Ischgl is one of the trendiest and most visited ski resorts in Austria. It is located in the Silvretta region, next to the Swiss resort of Samnaun. The history of this place began relatively recently, in 1963, when the first lift was built. In just a few decades, the small village turned into a thriving recreation area and today Ischgl is even called “Austrian Courchevel” and “Alpine Ibiza”.
How to get there
The nearest international airport is located in Innsbruck, at a distance of 100 km from the resort. The cheapest way to get there is by train with a change to a special bus in Landeck or taking a regular bus. But, since there are no direct flights to Innsbruck from every country (sometimes a transfer is required in Vienna or Frankfurt), some vacationers prefer to get to Ischgl through the cities of neighboring countries, such as Munich or Zurich. If you want to get there in a more comfortable way, you can order a direct transfer from the airport or rent a car. The road from Munich will take about three and a half hours, from Zurich it will take a little longer – about four hours.
The ski area starts from 1400 meters, but most of the pistes are located at an altitude from 2000 to 2864 meters. Owing to this, guests of the resort can enjoy excellent snow cover throughout the ski season, which lasts from late November to late April. The total length of all prepared slopes is 235 km, more than 75% of which are intended for skiers of an average and high skill level. The slopes of the resort are served by 45 lifts, among which there is the ultra-modern high-speed cable car “Piz Val Gronda” and a two-storey lift with a capacity of 180 people.
In Ischgl beginners will be interested in the wide and relatively gentle slopes numbered 8 and 6, descending from the Idalp pass. A little higher is the blue route 11. Alp Trida slopes, Velliltal runs and slope 13 are also suitable for beginners. However, it should be noted that the difficulty of most slopes, which are marked in blue, is somewhat underestimated, so skiers should be careful about the choice of ski areas here. For those who have already gained experience, you can master the slope number 40, going from Palinkorf to Gampen or the descent to Samnaun at number 80. On the latter, a special care is required – there are some areas covered with ice. For skiers with ideal physical fitness, the resort offers extreme black slopes, numbered 4, 20 and 34. The hilly slope no. 34 from Inner Viderjoch is considered the most difficult in the region. The 11-kilometer run from Greitspitz to Ischgl Dorf is the longest.
Extreme lovers go to Piz Val Gronda and the Velilltal valley for off-piste skiing. The slopes there are of 50 degrees or more providing a guaranteed adrenaline rush. There are many virgin slopes in the area of the Palinkroff mountain range. Snowboarders will not be bored either, as the Vita Ischgl is one of the largest equipped snow parks in Europe. There are more than 60 jumps on its territory, where the half are for beginners. There is also a Boarder’s Paradise fun park with mogul slopes, halfpipe, rail and dozens of other facilities. Another 50 km in Ischgl is allocated for cross-country skiing. Westloipe is the longest run there with a length of 9 km.
Beginners can learn the basics of skiing at a ski school. Almost a hundred experienced instructors offer their services here. There is a ski kindergarten for children aged 3-5 years.
Ski-passes and equipment
The cost of a ski pass is 54 euros for adults and 34 euros for children and adolescents up to 17 years old. Children under 10 years of age receive a free pass. Significant discounts apply when purchasing a group ski pass.
The most popular ski rental shops are branded outlets of the Intersport network, as well as Ischgl Rent, Sport Adler and Silvretta Sports. The cost of renting skis or snowboards starts from 35 euros per day.
Most of the resort’s hotels have four stars and are in the above average price range. According to visitors’ reviews, the best are Gramaser, Goldener Adler and Madlein. The Fliana Hotel is renowned for its excellent wellness center and is located right next to the ski lift. The Schlosshof offers scenic views and has no restrictions on living with pets. The Elizabeth Arthotel regularly hosts exhibitions of works of talented artists and sculptors. Garni Angelika is almost as good as four-star competitors in terms of comfort, although it has three stars. The pearl of the resort is the famous five-star Trofana Royal, one of the best ski hotels in the world according to Skiresort Service International.
Recreation and entertainment
There are many ways to unwind after an active day on the slopes in Ischgl. The Silvretta Sports Center has an indoor pool, billiards, tennis courts, a sauna, a steam bath and much more. Thrill-seekers should try a zipline flight over the Kitzloch gorge at a height of 50 meters above the ground. The maximum descent speed is 85 km / h. There are also paragliding, speed skating and a 7 km toboggan slide with night lighting. Guests who are not indifferent to shopping have the opportunity to make a ski trip to the neighboring Swiss resort of Samnaun, which is included in the duty-free zone.
The restaurant of the Trofana Royal hotel, the owner of a Michelin star, stands out from the gastronomic establishments of the resort. There are also two Gault Millau award-winning hotels: Fliana Gourmet and Heimatbühne. In total, there are about 40 restaurants in the village and as many cafes, plus 15 pizzerias. Nightlife is represented by Trofana Alm clubs and the trendy Pacha disco.
An excellent resort in many respects, with perfectly prepared pistes, ample opportunities for snowboarders and an excellent off-piste area. In addition, Ischgl is one of the largest hangout spots in Austria. The flip side of the resort’s popularity is the high cost of recreation.