High in the Paznaun valley, Ischgl was once a farming village but is now the playground to the rich and the famous. Snowfinders have heard it referred to as the "Austrian Courchevel", however, we feel this is doing the resort a disservice. The village retains a feel of Austrian charm and is very different to the purpose built French carbuncles that arose in the 1960s. Hotels are family owned and most have very high levels of quality, facilities, and customer focus. The main resort centre is peppered with a vast array of shops, boutiques, clubs, pubs, bars, and upmarket accommodation. The Silvretta ski area lift pass gives access to Ischgl and Galtur (free ski bus - 10 minutes between Ischgl and Galtur) and Kappl and See plus the Swiss resort of Samnaun. That's a whopping 330km of piste, which makes this region one of the biggest in the Alps.
Beginners will just adore the Idalp with its novice area and plenty of blue runs to progress to - unlike many resorts where first timers are stuck in the village here in Ischgl they get a feel for being right up in the mountains.
Intermediates are just spoilt for choice in Ischgl with a huge amounts of reds, blacks and off-piste to keep them occupied. One of Snowfinders' Nick's favourite runs is a top to bottom red starting at the top of the Grivalea and M1 lift taking red 76 and flowing straight into red 61 into Compatsch in the Samnaun valley in Switzerland. The off-piste off this M1 lift is also easily accessible and and whilst there is nothing too steep the snow holds well here and doesn't get tracked out too quickly.
For experts, whilst there isn't the array on offer that St Anton has, there are blacks off the Palinkof and Greitspitze which are great fun and some have a steep pitch that is worthy of black status in any of Europe's top ski destinations. For those of an adventurous nature Snowfinders recommends taking a guide to exploit the amazing off-piste that is available and getting away from the crowds.
To sum up Ischgl, it's a truly great resort that can be skied for a full season without ever getting bored.
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- Reliable snow throughout the season
- Intermediate heaven
- Some of the best piste maintenance in Europe
- Quick modern lift system
- Lively apres ski
- Lots of upmarket hotels
- Apres ski can be rowdy
- Not as suitable for beginners
- Little middle market accommodation
- Little budget accommodation!
Possibly the best apres ski resort in the world; from the traditional Austrian dancing on the tables in ski boots to sophisticated cocktail lounges, to lap dancing clubs, to live music venues.
Ischgl can be as rowdy or as quiet as you like. Snowfinders recommends The Schatzi, Niki's Stadl, and The Trofana Alm for a raucous apres ski experience immediately upon slope closing to 8pm. For late night dancing try The Hotel Post's nightclub, The Kuhstall, or even The Pacha nightclub. The Trofana Arena is a state of the art nightclub that includes a main stage with live bands playing, guests djs, caged dancers, and even a very upmarket lap dancing club via a separate internal entrance (ideal for those Russian "businessmen"!) .
For non skiers there is an abundance of cleared walks, toboggan runs, horse drawn sleigh rides, and guided walks. For those looking to shop then you can expect a wide range of sports and gift shops plus designers boutiques selling up-market brands at up-market prices. Looking for a more cultural experience? Then the guided walks, churches, and museum will not disappoint. All in all, Ischgl is perfect for non-skiers and is great for mixed parties.
Some of the best skiing in Austria with a huge ski area that is ideally suited to the Intermediates and advanced skiers. Experts will find plenty to keep them amused with some challenging Reds and blacks and great off-piste.