The vast majority of tourists visiting Austria head straight for one of its cosy alpine villages in the Tirol region. Snuggled among the wooded mountains are some of the world's best skiing resorts. Unlike many of the French and Swiss variety, most resorts in Austria are real, friendly villages on the valley floor. Despite expanding enormously over the last 20 years, the development has generally been in good taste, with traditional-looking chalets perched among the ancient, domed churches.
Austrian resorts are also more fun and welcoming than many in the Alps; the Austrians know how to enjoy themselves and don't find it demeaning to speak their guest's language. However, many Austrian resorts lie fairly low and experience unreliable snowfall. To ensure guaranteed good skiing, it is best to head for the western edges of the Tirol, to St Anton, Lech, or Zürs, which all have extensive skiing and more reliable snowfall. The ski season runs from December to April but the villages remain bustling in the summer, when the valleys fill with climbers and walkers who come to enjoy some of the breathtaking scenery.
Although cold, the high alpine resorts are usually much sunnier in winter than below in the valleys where fog and cloud persist, but in summer (June to August) the Alps may become cloudy during the hotter part of the day. In autumn and spring some alpine valleys, particularly those running from south to north, experience the warm and very dry wind known as the , which can quickly melt snow and trigger off avalanches on the mountain slopes.
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