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Saalbach - Hinterglemm - Leogang - Fieberbrunn 2016/17 Official Unofficial Thread

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Also back from a great week last week and even bumped into Tatman whilst enjoying the pleasure of Elvis / Tom Jones!

Lots of useful tips in your welcome pack which certainly helped improve our holiday!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@TFC1, Glad the guide was useful. After years of catching a glimpse of Elvis/Tom through the window of Berger's Sport Hotel and hurrying on past to a 'cooler' bar, we have now realised the error of our ways. The conversion started with a suspicion that he might be 'so bad he's good'; however I think it's now finally dawned on us that (despite the wig) he's actually a pretty good singer/entertainer. Never judge a book by its cover!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Tatman's Tours The 'performance' was definitely so bad it was good and one of the highlights of our trip!
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Saalbach trip report:

Dates: March 11th to 18th

Tour operator: Crystal Ski

Party Size: 13, mixture of adults/children

Hotel: Sport Hotel Berger

Transfer to resort:


Straightforward transfer to resort. No waiting for other planes and no detours. Journey took around 1hr 25 minutes. Have to say, the journey passed through a very picturesque part of Germany and Austria. Will certainly make an effort to visit this region in summer time

Impressions of Saalbach village:

I actually thought Saalbach was a nice village. Quite compact and not much walking required to get anywhere. Lots of bars, restaurants and hire shops but not many other shops. Also quite a busy and lively village and a nice atmosphere. I was also quite impressed with the pedestrian area in HInterglemm and certainly wouldnít have an issue staying there if I had to

Service in bars, restaurants and mountain huts:

Well unfortunately we found the friendliness of bar/waiter staff rather lacking. Generally they were friendly in the apres bars but not elsewhere. This was a bit of a shock to me as I have never experienced anything like it on this scale in any other resort I have been to.

Meals:

Six evening meals were in the hotel and one was at the Spielberghaus mountain hut/restaurant. Most lunchtime meals were on the mountain. Quality of food for all meals was very good. I canít think of one poor meal that anyone had. Prices were also pretty reasonable. Maybe not as cheap as I have experienced elsewhere but certainly not as expensive.

Drinks:

Found the price of beer to be reasonable (around Euros 4.50 to 5.00 0.5L) in most places. Long drinks such as Gin & Tonic varied widely.

Night time bars:

We didnít actually visit many to be honest. Too tired after apres ski and evening meal. Did visit Bobbyís which was good (no band the night we visited). Also went to Eva Alm, which we liked, even though drinks were expensive. One night a few of us chaperoned the youngsters to Bauers Schi Alm after dinner. Was absolutely shocked to see it still packed inside at 10pm. Other nights were spent in the Hotel Prosecco bar (reasonably priced drinks and no waiting to get served, unlike in the main hotel bar/restaurant). A few of us managed to catch the Elvis/Tom Jones show on the Thursday night and personally I thought he was a great entertainer. Place was packed with lots of people dancing.


Weather:


Dry all week until Saturday when we were leaving. Most days were sunny or at worst partly cloudy. Temperatures crept up during the week and was starting to get quite warm towards end of the week. Came back with a good face tan!!

Snow conditions:

As expected, best snow conditions were higher up and in the morning. Towards end of the week, snow was softening up quite quickly by late morning, even higher up, especially on the main slopes. No issues on connecting less steep runs


The skiing:

Iíll be honest here and admit we barely scratched the surface of the area. Most of our party hadnít skied in many years and others were in lessons. Thus we setup camp most days with our non-skier party members, at the Luis Alm at top of Bernkogel gondola. As most people know, the slope above is a nice easy slope and a lot of skiing was on this slope.

A few of us did have a quick go on the nursery slope above Bauers but this was after lunch and the snow was just too soft.

A few of our party also tried the higher Kohlmais slopes and skied across to Berger Alm and back again via Blue 66 and 52. They accessed the blue 56 link to Berger Alm from top of Panorama chair and found it quite tough going until the blue 56 turn off. Apart from the 56/66 links, they really did not enjoy skiing here. They found the snow too soft even at 11am and werenít that keen to go back.

