Austria

“A year round snowboarding destination, and set amongst the mostly mellow resorts are a few truly hardcore destinations. This is the country to head for if you are looking for mad apres ski, or the country to avoid if you're not”
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  • Best overall
  • Best off-piste
  • Best value
  • For beginners
  • Best parks

Austria is known as the snowboard capital of Europe with great resorts and a cool attitude. Austrian resorts aren't stretched out like the mega-sized places found in the French Alps and apart from being far more affordable than France, the slopes here are far better laid out with excellent mountain facilities, modern lift systems, easy access to the slopes, coupled with great traditional local services.

Of all the areas in Austria the most famed and the largest winter destination is the Tirol, which apart from being at ‘the heart of the Alps’ is also an area of outstanding beauty and home to some fantastic snowboard resorts that offer something for everyone. The Tirol also plays host to some of the most important snowboard events held in Europe, i.e. Air and Style, Lord of the Boards and the Brit Games.

The Austrian’s don’t go in for the purpose-built style resorts so common in other parts of Europe. What you do find are old traditional villages adapted to accommodate modern tourists. Standards are extremely high, with hotels, Guest House’s and B&B’s being main form of lodging. Apartment blocks are very rare.

Austrian is basic consisting of dishes like Tafelspitz (boiled beef), or various cured hams and German-style sausages. If you're a veggie (vegetarier), you’re in for a hard time - the Austrian’s don’t go in for rabbit-food. Goulash soup in this part of the world is also wicked. But one thing Austria does lack is fast food joints.

An important and useful thing to note about Austria, is that credit cards are not that widely accepted: cash, travellers cheques or Euro-cheques are the norm.

Flying to the resorts is easy via the international airports in Austria, Switzerland or Germany, then taking onward travel via the excellent rail or road services. Only a small percentage of resorts have train stations, however, connections from cities and gateway airports is made very easy by the fact that Austria has a first class bus service, which is on time, clean and inexpensive.

Driving in Austria is convenient and easy, with the roads and resorts being well sign-posted. In some parts, snow-chains are required. Austria has an autobahn tax called the Vignette which can be purchased at petrol stations or border crossings. If you are caught without the tax, you'll be liable to a costly on-the-spot fine.

If you are planning to do a working season in Austria, then EU nationals don't need either a visa or work permit and can stay for as long as they want. But if you want to teach snowboarding, you may need to have the relevant Austrian snowboard instructors teaching qualifications.

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Resorts in Austria

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