Ski in, ski out with the family

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Ski in, ski out with the family

Skiing enthusiast Caron Bluestone and her family spend a memorable week in an Austrian mountain resort

The Gradonna Mountain Resort surrounded by its chalets
The Gradonna Mountain Resort surrounded by its chalets

You can’t beat Austria for family skiing. With more than 400 resorts, the competition is fierce, so facilities and high standards come at a fraction of the cost of the usual suspects. A passionate skier of more than 40 years – even with my young ones in tow – I know my stuff and I abhor spending on sub-standard food in soulless hotels during school holidays. It’s vital to get it right first time.

We spent our week in Kals am Grossglockner in East Tyrol, a resort with a tiny village at the foot of Austria’s highest peak. Set in the Hohe Tauern National Park, a 2.5-hour scenic transfer from Salzburg, the Gradonna Resort and Spa is a destination in itself. A hiking paradise in summer gives way to a veritable winter wonderland and the largest ski area in East Tyrol.

Our home, with friends – we ski each year with another family – was a cosy, luxurious chalet, set in the grounds of the Gradonna Mountain Resort. A four-star superior ski-in, ski-out resort with a difference. Set in the forest, the hotel, with its exceptional spa and facilities, also offers a range of stunning chalets.

Caron with family and ski instructors

A hybrid experience where you really can have the best of both worlds: your own space and freedom to choose when and where to eat. You can order in, order groceries or eat in the hotel. The hotel also has a wonderful grocery shop where you can stock up on local foods, organic cheeses and anything you might need, at prices that are fair.

The Jewish princess in me has never been a chalet kind of girl – my mother always preferred a hotel over having to worry about catering or cleaning during our family ski holidays. Obviously, things have changed since those days, but some habits die hard.

At the Gradonna, though, we found our true ski nirvana. Not only can you ski to and from your front door, but you also have your very own ski room. No pushing and stressing to get ready in the morning. Simply go downstairs where you will also find your own infrared cabin and washer and dryer. Space galore for everyone’s outdoor paraphernalia and suitcases (Jews don’t travel light!). A luxury mountain home on the slopes. Bliss.

Gourmet food at Gradonna

The chic cubic chalets are true delights of modern architecture. Constructed using local wood, they blend seamlessly into the landscape, giving guests the feeling of a real connection with nature. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in the outdoors, with breathtaking views of the mountains and the peaceful forest. Both bedroom floors, each with two double bedrooms and modern bathrooms, were separated by the living area. Perfect for sharing, with a full kitchen and enormous table on one side, comfy sofas and woodburning stove on the other, and a sunny balcony.

The hotel building takes pride of place on the sunny plateau, among its chalets. A formidable, modern, wooden construction that spans the mountain, it gives optimal views for all guests, wherever they may be. The outdoor spa pool steams invitingly in the snow and there is a zen-like indoor pool and separate children’s splash pool and water slide. The spa offering is all-encompassing and, as a self-proclaimed aficionado, although I had chosen a simple full-body massage and foot reflexology, was blown away by their quality.

Snow boots are a must. Given the altitude, you are walking in snow to and from the hotel. What I feared might have been an imposition was, in fact, exhilarating and much-needed after overindulging at every opportunity.

Food at the Gradonna comes with a high accolade; the restaurant is rated in the esteemed Gault Millau guide. Breakfast buffets are replete with fresh organic produce to suit every palate and diet, with fine dining and sumptuous spreads at night. Oenophiles will love the cellar; children will adore their separate dining room.

A restaurant with a view

Other features include a modern and inviting kids’ club, separate teenage area with outdoor climbing wall, plus a beginner’s ski lift. The Alpinsport Gratz ski shop is stocked with top quality equipment and everything you might need, from sunscreen to walking boots, and the service is fast and professional.

Skiing here has something to offer every level. I recommend lessons with Markus and his brilliant team at Ski School Kals – the instructors know the mountain inside out and are a joy to learn from. They truly go the extra mile to make a totally memorable week.



Skiing with kids means plenty of equipment and not all skiwear is created equal. The best one-stop shop by far is Little Adventure Shop. Their offering is curated with quality and value in mind. For our Covid tests we used Halo, which offers fast, app-based results. We flew from Heathrow using Blacklane for airport transfers, a great service that gives the option to change bookings free of charge within the app, up until one hour before a journey.

A four-bedroom Chalet Klassik at the Gradonna Mountain Resort starts from EUR633 per night during the winter season.







Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: