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Headed to Austria in 2 weeks- Any Advice/ Tips

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

So I'm off to Austria in 2 weeks for a semester abroad in Vienna and was wondering if anyone had any advice?  I'm planning to ski, but am unsure where (I'm thinking maybe Kitz a few times with a 3 or 4 day trip somewhere else, such as Chamonix).  Also, I am not taking my skis abroad, but I will be taking my boots and poles.  Will I be able to demo decent skis while I'm over there?  And is it relatively inexpensive? I have never traveled out of the country, so living abroad will be VERY foreign to me.  Any miscellaneous advice just about living/ being abroad?  Any skiing or non-skiing related advice for my upcoming trip would be much appreciated!  Thanks,

 

Tyler

 

Mod Note: moved to International Zone

post #2 of 20

Inexpensive and skiing Hmmm not very likely esp. in Austria. However look at the train/bus system as a way to get to the slopes.

 

See http://www.oebb.at/en/Travelling_in_Austria/Vienna/index.jsp

 

Kitz definitely St Anton, Saalbach and do not miss Ischgl which is my favorite Austrian resort.

post #3 of 20

Bring your boots.  Don't bother with poles.  Easy to rent poles.  Easy to rent skis and yes you can get the latest and best high end gear.  Not cheap but readily available at most any area.  There are probably frequent renter programs/season rentals through some of the chain type rental operations. You can check those out on line in advance.

Use rail and local bus for transportation from Vienna to the ski areas.   There's probably a student pass deal on Austrian Rail.  Check that in advance on line too.

It's a real long way from Vienna to Chamonix.  I'd scratch that off your list.  All the snow this year is on the south side of the alps.  Look into heading into Italy to ski or the areas farther to the south in Austria like Obergurgl, Solden and Ischgl. 

post #4 of 20
I just got back from a trip there. Did Zell am See, Vienna and Innsbruck. I'm jealous..the whole time there I kept saying that if heaven doesn't look like this, I'm going back down to Austria..beautiful mountains, awesome limitless villages, beautiful women in little Alpine outfits, excellent beer and wine, etc. Vienna is just overflowing with history, culture and beauty, too. Enjoy it !

People talk about how expensive it is, but I found it plenty affordable. In zell am See-Kaprun, I found a hotel last minute for 178 euros for two nights...four star hotel, nice room with queen bed, free access to sauna, pool and hot tub, awesome breakfast buffet, après ski snack (meats, cheeses and breads) and four course dinner, all included. That's somewhere around $125/130 per night, not bad when it covers meals, too. And if you don't mind sharing a room or planning in advance, you could go much cheaper.

Train ticket cost me about 60 euro between Vienna and mountains, and that was buying last minute at the station. Lift ticket was 48 euro for a day for three different areas. With a little planning, I think I could have found cheaper deals, but I was pressed for time. Outside of the flight cost, which is moot when you're already going for school, I think its cheaper than ski travel in the States. Maybe skip the major destinations and look for deals at the smaller names, if money is very tight.
post #5 of 20

Good cheap food in Wien can be found at Heitzinger Hauptstraße just south on Am Platz called I believe Brandauers Schlossbräu (google it find the location).  This is a restaurant owned by a farmer family.  Very good portions, very good price, service can vary a bit from day to day and time but the food is always good.

 

St Anton is usually good.  Just told by my mom that part of Austria has power problems because of high snow fall and other parts have warm higher than normal temps.  Check the conditions when you get there before making plans.

 

In Wien, transit is the only way to go unless travelling of the beaten path.  Car rental is very expensive and should be arrange through a discount site online before hand.  Best place to rent from is the Airport because of earlier pick up and very late drop off.  Take the extra insurance as they have been known to ding customers.  How expensive? 1 day rental with insurance if memory serves correctly $250.00 in 2012 for compact to seat 5.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

This is all great information guys.  Thanks so much!  Keep the tips coming if you don't mind (for those who are reading and haven't posted yet or for those who have additional advice)!

post #7 of 20

Must visit St. Anton am Arlberg where it all started. 

 

For very reasonable room stay at Post-Gasthof Gemse in Zams about 20km before you get to St Anton Arlberg.    This hotel is older than dirt and you have to share the bathroom.  The bedroom comes with its own sink.  When I stayed there many years ago they served breakfast.  Total for the night with breakfast was 30 euro. 

