Austria is known for its alpine charm, impressive ski lifts and big mountain skiing, whether you are skiing the Tyrol, Arlberg, Otztal, or Salzburg Alps. A family ski holiday in the Austrian Alps is a fantastic combination of old world charm – dining in mountain huts and staying in classic chalets in historic ski villages, while riding modern ski lifts to beautifully prepared (groomed) ski trails at huge ski resorts with excellent ski schools for the kids – kindergarten on snow usually multilingual, and extensive off-piste terrain for the adventuresome.
Our editors have personally reviewed Kitzbuhel, Innsbruck, St Anton, Lech/Zurs, Soelden, Zillertal, SkiWelt, Stubaier and Hintertux Glaciers, and Obergurgl Hochgurgl. St Anton is probably the best known village in Austria’s Arlberg ski region which includes Lech, Zurs, Warth Schroken, Stuben and St Christoph. In this vast Arlberg region, you can ski all these on one Ski Arlberg lift ticket that includes 94 lifts, 211 miles of groomed (“prepared”) ski runs and thousands of acreage of natural off-piste terrain (powder bowls and chutes) if you are an advanced skier. These resorts provide excellent ski schools for all ages, and mountain guide services if you wish to venture off-piste – which can be incredibly rewarding but you need to know where to go (and where not to). We have traveled to find the Best Family Ski Resorts in Austria.
Kitzbuhel is an historic but stylish Austrian ski town with great ski terrain, a variety of lodging, dining, and family activities like sledding, plus après ski and nightlife in the beautiful alpine village. Many skiers know of Kitzbühel for its famous Hahnenkamm downhill – the biggest alpine race event anywhere. Kitzbühel ski resort covers over 209 kilometers (129 miles) of groomed trails connected by 54 modern lifts. Kitzbühel and St Anton are among the best skiing in the Alps – both with fairy tale settings in winter for a family ski vacation and posh slopeside lodging. Nearby SkiWelt has affordable family hotels and kids can ski free with parents. Lech Zurs is another large ski resort with several delightful ski villages for lodging including Oberlech and Zug.
Also in the Tirol, Solden offers two high elevation glaciers, snow is assured early and late season at this impressive ski resort with 35 lifts and 3 mountain peaks over 10,000-feet. Nearby Obergurgl Hochgurgl offers skiing on two mountains connected by a high mountain gondola, and very family friendly terrain, ski lessons, and ski in ski out lodging. While smaller than other Alps ski resorts, Obergurgl’s high elevation ski resort has less skiers, making it popular with families.
Innsbruck is a popular Austrian ski destination with nine nearby ski resorts and a beautiful historic city as your base for après ski, shopping, dining and exploring. Innsbruck’s ski season is long due to skiing on the nearby Stubaier Glacier. We recommend Kühtai, just a half hour from downtown Innsbruck as an ideal family ski resort where you can lodge slopeside overnight as well high in the mountains.
Ischgl is another extensive ski resort in Austria’s Tyrol with 41 lifts and 238 kilometers of prepared runs. Austria’s Salzburg Region region also offers fantastic ski vacations, includingFlachau and Maria Alm. In this European Alps country the size of Maine, there are over 86 ski areas in Austria, all within a few hours drive.
Austria is considered the birthplace of alpine skiing, this is where Hannes Schneider founded the first ski school. The first ski club was originated in the Arlberg in 1901, the first 5 star ski hotel debuted in Kitzbühel in the 1920s, and Dopplemayr constructed the first ski lifts in Austria. Families on ski holiday in the Austrian Alps will enjoying learning about the origins of Alpine skiing, while taking in spectacular scenery, skiing and snowboarding on big mountains with quality snow, and being treated to genuine Austrian hospitality. See our Videos of Skiing in Austria and our Top Austrian Ski Resorts for Families.