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Ischgl Galtür, Austria

Pretty, lively towns with snowsure slopes and great amenities.

Ischgl is changing fast. It is a strange mixture of pretty, traditional Tyrolean village, pricey, up market hotels and drunken, bawdy après-ski, dominated by German and Scandinavian males. On our last visit there were dancing girls, scantily clad in national costume, cavorting on the bar of a plush 4-star hotel at the foot of the slopes from 4 pm to 6.30, and drunks weaving their way through the treacherous streets all evening. But the resort remains quite trendy and attracts top-draw entertainers for open-air concerts – Elton John, Diana Ross, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart to name a few.

The slopes are extensive, high, snowsure and ideal for intermediate cruising – some of the best intermediate terrain in Austria. And the efficient lift system now boasts fourteen high-speed chair-lifts (including six-seaters and eight seater) and three gondolas.

The resort has introduced a unique refund service if the road to and from it is shut because of avalanche danger. Alternative accommodations will be paid for as long as the road is closed.

What’s Great

  • Charming old Tyrolean village, expanded in sympathetic fashion
  • High slopes with reliable snow
  • Lots of good intermediate runs, extending over the Swiss border to duty-free Samnaun
  • Impressive lift system
  • Very lively après-ski

What’s Not-So-Great

  • Not ideal for beginners, for various reasons
  • Few tough runs for experts
  • A few T-bars still to be eradicated
  • Wild après-ski may not be to everyone’s taste
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