 

Google maps link

post #8 of 20

Definitely DO go to ski Chamonix; probably March is best. Yes, it's a long way from Vienna, but trains in Europe are plentiful, efficient, and cheap. The hotel next to the Cham train station is very cheap (well, it used to be). Skiing the Vallee Blanche once in your life is a bucket-list sort of thing. So is skiing the glacier in Zermatt in the shadow of the Matterhorn in July.  Definitely take your ski boots; better European ski rentals often offer what to us in the USA will be 'next year's skis'.

post #9 of 20

Um...

 

best kept secret.  

 

Dolomites and all Southern Alps resorts are having a record year for snow.

 

Food in Italy is yummier and cheaper.  Some resorts are boasting more than 20 feet on top (not accumulated, but actually measuring) and as much as 16 feet at the base.  To get to the Dolomites, it is a short 90 minute train ride from Innsbruck.

 

Italy is having an epic season.  Don't miss it.

 

Sure, St. Anton is great, snow is OK, but running below average about snow, plus they seem to be plagued with these warm fronts, with high winds, followed by a cold front, making snow conditions a bit odd, frozen slush.

 

Sadly, Salzburg area, closer to where you are at, is even more dramatic this year showing several live reports of grassy green slopes in Feb!!! :eek

 

If you want to get off the beaten path, consider Slovenia, also boasting record snow falls this year.

 

I believe there are (night) trains from Vienna - Venice, which pass right through some great resorts.  Book your trains on the German train site, Bahn.de as it always seems to have the best price, or you can try treinitalia. 

 

Also of special note, the glacier skiing in Austria is open mostly until the 1st of June, thought I expect the glaciers in the snow-drought areas may close earlier this year.  But Stubaier Glacier, which is less than an hour from Innsbruck should be OK until the June 1st.

 

I suppose there are more websites that do this, but on the dutch site, wintersporters.nl they have a snow depth ranking, and a handy clever map that you can zoom in on and click away to trail maps, snow depth and more.  Especially for short day trips, it's fun to explore the off the beaten path for smaller resorts, and hidden gems - there are quite a few.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post

Definitely DO go to ski Chamonix; probably March is best. Yes, it's a long way from Vienna, but trains in Europe are plentiful, efficient, and cheap. The hotel next to the Cham train station is very cheap (well, it used to be). Skiing the Vallee Blanche once in your life is a bucket-list sort of thing. So is skiing the glacier in Zermatt in the shadow of the Matterhorn in July.  Definitely take your ski boots; better European ski rentals often offer what to us in the USA will be 'next year's skis'.


 



FYI, A train from Vienna to Geneva will take 10:45 with a connection in Zurich and will cost about €140 round trip (without student discount). From there, if you choose to stick to the trains, it will take another 3 hrs or so from Geneva to Chamonix because there aren't any direct trains, so it would be faster to hop a bus. That will probably add another €30 or so. Also, the train from Vienna to Zurich will pass directly through Salzburg, Innsbruck, and St. Anton along the way, not to mention the other resorts (including those with glaciers) that are not far from the various towns the train passes through.

Then, you have to take into account all of the resorts in Switzerland that the journey will take you near, like Engelberg and Verbier just to name a couple.

Chamonix is great, but I don't think it's worth spending 11+ hrs each way on trains and buses, bypassing so many different world class resorts along the way.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeidiAmsterdam View Post

Um...


Sure, St. Anton is great, snow is OK, but running below average about snow, plus they seem to be plagued with these warm fronts, with high winds, followed by a cold front, making snow conditions a bit odd, frozen slush.


 


I was in St. Anton last week and had good conditions almost every day. There was one day when the wind shut down lifts on part of the mountain, but there were other parts of the ski area that were sheltered from it. All in all, it snowed four times last week, and this week has more snow forecasted another three or four days.

The Alrberg area is diverse enough to find good snow just about anywhere. There are so many spots facing different directions with different features sheltering them. If the snow is falling straight down, everything is good. If it comes in from a particular direction, then you can always find spots that are sheltered/wind loaded from that direction.
post #12 of 20

Fair enough with St. Anton.  Italy is seeing unprecedented conditions.  St. Anton in it's current state will be there again like that next year in most likely hood.

