Whether you’re squeezing in one last trip or you prefer the milder temperatures, there are plenty of reasons to hit the slopes later in the season. Here’s why Austria is a favourite for skiers and boarders heading to the mountains in March and April, and what to look for when you’re picking a resort.
Why go skiing in Austria during March and April?
The ski season in Austria starts in mid-December and usually runs until the end of April. During the final two months, the days get longer, the temperature rises and you’re more likely to get blue skies and sunshine.
Resorts often make the most of the extra daylight hours by running the lifts later, which is great if you’re eager to pack in more ski time. Or you take things easy and enjoy the warmer weather with a long lunch break on the sun terrace of a mountain restaurant.
Experiencing Austria’s famous après-ski is a must, and it’s even better when you can ditch your ski jacket and spend sunny afternoons dancing to Europop in open-air bars. Lots of places have happy hour promotions around 3-4pm, so click out of your skis early and grab a cold drink.
Outside of the Easter holidays, spring’s also classed as low season, so it’s one of the best-value times to go skiing in Austria.
How to choose your resort
When it comes to choosing where to go, it pays to be picky if you want to bag the best snow conditions. Here’s a run-down of Austria’s best ski resorts at this time of year.
Higher-altitude resorts get more snowfall throughout the season, which means that the pistes have a deeper covering when spring arrives. The air temperature is also cooler than in lower resorts at this time of year, especially at night, so the snow stays crisp for longer.
Best for families: Obergurgl
At 1,930m, Obergurgl is the highest village in Austria. And with its top-rated ski school and excellent fun slopes for kids, it’s also a great resort for families – ideal if you’re heading away with the little ones over the Easter holidays. The village itself is quiet and traditional, with lots of quality hotels that have family-friendly facilities like kids’ clubs, games rooms and swimming pools.
Best for après: Ischgl
Enjoy sunny, outdoor après in one of Austria’s liveliest resorts. Start on the mountain with a visit to the Paznauner Taja, which has a huge piste-side bar, then head to town to dance away the last of the evening rays on a club terrace.
As for the skiing, lots of the slopes here are over 2,000m and most face north, so the snow sticks around even in warm spring temperatures.
Best for convenience: Obertauern
This is Austria’s only purpose-built resort, and lots of the accommodation is ski-in, ski-out. And since the village is up at 1,750m, the snow conditions are usually top-notch too. There are gentle nursery slopes near the resort centre if you’re just starting out, and an excellent circuit of blues and reds that loops the whole area for more experienced skiers.
Pick a glacier resort
Glaciers are covered with snow all year round, so it’s no surprise that they have the most reliable conditions for springtime skiing.
Best for mixed abilities: Neustift
The local lift pass for Neustift includes the Stubai glacier, which is just a short hop from the village on the free ski bus. Nicknamed the Kingdom of Snow, it’s Austria’s biggest glacier ski area, with 110km of piste to suit all abilities. Cruise wide-open bowls or test your ski legs on the 10km valley run. And when it’s time for lunch, call in at Austria’s highest mountain restaurant, Jochdohlenhütte, which is perched up at 3,150m on the top of the glacier.
Best for intermediates: Sölden
Sölden’s ski area gives you access to two glaciers, both over 3,000m. The terrain on the Tiefenbach is more challenging, with a couple of steep reds under the Seiterkar chairlift. Over on the Rettenbach, the wide, gentle blues are perfect for practising your technique. You’ll also find the Europa Test & Exhibition Centre here, where you can try out the latest ski equipment.
Best for experts: Mayrhofen
The Hintertux glacier’s included in your Zillertal Superski pass, and its 60km of slopes are linked to the resort by a free bus. It’s also Austria’s only year-round ski spot, so it’s hard to beat for reliable snow. Lots of racers like to train here, and experienced skiers can enjoy high-speed carving on the steep red runs. And while you’re up there, don’t miss taking a tour of the ice caves below the glacier to see stalactites and ice sculptures, and even go boating on a glacial lake.