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Anyone been to Austria?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine is going to be living there this winter so I think that will be a pretty good excuse to take off for a vacation over there. Anyone been before? It will definaly be a skiing vacation... Maybe cross over into Switzerland for a couple days. Only down side is it looks like ill only be able to have 10 days off at most for this trip.
post #2 of 14
Where in Austria? The major population centers (Vienna, Salzburg, etc) tend to be distant from the Alps.

It's a great place to ski - you'll love it, and wish you had more time. The areas around Innsbruck are decent, St Anton is absolutely incredible. 10 days isn't a whole lot of time, I would look to spending almost the entire time in St. Anton - maybe go to Moritz for a day or two, but trust me, St. Anton is more than big enough for 7 days of skiing (if you have only 10 days off, and are travelling from BC - 7 days of skiing will probably be the max - 6 may be more realistic).


To wet your appetite, here's some pics from my fiance and I's trip to Austria last winter:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=507307

J
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure where in Austria he's living... I'll give him a call tonight and see. I'm assuming he's in a major city as he's playing pro hockey over there. I think I would try and leave thursday night, and return sunday the following week. I might be able to squeeze a couple more days in, but I won't know until closer to december. Was it fairly expensive over there? What is a typical lift ticket? I think we'd probly ski for 3 or 4 days and spend the rest touring the country. Other than skiing, what did you do over there?

Wow those are some amazing pictures.. I've heard there were very few tree's over ther eon the ski hills but had no idea it was like that! What kind of temperatures did you see over there? Can you speak german? I can't so I will be relying on my friend who says the German is starting to come back to him (He lived there when he was born up until 5). Would someone who only speaks english and some broken french be able to survive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake75 View Post
Where in Austria? The major population centers (Vienna, Salzburg, etc) tend to be distant from the Alps.

It's a great place to ski - you'll love it, and wish you had more time. The areas around Innsbruck are decent, St Anton is absolutely incredible. 10 days isn't a whole lot of time, I would look to spending almost the entire time in St. Anton - maybe go to Moritz for a day or two, but trust me, St. Anton is more than big enough for 7 days of skiing (if you have only 10 days off, and are travelling from BC - 7 days of skiing will probably be the max - 6 may be more realistic).


To wet your appetite, here's some pics from my fiance and I's trip to Austria last winter:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=507307

J
post #4 of 14
I wouldn't worry overly about the language - I was in Ski Welt (Ellmau to be precise) in Jan, and I don't really speak any (just odd words and what my guidebook told me!) and I survived OK. Not sure what it may be like out of resort. You can get by surprisingly easy once you get the idea of German - a lot of it makes a lot of sense if you know a little
post #5 of 14
All you need to know:

Ein bier, bitte

Noch ein Bier, bitte

I'm pretty sure there's pro hockey in Innsbruck which would put you in the middle of all the skiing...west to the Arlberg, southeast to the Kitzbuhel area. That would be shweet. On the other hand if he's in Graz or Linz, it's a long way to anything worth skiing. There's a real cool place close to Salzburg called Obertauern.
post #6 of 14
Innsbruck is a great place.... even has a few casinos..... Italy and the dolomites are close.... Enjoy it.....
post #7 of 14
1. Cost: lift tickets were about 35 Euro a day ( xe.com is a great currency exchange rate website), hotel with breakfast ranged from 40 to 65 Euro/day, sit down meals 8 to 12 Euro each.
2. Weather - we were there from late-December to mid-January (a little over 3 weeks) - one day on the slopes was bitter, bitter cold. The rest of the time, we were racing to remove layers - it was about perfect skiing weather.
3. Language - the travel guides that tell you "almost everyone who you have to talk to (waiters, bartenders, etc) speaks english, especially in a resort area" lie; in reality, we tended to be lucky if we found someone who spoke English. Between the phrasebooks, us trying to communicate in German and the help trying to communicate in English - we made it. It's definitely possible, it's not a reason to not go, it's an overcomable problem, BUT don't think it will be easy - because all of the guidebooks tend to imply that it will be easy. Sometimes it is easy - most of the time it's a struggle.

