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Cross Country Skiing in Austria

Where to find nordic nirvana in the Austrian Alps.

Seefeld

World-class cross-country, Oodles to do

Great for:

  • Cross-country
  • Families
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Galtur

6 section ski-area, Fantastic scenery, Quaint village

Great for:

  • Families
  • Adventurous skiers
  • Cross-country skiing

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Lech

Some of the best snow in Austria , Traditional charm...

Great for:

  • Luxury
  • High Altitudes
  • Powder snow

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Kitzbuhel

World's most difficult run, Romantic Austrian charm, ...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • après ski

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Ellmau

Varied terrain, Part of the Ski Welt, Austria’s fast...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Alpine village charm
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Zell am See

Unparalleled panoramic skiing , Exceptional on piste...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Shopping
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

St Johann

Huge linked ski area, Great off slope activities, Nig...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Self-Drive Holidays
  • Cross country

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

St Anton

Huge Arlberg area, Awesome après ski, Extensive powd...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Non skiers
  • Off-piste

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Alpbach

Picturesque 1930’s village , Brilliant family resor...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Couples
  • Beginners and lower intermediate skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Niederau

Traditional Tyrolean village, Easy links to Ski Juwe...

Great for:

  • Families
  • First-timers
  • Alpine charm

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

Austria’s a land of seriously pretty langlauf – whether you’re a beginner, skate skier or classic skier, there’s tons to discover: Hundred-year-old hamlets, icy lakes, medieval castles and glorious Narnia-like forests.

Bring a car and explore a new place each day, or spend all week on trails that are moments from your hotel. With many resorts having floodlit slopes, there’s no end of opportunity to ski your socks off...

Austria: Top 10 for Cross Country Skiing

Seefeld has good reason to call itself Austria’s ‘home of langlaufen’, and it might just be the XC capital of Europe to boot. A big chunk of the 279km trail network works its way over the glorious Leutasch plateau – which twice hosted Nordic events in the Winter Olympics and regularly features in the World Cup. Well-versed in all things XC, Ski School Seefeld and the XC-Academy (run by state champ Martin Tauber) are quick to get beginners climbing altitude and exploring the entire region. Fond spots for first glides are the simple Wildsee trails, and you can progress onto the groomers up in the Wildmoos zone, or along the 3km floodlit run between Seefeld and Mosern. Experienced classic and skate skiers have the entire plateau at their ski-tips, with the Unterleutasch trail winning the SNO vote for its stunning sights of the surrounding peaks. Fabulous news for dog owners: Some trails aren’t just reserved for two-legged visitors, with the 1.9km A2 Lehner letting Fido in on the fun.

Squidged in the whopping Silvretta Massif, Galtur’s network of trails total 100km. And, at altitudes up to 2000m, they tend to stay ship shape from the beginning of December, on into the spring, giving the area the longest season in the Paznaun. A quick trip up the Alpkogelbahn brings novices to the Silvapark, a specific practice area with a kilometre of grooves. The L1 Ischgl blue trail is a gentle 5km flat for building confidence on, while the L3 Tschaffein blue adds a touch of gradient (50m altitude difference over 3.3km), much loved for the views of the Ballunspitze that open up as you work your way along. From then on, Galtür ramps up the difficulty and splurges on the distance. Keep your eyes peeled for Ibex as you glide past the Mathon Wildlife Park on the 6km red that shares its name, or dream of a steaming Glühwein as you cross the steady 6.5km gradient climber into Wirl (come evening, a shorter version of this loop’s floodlit until 10pm). One summit that shines brighter than the rest is the 2024m Bielerhöhe, a beast that challenges experts on a demanding 18km trail. Conquer it and the tranquil Silvretta reservoir lake is your reward – a spectacular reward at that.

