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Snowshoe hiking in Austria

© by SalzburgerLand Tourismus

Snowshoe hiking is gaining in popularity and you often see the unmistakable tracks across the snow in the Austrian Alps.

Often you only reach pristine snow-covered places by snowshoes. Snowshoes are not only ideal for exploring the enchanting winter landscape but are also perfect for slowing down the pace of your vacation and enjoying the fresh air. Find yourself a quiet corner in the woods or the mountains, without ski lifts and resorts. Take a break from the hectic atmosphere that often prevails in the ski resorts and put on your snowshoes.

Lightweight equipment

Whether you use a car, bus or train, getting out into the wintery nature for a snowshoe trip is easy. Modern snowshoes are lightweight and handy and can be strapped to the outside of your backpack. Moreover, the poles are contractable, making them easy to transport as well. For a snowshoe hike, you don’t need ski lifts nor marked trails. Simply a minimum of 20 cm snow on the ground is enough for a hike. If you are planning to hike in steep terrain or traverse below open mountainsides, always check the avalanche warnings. Get info about the local snow conditions by talking to reception at your hotel or the local tourist office before heading out. You can also opt for a guided snowshoe hike. Especially if you are new to the area.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Guided snowshoe tours

If you have just started snowshoeing, we recommend that you join guided snowshoe tours. You can pick up tips for both snowshoeing techniques and great hiking routes from your guides. Check the website of the local tourist office to see if they offer guided snowshoe hikes. If you hike with a guide, you will not only be discussing snowshoeing, but you can also learn a lot about the nature and culture of the region. The local known guides are usually wandering “Wikipedias” when it comes to their region, activities and not least which mountain huts have the best food.

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The Big Five of the Alps

If you go on a snowshoe hike in East Tyrol (Osttirol) with a national park ranger, you may spot one of the “Big Five of the Alps”: Ibex, golden eagle, ptarmigan, chamois, and bearded vulture. Although they are more rarely seen during the cold season, the ranger knows where and when you can best meet these shy animals in the Hohe Tauern National Park.

Traditional mountain huts

It is rarely far between the traditional mountain huts in Austria that serve food and drink. Whether you are on an overnight trip or a day trip, it is a good idea to find a hut or more, in the area you are going for snowshoe hiking. It is nice to settle down inside the warm hut with some good food and hot drinks. The vast majority of mountain huts in Austria serve good home cooking, such as Schopfbraten (pork roast), Kaiserschmarrn (dessert), or Griesnockerlsuppe (broth with semolina dumplings).

Useful links

Lawine info Österreich (Here you will find snow avalanche warning. Most in German, but some states also have info in English)

Snowshoe trails in Austria (Suggestions for snowshoeing in Austria from outdooractive.com)

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.