When we first began dreaming of life on the open road in a campervan, we imagined sunshine and beaches and siestas in the heat of the day.
Fast forward 2 years and a move from Asia to Europe and we’ve chosen a totally different, much colder path. Winter vanlife worked its magic on us and, after completing our first ever ski season in Austria just 6 months ago, we are already back again for round two.
It turns out that vanlife and skiing go hand in furry mittened hand and that Austria is one of the best places in Europe to do a ski season.
Here’s why we chose to do our second ski season in Tirol, Austria.
Tirol has pretty much the longest ski season in Europe
Our Austria ski season pass is the Snow Card Tirol which is valid from October 1st to May 15th. That is a whopping 7 months of skiing!
While only the high glaciers are open in the pre-season in October and November and for spring skiing in April and May, this still leaves you with limitless snow to explore.
Our favourite resort for off-season skiing is Hintertux.
Tirol has some of the best snow in Europe
With 5 glaciers over 3,000 metres, Tirol has some of the highest ski resorts in Europe which is why they can stay open for so long. It also means that there is always snow somewhere!
Last year, we had a very warm and dry February which was great for staying warm in the camper but terrible for the snow conditions. So, while the snow in other ski areas in Europe was already beginning to melt away, we still had plenty of snow up high in Austria.
Tirol is one of Europe’s largest ski areas
The Snow Card Tirol gives you access to an incredible 90 resorts across the Tirol! From tiny, local resorts with only one lift to giant sprawling resorts interconnected across valleys, there is so much variety to choose from in the Tirol ski resorts!
We only scratched the surface last year, visiting 30 ski resorts in Austria, so we are excited to explore more this year.
Tirol is secretly very campervan friendly
While it is technically illegal to ‘wild camp’ in Austria, the ski resorts in Tirol mostly turn a blind eye to campervans and a few even welcome them.
From January to May last year, we only spent 6 nights in campsites during the ski season. Instead, we stayed in the ski resort car parks right at the bottom of the ski lifts!
Some places we only spent a night or two and others we stayed over a week with up to 20 other campers, so it really depends where you go. But, overall, we had no problems with the campervan in Austria during winter.
After just a few weeks of our ski season last year, we were hooked and knew we’d be doing it again this year. We toyed with the idea of going to France where we knew there was a much bigger community of people skiing to and from their vans. We also seriously considered staying in the Dolomites which also has an epic multi-resort pass and where we have lots of great friends.
But, ultimately, we couldn’t turn down the chance for 7 more months of skiing Austria’s epic mountains.
Stayed tuned for a breakdown of how much it costs to do a ski season in Austria.