St Johann's pedestrianised centre is sandwiched between the impressive peaks of the craggy Wilderkaiser mountains and the pinnacled Kitzbuheler Horn. The village has a genuine charm with 8,500 permanent residents, it's not just built around tourism - the medieval market town is full of life and ornate buildings and the buzzing squares are jammed with restaurants, bars and shops where locals mix with the seasonal ski hoards.
Lying at 670m above sea level you may think this is low for a ski resort. However, St Johann has an impressive snow record. The snow line drops as you move into the Easterly Alps so there's no need to be so high. Coupled with the North facing slopes which hold their snow magnificently you have one very reliable ski area. Not to mention the 80% of pistes covered by the cannons. And if you want more terrain to explore pick up a day pass in Kitzbuhel, 10 minutes down the train line.
Skiing in resort
We've mentioned the reliable snow record already on the North facing slopes - they provide a great mix of slopes too. Well within the tree line, you'll have great visibility no matter what the conditions are like. Pistes generally cruise from top to bottom of the ski area with wide open groomed runs perfect for beginners and cruising intermediates. For the experts, a highlight is definitely the FIS race piste with 1,000m of vertical drop over 3.5km of piste, not something to be sneered at.
With the Scandinavian company, Ski Star buying the resort comes heavy investment. The first instalment being a brand new gondola next to the Hotel Kaiserfels to whisk skiers up the mountain in no time. Queues are becoming a thing of the past in St Johann.
Mountain huts are a definite highlight in St Johann with 20 dotted across the ski area, lunch in the sun with some spectacular views will be as much a highlight as the skiing itself. When it comes to après there's plenty of traditional options with a smattering of Italian influence. The most lively buzz comes early in the evenings with umbrella bars on the slopes or Max Pub at the bottom of the slopes which gets going around 4pm and by 6 it's buzzing before the crowds peter out for dinner. It's an early scene perfect for some post-ski drinks whilst maintaining your ability to get early lifts each morning.
The local brewery Huber-Brau Stuberl is a great option as well with it's pink tower providing a town landmark, you'll get a few snacks with your drinks as a bonus. There are a few bars around town for a bit more atmosphere later in the evenings but the most fun is definitely straight off the slopes.
What we like
- Traditional, medieval market town full of ornate buildings
- North facing slopes within the tree line, good snow record and great skiing for mixed abilities
- Plenty of mountain huts for leisurely lunches - you'll be arguing over your favourites
- The ski area is only 43km but Kitzbuhel is only 10 minutes by train, well worth a day trip for advanced skiers and riders
- It is a family friendly resort due to the gentle slopes and relaxed atmosphere so don't expect to be out until 4am
- Brand new investment from Ski Star means the lift system will only get better
St Johann in Austria is the ideal ski destination for those looking for a ski holiday in Europe.