Lots of snow in Obertauern (where the Beatles filmed the movie ‘Help’)

12th December 2019, by Dave Watts

Obertauern’s skiing is high and snowsure – unusual for Austria

Obertauern’s skiing is high and snowsure – unusual for Austria

On Tuesday this week, I skied in the Austrian resort of Obertauern, one of the snowiest non-glacier resorts in Austria. Indeed one recent independent study of the last 30 years’ snowfalls in Austrian resorts says it has the deepest average snow depth of all the resorts included (264cm compared with its nearest rival, famously snowy Zürs in the Arlberg with a mere 197cm).

Its impressive snow record allows it to stay open for a long season (21 November to 3 May this season).

The Beatles filmed scenes for their 1965 movie ‘Help’ in Obertauern

I’ve visited several times in the past and been impressed by the variety of terrain – easy blue cruises, genuine red challenges and a few steep blacks including one from the top of the Gamsleiten chair that the resort claims is the second steepest piste in Austria.

Dave visited on a snowy, poor visibility day. The lower slopes with a few trees were the best place to be

The resort is in a bowl, with runs all round and on both sides of the valley. And there’s a cute circuit that can be skied in either clockwise (called the red tour because the lifts and runs to take are marked on the piste map in red) or anti-clockwise (the blue tour because the lifts and runs to take are marked on the piste map in blue).

Even on a snowy day the snowmaking was working

Sadly my day there was spoiled by poor visibility because of snow and wind – some of the highest lifts were closed and conditions at the top of the others were unpleasant to say the least. So after a couple of runs my guide, a Hungarian called Balázs (pictured above) from the Silvia Grillitsch ski school, decided to stay on the lower runs, where there were a few trees and rocks to help with visibility.

But we still managed to do a clockwise tour of the lower part of the circuit before lunch.

There are lots of special areas for kids

One thing I was very struck by were the kids’ facilities.

There are lots of fun areas for them, such as mini-moguls, an animal village, a pole jungle, monster park and haunted tunnel. Plus a long covered moving carpet was new for this season, serving a wide, gentle nursery slope. And kids up to age 5 ski for free when accompanied by their parents.

Skiing through the haunted tunnel is great fun

The resort is purpose-built in chalet style. And the après ski is lively with lots of crowded bars pumping out the music.

I stayed at the ski-in/ski-out 4-star Hotel Alpenland, which has been completely renovated over the last few years. My room was small but smart and modern, the food and service were good and the ‘Alpen Relax’ spa area superb – with pool, family sauna and rooftop outdoor hot tub and a separate over 16s only area with different types of sauna and steam room.

For more on Obertauern click here

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