The 27km of trails here wind their way through some of the Arlberg’s most dazzling landscape – and last time we checked, it was all free to access. Aided by altitude, shedloads of snow and nightly grooming, these sun-blessed tramlines are known for their pristine condition. The Sonnen Höhenloipe Gaisbühel in Oberlech is our favourite every time – a sure-fire mettle-tester over 4km that really boosts the adrenaline. Calming the pace a little, the 6.6km Spullerwaldweg Langlaufloipe is a smooth glide past postcard-worthy peaks and snow-covered forest. Also on the easy side, an 8.8km route makes its way over into Klösterle - a miniature Tyrollean village where the Weinstube (housed in a striking 14th century building) makes for a fabulous pit stop. Closer to home, the 2.6km Flexenpass gets cosy with nature up on the high Flex Pass Plateau - it glides under a canopy of thick woodland, but if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll see the rest of civilisation just over the horizon…

In the world of langlauf, the Wilder Kaiser mountain range is far more than a jaw-dropping background... 500km of flawless snow is groomed throughout the Brixen Valley and up into Pass Thurn, where the high-altitude routes have been given the thumbs up by Austrian Nordic Ski team member (and frequent visitor) David Kreiner. These trails are split almost evenly for different levels, and the snow cover’s usually tip-top from December to April - test out the white stuff on the Aschau bei Kirchberg (also a winner when it comes to scenery). It leads into the neighbouring village of Kirchberg, as does the lengthy 19.7km Sonnenloipe trail - a favourite for its downhill rushes, this one also gets brownie points for passing the service centre for finger-warming mugs of Glühwein. Ending up on your doorstep, 60km of classic and skate lines are free to use, and the Golf Club Kitzbühel is now famed for more than just the summer sport: Make time for the illuminated circuit that winds around the place, as it’s pretty magical come nightfall.

Crammed with history and snuggled in a corner of the SkiWelt, Ellmau has trail links with a number of neighbouring resorts. Altogether, 60km of trails form spider web across the area, with the same run coming up trumps every year: The 10km Kaiserloipe, which skips from the village into the countryside, giving the best angles of the Kaiser mountain range. The 8.9km Schwendter Loipe is a local rite of passage, simply chocker with things to see - frozen lakes, looming peaks and old Tyrollean villages. Looping between Ellmau and Going, the Blattloipe may seem short and sweet, but your muscles might make you think differently afterwards... Once in Going, those looking for more of a work-out can reach the wonderfully broad Schwendt plateau, where a 5.2km groomer is reserved for speedy, experienced skaters. In the evenings, head over to Scheffau for a go on the Nachtloipe: 1.5km of floodlit tramlines are kept ship-shape by snow cannons and stay open until 10pm.

Combining glaciers, mountains and lakes, Zell’s cross-country is some of the world’s most beautiful. 55km of lovingly groomed trails line the landscape, creeping into small-town resorts like Kaprun. Take the CityXPress up the Schmittenhöhe and you’ll be met with the serene 3.1km Höhenloipe Schmitten: Hidden behind the middle station, this skate/classic combo creates a circuit around a reservoir - 40 minutes of skiing that couldn't feel further from city life. For more alone time with nature, the 4.7km Fischhornloipe is a gentle uphill climb that shares first-rate sights of the dazzling Lake Zell. The Golfplatzloipe is completely unmissable - 5km, steady, and with the best views of the Kitzsteinhorn and Hohe Tauern National Park. It doesn’t have to end here as you can continue on to the Schloßloipe - this 5.4km track floats over the Kaprun moor, past Kaprun’s Medieval castle and towards the iconic Salzachbrücke.

It’s hard not to be swept up in cross-country in St J. – especially when the international Tiroler Koasalauf Euroloppet takes place in February: After watching the fast-paced 28km and 50km competitions, even keen Alpine skiers can be seen raring to hit the tracks. Easing newbies into the grooves is the 2km Trainingsloipe from Buchberg, while experienced skiers can use the ‘Pro’ sections for warm up sessions. With access to Kitzbuheler Alpen’s 250km network of trails, there’s no shortage of routes to explore by day, with a wonderful finish being the 3km Nachtloipe back at base (usually open from 5-9pm). The full experience isn’t complete without a trip into Erpfendorf, where the biathlon centre and its exuberant instructors have put on taster sessions in previous years. Then comes the big challenge - a shot at the Euroloppet’s big time 28km and 50km routes. The former is a flat loop along the Wilder Kaiser, while the latter hikes a circuit via the wonderful town of Kirchdorf.

