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Kitzbühel, bekannt für die Rennstrecke Streif mit der Hahnenkamm-Abfahrt. Bild: gevision / shutterstock

Fairytale dreams in white – the 5 most popular ski resorts in the Alps

“The mountains are silent masters and make silent students,” Goethe once said, with the Alps in mind. In their scenic and cultural diversity, the Alps are a unique entity – a symbol of the world of mountains in all its aspects. They fascinate in all seasons. With snowshoes or touring skis, the peaks can also be climbed in winter. Large parts of the Alps are now accessible to every skier and snowboarder by lift and mountain railway. A traditional fan base of skiing can be found in the Alps as well as sophisticated, world-famous jet-set resorts with après-ski offers of all kinds.

Even though the intensive development for winter sports has left its mark, there are still the enchanted places in the mountains to discover.

We have tracked down some of them – the 5 most popular winter sports resorts in the Alps:

Garmisch Partenkirchen – this is where the winter sports enthusiast’s heart laughs

Alps, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The famous ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Image: Milan1983 / shutterstock

Admittedly, Germany’s share of the Alpine mountains is small. Nevertheless, a narrow mountain strip between Lake Constance and Berchtesgaden offers competition to some high alpine regions.

Felix Neureuther’s home area offers three ski mountains: Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Alpspitze. When the sun shines from the winter sky, sparkling crystals on its peaks inspire. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the famous double town in the Werdenfelser Land, is idyllic and snow-covered. At the foot of the striking Wetterstein massif, the small Upper Bavarian town with its range of winter sports activities is the top destination in the country. The development of the winter sports resort dates back to 1880. Initially, a Munich ice skating club used Lake Rießer See as an ice rink. This was followed by a toboggan and natural bobsleigh run. In 1936, the Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen; later, daredevil downhill skiers race down the 3690-metre-long “Kandahar Downhill” in the World Cup race. The popular New Year’s ski jumping also arouses media interest year after year. In front of a magnificent mountain panorama, above the Olympic city, wine-interactive people imagine themselves in paradise. Here, comfortable lifts and legendary slopes lie at the feet of ski enthusiasts.

In addition, Partenkirchen inspires with a pretty town centre and a magnificent view of the Zugspitze massif in the south. Garmisch is rather sophisticated with picturesque old farmhouses. Not far away is the villa of the composer Richard Strauss, who died in 1949.

The ski area meets every requirement. Ski dwarfs enjoy cheerful “board fun” in the children’s area and experts meet on the pleasure slopes below the Alpspitz summit. Over 40 kilometres of slopes, four snow-covered valley runs and well-groomed ski routes over 5 kilometres are available. Meanwhile, 17 lifts transport the guests. Indeed: In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the winter sports enthusiast’s heart is laughing.

Montafon – the friendly valley with fantastic slopes

Alps, Montafon
Montafon in Austria, Image: Jacqueline Abromeit / shutterstock

Numerous glaciers, beautiful mountain lakes, over 900 three-thousand-metre peaks – Austria can rightly call itself an Alpine republic. In addition to countless treasures of the mountains, the country is home to beautiful winter sports resorts. Sport on “skis” has shaped Austria’s image all over the world.

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If you leave Bludenz on the main road and drive in the direction of Schruns, you will find a picture book valley with pretty villages. Framed by the peaks of the Rätikon, the Silvretta Group and the Verwall Mountains, you are on one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the world. The view wanders to the enchanting towns of Schruns, Tschagguns and St. Gallenkirch. The 40-kilometre-long and relatively wide Montafon is located in the south-east of Vorarlberg. Despite popular winter tourism, the villages of the densely populated valley have been able to retain their village character. Those responsible pulled the emergency brake in good time and put a stop to the construction frenzy.

Even Ernest Hemingway was thrilled by the breathtaking scenery of the Montafon. In 1925/26 he spent his winter holidays in Schruns. Thanks to its central location, the village is a popular starting point for a wealth of excursions, hikes and ski tours. Like Hemingway once did, holidaymakers enjoy fascinating insights into history, culture and tradition and go on ski tours in the surrounding mountains.

Gaschurn, St. Gallenkirch and Gortipohl offer access to the winter sports area “Silvretta Nova” with numerous lifts.

Silvretta-Montafon is the largest ski area in the Montafon with 113 kilometres of pistes and 27 kilometres of ski routes. The highest areas reach up to an altitude of 2,430 meters. From early winter to spring, this region offers excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Countless kilometres of downhill runs of all levels of difficulty, 35 lifts to transport guests – including the fastest 8-seater chairlift in Vorarlberg – make for a great winter sports area.

