Gastein Ski Resort Austria
The Gastein ski resort is a series of four resorts in the Gasteinertal (Gastein valley) of Salzburgerland in Austria. The individual resorts include Bad Gastein – Bad Hofgastein (a.k.a. Stubnerkogel-Angertal-Schlossalm), Dorfgastein-Grossarl, Sportgastein & the small Graukogel. In Gastein you can go sport, dorf or bad – you choose!
Renowned as much for its thermal spas as its skiing, if the ski & activity diversity within the Gastein valley isn’t enough for you, it’s good to know that all Gastein multi-day lift passes are valid in the massive Ski Amadé region providing access to a multitude of additional resorts in Salzburgerland & Styria.
Pros & Cons for Gastein Ski Resort
- Huge skiable vertical.
- Modern & efficient lift system.
- Few if any lift lines.
- Excellent variety of piste trails for all levels & includes numerous valley trails.
- Sensational off-piste & freeride terrain particularly at Sport Gastein.
- Typically good Austrian après ski, especially on the mountain near Angertal.
- Several interesting non-ski activities both on & off the mountain.
- Good value lift pass price, with multi-day tickets valid in a multitude of nearby ski resorts.
- Easy public transport access by train to the integrated train & lift station in Bad Gastein.
- Plenty of free local bus transport connecting the ski areas plus ample car parking for day visitors.
- Four ski areas not connected to each other by lift or trail.
- Limited ski-in ski-out accommodation.
- Low base areas & villages may not have any natural snow early & late in the season.
- Parts of Bad Gastein’s ‘old town’ are derelict and only very slowly being renovated, giving one a sense it has seen its best days!
Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)
- Ski areas are up to 25km apart & villages are spread along Gasteinertal.
- Accommodation in Bad Gastein can be relatively expensive & can book out quickly in high season, but there are some great budget lodgings.
- A major thermal spa area, which can go either way in terms of clientele & local village vibe.
Skiing & Snowboarding, Lifts & Terrain
Encompassing 42 ski lifts & 205km of trails, Gastein delivers a top quality, diverse ski experience, devoid of crowds & full of fun for all abilities. Each area covers a range of terrain aspects & types providing everything from sheltered tree-lined piste trails to gnarly couloirs, broad alpine bowls & meadows plus extensive novice learn-to -ski zones (Angertal) & light transitional tree-skiing. Despite the relatively low base elevations (not so low for Austria!), the lengthy valley trails are skiable for the entire season.
Check out the ski trail map for the Gastein Valley below.
Gastein Ski Trail Map
Whilst the overall skiable vertical is a massive 1,856m, the most one can ski is on the regions’ longest run – the 10½km, 1,443m vertical descent Hohe Scharte into Bad Hofgastein. It is a fabulous ride ending with a duck under a railway bridge & over the main road to one of the best lift base terminals in the world. The Austrian’s don’t do things by halves & it is certainly reflected in the outstanding quality of the lifts & infrastructure in Gastein.
Of all the ski areas, the combined Bad Gastein – Bad Hofgastein offers the best lifts & terrain variety.(a.k.a. Stubnerkogel-Angertal-Schlossalm). The smallish Graukogel is on the opposite side of Bad Gastein, accessible by ski bus.
Set in an isolated part of the valley, Sportgastein has the highest lifted point in the entire ski region at 2,686m & provides a true paradise for Powderhounds with its unfettered freeride powder skiing options. Wonderful descents head in all directions from the summit, some back into the lift base, others descending toward Boeckstein. A legendary ski route from the top of Moelltal Glacier ski resort down into the Sportgastein valley station can also be completed with the right resources.
Whilst each local ski area at Gastein has its own daily lift pass, any lift tickets purchased of 1½days duration or greater are for the Ski amadé region. Ski amadé passes are valid in over 20 ski areas throughout the region covering 760km of ski trails including at Schladming 4-Berge, Snow Space Salzburg, Zauchensee & numerous other Austrian classics. The standard day pass in Bad Gastein is valid in the Schlossalm-Angertal-Stubnerkogel-Sportgastein sectors, with the price varying up to €16/day for an adult when purchased online.
For freeriders looking to link Gastein, Moelltal Glacier & Ankogel there are also 1 or 2-day ski passes which include all 3 resorts. The main Gastein lifts used when linking the region’s backcountry is at Sportgastein.
Where is Gastein Austria?
The Gasteinertal is 105km south of the glorious city of Salzburg. The closest airports are Salzburg (SZG) (1½hr drive) & Munich (MUC) (>3hr drive). Search & book private airport transfers to Bad Gastein.
Gastein’s ski resorts are accessible from the airports via train to railway stations at Dorfgastein, Bad Gastein & Böckstein. The journey is a pleasing & environmentally friendly way to get to the ski resort. If heading to Gastein from the south (Carinthia), a brilliant car-train from Mallnitz links to the train station at Bahnhof Böckstein travels via a long tunnel directly through the mountains. Utilising the car-train avoids a 3 to 4hr drive. Foot passengers can use the train as well.
