The size of the towns and villages generally translates to queue size too, so while you may have to shuffle against the ski-suits of the hordes each morning in larger resorts, if you take off up the mountain from the Hopfgarten or Brixen lift, things are generally quieter and faster.
But whichever way you ascend to the pistes, SkiWelt is a beautiful, well-run place in which to float about, practising turns for long stretches.
New technology on the slopes
Swapping ski-lift tickets will soon be a thing of the past, a staff member at SkiWelt told me with glee. At the moment ski passes have a chip within, that can be read through your ski-gear, and so can be kept in your pocket. But now some resorts are introducing face recognition , which will send alarm bells if the ski-pass is not being used by its owner. More and more resorts are resorting to this technology – you have been warned. Other information is stored too, such as each lift you go through, so at the end of the day you can check how far you have travelled and where.
Technology that has been around for a while is timed runs – there are two in SkiWelt – on which you can test your speed and be filmed doing it. Your ski pass sets the camera going and you can watch the result at the bottom of the run or on the internet.
All ski resorts now have Facebook pages, Apps and Twitter – along with websites. As one marketing director told me, her staff have to be up early each morning getting the snow reports and skiing conditions online to encourage people to use their resorts.
And the hefty bills that came with using the internet on a mountain are diminishing as there is now free access at certain locations.
Health in Hofgastein
I lie back in a hot outdoor swimming pool, face turned to the snow-darkened sky, catching great, fluffy flakes on my tongue, enjoying the warmth of the water while a snow cap gathers on my head. This is the external thermal reach of the Alpentherme pool in the resort of Bad Hofgastein, in Salzbergerland, where the wellness associated with winter sports runs off-piste.
If you stay in certain hotels, such as the warm, wooden, well-run Norica (bookable through Topflight), you don’t even have to trouble yourself with the outdoors to get to the bathing centre, as it links to Alpentherme via a tunnel.
While you can swim beneath the falling snow in either a warm or cool outdoor pool, or cavort in an indoor pool complete with high slides, there are also more health-boosting and monitoring options. You can opt for the deep radon baths that hit some nucleus of your being, or choose a complete health check – from heart rate to blood pressure and so on – with a get-fit programme devised from the resulting information. This is available for all, from sofa spuds to top athletes.
Emma Cullinan was a guest of Topflight