemm skiing austria (2)

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Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

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