Part of what makes a great ski holiday is not just spending the time between dusk and dawn getting as many kilometres under your feet as possible.
One of the most attractive facets of choosing Austria for a ski holiday is that you are not confined to a small concrete box in a soulless purpose-built resort in the high mountains for the time you are not on skis.
Five party ski resorts in Austria
St Anton might be notorious for the size of the ski area and the challenging runs and off-piste opportunities. But the nightlife can be just as much of a challenge for anyone who is unprepared.
The après-ski starts on the slopes with the ancient Krazy Kangaruh now joined by a whole collection of well-known and just as popular stops on the final runs back to the town (be careful of that last run after a few drinks – there are often large slushy bumps to trip the unwary skier up). And, if you survive the après ski, there are bars and clubs all around the pedestrian part of the town to help you into the early hours of the morning.
Read more about St Anton
One of the more bizarre experiences in putting together this website has been skiing down from the Idalp to the outskirts of Ischgl and being confronted by topless go-go dancers gyrating on an outside bar.
The Austrian ski resort is renowned for the ‘Halligalli’ style of partying (the phrase apparently originates from a Sixties American dance) which is often raucous and in-your-face. Ischgl tends to be more about Germanic après ski than clubbing, although there are a number of exclusive VIP-style nightclubs to cater for the upmarket clientele of the four and five star hotels and the visiting entertainers who pop up a few times every winter for ‘Top of the Mountain’ concerts on the ski slopes..
Read more about Ischgl
Mayrhofen attracts a generally young crowd in the winter months and is a popular centre for boarders. And that makes it a pretty lively place in the evenings after the ski slopes have closed down.
But the big event that catapults Mayrhofen into this list is the renowned Snowbombing festival held every year in April. Top clubbing and EDM on atmospheric stages in the land of oompah music? You read it right the first time. UK clubbers arrive en masse via flights, coach and car rallies to take part in one of the longest-running ski resort festivals.
Read more about Mayrhofen
Saalbach is another big resort for final run après-ski with crowded attractions like Bauer’s Schialm and the Hinterhagalm in Saalbach and the Goaßalm (with a pole-dancing goat) up the valley in nearby Hinterglemm.
The après-ski merges into nightlife and then clubbing as a number of the bars and restaurants, such as the popular Castello’s under the Hotel Saalbacherhof change their approach as the evening progresses.
Read more about Saalbach
Zell am See
Zell am See has long been a favourite evening destination of seasonal workers in the Salzburg region (and even further away). To be honest, there is not much more available than in some other ski towns but for some reason (maybe all the Scandinavians around?) the nightlife always seems to produce evenings which will be discussed in detail over the next few days.
Up on the Schmittenhöhe, Schnapshans is the après-ski location with its stunning views down to the lake. Back down in the town, Crazy Daisy is one of the legendary Austrian resort bars while later on in the evening town centre bars and clubs like the Insider and K1 come into their own.
Read more about Zell am See