Sponsored post: Better access, groundbreaking new lifts and tantalising offers. There are a lot of reasons we want to ski the Austrian Tirol this winter
1. New flights to Innsbruck
Getting to the Tirol just got a lot easier! British Airways are launching direct flights from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol and gateway to some of the best-known ski resorts in the world. The new schedule kicks off on 4 December (hello Christmas markets!), with flights running four times a week during winter and twice a week in the summer months. Return fares start at £88pp.
There’s exciting news for Midlands-based skiers too, with Monarch launching a direct flight to Innsbruck from Birmingham as part of its winter schedule. The first outbound flight will be on 29 December, and prices start at £39pp (one way).
2. It’s home to the largest linked ski area in Austria
A new lift from St Anton am Arlberg will create the largest inter-linked ski area in Austria. The Flexenbahn will open this winter between Stuben/Rauz and Zürs, giving access to 305km of marked ski runs and connecting St Anton with Lech, Warth and Schröcken. That’s a whole lot of world-class skiing to enjoy!
The Arlberg will be connected all the way from St Anton to Warth-Shröcken this winter | TVB St. Anton am Arlberg/ Josef Mallaun
3. Austria’s largest glacier is about to get even better
Stubai, our favourite spot for an early season ski, is opening the world’s longest tri-cable gondola this Autumn, making access to the glacier even easier. The new 3S Eisgrat cable has 48 modern cabins and can transport 3,000 people per hour, doubling the previous capacity. Plus, the journey from the valley to the glacier will now take just 11 minutes. See you there on 29 October!
4. Sölden has a ground-breaking new lift
Sölden‘s new Giggijoch Mountain Gondola has the highest capacity of any in the world, carrying up to 4,500 people per hour. Running from the valley (1,362m) to Giggijoch (2,283m), the shorter transfer time (nine minutes) and barrier-free access will make morning queues a thing of the past. Our favourite feature might just be the new ski storage area at the top — ride up in your snow boots and slip into your heated ski boots at the top.
5. There’s a swanky new 10 person gondola in Hochsöll
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental are doing a stand-up job of improving their ski area. This year’s big story is the new 10 person gondola Salvenmoos in Hochsöll. It will replace a 2-seater chairlift built in 1988, dramatically increasing comfort and capacity. 100 new snow guns will also be introduced across the SkiWelt, taking the total to over 1,700.
The Giggijochbahn in Sölden is one of many exciting new lifts to open in the Austrian Tirol this winter
6. Mayrhofen’s season will be off to a hilarious start…
Altitude Festival, a week-long comedy festival, is moving from its traditional spring season slot to 11-17 December 2016, ensuring plenty of chuckles to kick off winter. This season’s line-up includes Zoe Lyons, Andy Askins, Daniel Sloss, Glenn Wool, Kai Humphries and The International Impro Allstars, with many more acts in the pipeline.
Crystal Ski is partnering with the festival this year and offers a week’s half board at the four-star Fun & Spa Hotel Strass from £562 per person (two sharing) with flights and transfers, departing on 10 December 2016, or £692 per person including wristband (entrance to all shows). Altitude wristbands will also get you one-day access to the nearby Hintertux Glacier.
7. Quick weekend getaways are easier than ever
Those new BA flights mean Ski Solutions are able to offer weekend breaks to St Anton. They’re offering four night packages (Wednesday evening to Sunday evening) to the Arlberg resort from £795 including, flights, transfers and B&B accommodation.
Flexiski, meanwhile, has introduced short-stay holidays in high, snowsure Obergurgl. Prices start from £957 per person (two sharing) for four nights’ half board at the luxurious five-star Hotel Hochfirst including flights from London Gatwick and private transfers.