While other European ski resorts are still waiting for prime conditions, winter sports enthusiasts know they can find snow in Ischgl.
This charming village in the Tyrol, in southern Austria has 215 kilometres of runs, and 90 per cent of them are above 2,000 metres.
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The resort suits both novice and expert skiers and snowboarders, but also attracts those whose specialty is après-ski.
Experienced skiers will find excellent black-diamond and off-trail areas between 1,400 and 2,900 metres. In fact, the resort — technically known as the Ischgl/Samnaun Silvretta Arena — has been regularly voted among the top 10 European ski resorts.
Party time begins in the Patznauner Taja hut, where you can drink the local Jagatee (tea spiked with rum or Austrian Schnapps). Strategically located at the end of run No. 1 you can find more watering holes: the Trofana-Alm, and the famous Kuhstall (which means cow barn).
These are some of the best bars, but the truth is that in Ischgl there is après-ski to be found everywhere.
You’ll soon understand why Ischgl is known as the “alpine Ibiza,” and how quickly winter sports activities can be forgotten.
The nightlife continues at the crowded Pacha and Coyote Ugly, clubs where you can run into people like Paris Hilton or Tina Turner, should that appeal.
The ski area connects Austria to Switzerland and it’s worth skiing down to the latter country to buy watches, perfume and cigarettes at wallet-friendly prices.
Samnaun, on the Swiss side, is a duty-free area, and prices are typically 30 per cent cheaper. There are border facilities, and you should take your passport. To return to Ischgl, you must use the large cable car at Samnaun.
The best way to chill out after all this activity might be to spend a few hours in the Spa and Wellness Centre at the boutique Hotel Madlein: Get a massage, a treatment or simply relax and meditate in the Fire Room, and gaze at the snow outside.