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Is skiing still possible on Austria’s glaciers?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
Is skiing still possible on Austria’s glaciers?
Alpine sport fans in Austria have reason to greet November's colder temperatures, with many ski resorts now opening. (Photo by Oscar Due Wang / Pexels)

The hot summer in Austria this year was bad news for some glaciers. What does it mean for the winter season? And is skiing still possible on Austria's glaciers?


For many winter sports enthusiasts, skiing or snowboarding down a glacier is a must-do activity, and there are plenty of opportunities for that in Austria.

Or at least there were until recent years when warmer temperatures started to impact these large bodies of ice on Austria’s mountains.

In fact, the summer of 2022 had such an impact on Dachstein in Styria that there will be no lift operation on the glacier for the coming winter season.

READ MORE: Reader question: Is travelling to Austria this winter worth it?

The main reason for this is that the melting ice has affected the structural integrity of the supports for the T-bar lift, reports Der Standard.

For the lifts to open, Georg Bliem, Managing Director of the Planai-Hochwurzen-Bahnen, said: "We would have to move the supports by five metres and close the crevasses on the slopes.


However, Bliem added it was a “huge effort” to move the supports and there was no way to guarantee what the conditions would be like next year.

Typically the ski area has three drag lifts and one double chair lift in operation during the winter. But industry leaders are pessimistic that the glacier can be revived, which means skiing at Dachstein Gletscher (glacier) could be over for the foreseeable future.

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Additionally, Mölltaler Glacier in Tyrol is not opening until the official start of the winter season on November 18th. Usually the ski season at the glacier starts in October but the weather has been too warm.

So what about other glaciers in Austria? Are they still open for skiing? 

Thankfully, for winter sports fan, the answer is yes.

Here’s what you need to know about the autumn/winter 2022/23 season at Austria's glaciers.

Should you cancel your trip to Austria this winter? (Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash)


Winter ski operations at Hintertux Glacier in Tyrol officially started on 15th October. However, this resort boasts all-year skiing and even has 20 km of pistes in operation during the summer months.

Lifts at Hintertux are currently in use from 8.15am to 4.30pm and a full day adult ski pass costs €65.


The winter season started at the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier on October 7th. Prior to the opening, the 80cm snow cover was described as “quite impressive” in the Salzburger Nachrichten.

Kitzsteinhorn is Salzburg’s only glacier ski resort and has pistes up to 3,000 metres above sea level. The operators have a modern snowmaking management system that helps to regulate the conditions on the slopes.

The Gletscherjet gondola is currently in operation at Kitzsteinhorn from 8.15am to 4.30pm and further lifts will open from December. The cost of an adult day pass is €64.

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The glacier ski area is also open in Sölden in Tyrol where the Alpine World Cup event was recently held to kick off the downhill ski race season.

The altitude at Sölden ranges from 1,350 metres to 3,340 metres. The glacier ski area across the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers covers 34.5 km.

The Gaislachkogl cable car is currently open from 8am to 4.45pm and the cost of an adult day ski pass is around €60 (the price fluctuates depending on the date).


The autumn ski season at Stubai Glacier, near Innsbruck in Tyrol, started on 26th September. The Snow Park, known as Stubai Zoo, will open on November 4th with a special three-day event.

There are 11 lifts in operation at the resort from 8am to 4pm. An adult day ski pass at the Stubai Glacier costs €56.



At the Pitztal Glacier (Austria’s highest glacier at 3,440 metres), the slopes have been open since October 1st. Together with the Rifflsee ski area, there are 67 km of slopes at Pitztal.

Currently, the cost of a one day adult ski pass varies from €41 to €58. It’s possible to find cheaper tickets by booking ahead – sometimes up to 30 percent off.

The ski area at Pitztal is in operation from 7am to 1.30pm. From December 17th it will be open daily from 8.30am to 4pm. 


The Kaunertal Glacier in Tyrol (at 2,750 metres above sea level) opened for skiing on 15th October, including the resort’s snow park for freeriding.

There are three lifts operating at Kaunertal from 8.15am to 4pm. The cost of a one day adult ski pass starts at €41 and Kaunertal uses the same ticket pricing system as Pitztal, so it’s possible to save 30 percent by booking ahead.

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How much is climate change impacting Austria’s glaciers?

While the winter season is well underway at most of Austria's glaciers, experts have been warning for years that the Dachstein Glacier is quickly retreating.

A recent report by Der Standard says the snow at the glacier is currently five metres less than what it should be and people are advised to avoid the area or use a mountain guide.

Elsewhere in Austria, scientists are concerned that most glaciers in the country are losing more ice in summer than they are gaining in winter, which is speeding up the overall ice melt.

And according to the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA), temperatures in Europe’s highest mountains have risen by nearly two degrees Celsius in the past 120 years almost double the global average.

What this will mean for skiing on Austria's glaciers in the future is yet to be seen. But many glacial resorts are already planning to end the winter season early in 2023 to save energy and protect the glaciers.


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