4. Other things to do.

It really depends on where you are, and when you're there. The Christmas markets in almost every city can be prety nice. Sylvester (New Years) in Vienna is absolutely incredible - if you're in the country over the new year, you owe it to yourself to get to Vienna - 7 different stages with various bands playing all night (everything from Flaminco to Metal to a full symphony orhcestra) & best of all, excepting the food, drink & any souvenirs - it's all free.

If you go to Salzburg, don't miss the Stiegl Brewery tour. (It's either free or heavily discounted if you get the Salzburg tourist card.) Then keep in mind that you're really there for the tasting room at the end of the tour.

Generally though, find the tourist information in each city you visit - they have discount cards, maps, etc - they are a great resource. Also, I've found that when people move to another country (or even a new area in their own country) for work - a lot of times they are working so hard to fit in, get established, etc in their new environment that they forget to actually do some of the "touristy" things in their new city. What I'm getting at here: it will probably be good for you to drag your friend out to do some of the touristy things, even though he'll be living there, because there's a good chance that if you don't, he may never end up doing it.

J
post #8 of 14
10 days for the trip with half of that skiing is fine. This is a great opportunity, go for it. I’ve been to Vienna on a non-ski business trip, great city. Been to the province of Salzburg on a ski trip, great skiing, great cultural stuff. Briefly passed through the country a couple other times. I never made it to St. Anton, the real epicenter of Austrian skiing, but even the second tier Austrian ski areas are mindblowingly sweet. Language is no problem. Their peak for good snow is similar to the US, all of Feb and 1st half of March, but also very dependant on elevation, which varies greatly and highest places have good skiing into late spring, glaciers all year. Most trip costs are equal or less than US. Airfare is more and some miscellaneous stuff like passports add up.

Here’s a bunch of reports that will over load you with info including coverage of most famous Austrian ski resorts found in western part of country called the Arlberg; i.e. St. Anton, Lech, Ischgl, and some lesser known fine areas further to the east/central Austria:
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...article_id=450 St. Anton
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...article_id=449 Lech
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...article_id=134 Ischgl
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...article_id=446 Salzburg part 1
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...article_id=445 Salzburg part 2


•Going Further Afield: St. Anton, Austria
•Going Further Afield: Lech, Austria
•Going Further Afield: Ischgl, Austria
•Going Further Afield: Sölden, Austria
•Going Further Afield: St. Moritz, Switzerland
•Firsthand Report: Salzburg (Part One: Salzburg, Flachau, Bad Hofgastein, Zell am See)
•Firsthand Report: Salzburg (Part Two: More on Salzburg, Zauchensee and Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang)
post #9 of 14
Toyota driver,

I've been to Kitzbuhel. Think about 5 Apex's stacked on top of each other. The snow is not necessarily any better. The Germans are quite pushy in the lift lines. But overall, I would not have traded the experience for any other trip. The lady at the small hotel I stayed at did not speak more than a word or two of English, but everybody knows what to do. Kitzbuhel is overpriced relative to lesser known smaller resorts, but they have more modern lifts. The skiing is different in the alps because the tree line is at a lower altitude. The vastness of the skis spaces is truly amazing. But you'll remember your trip more for the people that you meet.

The funniest moment was when I was riding the train back out of there (with my ski gear bagged up). A lady asked me in German how the snow was (most of the Europeans can spot foreigners 1.61 kilometers away and will speak to you directly in English). I was about to tell her "no sprechen ze deutsche" when I realized I understood her question. Then I stumbled over what to answer her with in German that I learned only from watching Hogan's Heroes. I must have looked like an idiot taking a minute to answer a simple question with all the facial expressions I went through.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Supraman View Post
A friend of mine is going to be living there this winter so I think that will be a pretty good excuse to take off for a vacation over there. Anyone been before? It will definaly be a skiing vacation... Maybe cross over into Switzerland for a couple days. Only down side is it looks like ill only be able to have 10 days off at most for this trip.
I live in Austria, so.. if I could help ya,- just let me know!

