(1400m - 2864m)
Ischgl is an Austrian resort that is not only high and snow sure but offers a large area of slopes to suit mainly intermediate skiers. There is also an exceptional terrain park for those who like a bit of freestyle. Beginners and experts are catered for, however there are limitations. The après ski is lively and may not be to everyone’s tastes, however as a resort Ischgl ranks right up there with the best Austria has to offer.
- Snow sure
Resort at a glance
|Ski Range||1400m - 2864m|
From the village the Sivrettabahn and Fimbabahn gondolas take you to the centre of the skiing area at Idalp. From here Ischgal’s 3 other areas can be easily accessed. At Idalp there are a variety of blue and red runs which will suit all levels of skier. This area is also where Ischgl’s nursery slopes are located which can result in it being very busy especially first thing in the morning. There are red runs from Idalp back to the village, however cautious intermediates should really only consider taking the gondola back down in order to avoid some really steepish sections.
From Idalp the pistes of Hollenkar can be easily reached. Here the runs consisting of mainly blue and red runs are much longer and ideal for those intermediates looking for something a bit more challenging. There are several black runs well worth checking out which are accessed via the Palinkopf chair.
Finally a number of long reds sweep down to the third ski area of Fimbatal. There is a small wooded area here which provides shelter if the weather closes in.
The final area which is accessed from the Hollenkar area and the small village of Samnaun Dorf is Apl Trida. Here there is a large selection of cruisey blue and red runs which are often quieter than runs in neighbouring areas.
Ischgl’s apres ski is legendary and it’s one of the liveliest resorts in the Alps closely following St Anton. Apres ski tends to start early afternoon and many mountain restaurants kick off directly after lunch, and there is a huge variety of different venues to choose from including: traditional Austrian music, cocktail bars, nightclubs, discos and even a few lap dancing clubs.
Many people are still in their ski gear late in to the evening - venues such as the Kitzloch are great fun and known for people dancing on tables still in their ski boots, along with Romantic Hutt’n and Niki’s Stadl which is by the Pardatschgrat chair. The Golden Eagle pub is also a favourite for Brits, the Trofana Alm near the Silvrettabahn is a good choice with varied Eurocheese and Austrian music.
If you fancy some cocktails then Fire and Ice or Guxa will serve you well. Then there are the token nightclubs such as Pacha’s, the Living Room and the Post Hotel partying in to the early hours, or the lavish Trofana Arena which has live bands and pole dancing too. Speaking of dancing there are also a number of lap dancing clubs in Ischgl such as Coyote Ugly at the hotel Madlein.
If you are looking for something a little quieter then most hotels have their own bars so whatever you are looking for, you can find it in Ischgl - whether Eurocheese, Austrian stomp or live music - it’s all awaiting for you here.
Most visitors to Ischgl stay on a half board basis but there are very good restaurants if you fancy something different for a night, most of which are hotel based.
For something really special then check out the Michelin-starred Paznauer Stube in the Trofana Royal Hotel with chef Martin Sieberer. If budgets don’t quite stretch to that then the Madlein or Trofana Alm offer international and Tirolean specialities or the Jagerhof which offers themed evenings.
For something a bit lighter (and cheaper) then the Grillalm do great pizzas, as do Baere Falla, Kitzloch are great for fondue and Allegra for burgers, where Salz und Pfeffer have a good range of Italian dishes. Or for something a little different then try the remote Heidelberger Hütte, you’ll have to get there by snowmobile but the food is certainly worth it.
For those non skiers there is a host of activities to keep you busy. There is a very well developed network of walking paths, many of which are at altitude and cover around 1140km in the Paznaun valley.
There is also an impressive 7km floodlit toboggan run, horse drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, curling, along with a sports centre offering a sauna and solarium, with the usual squash, tennis and bowling thrown in.
If pampering is more your style then many hotels do have wellness centres within them offering massages and beauty therapy or you could try one of the lavish spas - Hotel Madlein has a designer spa where the Trofana Spa is one of the largest in the region.
Shopping in Ischgl is upmarket - everything from designer wear (Prada and Versace) to fur and diamonds are on offer. Ischgl does have events throughout the season such as the opening and closing concerts which have attracted famous names such as Sir Elton John, Rod Stewart and Sting, imagine listening to live music at the top of the mountains!
Another event in the season calendar is the ‘Shapes in White’ snow sculpture competition which is a stunning ice sculpture competition at the beginning of the season. Each winter there is a different theme and the sculptures dot the landscape throughout the winter until they melt in the springtime.
Another big Ischgl tradition is the Shapes in White snow sculpture competition, which attracts ice sculptors from all over Europe. The stunning ice sculptures dot the slopes and have a different theme each winter – cartoon characters, rock stars or mythological figures. The contest is held in early season and the creations are a feature of the landscape through the winter until the spring sun does its work – and the works of art melt away along with Ischgl's season.
The main ski school in Ischgl is the Snow Sports Academy and it offers everything from lessons in carving, boarding, telemarking, cross-country, big foot and even mono skiing, they also offer off-piste guiding if that is your sort of thing. Classes meet at Idalp and lessons start at 10.30am which is good if you are a late riser. Do make sure that you request an English speaking instructor when booking as not all instructors speak English.
It also offers courses for disabled and handicapped people whether they are looking for skiing or boarding lessons.
Ski pre school takes children from 3 to 5 and then the normal ski school takes children from 5 upwards. There is also an enclosed learning area for children. Prices start from €60 for a full day group lesson - for all ages, up to €180 for 5 days group lessons. Private lessons start at €115 for 90 minutes with an additional €25 for an extra person to €254 for 270 minutes with an additional €35 for an extra person.