The vast majority of tourists visiting Austria head straight for one of its cosy alpine villages in the Tyrol region. Some of the world's best skiing resorts lie along the forested mountain slopes. Unlike many of the French and Swiss varieties, most resorts in Austria are friendly, functioning villages on the valley floor. Despite expanding enormously over the last 20 years, the development has generally been in good taste, with traditional-looking chalets perched among the ancient, domed churches.
Austrian resorts are also more fun and welcoming than many in the Alps; the Austrians know how to enjoy themselves and don't find it demeaning to speak their guest's language. One downside is that many Austrian resorts lie fairly low and experience unreliable snowfall. To ensure guaranteed top-class powder, it's best to head for the western edges of the Tyrol, to St Anton, Lech or Zürs, which all have extensive skiing trails and slopes, and, importantly, more reliable snowfall.
The ski season runs from December to April, but the villages remain bustling in the summer, when the valleys fill with climbers and hikers who come to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of beautiful mountains, verdant meadows and sweeping lakes.
The Austrian Alps are deservedly right up there when it comes to world-class skiing destinations, its friendly and welcoming people combining with village charms to deliver something unique and quaint for solo travellers and families alike.