Ischgl is one of the most impressive resorts in Austria with a great reputation for its après-ski scene.
The first ski lift was built in Ischgl as recently as 1963, which makes it a very modern purpose-built ski resort by Austrian standards. Many natives would rate it as the second-best ski station in the country behind St Anton, with a long season and a reliable natural snow record. However Ischgl remains rather under-appreciated by British skiers, principally because it is so popular with German and, to a lesser extent, Scandinavian visitors, that British tour operators sometimes struggle to get a decent allocation of beds in the many comfortable hotels here. However there are now signs that the British companies are managing to get more accommodation.
The village itself is long and narrow and comprises a mixture of original and faux-Tyrolean buildings. The main street is effectively traffic-free and there’s an underground walkway from the centre of town to the Fimba gondola. There is absolutely no shortage of bars, restaurants and shops lining the pavements. This is essentially a fairly up-market resort, although sometimes the late-night après-ski ambience can make it seem otherwise. Ischgl is the main resort in the Silvretta ski area on the Austrian-Swiss border. It links with the duty-free Swiss resort of Samnaun, a popular day-trip destination where skiers stock up on drink, tobacco and luxury goods at very attractive prices — typically about 15% less than they would be in Austria.
The Ski Area
Ischgl is home to an impressive 238km of cruisy pistes, perfect for intermediates that are looking to clock up the miles. Expert skiers are also well catered for with ten black runs that total one fifth of the terrain in Ischgl. Unlike most European resorts, there are no nursery slopes in the village, instead beginners take the gondola up the mountain to a snowsure learners’ plateau.
Ischgl has a long season and usually closes around the beginning of May. The beginning and end of the season are normally marked by a huge free outdoor rock concert by an international superstar. Past artists included, Elton John, Lionel Richie, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, and Sting and, in recent years, artists like Alicia Keys, Muse, Robbie Williams and the Killers have all performed.