The resorts in the Austrian Tirol all cater for different levels of ability and ambition. Together they form a total snow zone.
Best for...Complete Beginners
The resort of Obergurgl is perfect for beginners and intermediates, with flattering easy-cruising slopes and a tradition for great ski tuition. An ultra modern lift system makes queues virtually unheard of while a gondola link to the resort of Hochgurgl offers further skiing or boarding possibilities! From zero experience you can progress quickly with the help of the friendly, good humoured, English-speaking ski instructors at the highly reputable local ski school.
Stay at the 4* Hotel Alpenaussicht on half board, where high standards of service, comfort and cuisine are top of the agenda. Prices start from £722 per person, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers. Direct flights from ten other UK airports available at a supplement.
Call Thomson Ski on 0871 971 0578 or visit thomsonski.co.uk
Best for......GOOD SKIERS
Set in the mountainous heart of the Ziller Valley, Mayrhofen is one of Austria's leading resorts and has long been a British favourite. The resort is perfect for confident intermediates and above, with the Zillertal Superski Pass covering a number of ski areas totalling 625km all - perfect for clocking up the miles. Mayrhofen is a bustling resort where there is always something going on and the après-ski is lively. One of the most popular venues is at the cable car top-station, so the partying starts before you've even left the slopes! If you prefer a bit more active après-ski then you can always have a go at tobogganing, sleigh rides, bowling, ice skating or curling.
Stay at the Stoanerhof Ski Lodge in Mayrhofen, with prices starting from £705 per person, including flights from Gatwick and resort transfers.
Call Ski World on 08444 930430 or visit skiworld.co.uk
Best for......SKI TOURING
Renowned as one of the best resorts in Austria for organised ski touring expeditions, Kühtai has more than 30 routes reaching peaks of over 3,000 meters. For the intrepid, ski touring combines the best of skiing and mountaineering. Synthetic 'skins' on the bottom of your touring skis mean that you can go uphill as well as down - allowing you to find those hidden valleys of virgin snow. To go on a ski tour, you have to be in good shape and need knowledge of the terrain and experience of the backcountry. That's why it's always best to choose a guided tour. Ski tours - including guide, transceivers, probe & shovel - cost from 40 for a half day group tour or from 80 for a full day and can be booked through Thomas Haider Schischule (www.schischule-kuehtai.at)
Stay seven nights at the Chalet Hotel Elisabeth in Kühtai, with prices starting from £625 per person, including flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck, resort transfers, 6 day lift pass, 6 day ski and boot hire, catered accommodation including full skiers buffet breakfast, free daily packed lunch, free daily afternoon tea and cake, 5 course evening meals, pre-dinner aperitif, choice of complimentary wines.
Call Inghams on 01483 791111 or visit inghams.co.uk
St Anton needs little introduction as one of Europe's top ski resorts, with its high snowfall record, improved lift systems and incredible deep powder. As such it provides a great range of off-piste possibilities, for both experts and adventurous intermediates. But it is important to choose a good off-piste guide before going beyond the limits. Piste to Powder mountain guides (www.pistetopowder.com) run courses with highly qualified guides and can show you the best runs from Rendl to Albona, above Stuben. And, of course, you have to sample the legendary runs from the summit of the Valluga cable car. The North Face, Bridge Couloir and East Couloir are also on the wish-list for any experienced off-piste skier.
Stay at the 5* Hotel Alte Post in central St Anton, only 2 minute's walk to the Galzig ski lift. Prices start from £1,167 per person, including flights from Gatwick, transfers and half board. It is the perfect luxury spot with indoor pool and spa area including sauna, steam rooms, infrared cabin, ice grotto, fitness room, as well as a lounge and bar area with open log fire and an extensive wine cellar.
Call Crystal Finest on 0871 231 2256 or visit crystalfinest.co.uk
Best for......SHORT BREAKS
City skiing has never been so easy, especially from Innsbruck, the Tirol's capital city. Not only can you be on the slopes within an hour of landing at the airport, but the ski lift takes you straight up the mountain directly from the city centre. What's more the Tirolean capital is surrounded by a total of nine ski areas and 285km of piste, making up the Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck. From the Olympic slopes of the Axamer Lizum to glacier skiing on the Stubai, all the ski areas are easily accessible using the free bus service and covered under one lift pass - the Innsbruck Glacier Ski Pass.
The 3* Hotel Maximillian in Innsbruck starts from £395 for four nights per person HB. Children up to 12 years old receive a 15% discount when sharing a room with two adults. The price includes return London Gatwick flight travel and transfers to resort. For more information visit skiweekends.com or call 02380 206 971. Or visit Innsbruck offers
Best for...VILLAGE CHARM
The enduring attraction of Tirolean ski resorts is that most began as rural mountain villages and have been built up around these communities, rather than being purpose built resorts. Kitzbühel's long skiing tradition began more than 100 years ago, when Franz Reisch took his first tentative steps into skiing in the winter of 1892/93. The resort is now one of the most cosmopolitan in the Alps - with a wonderful, cobbled old town, great hotels, award-winning restaurants and cosy cafés. This is great intermediate terrain and is also one of the big names of the ski world thanks to the annual Hahnenkamm downhill race course and the snow arena polo world cup in January.
Stay seven nights at the 3* Hotel Strasshofer on half board, including return Gatwick flights and resort transfers, with prices starting from £464 per person (£494 from Manchester, £504 from Belfast).
Best for......X-COUNTRY SKIERS
If you fancy a change from alpine skiing, then why not give cross-country a go? There can be few better places to learn than on the immaculately groomed trails of the Leutasch Valley. The area, including neighbouring Seefeld, has hosted the Nordic events of the Winter Olympics twice. With over 250kms of trails it offers some of the finest and most extensive trails in Europe. Stay in the tiny hamlet of Kirchplatzl in the heart of the Leutasch Valley, just over half an hour from Innsbruck. After an active day, the four-star Hotel Xander offers a haven to unwind in, with an indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam bath, whirlpool and spa.
Prices start from £1,317 per person for seven nights on half board at the 4* Sporthotel Xander, including flights and resort transfers. The price also includes a fully supported cross-country ski programme over five days with resident Headwater rep as well as a crosscountry ski pass, boots, poles and ski hire.
Call Headwater on 01606 720199 or visit headwater.com
If you are a keen boarder you will love the resort of Sölden for its excellent snow reliability, access to two high glaciers, an impressive lift system and very lively apres-ski scene. There's great freeriding for experienced boarders and an awesome terrain park above Giggijoch - with kickers, rails, boxes and a chill-out zone. At the Swatch Snowpark you can even 'Shoot My Ride' - filming your jumps and tricks through the Funpark which is then shown on the big screen in the Swatch Snowpark and uploaded on to the swatch.com, so your mates can see you at your best! For more information visit oetztal.at/en
Stay at the 3* Pension Waldheim on B&B, offering great value and fantastic access to the slopes with the Gaislachkogelbahn only 150m away. Prices start from £515 per person, including flights from Gatwick or Manchester and resort transfers.
Call Neilson on 0845 070 3460 or neilson.co.uk