Search & book train tickets to Bad Gastein.
The four Gastein ski resorts are spread across the entire valley. The distance from the lift base at Dorfgastein to the base of Sportgastein is a hefty 25km by road. As the skiing areas are not all lift linked, numerous free ski buses regularly transport skiers & snowboarders between the various valley lift stations. The train is an option between Dorfgastein & Bad Gastein.
Anyone using a rental car to get around the valley will find ample parking at all the major lift bases. Worth knowing is the last 4km of the road up to Sport Gastein has a toll for any cars with passengers that do not have a valid lift pass.
For hints, tips & warnings about getting to Austrian ski resorts in winter, see our Travel in Austria page.
With a genesis as a spa holiday region, the Gastein valley is replete with old world grand hotel & resort style accommodations. Lodgings can be sought in at least five separate towns – Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein, Böckstein & Grossarl (located in a parallel valley but connected to Dorfgastein by lift & piste).
Search & book Gastein ski accommodation.
At the bottom of the valley is Dorfgastein. The village is clustered around the ski lift bases so lodgings are all within only a short walk of the slopes. Dorfgastein has a train station plus lift & piste links to the Großarltal to the east. The village of Grossarl provides a quiet alternative to Gastein but linking the village with the valley’s other ski areas can be problematic. Regular free ski buses link Dorfgastein to Bad Hofgastein & Bad Gastein.
Further up the valley is Bad Hofgastein. A more modern town than its old-world neighbour, Bad Hofgastein has several ski-in ski-out lodgings on the lower slopes with Das Goldberg far & away the best of them. The village centre itself & most accommodations are around 700m away from the ultra-modern Schlossalmbahn lift base. In town, the better hotels are near the Alpentherme Gastein – a series of thermal swimming pools & lakes. Try the Österreichischer Hof Hotel. Above town in the saddle between the two main ski mountains of Schlossalm & Stubnerkogel is Angertal. Located at 1,175m elevation, Angertal provides some ski-in ski-out accommodations as well as direct lift access to both mountains and the resort’s best learn-to-ski area. Try the Felding Alm Apartments.
Bad Gastein is the unchallenged queen of the valley. Its atmospheric original town centre is full of charm (and just a little dilapidated in parts!), coming complete with towering grand hotels surrounded by snowy forest & a roaring waterfall that seemingly sprouts from beneath a cluster of buildings. The thermal water in the area is rich in radon – a toxic substance when ingested in large quantities, it nonetheless has alleged healing qualities when bathed in. To get a dose of the healing waters, the Felsentherme Bad Gastein is opposite the train station & the most popular thermal spa pools in the valley.
Whilst the Bad Gastein old town may not be to everyone’s liking, it is a fascinating place to visit. The hotels in the old town are a short walk away from the ski lifts, down quite a steep hill, however most come with their own complimentary shuttle to comfortably transport guests. Try the Hotel Salzburger Hof for the full spa town Grand Hotel vibe. Other accommodations, including a few excellent budget options, line the road opposite the train station & heading out of town. For the best value, try the Hotel Goethehof, Euro Youth Hotel & Krone or the Residence Alpenheart Hotel.
Beyond the historic spa hotels of Bad Gastein, the pretty, traditional village of Böckstein is the last town in the valley & the closest to the isolated base of the Sportgastein ski area. Bockstein has numerous well priced hotels & pensions. Try the diverse offerings at the Zur Post Hotel & Apartments. Sportgastein has no accommodation at its base.
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Ski Rentals, Lessons & Guiding
Ski rentals are available with our local partners in the centre of the village & near the lifts Bad Gastein. Receive a discount when you search & book via our Gastein Ski & Snowboard Equipment Rentals page.
Some off-piste ski lessons & guiding can make all the difference to a stay at Gastein – particularly in the huge freeride terrain of Sportgastein. For more information and booking, see our Gastein Ski Lessons & Guiding page.
Gastein has built a tradition around its radon thermal spa treatments so it’s no surprise they feature heavily in a list of local non-ski activities. Public thermal swimming pools & lakes are in Bad Gastein & Bad Hofgastein & most of the larger hotels offer similar treatments. Away from the thermal spas, a host of mountain activities including winter-walking trails, snow-shoeing on Dorfgastein, cross-country skiing, sledding in two locations, impressive lookouts & suspension bridges gives a hint of the adventures on offer.
The Powderhounds reviewed Gastein in March 2019 & January 2022. We love it when one has no expectations & are utterly surprised & impressed with the resort. Click on the review link in the left column (or top of the page if on a mobile) to read our inciteful musings!
See how Gastein compares to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.
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