For the uninitiated, skiing can be a somewhat daunting prospect.

Having declined invitations in the past for fear of losing my limbs, or my dignity, I now found myself mastering the snow plough on the nursery slopes of Obertauern, Austria.

The pristine slopes, nestled in the in the striking Alpine beauty of SalzburgerLand, glistened with fresh snow despite the April sun warming my cheeks.

While many resorts rely on artificial snowmaking to uphold the promise of guaranteed snow, at heights up to 2,313 metres above sea level, Obertauern is snow-sure from mid-November until at least Easter- making it the most reliable snow resort anywhere in the Alps.

Thanks to the incredible patience, and words of encouragement, from our Top ski school instructor, by day two we were taking the lifts up the inviting expanse of the blue runs.

Initially fearing I would hold back my group of well-seasoned skiers, the resort is perfectly suited for all levels. Colloquially described as the ‘snow bowl’ the village of Obertauern lies at the bottom of a basin surrounded by 100km of ski pistes and 31km of cross-country trails.

For the more ambitious skier the resort has five testing, mogul-dotted black runs including the near-vertical Gamsleiten 2.

The accommodation, likewise, lends itself to different ski-levels, or different time-keeping schedules, with all the slopes easily accessed by foot from the hotels.

Our hotel, Tauenglockl, was a traditional four-star tavern which oozed rustic charm. Its wood furnished rooms, good quality food, and spa- complete with a sauna and steam room tucked away in the basement- made it the perfect place to kick back after a tiring day.

For those seeking a slice of luxury, Obertauern offers a range of high end accommodation and suitably swanky watering holes. Perfect for sipping a mulled wine or a frothy cappuccino and taking in the spectacular vista.

Venturing away from the hotel, the restaurants were varied and good value. Most specialise in hearty Austrian cuisine to fuel a day of mountain sports with a selection of pizzerias and international options also available. We delighted in a strudel on the slopes, indulged in fondue served by waiters in lederhosen at the quaint Gnadenalm and relished in the stand-out dishes from Gamsletsien in town.

An Austrian favourite is Käseknödelsuppe, a strong Alpine cheese dumpling in a bubbling beef stock soup which warms you from the inside. The region is also famous for its Kaiserschmarren, or chopped up pancakes, which, served with a generous dusting of cinnamon and the knowledge that a day tearing down the mountain lies ahead of you, are heavenly and relatively guilt free.

Given its family friendly nature Obertauern has a somewhat surprising après ski scene. With no less than 25 ski huts luring you in with affordable beer and pulsing euro pop it was not long before we found ourselves in Lürzer Alm, famed for keeping the crowds going into the early hours.

Besides affordability, Obertauern offers ease and accessibility- perfect for Dorset slope lovers desperately wanting to squeeze in a few days at either end of the season. Thanks to its lengthy season and quick transfer (just 90 minutes from Salzburg airport) it is the perfect destination for the last minute or the insatiably eager.

Crystal Ski Holidays offer a range of packages to suit all budgets and organised our flights, transfers, and hotel accommodation seamlessly. Obertauern Tourist Office made our stay relaxed and comfortable from the get -go with superbly priced ski packages, including equipment hire and lift passes, a range of activities and friendly staff at every turn.

By day three we had graduated to red runs and the higher we climbed, so too did the calibre of the scenery with a mountain peaked panorama and all-round view of the town.

My newly-acquired confidence meant I was able to make the journey to Das Seekerhause, a sophisticated hotel owned by Gerhard Krings, who in 1965 spent a fortnight playing George Harrison’s stunt double for The Beatles’ iconic film Help!

Apart from a couple of tasteful memorials dotted throughout the resort, there is little in the way of profiteering from Richard Lester’s film, meaning you could easily pass through Obertauern none the wiser about its rock star past.

Ducking out of the snow into Mr Krings’ contemporary interiors, we spent an hour enthralled by the Austrian’s tales. As a twenty-something ski instructor who had “never heard of The Beatles before” he suddenly found himself drinking beer with the four musicians from Liverpool and covering up for their lack of ski skills. He told us he was shocked when “a lot of girls asked for autographs from us” as he “didn’t realize how famous The Beatles were”.

For the relative beginner, the slopes of Obertauern offer blue and red runs galore with enough bite for adrenaline seekers and enough assurance for newbies. Its ski-in ski-out nature and abundance of intermediate runs makes it the ideal place for beginners, like me, travelling with more experienced skiers. As a resort it errs on the side of relaxed, removed from the glitz and glamour of its Alpine cousins it will win you over with its authentic charm and picture postcard scenery.


Alexandra Cook travelled to Obertauern as a guest of the Obertauern ( and SalzburgerLand ( Tourist Offices and Crystal Ski Holidays (; 020 8610 3123).

Crystal Ski Holidays offers a week's half board at the four-star Hotel Tauernglockl in Obertauern from £669 per person (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick to Salzburg and transfers (price given is for departure on 6 January 2018). Direct flights to Salzburg are also available from all major UK airports.