Winter Activities Away from the Slopes
Give your skis a break and try out winter paddling, snowshoeing, mountain yoga, and more.
Skiing remains the most popular activity among Brits visiting Austria in the colder months. But why not spice it up with some alternative sporty activities in between the days on the slopes? Rent a kayak or paddle board and explore Austria’s snow-covered landscapes from the water, head out on a tour with huskies, alpacas, or donkeys, find your inner zen while practicing mountain yoga, or take a break from downhill skiing with a leisurely walk or hike through the snow. Outdoor activities in nature are great for both body and mind, and alternative options give even more people access to them.
Have a look at our suggestions for a balanced winter below – as part of a classic skiing escape or enjoyed on their own!
SNOWSHOEING, WINTER WALKING & HIKING
Walks and hikes through snow-covered landscapes are great ways to experience Austria’s natural winter wonderland first-hand and leave all the stress of everyday life behind. What’s more: Many trails are manageable for all ages and skill levels, making winter adventures accessible for even more people. And, unless you opt for snowshoeing, you don’t need any special equipment except for boots and warm clothes either.
While you can walk and hike in all winter regions, some are especially known for their extensive network of trails and beautiful tours. Zillertal (400 km of winter hiking trails!), Kitzbühel, and the Arlberg region feature everything from family-friendly walks to multi-day hiking adventures, while Vorarlberg’s Bregenz Forest in Vorarlberg and the Hohe Tauern National Park in Carinthia and Salzkammergut are especially popular for snowshoeing.
WINTER SUP, CANOEING & KAYAKING
Who says you can only paddle in the summer months? With the right equipment, think dry suits, waterproof gloves, and neoprene boots, navigating your boat or board around the Austrian lakes and rivers can be just as enjoyable. Just imagine the unique and unusual views of the snow-covered landscapes right from the water!
Winter paddling, especially SUP, is best suited for those who have already gained some experience in the summer. You want to minimize the risk of falling into the ice-cold water after all. That being said, some winter resorts do offer paddling courses for beginner. Check out winter kayaking in the Kitzbühel Alps for workshops and guided tours (all skill levels), rent your board at Carinthia’s Lake Weissensee, or, if you are looking for something extra special, the Hintertux Glacier in Zillertal, where you can stand up paddle – or swim! – in an ice cave.
ANIMAL EXPERIENCES IN THE SNOW
Feel the fluffy fur of alpacas, play with dogs in the snow, admire the wintery landscapes from a horse-drawn carriage, or head on a winter hike together with donkeys. Animal experiences are a great way to enjoy winter both away from the slopes and the crowds. It comes with little surprise therefore that they increase in popularity every year.
At Husky farms – such as Toni’s dog paradise in Brandnertal, Vorarlberg, or Husky Haberl in Styria – guests can learn how to navigate a dog sled, while in Tirol’s Pitztal they are invited to head out on a memorable twilight hike with alpacas. The Mühlviertler Alm region in Upper Austria, not far from Salzburg, features an impressive 700-km-long network of horse-riding paths. And for those who prefer to sit down and relax in a carriage, St. Johann in Tirol, Zell am See – Kaprun, and Saalbach Hinterglemm are just a few of the many options.
WINTER YOGA & SPA BREAKS
Long gone are the times when yoga was considered an indoor and summer activity! Zell am See offers free open-air yoga classes throughout the winter, while Schladming in the Dachstein region has workshops especially designed with skiers in mind. St. Anton am Arlberg, home to the popular annual Mountain Yoga Festival in September, now offers yoga classes all-year round, including in winter. Vorarlberg’s Kleinwalsertal has its own yoga hotel operating throughout the cold months.
Last but not least, day spas or hotels with winter spas offer a great balance between active and relaxing winter escape. Some of the most popular ones include Aqua Dome in Tirol’s Längenfeld, Das Central in Sölden, and the Interalpen Hotel Tyrol just half an hour from Innsbruck.
If you are interested in covering Austria’s winter activities in line with a commission, we will happily assist you in mapping out a research trip.
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