Family ski holidays need a lot of organisation: from ski in, ski out accommodation and large, easy-to-reach beginner areas, to flexible rental arrangements, excellent child-care facilities and a wide range of restaurants catering for multiple diets. Plus, an exciting variety of alternative activities is also key, as let’s face it, kids can get bored easily.
Happily, with approximately 80 ski resorts and 3,000 kilometres of pistes showcasing modern lifts and resort infrastructure, the Austrian Tirol has a huge range of options to choose from. Here we list our favourite six…
Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau
With its excellent childcare facilities, ski lessons for beginners and wide range of runs, the Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau has everything a family needs, and more. Even though the resort has more than 100 km of pistes served by nearly 50 lifts, it offers a relaxed feel. Five local ski schools and two ski kindergartens mean that parents and children can benefit from top tuition.
Approximately 85% of the slopes are covered with snow cannons, so the conditions remain consistent throughout the season. Plus, there are many other activities on offer, including sledging, snowshoeing and ice skating, and Innsbruck Airport is just 45 minutes’ drive by car.
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €279 total. Price is for accommodation only. A six-day lift pass costs from €100 per child (aged 15 and under), and from €199.50 per adult. During the Easter holidays (1-17 March 2017) children (aged 15 and under) can ski for free. Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £192 pp.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental
One of Austria’s largest ski resorts, the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental offers more than 254 km of pistes for skiers and snowboarders to explore, alongside numerous off-snow activities.
Consisting of nine villages, including Brixen im Thale, Going and Söll, which can be accessed using innovative lifts, all levels are catered for, with easy slopes – including multiple beginner areas for children – race courses and fun parks. And if families find themselves at the top of the Hochbrixen cable car, they might like to visit the enchanting Igloo Village that features sculptures made from natural ice. Leave the skis (or snowboard) behind and enjoy a husky ride, snow tubing in Ellmau, sitting in a horse-drawn carriage, ice-skating or swimming in one of the many pools. And children can enjoy Kiko Söll – the new adventure farmyard open all-year round.
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €980 total. Price is for accommodation only. A six-day lift pass costs from €100 per child (aged 15 and under), and from €200 per adult. If a parent purchases a SkiWelt ski pass, valid for three days or more, children aged 15 and under ski for free during the same period (valid from 11 March to 2 April 2017). Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £192 pp.
The ski resort of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is a firm favourite with families, and with good reason: the facilities and slopes are designed with children and parents in mind (although there is also plenty of terrain for more advanced skiers and snowboarders). The high network of pistes – extending from 1,200 m to 2,800 m – remain open well into spring even though the three villages of Serfaus, Fiss and Ladis enjoy a good amount of sun. Beginners can take their first turns at Plansegg and beside the mid-way station of the Sonnenbahn cable car. Alternatively, parents can check out the more advanced black runs in the Pezid and Zwölferkopf mountains, safe in the knowledge that the childcare experts at Murmlikrippe are keeping their kids entertained.
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €996 total. Price is for accommodation only. A six-day lift pass costs from €152.50 per child (aged 15 and under), and from €264 per adult. Children born in, or after, 2011 ski for free (ID is required). Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £192 pp.
Named after the colossal glacier-topped mountain that dominates the region (as well as marking the border between Austria and Germany), the Zugspitz Arena offers un-crowded pistes and plenty of untracked powder. The 139 km of slopes are all served by fast, modern lifts and connected by free, modern buses. Families can make the most of the gentle runs, good ski schools and reasonable prices. Parents wanting an adventure (while their children are being looked after by one of the many nanny services) can head to the back of the ski area for added excitement, which drops from Hochalm (1,610 m) down to Bichlbach (1,075 m), or explore the steeper pistes under the north-facing Panoramabahn lift. Plus, families can get together to enjoy all the extra activities, including tobogganing, sleigh rides and ice skating.
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €1,394 total. Price is for accommodation only. A six-day lift pass costs from €117 per child (aged 15 and under), and from €234 per adult. Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £192 pp.
St. Johann in Tirol
A short distance from Kitzbühel, renowned for the annual Hahnenkamm (considered the most famous downhill ski race in the world), St. Johann in Tirol is ideal for families. Its beginner slopes – many of which are serviced by free, practice lifts – are at a range of altitudes, meaning hesitant skiers and snowboarders will not have to contend with poor snow conditions. There are four well-established ski schools, and several childcare facilities available, including Kapa-Kinderstube and a special baby hotel. More adventurous kids can explore the fun slope, which has many jumps and obstacles. And for those who fancy a bigger challenge, Kitzbühel is only 20 minutes away by car…
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €525 total. Price is for accommodation only. A six-day lift pass costs from €110.50 per child (aged 15 and under), and from €219.50 per adult. Return flights (London to Salzburg) cost from £72 pp.
Divided into six zones, the Silvapark Galtür is a snow-sure resort in the Paznauntal Valley. Because it’s a smaller, lesser-known resort, the slopes are usually quiet and lift queues minimal.
Those new to the sport should head to the Zwergerlwelt (Dwarves’ World), where young children can make their first turns. Those after a little more of a challenge should factor in a visit to Abenteuerland (Adventure World), which has many fun obstacles and tunnels. Teenagers can work on their tricks on the rails, boxes and racecourses in the Actionpark. Once a week, families can enjoy night skiing on flood-lit slopes; a top treat for all. Other highlights include snowshoeing and even the chance to explore the resort in a piste basher.
A week’s stay, for a family of four (two adults and two children), costs from €730 total. Price is for accommodation only. A family lift pass costs from €510 for two adults and two children (aged 18 and under). Return flights (London to Innsbruck) cost from £192 pp.
For more information about the Tirol region, visit visittirol.co.uk. Alternatively, keep up to date on Facebook facebook.coml or Twitter @VisitTirol.