Skiers and other visitors have long regarded this land of Gem√ºtlichkeit with special affection. Everybody loves St. Anton and swinging Kitzb√ºhel, and Vienna is swell if you can stand all that pastry. But while crowds of tourists jam the known spots and downtown Innsbruck takes on more and more an air of Grand Rapids, escape lies just around the corner of the nearest Alp. High—and low—in the Austrian boondocks one can still discover perfect villages, open space and miles of uncluttered ski slopes. Beginning with the view of Mayrhofen, at right, the pages that follow outline a backstage tour. Fittingly, the clothes are Austrian, in this case by Anba, and they are available in most ski-wear shops.
The secret of Mayrhofen, in the valley of the Ziller, lies in the heavily firred trails above the town; this skier makes the run in Anba's short-jacketed antiglis nylon suit.
Humped up like a giant snowy sundae, the slopes of fiercely old-fashioned Serfaus are the best among those least known; the skier here schusses in total-stretch togs.
Ski kindergarten king of all Austria, ebullient Ernst Spiess assembles his costumed small fry for the parading that marks their part in the annual Fasching celebration.
The serene village of Serfaus, where this happy visitor sports a new checkerboard sweater for apr√®s-ski, sternly shuns cars and insists on horse-drawn sleighs.
Crowded and colorful but still managing a modest privacy, Saalbach serves up extensive skiing by day and follows it with this festive panorama after dark.