Most time when I go skiing I do it in the area Zell am See/ Kaprun. There are MANY skiareasand lifts (Schmittenhoehe, Wildkogel, Kitzbuehl (there is a new gondola bringing you from there direct into the Kitzbuehl-Area), Weißsee, the glacier of Kitzsteinhorn (so there is NO problem if there is not that much snow at the beginning or end of the ski-season here, you could ski for sure on the glacier.) and and and.. To say it short: Snow-garantee and skiing for everyone there. And it' s a little bit cheaper there than in Ischgl or St. Anton.

Hopefully this helped ya a little bit..
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BEDskiers View Post
I live in Austria, so.. if I could help ya,- just let me know!

Most time when I go skiing I do it in the area Zell am See/ Kaprun. There are MANY skiareasand lifts (Schmittenhoehe, Wildkogel, Kitzbuehl (there is a new gondola bringing you from there direct into the Kitzbuehl-Area), Weißsee, the glacier of Kitzsteinhorn (so there is NO problem if there is not that much snow at the beginning or end of the ski-season here, you could ski for sure on the glacier.) and and and.. To say it short: Snow-garantee and skiing for everyone there. And it' s a little bit cheaper there than in Ischgl or St. Anton.

Hopefully this helped ya a little bit..
Zell am See/Kaprun is a beautiful area beside a lake (See), similar to Tahoe with summer tourism as big or bigger than winter. The marketeers used to call it EuropaSport region. Zell (aka Schmittenhoehe) is the lower elev mid-winter ski area with sunny slopes ideal for mellow skiers. Kitzsteinhorn glacier is couple miles away and much higher elev (10k feet), good for fringe season or powder hounds. Both have verticals of 3-4k feet, yet few Americans know of either! The lively après ski town/action is at base of Zell am See slopes. Other sizable ski areas such as Saalbach are within easy drive for day tripping.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
Zell am See/Kaprun is a beautiful area beside a lake (See), similar to Tahoe with summer tourism as big or bigger than winter. The marketeers used to call it EuropaSport region. Zell (aka Schmittenhoehe) is the lower elev mid-winter ski area with sunny slopes ideal for mellow skiers. Kitzsteinhorn glacier is couple miles away and much higher elev (10k feet), good for fringe season or powder hounds. Both have verticals of 3-4k feet, yet few Americans know of either! The lively après ski town/action is at base of Zell am See slopes. Other sizable ski areas such as Saalbach are within easy drive for day tripping.
EAXACTLY
post #13 of 14
I've been to Lech and Saalbach, both were great but I don't think I'd plan to go back to Saalbach -- it took forever to get there and back from the airport in Munich (4 hours there, 6 hours back) and everybody does Saturday to Saturday trips, so the traffic is bad on Saturdays. On the other hand, Lech is probably the most beautiful village I've ever seen and I can't wait to get back there again. Most everyone we encountered spoke proficient English, but you're likely to find less of that among people like bus drivers, some waiters and waitresses, etc., and you can't count on signage (streets, bus stops, airports) to be in English either. The food was also better in Lech, some of the best of it was in the mountain huts which are very reasonably priced. Don't let stories of the lift lines scare you, you just shuffle along and once in a while someone cuts in front of you resulting in you getting to the top of the hill 15 seconds later than you would have otherwise. The other downside is the crowds. Particularly in Saalbach, I have never skied in such crowds in my life and I'm on the east coast! But you gotta go!
post #14 of 14
Went to Soll, Austria in 04 and 05.
The place is brilliant, the slopes are well linked and you can ski all day and not be on the same run (for a week).
The apres ski is the best thing, the slopes become surprisingly quiet about 3pm, everyone is in the bar. The pubs are jumping, they play Austria drinking music (umpa umpa) and everyone dances and sings in their ski gear.
Fantastic place.

Hope you enjoy
Pedro
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