 

But anyway, it's all good skiing.  Like the difference between a gold medal winner and a silver medal winner.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastskier44 View Post

Hi guys,


So I'm off to Austria in 2 weeks for a semester abroad in Vienna and was wondering if anyone had any advice?  I'm planning to ski, but am unsure where (I'm thinking maybe Kitz a few times with a 3 or 4 day trip somewhere else, such as Chamonix).  Also, I am not taking my skis abroad, but I will be taking my boots and poles.  Will I be able to demo decent skis while I'm over there?  And is it relatively inexpensive? I have never traveled out of the country, so living abroad will be VERY foreign to me.  Any miscellaneous advice just about living/ being abroad?  Any skiing or non-skiing related advice for my upcoming trip would be much appreciated!  Thanks,


Tyler


Mod Note: moved to International Zone


 


Don't forget about non-skiing travel as well. Bratislava, Budapest, Salzburg, and Prague are all fairly close to Vienna and are all worth visiting for at least a weekend.
post #14 of 20

Just got back from Zell am See and yes, the Salzburg area has very little snow while in the south of Austria they have a lot. In Chamonix there are lots of snow as in that region in general. Depends on what you are looking for. In Zell I paid 23e a night including breakfast.

post #15 of 20

trains are the most convenient transport or you can rent a car, the motorway system is very good - you can go direction Salzburg and then Zell am See (Salzburgland) or Insbruck (Tirol), there is a direct train to Schladming, Styria, where the world championship was held last year. Depends how experienced skier you are and whether you prefer groomed terrain or off piste. There are smallish (up to 30km ski runs with 500-600m elevation drop close to Vienna - 1h drive or train) but I believe you would like to try the bigger resorts.

Schladming http://www.skiresorts-test.com/ski-resorts/planai-schladming-ski-amade.html, is a part of enourmous Ski amade, which includes also Flachau, Zauchensee and other resorts http://www.skiamade.com

South of Salzburg is gorgeous Saalbach - Hinterglemm with more than 200km ski runs http://www.saalbach.com/en/

next to it is a hidden gem for freeriders Fieberbrunn http://www.bergbahnen-fieberbrunn.at/

if you want to explore Tirol, then do not miss St Anton for off piste, 300plus km of the runs and amazing apres ski http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/winter  and Ischgl for  220km ski runs and the best apres ski in the world http://www.ischgl.com/ and Solden http://www.soelden.com/ for mix of eveything above. On the other hand, if you have limited time, do not go to Kitzbuhl, it is nothing spectacular. Finally you can rent everything in any Austrian ski resort, do not forget that you are going to a country, where every farmer has participated in FIS race and many Russians come there without anything and rent/buy everything. every resort has at least three shops where you can choose from unlimited offer....

besides, enjoy Vienna, it is a beautiful city.

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Ok guys, I have been in Austria for almost two weeks and am enjoying it quite a bit.  Definitely a bit of an adjustment at first (I had never been out of my time zone back home) but I am settling in pretty nicely.  I have a trip planned to Zell am See with a bunch of exchange students during the beginning of April.  Besides that, I am struggling to plan out other trips.  

 

I am tempted to go to Kitzbuhel for a day or two since it is only a few hours from Vienna, but I have heard that it is nothing special.  Is it worth it for a day or two?  Also, I'm looking to plan a bigger trip (3 or 4 days of skiing) for sometime next week, but am torn between St. Anton, Zermatt, and a few others.  This will probably be my only "big" trip while I am over here.  I need to be able to get there relatively easily (it looks like an overnight OBB train from Vienna might be the ticket) and am looking to do a day or two of guided skiing while I'm there (the rest will be in-bounds).  I also am looking for cheap lodging (I'm willing to stay a little ways away as long as there is transportation to the mountain) and am looking to keep the costs relatively low, though I don't want to sacrifice the skiing or the apres ski experience either (looking for the best Europe has to offer at an affordable price; I don't care about lodging).  A cool ski town/ village would be great as well; I'd like to get the European ski village experience.   

 

Can anyone sway me one way or another on any of these places?  Like I said I need to be able to rent high-end equipment, but it doesn't sound like that will be an issue.  I also only speak English as of now, so I'm not sure if that gives an edge to one place or another.  Does anyone know of any good guides/ tours offered in English over here?  If my skiing ability is important, I'm a Level 8 who is currently PSIA L2 and will be going for 3 next year.  I like to ski all over the mountain.  Any and all help is appreciated.  Thanks,

 

Tyler

post #17 of 20

Kitzbuhl is probably all right for 2 days, snow is on the thinner side, so expect man made snow where there are gaps.

 

Train connections to Innsbruck are pretty good - it may be worth it to head over there and get to one of the glacier area's up from Innsbruck.  Closer doesn't always mean quicker when traveling with a train... Didn't check the train schedules, but it would be worth checking.

post #18 of 20

St Anton usually is always a snow hole.  Definitely a ski town.

post #19 of 20

Apres Ski in St. Anton is fab, snow this year, is below normal...depends what you're looking for.

 

St. Anton does manage the mountain well with man made snow.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm PSIA L2.  Are there any discounts that I should be aware of (do any resorts offer discounts on lift passes, etc.)?

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