This winter, more than ever, offers skiers the perfect opportunity to try a new ski resort, one you might not have heard of or considered before.
Though often overlooked in favour of their more loud and lively neighbours, these Austrian resorts offer an opportunity for a more relaxing holiday, perfect for those looking to escape the stresses that 2020 has brought us all.
With quaint cobbled streets, delicious local restaurants and friendly locals, these resorts will bring you back to a more authentic type of ski holiday.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a smaller resort = a smaller ski area. No, no, no! Some of these resorts are connected to the largest ski areas in Europe, so you definitely don’t need to worry about getting those miles in!
The Best Hidden Gem Resorts in Austria
Ski Area: Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn (270km)
Just above the well-known ski town of Saalbach lies the traditional, atmospheric resort of Hinterglemm. A true mountain town, it offers cosy chalets, luxury hotels and exceptional views, as well as over 50 restaurants serving up incredible meals to round off your ski day!
The ski area is massive, with long pistes, accessible off piste (the connected area of Fieberburnn is a regular stop on the Freeride World Tour) and beautiful forest runs.
Though Hinterglemm is slightly smaller than Saalbach and offers a more chilled-out vibe, you can still find some of the most entertaining après-ski in the area here at the Goaßstall, a Hinterglemm must-visit. If you’d rather a more relaxed post-ski stop, there are a number of open-air bars and cafes in the resort centre, where mulled wine brews over open fires.
The Best Hidden Gem Accommodation in Hinterglemm?
Adler Resort – All Inclusive: Adler Resort is a luxurious all-inclusive resort with spacious, modern apartments and incredible views over the town of Hinterglemm. The large spa offers warm indoor and outdoor pools with a spectacular mountain backdrop, as well as steam room, sauna and massage options. The dining options are plentiful, with impressive in-house options that mean you don’t even have to brave the cold evening air for a great meal!
Ski Area: Galtür (43km) or Silvretta Arena (239km).
A very high altitude resort with a snow-sure record, picturesque town and friendly character, it’s criminal that Galtür often gets overlooked in favour of its far more glamorous and glitzy neighbour, Ischgl.
At 1,584m, Galtür is one of the highest resorts in Austria, as well as the highest in the Silvretta region. It offers a long season and epic powder days, with 43km of piste directly accessible from the resort. If you do want to ski further, you can easily hop on a bus over to Ischgl, where the extensive Silvretta Arena offers a varied 239km to explore.
Galtür is a traditional Tyrolean village with a long history, dating back to 600 years ago. If you’re after a truly authentic Austrian ski holiday this year, you can’t get much better than that! The family-friendly atmosphere and gentle surrounding slopes here make it a favourite with Austrian families, while non-skiers can enjoy cross country slopes, hiking trails and ice skating. Throw in some cosy mountain huts, relaxed après-ski and delicious local food and you’ve got yourself a winner of a hidden gem here.
The Best Hidden Gem Accommodation in Galtür?
If you’re looking for highest quality luxury in a smaller resort, you can’t go wrong with VAYA Galtür Apartments & Hotel.
VAYA Galtür Apartments : A stunning luxury resort with a prime position in Galtür, the recently renovated VAYA Galtür apartments have everything you could need from a great winter holiday, all in one place; a state of the art wellness centre, pool and restaurants. Each apartment has all the facilities you might need, with some even including your own sauna!
VAYA Galtür Hotel: With access to all the same great facilities of the VAYA Apartments, but with the added service of a hotel, this is the perfect place for anyone wanting that little extra luxury. In terms of skiing, you can enjoy the wonderful local area of Galtür, or the hugely varied skiing of Ischgl, thanks to a quick ski bus that stops just 20m away from the hotel.
Ski Area: KitzSki (230km)
Mittersill is a unique destination for those looking for a ski holiday that’s a little different this winter. It’s a historic small city with a distinctive character, more a mountain town than a purpose-built ski resort. The surrounding natural landscape of the Hohe Tauern National Park is sure to impress even the most weathered of mountain travellers with views of Austria’s highest peaks. Off the slopes here, history buffs will enjoy the area’s old castles and museums, where you can learn more about this intriguing city.
In terms of the skiing, Mittersill enjoys a local area of numerous blue and red runs, ideal for beginners and intermediate skiers, while advanced skiers can explore 230km of routes all the way across to Kirchbirg. If you’re looking for a different way to experience the famous ski runs of Kitzbühel this winter, Mittersill is a great choice.
The Best Hidden Gem Accommodation in Mittersil?
Kitz Juwel Annex: If you really want to get away from it all this winter, these modern apartments provide the perfect opportunity, in an incredibly quiet location nestled in the vilalge of Hollersbach, just outside Mittersill, with a ski bus stop close by.
Ski Area: Zillertal Arena (147km)
One of the highest resorts in the Zillertal area, the beautiful resort of Gerlos is a well-kept secret by most who’ve visited. Why? Because they don’t want to share its spectacular slopes and friendly community feel. The resort is small enough to make you truly feel like you’re in a local haven, but one that has access to one of Austria’s most popular ski areas. The Zillertal Arena offers 147km of slopes, serviced by 52 lifts and with a great snow record. Slopes for all abilities and quick transport links make this a great area for groups of mixed abilities, as you can choose just how adventurous you want to be each day!
Gerlos’ town centre has a vibrant atmosphere without the overwhelming crowds of some nearby resorts, making it a perfect pick for this year. Après-ski drinks will always flow in the famous Cin-Cin bar, whatever the weather!
The Best Hidden Gem in Gerlos?
Occupying a privileged position in the heart of Gerlos, the new Vaya Gerlos residence provides a luxurious base for a stress-free ski holiday. The residence is right next to the recently built Dorfbahn lift, which whisks you up to the ski area in no time.
The spacious apartments are furnished in a traditional style, using modern appliances and materials, while still maintaining that Alpine charm we all adore. A variety of apartment types are available, all with state of the art facilities and beautiful views from the balcony or terrace. Unwind after a day’s adventure in the spacious spa, with a sauna and Turkish steam bath sure to please those aching muscles!
Why Choose an Austrian Hidden Gem Ski resort?
Crowded slopes and lengthy lift queues are never fun, but this year more than ever many of us will be wanting to stay away from busy ski areas. Not only will you feel like you have the entire mountain to yourself, but you’ll also be able to forget any worries of social distancing. If we’re going to be distanced anywhere, we’d much rather it were on a quiet ski slope surrounded by magnificent views!
There’s also less of a chance of lift queues in these resorts, meaning that you’ll be able to spend more time on your skis.
Some beautiful small resorts also have access to vast ski areas, giving you an opportunity to explore a new area you might not have considered before. Alternatively, you can explore a familiar ski area from a different perspective.
You’ll be able to experience the same spectacular skiing, the same variety of slopes, the same impressive off piste terrain, but you can do it all knowing that you are going back to a base that’s calm, quiet and relaxing, offering perhaps a different type of holiday than what you’re used to…
This will be a holiday that’s focused on quality time together, enjoying the peace of the mountains, the unique Alpine cuisines, the beautiful views and the entertaining activities you might sometimes miss out on while dancing in your ski boots at après-ski! It will be a holiday that gives you the opportunity to connect with nature and with yourself, to enjoy epic days in the most incredible landscapes and spend evenings relaxing with local food and drinks.
In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if you found yourself deciding that smaller ski resorts are the way forward not just this year, but every year!