Austrian Tyrol

23rd November 2007 at 00:00
By the middle of this month more than a metre of snow had fallen in the Austrian Tyrol - the biggest November snowfalls in more than 30 years. Resorts such as St Anton and Kitzbuhel had more than 1.5 metres.

Just in time for the Christmas holidays, both BA and easyJet have introduced new flights to the provincial capital Innsbruck (

EasyJet's services from Gatwick and Bristol start on December 14, but Liverpudlian skiers will have to wait until half-term since its Liverpool-Innsbruck route does not begin until January 8. BA's eight weekly flights from Gatwick will be supplemented by a new Sunday service from Manchester. Or try full-service ski flight specialist JFL2Go, which carries passengers from Gatwick to Innsbruck (08700 347 874, from pound;160 return and promises no hidden extra charges.

From the airport it's 18 minutes by bus to the centre of Innsbruck, where skiers can catch free ski buses to the city's nine satellite ski resorts or try a new service - December 1 sees the opening of Europe's first funicular link, designed by leading architect Zahar Hadid, to take people direct from the city centre up into the mountains in about eight minutes.

Anxious to cast off its lederhosen image, the Austrian Tyrol is emphasising its contemporary holiday options. To rival the ice hotels of Scandinavia, igloo villages are being created.

The White Lounge, in the middle of the Zillertal piste, has indoor and outdoor bars with a DJ on Tuesday nights, dining and club facilities and a sauna, surrounded by 10 sleeping igloos. An overnight package (00 43 5288 87187, costs 133 euros (pound;94) and includes breakfast and dinner in the igloo.

Kitzbuhel's version (00 49 711 34169090, will have an igloo church, a children's igloo, an igloo hotel, a wellness igloo and an igloo bar, shop, restaurant and village square, all opening on December 23.

Otztal's igloo village at the foot of the Rettenbachferner mountain promises a sauna and whirlpool bath and skinny dipping by candlelight (00 43 5254 5100,

Renata Rubnikowicz

Readers recommend

Where to stay

At the Hotel Wiesenhof in Pertisau you can ski (this is cross-country territory but there are good downhill runs for beginners) or walk from the doorstep. Or head for the spa that has an indoor pool, steam rooms and saunas and offers various massage and beauty treatments.

Caroline, Wirral

Where to go

St Johann is a lovely little town, about an hour's drive from Salzburg airport. It is a bit touristy but it has still maintained its charm and you can definitely feel you are in Austria. The town is at the foot of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range and no matter where you stand, you have breathtaking views.

Emma, Roehampton

What to do

If men in leather shorts slapping each other on the backside is your idea of fun, then head to the Kaiserhotel Neuwirt in Oberndorf near Kitzbuhel. It's more fun than it sounds, although don't make the mistake of not taking it seriously.

Martin, London

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