When we think of ski destinations, we often think first of countries and then narrow the choices down.
But in a very few cases there are also regions which are home to so many great ski areas they actually offer more than many entire countries do!
The most famous of these is the Tirol region, home to most of the best-known resorts in Austria (and the world) as well as many of the most snow-sure in the Alps – in early autumn half of the ski areas already open in Europe are in Tirol.
But with 80 ski resorts to choose from in Tirol, together offering more than 3,000km of piste, it can be hard for some of the province’s smaller areas to get a look in when everyone knows Ischgl, St Anton am Arlberg and Mayrhofen.
Not so well known are their neighbours Kappl, St Christoph and Eggalm, and yet these small-but-mighty destinations tick plenty of boxes, offer great value and in many cases link to their bigger siblings; there is never a shortage of slopes!
So, here’s a bit of background:
Kappl, See & Galtür
These connecting villages next to Ischgl in Paznaun are particularly suitable for those seeking peace and quiet, especially as the through road is closed over winter. Together the three areas offer more than 100km of slopes, speedy lifts, funparks and night skiing. Every Tuesday, See puts on an entertainment programme comprising torchlit descents, firework displays and a DJ set. Plus, Silvapark Galtür offers the chance of a ski safari in a piste-grooming machine. galtuer.com/en
Located at 1,800m above sea level, St Christoph is one of the highest ski resorts in the Alps. Although it is smaller than lift-linked St Anton am Arlberg, it has a cosy, welcoming atmosphere with rustic lounges serving traditional cuisine, while providing the same access to the 305km of marked runs and 200km of off piste. Tuck into a hearty meal at Hospiz Alm in St Christoph; not only is the food delicious but there’s also a slide to the bathroom … stantonamarlberg.com
Situated halfway up the mountain, between Mayrhofen and Hintertux, Eggalm offers skiers and snowboarders perfectly groomed slopes and skiing to the front door. During winter, Eggalm becomes part of the Ski & Glacier World Zillertal 3000, which, along with Hintertux Glacier, Rastkogel, Finkenberg, Penken and Mayrhofen, offers 202 km of pistes. eggalm.at/de/
Only 19km from Innsbruck, Axamer Lizum has 10 cable cars and 40km of pistes and ski routes. Thanks to its high-altitude location (reaching 2,340m), it is referred to as the “white roof” of the Innsbruck Olympic region. It might not be the biggest resort, but there is something for everything, and freeride skiers can enjoy the Golden Roofpark. axamer-lizum.at/en/
Immediately recognisable by its pointed church steeple, Niederau is the first village guests reach in Wildschönau. Its easy-beginner slopes and demanding valley runs mean the resort attracts a wide variety of skiers and snowboarders. Take a break from the pistes, clip on a pair of snowshoes and trek across the fields, or jump on a toboggan from the top of Lanerköpfl and whizz down the 6km track to the village. wildschoenau.com/en/