Other forays into the area were a trip from top of Bernkogel across to Hochalmhutte. Only four of us done this and we all enjoyed it. Had a drinks break at Reiteralm which we quite liked and lunch at the Hochalmhutte.

As I mentioned earlier, we barely scratched the surface. Apres, age, ability, confidence etc., took its toll on most of us. Hopefully we will return in future in better shape and travel further afield


Lifts:

Certainly you can see the resort has invested heavily in their lifts. Only issues were people unable to get on/off or falling from the lifts. Chair up top of Bernkogel regularly kept stopping for this reason. Only queue of any note I experienced was benkogel gondola on Sunday morning. Otherwise no queues anywhere

Mountain huts:

As we didnít venture far, we didnít really visit that many. The ones we did visit or pass on the sunnier days were already packed by 11:30 to 12pm. It just seemed as if most people by 12pm had enough skiing and decided to park up for the afternoon.

Apres ski:

Obviously Saalbach is quite famous as an apres resort, so not much I can add really. Visited Hinterhag Alm once only. Admit I really enjoyed it as I liked the fact a band were playing rather than a DJ. Just seemed to be more of an audience participation with a band. Also the landlady/owner (assume thatís who it was) sang a few songs. I have experienced apres in other resorts and didnít think Hinterhag was any more crazy or mental than what Iíve seen before. Not a criticism by any means.

Mainly though, we set up shop in Bauers late afternoon to catch the sun and then across the road to Spitzpub, which we really enjoyed especially when Spacey was singing. Also tried Burgiís which was small but more intimate/friendly

Other visitors:

Good mixture of nationalities I found (which I like anywhere I go). Most seemed to be Scandanavian, Dutch and German with quite a few British thrown in for good measure. No problems with/from anyone and we got along and made friends with quite a few, especially the large Danish party in our hotel. Would say overall, the age was mainly in the 20ís and 30ís though still quite a few in their forties onwards. Makes a nice change having a mixture of ages and languages in a resort.


Thanks:

Just a big thanks to Richard (Tatmans tours) for the invaluable information you gave me before the trip and it was great meeting you (in bizarre circumstances within minutes of arriving).


Overall Summary:

I wasnít convinced of Saalbach when my friend first chose it. But I can now see how many view it as one of the best all round ski resorts in the Alps. After we got back, I said that I probably wouldnít go back in a while; but now itís starting to grow on me and quite likely I may return next year. Thereís something about the place to draw me back but I canít put a finger on what it is.
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Not to be outdone...

An excellent week in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm area and as this is a big and very well-known resort I'll to restrict myself to some random ramblings and opinions. We stayed in the quiet hamlet of Vorderglemm from March 5-12, travelling independently. It all worked out very well indeed!

Logistics. Flew BA from Heathrow to Salzburg's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Airport - small but reasonable facilities which we used as we had a little while to kill before our transfer departed. Luggage came through quickly on the carousel but the ski bags took quite a time to appear. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and was told Saturdays can be very busy with the arrivals area suffering from overcrowding. The Holiday Shuttle booked online proved to be a very efficient and on-time service both ways with an eight-seat taxi doing the legwork. Door-to-door from airport to hotel and return was 84 Euros each.

Accommodation. We stayed at the Hotel Tiroler Buam in Vorderglemm, booked through booking.com. It was superb in every respect. Friendly, efficient staff, comfortable room, lovely breakfast choices and a superb bar/restaurant with a lovely menu prepared by the owner, a renowned master chef. The hotel was excellent value for money and about half the price of some of the big hotels in Saalbach or Hinterglemm. Location was magnificent - just across the road from the sparkling new Schonleitenbahn gondola and virtually ski to the hotel car park. The only drawback was the 'naked only' rule for the sauna - probably appeals more to the Germanic or Scandi people than to the Anglo-Saxons!!!