 

Salzburger Land – a winter paradise

Flachau, Salzburg
Flachau in the Salzburger Sportwelt amadé, Image: Alexander Chizhenok / shutterstock

Picturesque villages, white powdered mountains, historic places and lakes frozen under ice – we stay in Austria and linger in the mountains of the Salzburger Land. Surrounded by the Hohe Tauern, the Dachstein massif and the Berchtesgaden Alps, the Austrian province presents itself with a surprising diversity. The fascinating ski mountains and their high-altitude valley heads rise above the sea of fog that is common in winter and grant visitors bright sun.

Almost everywhere in the mountainous parts of the country, excellent ski runs are guaranteed until April or May. A constantly growing number of lifts and mountain railways complement the natural conditions for winter sports. 2200 kilometres of cross-country ski trails and 2500 kilometres of winter hiking trails await guests. One of the most famous ski destinations is Amadé. Here, Radstadt, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Wagrain, Flachau and Filzmoos form one of the largest ski areas in Austria. The Gastein Valley is no less attractive.

The ski circus of Saalbach-Hinterglemm is particularly casual. The famous World Cup resort inspires in a fascinating panoramic landscape with perfect piste conditions, untouched fresh snow and cosy huts. Countless winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing pleasure at the highest level. 70 modern lifts are available for transport. Freeriders, snowboarders and skiers appreciate the great location as well as the legendary après-ski.

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Davos – the winter wonderland

Swiss Alps, Davos
Davos in Switzerland,
Image: Boris-B / shutterstock

About 60 percent of Switzerland is located in the Alps. Around a hundred of its peaks reach the 4000-metre mark. The quality of the cross-country ski trails, the accommodation and the gastronomy – in terms of winter sports, the state has earned top marks. The Swiss high mountain landscapes are undoubtedly among the most beautiful in the Alps.

In the canton of Graubünden , Davos declares itself to be a small universe. The city with an international ambience is not only home to the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research. With its wonderful scenery and great snow, Davos has made a name for itself as a first-class ski resort. The six ski regions of Davos and Klosters offer one of the largest and most snow-sure ski areas in Switzerland. Davos is not really beautiful – this title belongs to the neighbouring village of Klosters – but what the holiday resort lacks in idyllic sight, it makes up for with great ski slopes. Skiers sometimes overcome an incredible difference in altitude of 2000 meters. In addition, there are the “hotter” après-ski parties to European pop music. Many illustrious guests stay in the spa and congress city. Those who like it quiet and comfortable prefer to spend their holidays in the quieter monastery.

The highest town in the Alps attracts visitors with the slogan: “From the slopes to the slopes”.
The large Parsenn ski area reaches up to the Weissfluhjoch. From here you can ski down to Küblis, 2000 metres lower and 12 kilometres away. As an alternative, the picturesque slopes to Klosters are also available. The snow-sure region offers a total of 300 kilometres of slopes and 57 transport facilities.

 

Saas-Fee – Pearl of the Alps

Alps, Saas-Fee
Saas-Fee, Image: Cedric Weber / shutterstock

The 13 relentless peaks over 4000 meters high above the small Saas-Fee look like a threatening amphitheater. These four-thousand-metre peaks with their glaciers form the magnificent valley head of the enchanting parish village of Saas-Fee in the Swiss canton of Valais. Snow-white slopes and deep gorges watch over the high alpine Saas Valley, which is snow-sure due to its altitude. The small town is located at the foot of the 4545-meter-high cathedral. Only electric cars are allowed to drive in the old Welsh village. You leave your vehicle in one of the parking lots at the entrance to the village. Rustic wooden chalets and stilt sheds line the village centre. The pride of Saas-Fee is the underground funicular railway “Metro-Alpin”. With it, visitors enter an overwhelming world of ice. In the ice pavilion, the glaciers reveal their secrets. The huge ice grotto, one of the most beautiful in the world, was set up on the Allalin at an altitude of 3500 meters.

During the ski season, Saas-Fee glitters happily. Snow is guaranteed and most ski slopes are above 2500 meters altitude. The ski area offers about 140 kilometers of well-groomed, picturesque slopes that are suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers. Ski touring is possible on the famous Haute Route to Chamonix . In addition to the excellent range of slopes with 28 lifts, sauna, indoor swimming pools, toboggan run, curling courts and tennis facilities offer further sporting opportunities. The resort is also a mecca for snowboarders. World Championships are regularly held in Saas-Fee.