Prices have risen sharply in the past ten years, with day passes for lifts at Arlberg, Sölden and Ischgl costing €49,50 this season.
The VKI said that the best value was offered at the Postalm resort in Salzburg where a day pass costs €11, but there are only three ski lifts.
In other, smaller resorts passes cost between €20 and €27 but the downside is shorter pistes. The VKI picked out Wenigzell (Styria), Raggal/Großes Walsertal (Vorarlberg) and Königsberg-Hollenstein (Lower Austria) as the best destinations for those on a tight budget.
At medium sized resorts a ski or snowboard pass typically costs between €30 and €35 euros. The ten most expensive ski resorts cost between €47 and €49.50 – but the pistes are longer.
The world famous Arlberg skiing area in Tyrol has 340km of pistes and boarding slopes and Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Salzburg has 200km.
The VKI said that prices for day passes had risen on average by 2.6 percent from last year, and prices for six-day passes had risen 3.7 percent.
"According to our records, lift prices have rocketed since the 2004/2005 season by 37.7 percent, while the consumer price index has risen by only 23 percent during this period. Six-day tickets have increased even more – by about 40 percent," the VKI said in its report. “For families with an average household income skiing is now an expensive activity,” it added.
The cable car industry defended the rise – saying that it had to meet high investment costs.
However, Britain's Telegraph newspaper writes that for tourists, Austria is better value for money than the most popular resorts of the French Alps, with a higher standard of service, and a warmer welcome.