When it comes to winter getaways, there are plenty of well-known options. Everyone’s heard of the snowy wonders of Chamonix. We all have that friend who goes to Aspen to Jackson Hole every winter, but often the popularity of typical snow getaways is their downfall. It’s hard to have an interesting or authentic vacation experience when you’re visiting an area that panders so aggressively to tourists. While those popular destinations have their charms, it’s challenging to have a truly unique experience. But head off the beaten path a little, expand your horizons to lesser-known destinations and prepare yourself for a winter trip like no other….
Krippenstein and Hallstatt in Austria might not be at the top of your winter destination list, or the tip of your tongue, but they should be. The Hallstatt area is home to some of the best freeride skiing and snowboarding terrain in the world, and while it doesn’t have quite the big-time resort town feel of some destinations, it’s home to world-class mountains and world-class amenities that make a visit a must.
Krippenstein is the most prominent mountain in the Dachstein range in Austria. It’s home to the Gosau ski resort, as well as the Five Fingers observation station which features stunning views of the range. The town of Hallstatt is quickly becoming a premier destination for winter and summer mountain lovers. While Hallstatt is off the beaten path, it’s still very easy to access logistically. It’s only three hours away from Munich International Airport, and there are a wide variety of transportation options available. Once you arrive in Hallstatt you’ll be overwhelmed by the easy access to world-class skiing and snowboarding.
The skiing and snowboarding terrain on Kripenstein has something for everyone and is an essential part of any Austria ski package. There’s a full selection of runs and options for every ability level. The Kripenstein tram accesses incredibly long runs, 1500 meters of elevation gain, over 11 kilometres, the longest ski run in Austria. It doesn’t take many top to bottom laps that long to wear you out! There’s also a wide variety of hike-to terrain, perfect if you’re trying to avoid the crowds and find untracked snow.
Because of the resort’s huge elevation gain, the terrain is incredibly varied. Up top, you’ll be skiing or riding high-alpine terrain: huge open faces and glaciers. As you drop lower, below the treeline you’ll find yourself skiing perfectly spaced glades, complete with pillows and cliff drops. Then immaculate groomers will whisk you back to the bottom of the tram for another lap. And you don’t need to be an expert skier or boarder to appreciate skiing here. There’s a huge variety of terrain, from mellow beginner slopes to steep, technical terrain that only the most advanced skiers can tackle.
No trip to Krippenstein and Halstatt would be complete without a visit to the Dachstein glacier. The Dachstein glacier plays host to skiers and boarders year-round, but in the winter, riders willing to earn their turns can link together incredibly long powder runs from the top of the glacier all the way back down to town. Ski down to the streets and treat yourself to an apres beer in historic Hallstatt. One of the biggest draws of a trip to Krippenstein is its convenient location. There is a huge variety of ski area options just a stone’s throw from town, and if conditions aren’t great at one area, chances are there’s good snow to be skied somewhere close by.
While it hasn’t yet been developed quite as much as other classic ski destinations, this part of Austria has deep roots in skiing, along with the amenities to support them. Does your vision of a ski trip to the alps include a spa day and massage? Look no further than Hallstatt. Looking to do some shopping? Tour the historic narrow streets of Halstatt and get your retail therapy fix. So next time you’re planning a winter ski or snowboard getaway, look off the beaten path. Expand your horizons and explore somewhere a little different. Take a trip to Krippenstein & Hallstatt Austria and reimagine what the perfect winter vacation should look like.
This post is brought to you by Evo – a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.