Ischgl ski resort
Ischgl is one of Austria’s most successful ski areas of the past few decades, having built a strong reputation for its reliable snow cover, extensive terrain and full-on après ski scene.
The last two aspects of its successful appeal are highlighted by the resort’s three annual music concerts, which have attracted the likes of Sir Elton John, Lionel Richie and Rihanna to Ischgl’s open-air Top of the Mountain stage. The concerts traditionally take place at the start and end of the season, bringing tens of thousands of skiers and boarders to the resort during periods where other areas are struggling to get business – if they’re open at all.
The ski area, one of Austria’s largest, extends right over the border to Samnaun in Switzerland. Facilities at the resort are good, with yearly investment in modern lifts, and there’s also one of the world’s most powerful snowmaking systems in place – ensuring slopes are covered even if Mother Nature doesn’t play ball.
The resort itself has a compact centre lined with shops, restaurants and hotels with the snow front running parallel to the heart of the village, conveniently this means most accommodation options are only a short walk from the lifts.
Ischgl is located in the Paznaun region of the Austrian Tyrol province. The resort is on the Western border of Austria and offers skiing into Switzerland. Paznaun is located in the Silvretta mountain chain.
On the slopes
Ischgl has some of the longest and most snowsure slopes in the Alps, and is open from late November to early May each ski season. The ski area here is the largest in the eastern Alps and is well connected to the village by a selection of high-speed, high-capacity gondolas.
On the mountain, the heart of the ski area is Idalp with several large restaurants and the main nursery slopes, which are served by several easy-to-use lifts (including a conveyor-style carpet lift). Much of the terrain is up above the treeline and most of it consists of long, wide cruising trails up to 7km (4 miles) in length. However, lower runs cut down through the forest and high Alpine bowls that are ideal for powder lovers.
Snowboarding is very big in Ischgl too, and the terrain and uplift is ideally suited to boarding with a large terrain park containing 30 features, a major halfpipe and a boardercross course.
There are nearly 240km (150 miles) of linked skiing between Ischgl and Samnaun in Switzerland, but the Silvretta ski pass also includes the neighbouring ski areas above the villages of Galtür, Kappl and See, which are linked by a bus service. The total area encompasses 370km (232 miles) of trails. There are also some great cross-country routes in the area.