Skiing. The Saalbach ski circus is vast and quite rightly praised as a cruising paradise for intermediates. But it was busy and some of the piste grading is on the tough side. Two instructors - Frank and Fred - from the Heugenhauser ski school in Vorderglemm each described a number of blues as 'dark' and un-nerving for skiers progressing from the nursery slopes. The classic example of this is run 2a from the Schattberg Ost down to Vorderglemm itself - wide open and pleasant at the top, narrow and bumpy on the lower third (and made all the more difficult by the marginal snow lower down last week). In contrast, Bernkogl is an easy cruise and the runs between Leogang and the Wildenkarkogel are confidence boosters. I enjoyed the Montelino Trail - a mini-skicross course under the Grosser Asitz, with waves and tight corners, that you can take at flat-out speed. This is a place to get the miles under your skis and doing the whole ski circus is an enjoyable, if occasionally hectic, challenge. Some serious money has been spent on the lift infrastructure - barely a t-bar anywhere and predominantly modern, six and eight-seat heated chairlifts (a huge improvement on when I was last here about 15-16 years ago!) Oh, and far more skiers than boarders, almost universal helmet wearing and barely a woolly hat in sight!

Weather/snow. It has been a strange old season and last week we experienced spring, summer, autumn and winter in seven days. We arrived to light snow, had blistering sunshine and extremely mild temperatures, a day of miserable, pouring rain in the valley, a day of heavy snow and strong winds which shut the upper lifts for the morning and then warm sunshine the following day. The rain and high temperatures was taking its toll on the snow and some of the lower slopes were pretty ugly by the afternoon. In a rare burst of common sense, we descended by lift from the mid-stations on a couple of occasions. By contrast, the pistes above 1,400 metres were generally superb (although off-piste was marginal or non-existant!) The hill immediately behind our hotel had a decent covering of snow when we arrived. It had disappeared by departure day and the hills were turning brown.

Ski school. Mrs LOTA had some private lessons with the Heugenhauser ski school. They were excellent and she made great progress. Impressed with the school's flexibility and willingness to change lesson times, location etc when the upper lifts were closed.

On mountain-dining. Saalbach is renowned for the number and quality of its lunchtime stops. Didn't make it to the legendary Chicken Man but enjoyed superb Tiroler Grostl in the Alte Schmeide and pleasant, good value lunches in the Barnalm at Bernkogl and the Kohlmais Stub'n as the snow poured down outside. However, our favourite was the little bar of the Hochwartalm. Excellent Apfel Strudel, washed down with Radler, and very welcoming service.

Evening time. The bar at the Tiroler Buam was so inviting that we didn't stray too far, although we enjoyed a few drinks at the Bauers Schialm, Eva Village and the swanky Interstar Hotel in Vorderglemm. The Hochwart Tenne was another favourite, good atmosphere, friendly service and decent grub. Enjoyed one of the legendary pizzas and beer in the Wallner one evening (good food, ordinary service) and really enjoyed the madness of the Berger Sporthotel with the extraordinary Bobby doing Elvis, Tom Jones and a whole lot more in a marathon entertainment session. Great fun!
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@jimmybog, we must have been in Spitz Bub at the same time (we were there both nights Spacey was 'singing')!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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jimmybog wrote:
Saalbach trip report:

Dates: March 11th to 18th

Tour operator: Crystal Ski

Party Size: 13, mixture of adults/children

Hotel: Sport Hotel Berger

Transfer to resort:


Straightforward transfer to resort. No waiting for other planes and no detours. Journey took around 1hr 25 minutes. Have to say, the journey passed through a very picturesque part of Germany and Austria. Will certainly make an effort to visit this region in summer time

Impressions of Saalbach village:

I actually thought Saalbach was a nice village. Quite compact and not much walking required to get anywhere. Lots of bars, restaurants and hire shops but not many other shops. Also quite a busy and lively village and a nice atmosphere. I was also quite impressed with the pedestrian area in HInterglemm and certainly wouldnít have an issue staying there if I had to

Service in bars, restaurants and mountain huts:

Well unfortunately we found the friendliness of bar/waiter staff rather lacking. Generally they were friendly in the apres bars but not elsewhere. This was a bit of a shock to me as I have never experienced anything like it on this scale in any other resort I have been to.

