Never heard of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis?

29th January 2017, by Dave Watts

Snow conditions were good despite no new snow for two weeks

Snow conditions were good despite no new snow for two weeks

Avid readers of Where to Ski and Snowboard can be forgiven if they have never heard of Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. They are resorts in Austria that have never had a full chapter in the book.

That’s partly because when Editors Watts and Gill first visited in 1987, the three resorts were not linked and the biggest, Serfaus, had a long, narrow ski area that was small-scale compared with many other Tirolean resorts.

Serfaus is traffic-free and served by an underground hover train that takes you to the slopes

But the resorts were fully linked in 1999 by new lifts and pistes and we never paid a repeat visit till now. Big mistake. The two days we spent this week skiing the area convinced us that it is worthy of serious consideration by keen and competent intermediate skiers. It claims 214km of pistes measured in the traditional way of allowing for skiers turns and 162km measured logically down the middle of the pistes. That puts it way ahead of Austrian rivals such as Mayrhofen, Obergurgl and Solden and about the same as Ischgl.

Crystal Ski includes the area in its programme for the first time for the 2018/19 season – and is the only major British tour operator to feature it. Most of the resorts’ guests are German, Dutch or Swiss.

Most of the runs are serious reds but there are good and varied blacks too

Most of the runs are serious reds deserving of their classification. And there are some serious blacks too – notably run 160 from the high point of Masnerkopf above Serfaus at over 2800m. Editor Watts tested this out while Editor Gill inspected the nearby red run.

Despite the fact that the piste map bears the slogan ‘We Are Family’ and that the resorts are very popular with families and have extensive kids’ facilities (up the mountain, not at resort level), there are very few easy blue runs. Most blues have at least one tricky patch deserving of a red classification.

Both Fiss and Serfaus have extensive kids’ facilities up on the slopes. This is Serfaus

The area does not get huge amounts of snow and prides itself on the huge amount of sunshine it gets. But snow is good quality compared with many Tirolean neighbours because of extensive snowmaking and relatively high altitude (the villages are around 1430m and the slopes go to over 2800m).

Facilities for beginners are good. Here Editor Watts tries a strange contraption designed to help beginners learn to snowplough

The resorts are very different from the Austrian norm and the après-ski is much less raucous. We stayed in Fiss, which is a charming, quiet, unspoiled traditional mountain village with a few local shops, a couple of bars and a few restaurants. The Chesa Monte hotel in the village centre, where we stayed, was superb – we had wonderful suites in the newer section of the hotel, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful and the half board dinners were the best we’ve had in Austria (think nouvelle cuisine rather than Austrian stodge).

The resorts target the family market strongly. But they some seriously steep runs that suit experts best best

Serfaus is bigger, a bit livelier but still charming – and traffic-free thanks to its underground hover train which takes people from car parks on the outskirts to the lifts via two stops in the village itself.

All in all, if you are a good intermediate skier looking for somewhere different for your next holiday and don’t want lively après-ski, put Serfaus/Fiss on your shortlist of places to try.

For the resort website see Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis

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