When St Anton crops up in conversation, it’s not ALWAYS about the après ski and powder terrain – this is also a big name in cross-country circles. 50km of routes have been awarded the quality seal by Tyrol, thanks to pristine snow, varied trails and plenty of prettiness. High-altitude tracks aren’t uncommon here, like the St. Christoph Loipe (2.5km) – an intermediate skating spot side-lining the slopes. Loipe Stanzertal is a 22km giant that kicks off at the Wertstoffhof farm and skirts the Rosanna river - stick with it and you’ll end up in Flirsch, a little Tyrolean village of quaint chalets and chapels. Mornings are prime time for some action: 2 circuits run past the entrances to Hotel Tirolerhof and Mooserkreuz, totalling 13km of groomer. The first - the 3km Ganderauloipe - is a solid beginner trail where skiers can bring their pooches along for the ride, leading into the training tracks of Stanzertal. The lengthier one’s the Verwallloipe, and at 10km there’s plenty of time to conquer the mild gradient climbs that bring you up and into the Verwalltal Valley. Keep up the pace and you’ll reach the huge iced reservoir, a serene stopping point for snacks and photos. Evenings aren’t a write-off either, with the 1.5km Pofel Runde (just east of the Wellnesspark in Pettneu) usually being floodlit until 8:30pm.

Straight out of a snow globe, Alpbach’s cross-country is as pretty as it gets. 100km of classic and skating tracks are spread out across the area, reaching history-rich towns like Münster and cute hamlets like Inneralpbach. An all-round favourite is the Schönauer trail, an easy 15km loop in Breitenbach that keeps the heart pumping with occasional steeps and wildlife sightings. Then there are the frozen lakes - over in Kramsach (known as ‘Tyrol’s bath tub’ for the amount of lakes there), a combined 7.8km of intermediate grooves wind glorious routes past Lake Reintal and Lake Krumm. With church spires, flat-roofed houses and snow-dusted trees, Brandenberg adds more alpine village charm - mainly medium routes trickle into and around the village centre, with the Audörfl a surprise 5.5km challenge for those with calves of steel. Heading west, the hustle and bustle of Münster is kept at a distance as the 6km Grünsbach and 3km Hauserwies trails make their way past the town. Bringing you back home, Greitergraben and Luegergraben (from Inneralpbach) build up the gradient just enough to make the final descent into Alpbach a real downhill rush.

In the spectacular Wildschönau Valley, 50km of free-to-use groomers are usually open from December through to mid-March, and they’re some of the most peaceful routes you’ll ski. A case in point: The 14km Niederau to Penningdörfl course, where only the occasional bump interrupts hours of woodland and white. Serving as a day starter or finisher, the 7km loop over to Oberau features snow, snow and more snow - with the option of rolling onto Roggenboden if the fancy takes you. Just round the corner, Auffach draws in XC skiers keen to explore a little more of the Ski Juwel area, reaching remote villages like Mühltal and historic towns like Bernau. With 7 and 5km one-way trails, barely a puff is needed to see this ageless side of Austria (and cram in some of the region’s edible delicacies). There’s one route in particular that we can’t get enough of… Follow the 6km Auffach Schönanger out towards the end of the valley, and you’ll pass Johann Schönauer’s guesthouse, where the legendary cheeses (they’ve won several golds at the cheese Olympics) make for a splendid lunch stop.

This list shows SNO’s 10 favourite resorts for Nordic skiing in all of Austria, which have the most trails, top notch grooming and excellent learning and rental facilities.

If you want to widen your search, check out our top tens for XC in France, Italy and Switzerland. Or to experience the best of the best, see our top ten resorts worldwide.

Austria cross country ski resorts

Resort Length of Nordic ski trails Best cross country trail Holidays from (price per person)
Seefeld 279km Unterleutasch trail (13.7km) £579
Galtur 100km Bielerhöhe (18km) £556
Lech 27km Sonnen Höhenloipe Gaisbühel (4km) £831
Kitzbuhel 500km Sonnenloipe (19.7km) £583
Ellmau 60km Schwendter Loipe (8.9km) £638
Zell am See 55km Golfplatzloipe (5km) £599
St Johann 250km Euroloppet (28km) £541
St Anton 50km Loipe Stanzertal (22km) £470
Alpbach 100km Schönauer (15km) £498
Niederau 50km Niederau – Penningdörfl (14km) £471

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