Meals:

Six evening meals were in the hotel and one was at the Spielberghaus mountain hut/restaurant. Most lunchtime meals were on the mountain. Quality of food for all meals was very good. I canít think of one poor meal that anyone had. Prices were also pretty reasonable. Maybe not as cheap as I have experienced elsewhere but certainly not as expensive.

Drinks:

Found the price of beer to be reasonable (around Euros 4.50 to 5.00 0.5L) in most places. Long drinks such as Gin & Tonic varied widely.

Night time bars:

We didnít actually visit many to be honest. Too tired after apres ski and evening meal. Did visit Bobbyís which was good (no band the night we visited). Also went to Eva Alm, which we liked, even though drinks were expensive. One night a few of us chaperoned the youngsters to Bauers Schi Alm after dinner. Was absolutely shocked to see it still packed inside at 10pm. Other nights were spent in the Hotel Prosecco bar (reasonably priced drinks and no waiting to get served, unlike in the main hotel bar/restaurant). A few of us managed to catch the Elvis/Tom Jones show on the Thursday night and personally I thought he was a great entertainer. Place was packed with lots of people dancing.


Weather:


Dry all week until Saturday when we were leaving. Most days were sunny or at worst partly cloudy. Temperatures crept up during the week and was starting to get quite warm towards end of the week. Came back with a good face tan!!

Snow conditions:

As expected, best snow conditions were higher up and in the morning. Towards end of the week, snow was softening up quite quickly by late morning, even higher up, especially on the main slopes. No issues on connecting less steep runs


The skiing:

Iíll be honest here and admit we barely scratched the surface of the area. Most of our party hadnít skied in many years and others were in lessons. Thus we setup camp most days with our non-skier party members, at the Luis Alm at top of Bernkogel gondola. As most people know, the slope above is a nice easy slope and a lot of skiing was on this slope.

A few of us did have a quick go on the nursery slope above Bauers but this was after lunch and the snow was just too soft.

A few of our party also tried the higher Kohlmais slopes and skied across to Berger Alm and back again via Blue 66 and 52. They accessed the blue 56 link to Berger Alm from top of Panorama chair and found it quite tough going until the blue 56 turn off. Apart from the 56/66 links, they really did not enjoy skiing here. They found the snow too soft even at 11am and werenít that keen to go back.

Other forays into the area were a trip from top of Bernkogel across to Hochalmhutte. Only four of us done this and we all enjoyed it. Had a drinks break at Reiteralm which we quite liked and lunch at the Hochalmhutte.

As I mentioned earlier, we barely scratched the surface. Apres, age, ability, confidence etc., took its toll on most of us. Hopefully we will return in future in better shape and travel further afield


Lifts:

Certainly you can see the resort has invested heavily in their lifts. Only issues were people unable to get on/off or falling from the lifts. Chair up top of Bernkogel regularly kept stopping for this reason. Only queue of any note I experienced was benkogel gondola on Sunday morning. Otherwise no queues anywhere

Mountain huts:

As we didnít venture far, we didnít really visit that many. The ones we did visit or pass on the sunnier days were already packed by 11:30 to 12pm. It just seemed as if most people by 12pm had enough skiing and decided to park up for the afternoon.

Apres ski:

Obviously Saalbach is quite famous as an apres resort, so not much I can add really. Visited Hinterhag Alm once only. Admit I really enjoyed it as I liked the fact a band were playing rather than a DJ. Just seemed to be more of an audience participation with a band. Also the landlady/owner (assume thatís who it was) sang a few songs. I have experienced apres in other resorts and didnít think Hinterhag was any more crazy or mental than what Iíve seen before. Not a criticism by any means.

