8 Reasons to ski in Obertauern, Austria

Josh Ferry Woodard

Incredible facilities, reliable snow and magnificent mountain scenery make Obertauern in Salzburgerland the perfect choice for your next winter ski holiday

Over 100 kilometres of pistes

From late November through to the start of May, Obertauern’s stunning alpine landscape becomes a true winter wonderland. A thick white blanket covers majestic peaks, while spiky pine trees and rocky outcrops add texture to the spectacular scene.

The resort averages over 2.5 metres of settled snow, which helps form over 100 km of stimulating pistes. With eight ski schools, 26 chairlifts, 61 km of blue (easy) runs, 35 km of red (medium) pistes, four km of black (difficult) runs and abundant opportunities to go off-piste, ‘Snowbertauern’ has something for everybody.

A real standout feature is the revolutionary Tauern Round. The resort’s ski lift network is cleverly arranged so that you can explore all of the pistes in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, skiing in and out of the village.

 

Second steepest slope in Austria

The mountain village is located at 1,740 m with slopes rising to breathtaking altitudes of 2,313 m for white-knuckle runs like the Gamsleiten II, one of the most exhilarating and difficult slopes in Europe.

The legendary piste attracts adrenaline junkies with its insane vertical sections, which reach 100% gradient at points. 

 

Apès-ski mile

With 25 ski huts serving alpine snacks, ice-cold beer and Aperol spritz–among other cocktails–the resort is choc-a-bloc with après-ski opportunities.

Log cabins cooking up schnitzel and käsespätzle (cheesy pasta) for lunch are dotted across the valley. Whether you’re in the village, halfway down a run or at the top of a mountain, you can always find somewhere to grab a plate of food, a glass of beer and a shot of schnapps.

The fun continues late into the night at a number of busy bars and clubs.

 

Hotel Panorama

There are over 150 hotels and six youth hostels in Obertauern, but you’d struggle to find a better accommodation option than Hotel Panorama.

This truly wonderful hotel features a brilliant combination of heart-warming staff, luxury facilities and comfort. Stylistically, the marriage of elegant glass features with traditional wooden fittings creates a magical atmosphere–especially in the adult’s only Panorama Spa, with its scented saunas, steam room and gorgeous mountain views.

The accomplished breakfast buffet includes a dedicated omelette chef, plus a wide range of local cheese, cured meats, fruit, smoked fish and freshly baked bread. In addition to the terrific evening menu, the kitchen also serves a small selection of post-ski afternoon cakes with coffee to boost energy levels. 

One feature that is incredibly helpful is the locker room with shower beside the dedicated ski depot. This allows you to check-out on the morning of departure, go skiing and return in the afternoon to clean up, get changed and collect your stuff.

 

Delicious alpine cuisine

There are a number of great restaurants in Obertauern serving tasty local delicacies alongside international favourites.

Head to Restaurant Steinbock for creamy trout tartar, gamey venison ragout with spongy spätzle and fierce loganberry schnapps. Stop midway down the slope at Restaurant Alpinhotel for crispy potato and pork gröstl with fried egg. 

Take a taxi out of town to Gnadenalm for warming glühwein, hearty cream of garlic soup, and succulent cordon bleu oozing with blue cheese. While Restaurant Mundwerk offers a fresh take on a döner kebab.

The most impressive food, however, can be found at the Hotel Panorama restaurant, where you’ll be blown away by creative, seasonal dishes such as layered pumpkin quiche and tender duck breast with sweet pickled pumpkin. Don’t miss showstoppers like crispy skinned golden trout with salty trout roe, pomegranate pearls, brussels sprouts and sage foam or fluffy kaiserschmarrn baked pancakes with summer fruits and curd.

 

Protect Our Winters

To help ensure that Obertauern continues to benefit from the most reliable annual snowfall in Austria, the resort has started working with environmental organisation Protect Our Winters, who will be holding climate change workshops within the ski schools.

In a bid to reduce its ecological footprint, Obertauern has pledged to become plastic-free and now offers 10% discount on ski rental for visitors who arrive via public transport.

 

Alpine activities

In addition to traditional skiing and snowboarding, there are a plethora of other alpine activities on offer, such as: snowbiking, snowkiting, alpine hiking, ski jumping, ice climbing and toboggan runs.

For those looking for a more gentle experience, head to Gnadenalm for a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride in the snow.

 

The Krampus 

Throughout the ski season, Obertauern hosts two notable special events.

During the festive period a jolly Christmas market pops up, accompanied by a not-so-jolly Central European tradition. In the Krampus Run, dozens of young men dress up as frightful half-goat, half-demons and parade through the town, shaking birch branches and ringing bells to a backdrop of heavy metal music. The Krampus, who punishes naughty children, is seen as the antithesis to Saint Nicholas.

In April, the resort stages Austria’s largest treasure hunt, Gamsleiten Criterion. The event sees chancers take to the devilishly steep Gamsleiten II slope with spades rather than skis, in search of 30 treasure chests buried beneath the powder. 

Read more: A first timer's guide to skiing

Read more: 5 Cheap European ski destinations


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