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Wednesday December 6, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Many are claiming so, but is it true? PlanetSKI sees for itself in the Austrian resort of Ischgl & looks at what it may mean for the season ahead.

Across many parts of the Alps the snow started falling in late October and early November. 

It did here in Ischgl with snow down to resort level and it has stayed.

There is top to bottom skiing.  

The resort claims to offer the most skiing of any resort in Austria.  

Just look at the green ticks on the electronic piste map - they signify which lifts and runs are open. 

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

And here is what it currently looks like in the village that sits at 1,400m. 

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria


In recent years as November turned into December the snow stopped falling, the temperatures went up and the early promise of a great start to winter never materialised.  

Last season saw poor snow across Xmas and New Year in the Alps.  

The worst for several seasons. 

For skiers & snowboarders, resorts, tour operators and pretty much everyone connected with snowsports it was little short of disastrous.  

Not so this winter.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

The snow has kept on falling and the temperatures have remained cold - well below freezing across many resorts.  

The snow cannons have been doing their work and topping up what Mother Nature has provided.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Here in Ischgl in the Tirol in Austria there has been well over 1.5m of natural snowfall and there is now a claimed base of 60-80cm at the top of the resort. 

Nick Marsh is the resort manager for the UK tour operator, Inghams. 

The off piste remains rocky underfoot and it is best not to venture too far from the piste.   

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

But there are good pockets of powder if you know where to go and are with the right people.      

"We have the best December snow for at least 5-years, maybe longer," said the local instructor, Sondro Kleinhans.  

He took me down his favourite run - black No 4.    

Sondro Kleinhans and his favourite runSondro Kleinhans and his favourite run

And then into the powder off the newest cable car in the resort that was built in 2013. 

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

See here for when PlanetSKI's Rob Freeman reported on the opening of the lift four years ago.  
We also rode the new 6-seater chairlift, built for this season, that is decorated with the musical superstars that have played in the resort at its famous opening and closing concerts.
In front as I rode the lift this week was Robbie Williams.  

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Just one of the acts I have seen in Ischgl over the years.  
However the excellent snow across Austria so far this winter has actually harmed Ischgl.  

In the short-term at least.  


It is one of the highest resorts in the area and always opens at the end of November.

If not enough natural snow falls then it has a massive arsenal of snow cannons - well over 1,000. 

In 2011 it spent €1m on snowmaking so the resort could open on time. 
People usually come from far and wide as in recent years as it has been one of the few resorts with reasonable cover, but this year pretty much everywhere has snow so people ski in their local resorts.  

There are alternatives.        

But the levels of snow mean an excellent Xmas and New Year awaits anyone who has booked or is going to grab a last-minute bargain.  

Ischgl is one of the best places in the Alps for snow at the moment.   

Of course we don't know what the rest of the winter holds in store and this early season promise may not deliver a bumper season - but for the moment the conditions are little short of superb.

The tourist office director of Ischgl is Andreas Steibl - a long-time friend of mine.

We don't need any more words to describe conditions.  

Ischgl sits on the border with Switzerland.  

Here is what it currently looks like gazing into Austria.

And here is the view into Switzerland.  

If you are heading to Ischgl or many, many other ski resorts you are about to have the best early season conditions for five years or more.  


And if you haven't had enough here is my snow report from Ischgl from earlier in the week:


Inghams offers a seven-night holiday on a half board basis at the four-star Hotel Jägerhof in Ischgl, Austria, from £1,049 per person departing on 13th January 2018.

Price includes return flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck and airport transfers.

To book, visit or call 01483 791114.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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