Mainly though, we set up shop in Bauers late afternoon to catch the sun and then across the road to Spitzpub, which we really enjoyed especially when Spacey was singing. Also tried Burgiís which was small but more intimate/friendly

Other visitors:

Good mixture of nationalities I found (which I like anywhere I go). Most seemed to be Scandanavian, Dutch and German with quite a few British thrown in for good measure. No problems with/from anyone and we got along and made friends with quite a few, especially the large Danish party in our hotel. Would say overall, the age was mainly in the 20ís and 30ís though still quite a few in their forties onwards. Makes a nice change having a mixture of ages and languages in a resort.


Thanks:

Just a big thanks to Richard (Tatmans tours) for the invaluable information you gave me before the trip and it was great meeting you (in bizarre circumstances within minutes of arriving).


Overall Summary:

I wasnít convinced of Saalbach when my friend first chose it. But I can now see how many view it as one of the best all round ski resorts in the Alps. After we got back, I said that I probably wouldnít go back in a while; but now itís starting to grow on me and quite likely I may return next year. Thereís something about the place to draw me back but I canít put a finger on what it is.

I think those who restricted themselves to that area really missed a trick. The conditions of those slopes were the worst when we were there and temperatures started to rise.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
PeteMan wrote:
@jimmybog, we must have been in Spitz Bub at the same time (we were there both nights Spacey was 'singing')!


On the Thursday night, we were stood/dancing beside the back wall. I spoke to an English couple stood next to us which may have been you??
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@jimmybog, Very interested to read your impressions, and I'm glad that my info was useful. Most visitors are impressed by the general friendliness of the bar and restaurant staff (we're on first name terms with many of them), so I'm surprised that you were left with a different impression. I wonder if you were just unlucky in some of your choices. I note that we don't generally go to a few of the places you mention, such as the relatively new Luiz Alm (too much like a big cafeteria for our liking), the Reiteralm (always seem to be cruising past it on our way to other parts of the valley), Eva Alm (drinks pricier than other bars and not really our scene in winter), Spielberghaus (never been there, except once, briefly, in summer). Also you mention that you barely scratched the surface of the ski area and the night life, and of course you were on half board so would not have seen much of the village restaurants. So I'm quite intrigued and would be interested to know which ones you found less friendly than expected. Having said that, I note that your overall impression was positive and that you're likely to return next year. If you do, let me know, and I'll meet you for a drink and see if I can point you in the direction of some of the best skiing and apres-ski (and the friendlier bars/restaurants!)
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@Whitty,
Quote:

I think those who restricted themselves to that area really missed a trick. The conditions of those slopes were the worst when we were there and temperatures started to rise.

When it gets warm, the pistes on the Zwoelferkogel, Schattberg and at Leogang tend to be the ones to head for.
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We were impressed by the friendly nature and efficiency of all of the bar/restaurant staff we came across. The bloke running the bar at the Elvis/Jones night played a particular blinder!

The only exception was the Wallner restaurant where the service was off-hand, to say the least. We went there on recommendation from Tatman Tours' excellent guide and the food was good, service less so.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@LOTA, Likewise, very interested to read of your experiences. We must give the little bar of the Hochwartalm a try - we tend not to eat there, as it's self-service, although I do like their extra-spicy gulasch soup.
Regarding piste grading, I agree that it does help to have a few pointers as to which of the blue runs are really easy and suitable for progressing beginners, and which ones are more 'purple'. Piste 2b from Schattberg to Vorderglemm is notorious in the afternoons, although strangely satisfying if you reach the bottom with your self-esteem intact.
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@Tatman's Tours, the little bar at the Hochwartalm has waiter/barman service. Really nice food and friendly service. You must give it a go. Mrs LOTA's instructors briefed me on the best runs for her (cautious progressing third weeker) and advised me not to take her down 2b at any cost! Pleased to say my dignity remained intact when I did it, but I was quite pleased when the Hochwart Tenne came into view!
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@LOTA,
Quote:

