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Bad Gastein, Austria

Traditional spa resort with a huge ski & snowboard area.

The Gastein valley isn’t widely known internationally. It deserves better. Its slopes are impressively extensive, and mainly quite challenging. This is great for intermediates who are happy on real red runs.

With its grand hotels, trinket shops and cramped gorge-like setting, central Bad Gastein itself is a far cry from your standard chalet-style Austrian village. However, staying above the center near the lifts offers a more normal winter sports experience. You should consider both Bad Hofgastein and Dorfgastein as a base. They are each a few miles down the valley.

To make the most of the valley you need a car. With five spread out mountains, of which only two are linked, the valley needs a first-class public transport system, and it doesn’t have one. Traveling from one end of the valley to the other can take over an hour and may involve a couple of changes.

What’s Great

  • Four separate, varied areas with a huge number of slopes both above and below the tree-line
  • Great for confident intermediates, with lots of long, challenging reds – and great cruising and carving in the Schlossalm sector
  • More snowsure than most low-altitude Austrian resorts, with the high Sportgastein area as back-up
  • Lots of good, atmospheric, traditional mountain restaurants
  • Plenty of off-slope facilities, many related to its origins as a spa resort
  • New Ski Alliance Amadé lift ticket covers wide range of nearby resorts