Latest edition : 08 February 2019
Either way, the name is almost unpronounceable for a non-German speaker. Regardless, to ski and enjoy all the “extras” of this village in this beautiful and vast valley of Austrian Tyrol, you don't really need to speak the language of Goethe. Ischgl is a beautiful winter mosaic, made of a little elegance, renowned restaurants, trendy bars, big names in show biz. But its greatest attractions are its beautiful, impeccably prepared slopes for skiers of all levels. All in a magnificent panorama.
About 40 modern ski lifts avoid long waiting lines. The station is located between 2000 and 2872 m above sea level, the village is at 1300 m. Ski guaranteed therefore from the end of November to the beginning of May. 85 slopes total 239 km for alpine skiing, including 24% blue level, 47% red level, or even very red, and 29% black level.
To vary the pleasures: a half pipe, a snowpark (4 sectors, 30 obstacles), a carving track, a 7 km toboggan run (to hit at night!).
Without forgetting cross-country skiing (73 km), ski tours, freeride or, quieter, walks on groomed paths, guided snowshoe hikes (in the evening with a fondue in an inn), skating, curling and other horse-drawn sleigh rides.
It is one of the most beautiful ski areas in Austria. One of the biggest too if we add the tracks that play a leapfrog between Austria and Switzerland.
That's the perfect occasion to buy Swiss chocolate in the duty free in Samnaun on the edge of the slopes. Or perfume. So don't forget your little backpack! It is also better to remove the mobile data on your phone so as not to explode your invoice!!
Talking about duty free: Ischgl offers to ski in the footsteps of Tyrolean smugglers who traded cheese or furs for American coffee, rice, tobacco. The “Schmugglerrunde” comes in three difficulty levels, gold and silver for experienced skiers, and bronze for beginners.
To complete the 35.7 km, 24.7 km and 19.8 km routes, allow approximately 4 hours. But only if you do not succumb to the attractions of a sunny terrace! This will lengthen your time but it will not have any consequences on your participation in the drawing of lots, allowing to win some nice prizes. As long as you pass in front of the various control beacons. Before embarking on one of the routes, do not forget to load the free application.
While Hervé is having fun on the more technical slopes, Ursula explores the area in the company of Thomas, a Belgian instructor who knows this part of Austria like the back of his hand: he has been coming there since his childhood.
Many ski lifts crisscross the vast area. It is only on the Swiss side that one has the impression of being alone in the world, the slopes not going below the lifts.
Austria has many designer restaurants on the slopes. Ischgl is no exception. With that touch of discreet luxury for which the resort is famous.
The Alpenhaus, a beautiful stone building that blends in well with the landscape, even reserves a floor for some happy few (members of the Alpenhaus Club) with tables set as in a gourmet restaurant.
On all the sunny terraces, the lunch break continues. A sweet torpor sets in to digest the regional specialties served generously.
In recent years, Ischgl has become the Mecca of "fine dining". The village of 1,600 inhabitants can be proud of several gourmet restaurants awarded with 18 Gault Millau toques.
Among them, the Schlossherrenstube in the Schlosshotel (5 *).
The warm but refined decor serves as the backdrop for the inventive and individualistic cuisine of Gustav Jantscher.
He is not interested in doing what other people do, nor trends. And if the chief who breeds pigeons, among other things, is inspired by French gastronomy, his dishes bear witness to a vivid imagination! As an appetizer we taste, for example, fir butter…. It's tasty and very fine. Be careful not to overeat, because the sequel promises to be delicious!
In the more "simple" inns, you can enjoy fondues, baked potatoes, "kaiserschmarrn" and other traditional "apfelstrudel".
To warm up on the slopes on the Swiss side, let yourself be tempted by a "lumbumba" (hot chocolate with rum) or a "holdrio" (rosehip tea with plum brandy). If you don't drink alcohol, try "Almdudler," a kind of herb lemonade.
Like everywhere in Austria, après-ski is an integral part of winter sports! In Ischgl, revelers can choose between elegant champagne bars and classy lounges like the one at the Schlosshotel.
But it's the more rustic establishments like the legendary “Kuhstall” that attract people. In the stable, they let off steam until late at night. But be careful, if between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. singing outside is allwoed, it is forbidden to make noise later. So it’s inside that the party continues!
Another special feature of Ischgl: concerts by big names on the international scene. Stars like Elton John, Tina Turner, Zucchero, Helene Fischer or Lenny Kravitz already rocked the mountain at the end of the season.
Throughout the season, there is also a party in the heart of the resort during the breathtaking show of the ski instructors.
From the end of November to the end of the season, Ischgl is sold out. The recipe for this success ? An impeccable ski area with a top ski lift park, fine dining, family hotels, lively après-ski and big concerts to open and end the winter season. Harmonious management is only possible thanks to a kind of residents' cooperative, the Silvretta Seilbahn AG.
At the start of this beautiful story, in 1960, each inhabitant invested according to their means in equities. Each year, the profits are reinvested, no shareholder touches them. Always following this "common sense of the peasants", no hotel belongs to a chain, all are run by families.
A concept that is bearing fruit: 2.1 million skiers, 70% of whom are loyal customers. To vary the pleasures, with the 6-day pass (€ 254.50 with the guest card) insatiable people can explore the slopes of other areas from the Paznaun valley.