service less so

Very odd! We go in there regularly (mainly for the pizzas, which we hold in high esteem) and are well acquainted with the two male waiters (and Mr Wallner, who stands behind the counter), all of whom give us a warm welcome and usually share a bit of friendly banter. We also frequently get a delicious apricot schnapps with the bill (and I've seen other people receive similar treatment, so I don't think they make an exception for us). The two waiters I refer to have been employed in there for as long as I can remember. The only significant recent change is that Mrs Wallner, who used to be there all the time, supervising, has been away this and last season on some study course. It's an informal restaurant - more of a 'diner' than most others, and they do get very busy in there, so perhaps this has given the impression of offhandedness?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Tatman's Tours,

It was busy and we liked the informal atmosphere. Frau Wallner, I presume, was very much in evidence. However, the last contact we had with a waiter until we asked for our bill was when he served our pizzas. There was no attempt to ask if we'd like more drinks or dessert (we wanted both but found it impossible to catch an eye!). Perhaps it was an off-night but we didn't feel like returning...
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Quote:

Frau Wallner, I presume, was very much in evidence.

@LOTA, We haven't seen her all season, or last season, so perhaps it was someone else. Very surprised that you found it so difficult to get served - as you say, perhaps it was an off night. Incidentally, the younger, slimmer waiter is "Fritz", especially friendly and well loved by the children of some of our regular guests.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Tatman's Tours wrote:
@jimmybog, Very interested to read your impressions, and I'm glad that my info was useful. Most visitors are impressed by the general friendliness of the bar and restaurant staff (we're on first name terms with many of them), so I'm surprised that you were left with a different impression. I wonder if you were just unlucky in some of your choices. I note that we don't generally go to a few of the places you mention, such as the relatively new Luiz Alm (too much like a big cafeteria for our liking), the Reiteralm (always seem to be cruising past it on our way to other parts of the valley), Eva Alm (drinks pricier than other bars and not really our scene in winter), Spielberghaus (never been there, except once, briefly, in summer). Also you mention that you barely scratched the surface of the ski area and the night life, and of course you were on half board so would not have seen much of the village restaurants. So I'm quite intrigued and would be interested to know which ones you found less friendly than expected. Having said that, I note that your overall impression was positive and that you're likely to return next year. If you do, let me know, and I'll meet you for a drink and see if I can point you in the direction of some of the best skiing and apres-ski (and the friendlier bars/restaurants!)


Thanks Richard

The establishments that I personally noticed where the service was less than friendly were at both outside seating areas at the Saalbacherhoff and Luis Alm. I'll PM you the others as I need to check with others from our party. Few of them experienced unfriendly staff, especially in the first few days, but I can't remember if it was in restuarants/bars or shops.

The flip side to that, is that we experienced particularly good/friendly service at the Berger prosecco bar, Schwips bar/club beneath Bergers, Burgi's apres, Spitzpub, Bauers Schi alm, Bobby's and hotel dining room. Thus overall the experience was good. Just a shame that it was so noticble by quite a few of us in the first few days. But suspect it was more bad luck than anything.

As for next year, looks like we will be coming back. When you have a relatively large party like ours, its usually difficult to choose somewhere to please everyone due to different requirements. Saalbach just seems to tick so many boxes for most of us that its difficult to think where else to go. And yes I will definately contact you when we arrive for some bar/restaurant/best skiing advice.

Just out of curiosity, noticed a restaurant/apres bar called Backstatt-Stall near to Bernkogelbahn gondola station and a cellar bar near the church called Zum Turm. what are these like and are they worth a look?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Tatman's Tours wrote:
@Whitty,
Quote:

I think those who restricted themselves to that area really missed a trick. The conditions of those slopes were the worst when we were there and temperatures started to rise.

When it gets warm, the pistes on the Zwoelferkogel, Schattberg and at Leogang tend to be the ones to head for.

