As my EasyJet flight was making its final approach into Salzburg Airport the buttlerflies in my stomach started twitching. My wife, Joanna, and I had only left our London home four hours earlier and soon we would be on a cable car heading towards the snow peaked mountains of the beautiful Austrian ski area of Sankt-Johann.
With an increasing number of Brits opting for long weekend ski breaks – rather than the traditional week long break - the resort is perfect. You arrive into a hassle free airport and a taxi can have you in the heart of the resort just 50 minutes later. The charming Tyrolean town dates from the 13th century and boasts cobbled streets and painted Baroque buildings. At its heart is an abundance of well equipped ski shops and a network of lifts which whisk you from the resort at just 659m up to 1604 metres.
Skiing in Sankt-Johann:
Not only is the resort conveniently located, the runs are a good length, many of which are in trees and in total you can ski 760km of groomed pistes. My wife and I have done more than 100 weeks skiing each but found plenty to challenge us over the course of three days skiing including the 24 degree Schlangengrube.
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It is also a kiddies’ paradise (when we were there last March there were dozens of schoolchildren on trips from countries including Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria). One favourite focal point was a giant 12 metre snowman with smiley face where children gathered to pose for pictures to send back to their loved ones.
Although the town is low, due to most of the slopes being north facing it has a reputataion for reliable snow conditions and the pistes are very well kept and linked into each other, meaning you don’t have to pole or walk. It is idea for intermediaries and beginners and particularly caters for families.
Why you should visit Sankt-Johann:
Not widely discovered by Brits it is a regular destination for visitors from Germany and Holland and of course the locals. It really has kept its identity and all its amenities and services were provided with the expected Austrian efficiency and high standards, without the extortionate prices associated with better known ski resorts.
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Where to stay in Sankt-Johann:
We stayed in a family run hotel which provided a comfortable room and bathroom as well as a kitchenette. It included a TV and its own balcony offering stunning views of snowy mountains which looked particularly spectacular tinged with pink light at the end of each day. With rooms costing just €40 per person per night based on 2 sharing B&B (½-board option is available on request) it is a holiday that does not break the bank. And being in Austria of course we had to make use of the sauna returning after three days ski-ing feeling totally rejuvenated with an Alpine glow.
Thomas Whitaker visited Sankt-Johann Alpendorf in the Salzburgerland Region of Austria courtesy of the tourist offices: sanktjohann.com and salzburgerland.com. He stayed at Apartment House St Florian (pension-st-florian.at). Double rooms from €40 per person per night based on 2 sharing B&B (½-board option is available on request). Excludes local tax.
A 3-day lift pass (covers Skt-Johann-Alpendorf, Wagrain, Flachau and the entire Ski Amade area comprising 760 km of groomed pistes) is priced at €158.50 per adult; 6-day lift pass is €266 (discounts for children and teens). Fly direct to Salzburg from London and regional cities: ba.com, easjet.com, jet2.com, eurowings.com and transfers to Alpendorf by road are approximately 50 minutes by road and 2 hours using public transport (bus/train).
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