What’s Cool in the Alps
Because we love Austria, and we love winter events, we have spent the last month putting together a comprehensive guide of What’s Cool in the Alps this season. From world class ski events to traditional annual festivals, this little guide is everything you need to know about What’s On in Austria. Our top picks of the season include the 16th CORUM Snow Polo World Cup taking place in Kitzbuühel and the Swatch Freeride World Tour hosted in Fieberbrunn, the Freeriding capital of Austria. For the family, there’s the ‘Shapes in White’ festival in Ischgl – a breathtaking event that sees magical sculptures created out of the snow – and who can forget the traditional Salzburg Christmas market where mulled wine and brass bands get the whole family ready for Christmas!
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Something for the Ski-Lovers…
January 26 to 28: Seefeld – Nordic Combined World Cup
This year the Seefeld will play centre stage in the Nordic Combined World Cup. The world’s finest cross-country skiers will be travelling to the Tyrol for one weekend of three World Cup competitions. These competitions include single events with jumps before a five-kilometer and ten-kilometer cross country ski races. On the final day, 30 athletes from both these events will be pitched up against each other in the final “Nordic Combined Triple”. This includes two jumps and an impressive 15-kilometer cross country ski race!
March 9 to 15: Fieberbrunn – Swatch Freeride World Tour
Internationally renowed for its ideal snow conditions, Fieberbrunn is the Freeriding capital of Austria. In 2018 Fiberbrunn will pay host to the 11th edition of the Freeride World Tour (FWT), 10 years after the competition began in 2008. The world’s finest Freeride skiers will gather in the Kitzbüheler Alps for the fourth stage of the worldwide competition. The stage is particularly important for both athletes and fans as it is here that the final qualifying competitors are decided.
December 1: Ischgl – Top of the Mountain Opening Concert
Ischgl is famous for its opening and closing concerts which attract big stars and even bigger crowds. Up to 20,000 people are expected to welcome in the new winter season at this spectacular concert. This year, German Schlager star Andrea Berg will take centre stage. She will join the Concert’s impressive Hall of Fame which includes international stars such as Katy Perry, Rihanna, Elton John and Robbie Williams. Get your tickets here!
January 5: Zell am See – Ice Camp
This unique and breathtaking ice world extends over 5,000m2 and sits at an altitude of 2,500m. Constructed from 60 tonnes of ice, this year’s camp will include an Ice-Art Exhibition by ice artist Max Seibald and a huge outdoor chill out zone where visitors can relax on the sunny plateau. The elaborately designed winter wonderland also boasts stylish ice lounges, an ice bar, freestyle park, ice climbing and even accommodation, should you fancy a night on the glacier!
From December 31: Vienna – Viennese Balls
We know that Viennese balls are not strictly Alpine, but no winter season in Austria would be complete without experiencing one of these society events.Vienna stages more than 300 balls per year, mostly during the carnival months of January and February. This year the New Year’s Eve Gala is taking place in the Vienna City Town Hall. Mingle with high society as you waltz away 2017 to the beautiful sound of the Palace Orchestra. There are many exciting balls throughout the winter season including the Rudolfina Masked Ball on February 12 where masks are obligatory. This famous ball involves top hats and tails, ball gowns and cocktail dresses. In short, it’s a ball that has it all and leaves absolutely nothing to be desired.
January 11 to 14: Kitzbühel – 16th CORUM Snow Polo World Cup
This glamorous Alpine event takes place in centre of Kitzbühel in front of the “Hotel Zur Tenne”. Eight teams and hundreds of the world’s best polo horses will spend three days competing in this exciting event. The matches are open to all and free of charge, so there is every reason to join the crowds. If you desire VIP treatment however, there is also a Polo VIP tent. If you like the sound of included food and champagne get yourself to the Kitzbühel Polo website quick as these snap up fast.
November 15 to January 6: Across Austria – Chriskindlmarkt
Advent in the Alps is a magical time of year. It starts in November with traditional market stalls selling an array of pretty decorations and festive gifts. There’s plenty of mulled wine to keep you warm and many of the towns also have brass bands playing. Ice skating in the central squares also makes visiting at this special time of year a must. Here are the dates for some of the best Christmas markets in the Alps:
Salzburg: November 23 to December 26
Innsbruck: November 15 to January 6
Kitzbühel: November 30 to December 26
Dec 25: Zell am See – Dipping the Christmas Tree
It might be one of the less known annual Alpine Christmas festivities but on December 25 every year a majestic fir tree is submerged in the icy cold waters of ‘Oberschneidbucht’. A ring of swimming torchbearers then swim out to heave the tree safely back onto dry ground (quite why, we are not sure). True to style, Father Christmas will be on hand to visit the children in a boat!
Winter Season Opening Dates…
As well as top events, this year’s What’s Cool in the Alps includes Austria’s season opening dates: