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Skiing in Austria

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
It's a tough life but someone's got to do it. I will be working in Austria (Graz) for about a month this winter. I have a conference for a few days in Innsbruck and plan on skiing from there a little. After the conference I hope to get to St. Anton for a few days as that is the place I think I would most like to ski in Austria. While in Graz, I am thinking about taking a weekend in Schladming.

I am most interested in off-piste terrain and possibly some guided backcountry. Anyone have some guidance for me? None of my plans are set in stone yet. Also, while in Innsbruck which of the 6 or 7 resorts is the best for off-piste and steeps?

post #2 of 11
St Anton by far has the best off-piste terrain.

Gastein Valley has some good off-piste in Sport Gastein.

Schladming is more on-piste, but not too far from Graz.
post #3 of 11
St Anton is great for Off Piste, bot guided and stealing the odd line you spot within the boundary.

A great itinery is to take the backcountry tour between Stuben? and Lech. Also...with guide, there is a superb run from the top of Valluga to Stuben. If you take a guide you get access to the top stage of a bubble that is only run if guided. An alternative is to take a steep hike without a guide however, the slopes ou will be on are pretty prone to avalanche and from what I've heardthe route finding can be a little tricky unless you know the area well.
PS. Sorry I'm not spot on with the names.
post #4 of 11

I'm in Vienna and have friends in Graz. There are plenty of smaller hills around Graz and if it dumps heavy during winter there isn't too much of a need to travel further. Weekend skiing is no problem Dec-Mar

St Anton is the place to go in Austria for off-piste, very few other ski resorts have marked routes that are not groomed.

Note - If you duck a rope in Europe it's at your own risk and if you have a problem it is unlikely anybody will be there to save your rear-end. Best to use a guide or hook-up with someone who has good local knowledge.

Look here to see who's got snow ......,en/objectId,R GN7at,selectedEntry,home.html,folder,SNOWREPORT,se lElem,1,parentId,RGN7at/snowrpt.html

Look here to see other ski resorts around Innsbruck
I've skied at a few smaller places around Innsbruck but the many slopes of St Anton are too near to miss out on ......

My Austrian top ten list would include ...
St Anton/Lech/Zurs
Sölden/Hoch Sölden
Zell am See (but low so only after a good dump)

Kitzbuhel is famous but overall the terrain is not that steep and it's low so not so snow secure.
Schladming doesn't have too much expert terrain.

Feel free to drop me a PM if you have any further questions.

[ September 25, 2003, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: DangerousBrian ]
post #5 of 11
I recommend you pick up a copy of Off Piste Around the Arlberg by Andy Thurner. Getting a guide will help too.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks folks for the comments - keep em coming. Although we have a little BC experience I would only think about going with a guide or very experienced friends, especially in unfamiliar territory. The only time we venture out on our own is in familiar terrain with low to moderate avalanche danger. These comments and links are very helpful.

DangerousBrian, I'm surprised you included Dachstein as a favorite place to ski. I climbed the Dachstein last year with some Austrian friends (right after the very early snow dump at the end of September last year). While climing there was fantastic I didn't think the skiing possibilities looked all that great. Of course there were lots of people doing nordic training up by the galcier (as well as some army ski troups flying in on choppers for training). Just thought this might be an interesting question for others here - I will PM you to make contact and learn more.

[ September 25, 2003, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #7 of 11
Lots of good tips, specially St Anton/Lech area, there are some excellent on and off piste oppurtunities there. A guide is well worth the investment. Don't forget to join the festivities at the Krazy Kangaroo (the last few hundred meters of skiing can be challenging after it closes)

A good day trip south of Innsbruk is the Stubai glacier. It is not a huge area, but has always had great snow, and it has some good off piste that you can see before you ski it. It is probably not worth getting a guide there, but a great do it yourself area. Also has a 13 km trail to the bottom called the Wilde Grube, which ends at a killer umbrella bar.

Solden is a huge area, but I have only skied it early in the season so I don't know what the off piste is like. Ischgl is also a large area with a very modern lift system, and plenty of off piste to interest anyone, specially dropping down on the Swiss side.

Hope you have a great trip.

post #8 of 11
I enjoyed skiing a place called Zauchensee last Feb. Just a few miles west of Schladming. It might make a nice second nearby option to Graz. It was known locally as a pretty good snow hole considering the moderate elevations (similar to Schladming, 4-7k ft) at many ski areas in that part of Austria. It had a lot of single black diamond glades and tho small for alps, was as big as a medium size western US area.
post #9 of 11
Hmm, a lot of potential skiing for one post. Speak German? This the annual reference:

ADAC is the german AAA
post #10 of 11
jpfeiffer, thanks forthe link.
I have the year 2000 edition.
I love it, if for nothing else, to drool over it.
Now I'll try to get my hands on the one you link us to.
post #11 of 11
I'd add Ischgl and Bad Gastein to the list. Also, don't forget Swizterland. Davos is easily accesible from Western Austria and apparently has some good off-piste.

As for off-piste at St. Anton. Here's a little secret: check out the terrain accessible from Albona II above Steuben. Incredible. Also, there's amazing stuff accessible from the Madloch Trail--the trail that links the Seekopf side of Zuers to Lech. Madloch, in an of itself, is quite challenging and long--it covers close to 5000 feet of vert....

I just got back Austria two days ago. I biked from Passau to Vienna along the Danube cycle way. What an awsome, cheap vacation (7 nights lodging in 3-4 star hotels, bike rental, and luggage transfer for just 650 euros). Anyway, Vienna airport is getting a big facelift for the winter: new jet ports and lounges, but most important, there will be a new high-speed rail link from VIE to downtown Vienna that opens in December. The trip will take 16 minutes and cost 8 Euros. If anyone plans to fly to the Alps via VIE, I'd suggest checking your bags at the airport in the morning, spending a day in Vienna, and then charging back to the airport in the afternoon for the short Tyrolia shuttle to Innsbruck.....From Innsbruck, it's a short bus ride to STANTON. Enjoy! Ski Heil!

PS I forgot to mention that if you are in Graz, you might consider trying Slovenia or Slovakia just for kicks. It ain't Austria, but it might make for a fun and interesting diversion.
In Slovakia, the best off piste can be found on the Chopok Juh side of Jasna. For more on skiing in Slovakia, see the following article

Places You May Never Ski: Slovakia

[ October 01, 2003, 06:18 AM: Message edited by: West Virginia Skier ]
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