Ischgl ski resort is a good all-rounder in terms of its suitability for different ski abilities, although the predominantly steep, and sometimes tricky, slopes would be better suited to intermediate and experienced skiers rather than absolute beginners. Due to the resort’s high altitude, most of the pistes fall above the tree line, and there is extensive cross border skiing into Switzerland. Snow cover is excellent, with a naturally long ski season and top-notch snow machines and grooming.
New in 2013/14 ski season was a multi-million pound cable car which gives access to extensive free-ride terrain around the Piz Val Gronda peak (2812m). The new lift opened up a whole swathe of powder fields previously only accessible via snow-cat excursions. There will also be one long red run from the peak, for those who prefer to stick to marked routes. In the 2014/15 ski season the Pardatshgrat lift was replaced with a new luxury gondola which recycles energy from the cables to heat the seats. The former second leg of the Pardatschgratbahn has been retained with the 4-seater cabins running from middle station up to Pardatschgrat and is called the Pardoramabahn.
There is a good set of nursery slopes around Idalp, the ski hub of Ischgl, which get plenty of sunshine and are well maintained. Intermediate skiers will find an extensive offering of red runs (3, 12, 15, 30, 37, 40, 40a, 41, 70, 76 and 80) and blue runs (6, 8, 11, 22, 23 and 64) with plenty of fast and wide pistes for optimum cruising. For experts, there are some taxing black runs (13, 26, 34 and 35), which certainly live up to their grading, as well as a few challenging reds which could easily pass as blacks.
Ischgl has some of the best snow terrain parks in all of Austria and snowboarders and freestylers are always pleasantly surprised with what they find. Likewise, cross-country skiers will enjoy the 23km of skiing tracks in the valley between Ischgl, Wirl and Galtür. The high-speed lift system makes Ischgl a joy for getting around. Many lifts come with heated seating and there’s not too much queuing to endure.
When it comes to ski lift passes there are several options. The VIP Ski Pass covers the 45 lifts of Ischgl and the neighbouring Swiss resort of Samnaun. It is only available to people staying in Ischgl, Mathon (a nearby village) or Samnaun, who are given a guest card to present when buying their ski pass. The Silvretta Ski Pass covers Ischgl’s neighbouring resorts in the Paznaun Valley of Galtür, Kappl (both great for families) and See, in addition to Ischgl and Samnaun, and covers 70 lifts across the five resorts. The Paznaun resorts of Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl and See are not connected by lift or piste, but there is a ski bus which runs up and down the valley all day that is covered by the ski pass. Finally there is the 4+2 pass, available in each of the Paznaun resorts to guest card holders from Ischgl, Galtür, Kappl and See (Galtür, Kappl and See each have their own local ski passes for their own guest card holders). This pass allows skiers to spend 4 days in one resort and 2 days in a neighbouring resort.