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It seems the lazy days of summer are hardly over and we're already thinking about snow, slopes and skiing. Ski season will very soon be upon us and many of you will be champing at the bit to grab your gear and get stuck in to the odd black run or perhaps just a nursery slope. Throughout the season, we'll be sharing with you the low down on some of the world's most popular ski resorts as well as some you might not have thought of before. We start by looking at two of Austria's popular resorts, St Anton and Mayrhofen.

St Anton

The leading ski destination in Austria and for a good reason. The resort has an outstanding record for snow and is packed with accommodation for all pockets. Those in the know claim that the 276km of pistes in the area are best suited to strong skiers or boarders, but you can find slopes suitable for beginners in neighbouring Lech and Zurs which are also covered with your St Anton lift pass. The village is located at the western end of the Tirol and, as you would probably imagine, is home to a sprawling collection of traditional-style homes, restaurants and hotels nestling among the hills. The après-ski here is well thought of, though you can sometimes expect a trek to your accommodation from the centre as the buildings are particularly spread out.

Mayrhofen

Snow is less assured here than St Anton, but this resort located about an hour from Innsbruck is very near to Hintertux where skiing continues year-round. The town is located in the Tirol and about an hour from the capital, Innsbruck. With 157km of pistes there is plenty to keep skiers and boarders occupied. Many of the pistes are suitable for beginners and intermediates, although the resort is home to one of Europe's steepest black runs, Harakiri. Mayrhofen is well geared up for families and a great place for kids to learn the sport, but it's also well known for its bustling nightlife. The town is host every year to the world famous Snow bombing music festival.

Apart from taking part in the skiing and snowboarding, the town offers plenty of other diversions from exploring caves to the local nature reserve or Swarovski Crystal World. If that's too strenuous grab yourself a masage or a sauna at the local leisure centre.

 

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