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Alpbach is a picture postcard Alpine village that has some great beginner-level skiing and is perfect for families...
In Alpbach, the old men still go to church on Sundays dressed in traditional Tyrolean costume. You might feel like joining them, once you've spent a week in their beautiful village.
Don't book a skiing holiday in Alpbach if you want to ski or snowboard hard and fast for the whole of your holiday: but if you feel the need to unwind, spending as much time over your holiday reading as your downhill pursuits, you'll be very happy here.
Resort height: 1,000m
The ski area in Alpbach is minute - just 52km of marked trails, compared to 600km in the Three Valleys in France. It's rather low altitude too, so in a warm winter, the snow on the lower slopes will be slushy by the end of the day, and icy in the morning - despite a considerable recent extension of its snowmaking facilities. But in a cold season, there's good-quality, intermediate-level skiing and snowboarding to be had in Alpbach, on wide and well-groomed pistes. Midweek, the slopes in Alpbach are quiet, too, so this is a great place to book some tuition and get a handle on your skiing technique. Private ski lessons are cheaper here than in many other resorts.
Salzburg, Munich and Innsbruck airports all provide access to Alpbach...
Innsbruck is the closest, and on a good run the transfer will take less than an hour.
Beginner skiers get the most out of Alpbach's wide, gentle slopes...
For intermediates, and particularly those in the advanced category, the small size of the ski area could prove frustrating.
Pretty Alpbach has bags of Alpine charm and lots of attractions for non-skiers. Holidays here won't break the budget, either...
Alpbach is a popular destination for families, and is home to several child-friendly hotels. In other words this is not one of the party towns of the Alps - though it livens up at the weekends, when city slickers from Munich come out to play and congregate in the bar at the Hotel Post after the lifts shut. Afterwards, most guests have dinner in their hotels as part of a half-board package: for a break from that routine, hike up to the Gasthaus Rossmoos, set in a 17th century farmhouse on the south-facing slopes above town, for some hearty Tyrolean fare - heavy on the rich meaty sauces and dumplings.
Alpbach is a great destination for those who simply want to chill out in attractive surroundings. There's virtually no shopping to speak of, and only a handful of alternative sporting activities - but if your idea of a holiday includes snowy walks along the quiet valleys, day trips (by bus and train) into Innsbruck, and the odd burn on one of your hotel's exercise bikes, Alpbach will suit you well.
The limited amount of skiing means that Alpbach will never be able to charge a premium for its hotel rooms, which makes a hotel-based skiing holiday more affordable than in the bigger and more high-altitude resorts. There's budget accommodation here too - but it's a shame, frankly, to check into somewhere basic and functional when you're surrounded by such comfort.
The Alpine landscape in Alpbach is softer than you might expect, full of snow-covered meadows, quiet, dark forests and the occasional craggy peak. It suits the traditional wooden houses and hotels of the village very well, and the child-friendly nursery slopes next to the village centre add to the cosy atmosphere. The only drawback is that for access to the main ski area you must hop on a shuttle bus down into the bottom of the valley.