Austria is the land of cute alpine villages, gently wooded slopes and friendly hosts. It’s where beginners can learn with an arm round the shoulder rather than a shove down the slope, where intermediates can ski all day on pistes wider than a motorway. Yet it’s also home to classical steep resorts, such as St Anton.
And the superb skiing is washed down with the world’s liveliest après-ski. Austria is where après has its spiritual home – in the slope-side bars of party resorts like Mayrhofen and Ischgl, skiers dance in their ski-boots to an irresistible blend of alcohol and cheesy Europop.
Transfer times in Austria are mostly shorter, snowmaking is first-class and its lift systems are among the world’s fastest. It’s also where everything, from your lift pass to your lessons, lunches and liquid refreshment, costs less.
Perennial Brit favourite Söll is the liveliest village in the vast SkiWelt domain. Popular with beginners, but it works best for intermediates – and lovers of Austrian table-dancing.
This traditional Austrian family-friendly ski village is the biggest of the nine gateway villages around the SkiWelt ski area, and the main gateway to its 279 km of mostly easy and intermediate pistes. Its reputation for family fun isn’t just down to easy ski runs either, with loads to do in and around the resort, from ice skating to making a splash at the aqua-leisure centre.