Vienna Escape for a Day on the Slopes
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Vienna Escape for a Day on the Slopes

Enjoy a day trip out of the city, practicing the national sport: skiing

Almost nineteen million tourists visit Austria during the cold season each year and most of them come to enjoy the country’s national sport. Anyone interested in professional skiing knows that athletes wearing red and white colours dominate the Alpine World Cup almost every season. This comes as no surprise, considering that – especially in western Austria – kids often learn to ski before they can even walk properly.

Even though Vienna is the capital of a ski-obsessed nation, the city itself and its neighbouring provinces aren’t as spoiled with world-class skiing destinations as the rest of the country is. A trip to the Austrian winter sports hotspots like Tyrol, Salzburg or Vorarlberg come with a long drive, but it wouldn’t be the land of mountains if there weren’t some decent day trip options to give the busy Viennese a chance to strap on their skis, breathe in the clean mountain air and enjoy the feeling of standing on top of the world.

Hohe Wand in Vienna

Believe it or not, there is a skiing areal within the limits of this city of 1.8 million. Due to the lack of snowfall in Vienna in recent years, most of the white powder doesn’t come from the sky but is artificially produced from the snow canons standing next to the track. Despite this fact, many Viennese stood on their first pair of skis at the Hohe Wand. As there is only one very short track available, this is an option especially suited to people who have never been skiing before and want to get a soft start before they conquer a proper mountain.

Stuhleck at Semmering

The most popular skiing resort in Vienna’s vicinity is just a one-hour drive away, featuring 24 kilometres of slopes that can be explored on the 1,782-meter-high mountain Stuhleck. The proud hosting the Women’s Giant Slalom World Cup, guests have no reason to doubt whether this is a proper skiing resort. However, the short distance and the fact that Stuhleck is by far the most popular option close to the city comes with the downside that it gets rather packed on weekends, especially in nice weather.

Zauberberg at Semmering

Stuhleck’s little brother is known to be the family-friendly alternative on the Semmering. The areal is smaller, with 14 kilometres of slopes and its gentle difficulty level makes the Zauberberg a nice playground for beginners and intermediates. The main highlight is certainly the night skiing after 5 pm, which is a very rare feature in Austria where most lifts close at sunset. Gliding down a mountain at night on the illuminated snow makes for a truly magical experience.

Lackenhof at Ötscher

A full two hours from Vienna, this trip requires a bit more time in the car but it is well worth it. Nineteen kilometres of trails – with blue, red and black slopes – and a snow park for freestylers draw in lots of skiers from near and far. Combination tickets are available, giving access to both the Ötscher as well as the close by Hochkar – definitely a good deal for anyone staying longer than a day.

Ice skating From the end of January to the beginning of March, you can go skating at the Vienna Ice World in front of the magnificent setting of City Hall.
Tobogganing TTry it out! Vienna’s parks transform into toboggan runs. Check out the Prater and Danube Park.