Innsbruck, Austria - A cultural city base for a range of little ski resorts.

Contrary to some expectations, Innsbruck is not an alpine ski village; it's a bustling city of over one hundred thousand inhabitants. Nonetheless, it attracts more North American winter visitors than any other European skidestination.

Undoubtedly, some are drawn by the renown created by two modern Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976, which is perpetuated in the form of a very efficient infrastructure for winter sports fans.

Other visitors are attracted by the historical environment of the Old Town with the renowned Golden Roof as focal point. Here around every corner can still be found Innsbruck's heritage of two "golden ages," the first around 1500 under the Emperor Maxmilan I, the second in the mid-1700's under Empress Maria Thérèsia.

Overall, the city's location, nestled into a narrow valley right beneath rugged mountain peaks, together with its old-world atmosphere, historic churches and buildings, interesting monuments, rich museums and galleries, and active commerce, all combine into an interesting sports-plus-culture attraction. It simply makes an excellent destination for those who seek a broader European experience than simply skiing, or for families where some members are less assiduous skiers.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ The area has some 200 trails covering 500 kilometers (310 miles)

+ It is perfect for beginner and intermediate-level skiers - and people often compare this area to Aspen, Colorado in terms of terrain and cost

+ The town itself is conveniently located - only three miles from the airport and all six of the ski areas are within a one-hour radius of town

+ Innsbruck will keep you entertained with excellent shopping and a happening nightlife

- During peak season, between December and February, skiers may experience long lift-lines

- Little night skiing and no heliskiing (heicopter skiing)

- Typically long treks to the actual resort from Innsbruck

- Snow conditions are somewhat unreliable