Obertauern is Austria’s high-altitude and most snowsure resort, with slopes spanning 2,313m down to 1,630m. It’s a charming, purpose-built village that offers a warm welcome. The long ski season, from November to May – further supported by comprehensive snowmaking – guarantees plenty of opportunities for holiday fun. Everything is focused on the Tauern Round, at 1,750m, the centre of the village. The layout is akin to a bicycle wheel. The Round is the hub into which the pistes converge, like spokes, from the rim – a ring of seven towering peaks, including the noble Gamsleiten at almost 2,400m. You can ski the resort either clockwise or anticlockwise and never cover the same ground twice.
All the 26 lifts are modern; a gondola and several high-speed chairs, some upgraded for this season, keeping queuing to a minimum. There’s 100km of unusual and special skiing at our doorstep. You can race round the Round in a full day, or amble between any one of many high-quality mountain restaurants, selecting any number of different routes for varying abilities – it’s best to stay low for the easiest way round.
The village, an easy drive from Salzburg, might be modern, but it comes with fab recent history – in 1965 the Beatles filmed Help! here. You can see candid photos of the mop-tops at many of the hotels. While Obertauern owes its origin to the Swinging Sixties, there’s no brutalist bits of concrete to assault the eye – it’s all traditional, chalet-style hotels. Except – again unusual for Austria – it’s mostly ski-in-ski-out, with easy access to the nursery slopes. There’s plenty of intermediate terrain and some challenging blacks, notably on the Gamsleitenspitze.
Gamsleiten No. 2 is one of the steepest bump runs in Europe, but there are easy areas up on the mountain and moderate runs back home. There’s also floodlit night skiing twice a week. Good for boarders is the Longplay Snowboard Park and its rails and kickers. Obertauern is also an ideal family resort, with seven ski schools, all with specialist tuition for youngsters.