Yes, we figured that out early on and just endured it on the way back to saalbach at the end of the day.
The only negative I can think of was at the ederalm. Quality and staff were fine but seemed woefully understaffed on the terrace. We actually avoided it after a few visits as a quick drink was a minimum of an hour trying to get served and then trying to pay!
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Quote:

The only negative I can think of was at the ederalm. Quality and staff were fine but seemed woefully understaffed on the terrace. We actually avoided it after a few visits as a quick drink was a minimum of an hour trying to get served and then trying to pay!

@Whitty, Once again, it's a place we never use - in fact never been there even once over the years. Our main recommendation in that area (piste 66) for good food, cheap drinks, and good, friendly, efficient service is the Bergeralm. (We can also recommend the Thurneralm, the Panorama Alm, the Asteralm, the Maisalm, the Kohlmaisstub'n, and of course the Hinterhag - all in that general area).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@jimmybog,
Quote:

The establishments that I personally noticed where the service was less than friendly were at both outside seating areas at the Saalbacherhoff and Luis Alm.

We never use either of those establishments during the ski season, so difficult to comment. As previously mentioned, the Luiz Alm has always struck me as big and characterless, compared with other options. The Westernstadl, which is only a couple of hundred yards down the piste from there is, by contrast, an excellent mountain restaurant, with friendly staff, good food and fabulous views. The Baernalm, 50 yards across the piste from the Luiz Alm, seems to be liked by a lot of people, although we rarely go there.
The Saalbacherhof is okay for a drink on its sun terrace during the summer months, but we have never had any reason to use it in winter. Their chef, a black guy named 'Toni', is sometimes seen on the terrace outside, and he's one of the friendliest guys we know in Saalbach - maybe you were unlucky with your waiter. I'm quite surprised by what you say, as it's a very professionally-run hotel, and I would have thought that they would train their staff properly.
Quote:

noticed a restaurant/apres bar called Backstatt-Stall near to Bernkogelbahn gondola station and a cellar bar near the church called Zum Turm. what are these like and are they worth a look?

The Baeckstaettstall is a pretty impressive restaurant. We used to go there quite often, in fact my son worked there for three consecutive winter seasons. We always used to get a friendly welcome from the owners, and the staff were also efficient and friendly. The menu and food were also good. One of their specialities is fondue; another is spare ribs. It has a more refined atmosphere than some of the village-centre restaurants and is usually also quieter - no doubt on account of its slightly off the beaten track location. Entering the building is like going into a fortress - all thick stone walls and massive beams - an experience in itself. We are certainly overdue a visit. Forget the apres bar outside, unless you want a quiet drink with just a handful of people. (Head over to Skiliftstrasse, or the Hinterhag Alm, or go up to the Bergeralm if you want good apres-ski).
Zum Turm is like a subterranean crypt inside, and rumour has it that the ancient 'Turm' (tower) built above it used to be a jail in days gone by. It's worth a visit. We used to call in for a coffee or night cap on the way home late at night, and one season we got friendly with the bartenders, who used to let us sit in the gated-off VIP area. The following season the staff had changed and we were told to keep out of the VIP area unless we were buying champagne. That put me off slightly, although no doubt without much justification. More recently it always seems to be very noisy and packed full of people I don't know. However Mrs TT has always liked the place and frequently tries to drag me in there. I remember being in there with other Snowheads (honeybunny and cacciatore for two), who enjoyed playing Nageln (the nail game). It's on two levels with a steep staircase connecting the two bars, which have exit doors on opposite sides of the building. This means that you enter through one door, and. if you don't feel inclined to stay in the first bar, you can go up (or down) to the other bar, and then exit through the other door - something I frequently do. The music, the acoustics and the sound system in Zum Turm may well meet with your approval, and the bar certainly has plenty of character.
(For the record, the bars that we currently frequent for apres-apres-ski tend to be Bobby's, the Underbar, the Oetzi Bar, the Kuhstall, Berger's Sport Hotel and the Spitzbub. No doubt others also have their favourites)
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Wondering if Tatman or one of the other saalbach snowheads can give me some advice.
Im looking at planning next trip to saalbach either Dec 30th or early March 2018 (sorry if im a hyjacking the 2017 tbread)
My other half is a nervous beginner so im worried that she might have less access to easy gentle blues to cruise on in December and probably more importantly if new years week is very crowded at lifts and on slope for nervous beginner.

