If you’re searching for a ski property, the first step is to decide where to look. Whether you’re looking for a place to spend your down time, or an intelligent investment, you’ll want to know you’re buying in a resort that will offer solid enjoyment and sound returns for years to come.
Logic says that demand for ski tourism and ski property can fluctuate, and like any investment it’s important to ride the storm until demand turns towards an upwards trend. Austria seems particularly good at coping with these fluctuations, and signs show a determined uptick in both visitor numbers and property interest. Why is this? What makes ski property in Austria such a great investment?
The International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism
Created and compiled by Laurent Vanat , the International report on snow and mountain tourism 2022 is as illuminating as ever. In this article we’ll look at how the report can help improve understanding of the market in light of current uncertainties, as well as how to make best use of the facts and figures contained in the report. We’ll build on these findings to pinpoint key factors that make Austria a prime place to start your search for your dream ski property.
Investment in infrastructure
Figures from the report detail a huge amount of investment - around six billion Euros have been spent on improvements to infrastructure over the last ten years alone. Austria is a significant contributor to this, with investment in ski lifts and a proactive approach to the creation of interconnected ski resorts.
An incredible 746 new lifts have been installed over the last ten years, including ones like the 3.2km Panorama Link. This ten person gondola lift is part of Snow Space Salzburg that connects skiing areas of Flachau, Wagrain and St. Johann im Pongauand this new lift will expand this connection to the ski area of Flachauwinkel/Kleinarl.
In practical terms, this means skiers and fans of the numerous other winter sports Austria has to offer can ski over 200 kilometres of slopes with just one lift pass.
Linked ski resorts
This concept of linking ski resorts is something Austria has fully embraced and skiers can enjoy a huge variety of terrain without having to worry about ski shuttles - just get on the lift and go. There are too many to name, but some of our favourites are Kitzbuhel with 156km of piste, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, a renowned family resort with a huge range of slopes and non-ski activities and Ischgl - Samnaun - Silvretta Arena famous for demanding slopes, legendary apres ski and Top of the Mountain concerts.
These linked resorts have maximum appeal, both to holiday home owners, who appreciate the variety of terrain, and investors who know that they have a broad range of slopes to appeal to the rental market.
Investment in sustainability
As well as being incredibly convenient and ensuring that ski property will be of interest to a wide range of people, this reduction of reliance on shuttle buses means a reduction of emissions and is another small step towards Austria’s goals around sustainable skiing. This is big news, and a quick glance over information from the Austrian Tourist Board shows that investment in this area is big news.
Skiers can look forward to lifts and snow cannons that harness solar power, an increased focus on local produce and a huge drive to move away from car transport towards train travel.
This is also highlighted by Vanat, who notes the role that the OBB (Austrian Federal Railways) plays in making the mountains accessible, and moving towards the industry wide trends towards sustainable skiing.
Collaboration between resorts and the OBB offers a package that includes train tickets, ski pass, transfers to accommodation and rental of ski equipment and ski wear. In terms of accessibility it’s hard to imagine what more could be done to make skiing an attractive option for skiers of all skill levels and in terms of helping people change their travel habits it’s safe to say Austria is making significant progress.
Reinvestment of revenue
Cold hard evidence of revenue can be hard to see on paper - the drive for improvement means that the ski industry in Austria re-invests some 50% of its revenues. Actions such as the investment of around 140 million euros in snowmaking, meaning 60% of slopes have snowmaking capacity, means that the future of skiing can be seen as somewhat more certain in an ever changing world.
Austria has a longstanding ski culture
Another interesting point raised in the report is the influence of Austria’s long standing ski culture. When we consider that Austria is 62% mountains, with just a small amount of lowland areas, and the fact that winter sports have been part of life here since the nineteenth century this should not come as much of a surprise.
Why does this longstanding ski culture matter?
Quite simply it means that skiing in Austria is different. As Vanat points out, it’s one of the only countries where schools take part in regular ski weeks - skiing is part of life as much as a beach holiday or a trip to the countryside. It also means that ski resorts have a great deal of individual character and personality - something that is increasingly appealing in an ever homogenised world.
What do the numbers say?
The figures in Vanat’s report give weight to the appeal of this sense of individuality. A yearly visitor increase of 2.25% is not to be sniffed at, and Austria has maintained growth even through the challenges of the leaner seasons in the early 2010s, culminating in the country’s place as leader for ski visits in the 2017/18 season.
The impact of the pandemic has of course been felt in Austria with huge losses in visitor numbers, especially in areas that rely on international overnight visitors rather than more local day guests. Despite this blip, Austria shows a deep understanding of what matters to its visitors.
Skiing is embedded in Austrian culture, visitors are welcomed, sustainability is championed and reinvestment means continual improvement. Add in some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world and it seems logical to conclude that the ski scene in Austria will be part of life for years to come.
Why do these four factors show ski property in Austria is a great investment?
People choose to own property in ski resorts for many reasons. For some it is purely a means of investment and generating income. For others, a property in a ski resort is a way to spend as much time as possible enjoying the mountains and the unique lifestyle they have to offer. For many more investing in ski property is a combination of the two.
If you’re from the “investment is king” camp, then the steady visitor growth, continual improvement of the resorts, and partnerships with OBB will spark more than a frisson of interest. If you are looking for somewhere that feels more like home from home, then the individual character of many resorts, along with the sense of skiing being “in the blood” means you’ll have a chance of becoming part of a community beyond the slopes. And if you’re somewhere between the two? Well it seems Austria may be able to deliver the best of both worlds for investors and ski home hunters alike.
Find your perfect Austrian ski property
Austria has over 400 ski resorts and some 7000km of slopes to enjoy, so there’s plenty of places to explore when it comes to finding your perfect Austrian ski property.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the resorts that command the most attendance year on year. Most of these are in the Tyrol area.
- Hochzillertal-Hochfuegen-Kaltenbach, Ischgl / Samnaun Silvretta Arena
- Schladming 4Berge
- Silvretta Montafon
- Ski Arlberg (including Lech, Zürs-Warth, St.Anton, St. Christoph and Stuben),
- Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm
- Leogang Fieberbrun
- SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental,
- Snow Space Salzburg (including Flachau-Wagrein-St. Johann,)
- Zillertal 3000 – Mayrhofen and Zillertal Arena.
Find your ski property
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