Ischgl


The name looks unpronounceable, the ski resort is like a Christmas card and the après-ski is unmatched anywhere in Austria. Ischgl (pronounced Ish-gull) is all this and more, offering high altitude, long ski runs across the border into Switzerland. The lengthy red run across the Swiss border connects Ischgl to the Swiss ski resort of Samnaun and you can ski into Switzerland and back in an hour. Both resorts have a common ski pass.

Ischgl is a small alpine resort built on a knoll in a wide valley that serves as an extensive skiing area. It has a small village character with church steeples, Austrian chalets, snow-covered streets that wind between shops, coffeehouses and bars. The scent of wood smoke mingles with the smells of fresh pastry and there is no modern structure in sight. There are over two hundred kilometers of trails and wide off-trail areas far above the resort, offering high altitude skiing from November till May.

Ischgl boasts the highest ski lifts with huge bowls that form the ever-expanding ski terrain. Three gondolas from different parts of the well laid out village provide access to the ski area, which mostly has intermediate runs and huge off-piste areas to delight advanced skiers. A large nursery area in the mid-mountain region offers beginners breathtaking views of the range. There are toboggan parks and rentals available around the resort.

Ischgl is full of après ski action at bars dotted around. There are few resorts in Austria to match the Ischgl après ski scene and it is common to see skiers still in their ski clothes and boots packed into small bars from the time they leave the slopes. There is much dancing, drinking and singing until dinner time, after which it is disco time that keeps the revelers rocking till dawn. This lovely ski vacation resort also has an exclusive neighborhood with deluxe hotels and bars, but it seems as if European techno music and classic après ski tunes rule the roost in Ischgl. Accommodation ranges from the luxurious to the modest and though the prices at this beautiful, compact village are marginally above the average it is well worth taking a ski vacation here.