Ive been singing Saalbachs praises and have promised to bring her on her trip for 5 years so want to make best choice for her. Although ive never been skiing over christmas and would love to be away for new years eve / day and our miserable irish weather.

Are the best huts and bars open new year eve week? If there isnt great snow conditions should we base ourselves close to which area. Had a long weekend in Jan staying near reiterkolgbahn and was great for quick access to gentle blues first thing in the morning althought much prefer to be in saalbach for the pm, apres and food...

Anyway any advice in new years experience in saalbach greatly welcome

Thanks

Landers
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You'll be fine new year week. As the last couple of years has shown, the artificial snow making ability of the area is so good that even in poor years the amount of skiing available for the committed piste hound will be at least satisfactory. All huts and bars will be open. It's a busy week. Oddly enough, though it can still be busy, the slopes during the new year week are rarely too overcrowded. I think a lot of people that week tend to go for the atmosphere as much as the skiing.
Where to stay? If by nervous beginner you mean complete beginner, then I think the Hinterglemm nursery slopes are superior to Saalbach's, albeit in mid winter they get no sun. That can be important...
If slightly beyond complete beginner, Saalbach wins, with the top of the Bernkogel being a great easy intro to skiing up the mountain. If she's actually a gentle intermediate, to me it's six and half a dozen. I prefer the variety around Hinterglemm, but Saalbach is more central, with easy access to Leogang, which, as discussed above, has great lower intermediate skiing, once the first short section is navigated.
I've spent many a new year in the area, whatever happens it's almost impossible not to enjoy it
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks, ill go with new year id say. Just need to decide on location
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One of my 2017 Highlights was the evening spent at Spitzbub with Mr and Mrs Tatman and Kiteman69.

I have to be honest, it wasn't a bar I have ever used, but after seeing the hoards in the Hinterhag, Mr Tatman suggested there and it was just amazing, I cannot recommend it highly enough, Spaceys singing is jus extraordinary,
If you get the chance, go! You won't regret it!
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I haven't skied in Austria for 9 years, having done so many times before then. I've really enjoyed reading this thread this season, so thanks to all regular contributors.
I'm motivated to try Saalbach Hinterglemm for the first time. It sounds great. Very Happy
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Kooky wrote:
One of my 2017 Highlights was the evening spent at Spitzbub with Mr and Mrs Tatman and Kiteman69.

I have to be honest, it wasn't a bar I have ever used, but after seeing the hoards in the Hinterhag, Mr Tatman suggested there and it was just amazing, I cannot recommend it highly enough, Spaceys singing is jus extraordinary,
If you get the chance, go! You won't regret it!


Agree on all that. I actually like the inside bar of Spitzpub. Small,cosy and warm; Perfect!!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

I actually like the inside bar of Spitzpub. Small,cosy and warm; Perfect!!

They also play decent music in there, and the brothers who own it, Mike and Kris, and their bartenders, are all friendly and welcoming.
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Tatman's Tours wrote:
Quote:

I actually like the inside bar of Spitzpub. Small,cosy and warm; Perfect!!

They also play decent music in there, and the brothers who own it, Mike and Kris, and their bartenders, are all friendly and welcoming.


Absolutely agree with that!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I like the way that when you go in they are playing fairly standard aprŤs music and then as soon as the owner comes in it turns into hard rock heaven. His play list is endless. He even dug out some Faith No More for one of our group. Not sure how well that went down with the rest of the punters but we agreed it was our favourite bar in the resort.
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