Affordable skiing, short transfers, mega fun on and off the slopes – it’s easy to see why these Tirolean ski areas are a hit with families
As the nights draw in, families across the country are dusting off their ski gear ready for what is shaping up to be one of the most memorable winters on record. After 18 months away from the slopes, just imagine how fantastic it will be to be back in the mountains doing what you love best: skiing with your favourite people.
The Tirol is fully open again this winter and is a great choice for families – the region’s ski resorts are renowned for their family friendly approach to skiing and are busy prepping to make sure that visitors will enjoy the magic of a winter holiday together once again. So, where to ski?
ST. JOHANN IN TIROL
This charming resort in the Leukental Valley has a fine selection of accessible, quiet and mellow slopes that provide the perfect place to introduce your children to the sport.
When you need to take a breakfrom the fun there are numerous cosy mountain huts where you can enjoy a hot chocolate and recount your adventures, or if you’d like to expand your ski experience there are plenty of tempting options, including skiing in the nearby, famous resorts of Kitzbühel or SkiWelt.
You can choose from a range of ski passes that will suit all abilities, including the 3 Länder Freizeit Arena ski pass, which gives access to 171km of pistes, or the amazing Super Ski Card, which covers 2750km of pistes, including three glaciers.
Children will love the snowy chocolate box-pretty village of St. Johann In Tirol and nearby Oberndorf, Kirchdorf and Erpfendorf, and if they tire of skiing there’s no end of other ways to keep them entertained, from building a snowman to ice skating and tobogganing. For stormy days there are also indoor options, including an indoor playground, a climbing and bouldering wall and an indoor swimming pool.
The area is renowned for its family friendly accommodation, so when staying here you can expect spacious family rooms, play areas, children’s meals on the menu every day, along with excellent childcare facilities and a fun programme of daily events and activities for kids of all ages – and all at great value.
SKIWELT WILDER KAISER BRIXENTAL
This is one of the biggest, most modern and most environmentally friendly ski resorts in the world, comprising of nine idyllic ski-in/ski-out snowsure villages surrounded by magnificent scenery, including more than 70 peaks above 3000m.
As well as hundreds of wide, gentle pistes on which to practice and gain confidence, the resort has a great range of facilities for families. There are 22 ski schools, top-notch childcare options and free nursery slopes, alongside three fun parks, eleven fun slopes with ‘ski parcours’, speed measurement runs, ski movie routes and SkiWelt chill-out areas with free Wi-Fi. Phew – you might need a chill-out session after all that fun…
And if all that isn’t enough to keep you and your family going, there’s also Austria’s largest night-skiing area, with 13km of floodlit runs.
The Ski Welt also has three toboggan runs that are floodlit at night and stay open until midnight for those who can take the pace!
Talking about keeping the pace, for super-keen families who like a challenge, there is the new signposted SkiWelt Tour, which lets you discover the most beautiful slopes in the SkiWelt. You can either ski it clockwise, skiing 69km connected by 34 lifts, or ski it counter-clockwise and soar down 84km of pistes connected by 37 lifts.
Both will bring you back to your starting point without using the same slope twice, offering the most stunning views of the surrounding peaks.
SKI JUWEL ALPBACHTAL WILDSCHÖNAU
The Ski Juwel presents families with the classic Austrian ski experience – traditional, picturesque alpine villages tucked beneath impressive snowsure mountains, yet all less than an hour’s drive from Innsbruck.
Pretty villages like Alpbach (voted Austria’s ‘most beautiful village’) and Auffach, which are linked by a gondola, are perfect for families, boasting wide, open pistes for all levels – and with 109km in total, there is plenty to go at.
There are numerous ski trails and lift specificall designed for children and beginners, along with a wide range of top-class ski schools and children’s clubs.
There is also night skiing for kids with excess energy to burn, along with some fun and unusual ways to enjoy the snow without being on skis, such as learning how to build an igloo, or zooming down the Alpbachtaler Lauser-Sauser alpine coaster. This two-seater sledge on rails can reach speeds of up to 42kmph while descending over 134 vertical metres over two jumps and through two 360° twists! Thrills guaranteed. Talking of thrills, be sure to set aside an evening for tobogganing.
One of the best in the area is the toboggan run from the Lanerköpflbahn that winds its way through alpine pastures to Niederau, a small but popular resort celebrated for its mix of gentle beginners slopes and demanding valley runs.
The attractive villages of the Ski Juwel area offer a range of family packages – including free ski passes for children in March – so there is no need to break the bank either.