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Austria advice

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Lads week in end of January. Basic cruising intermediates - nothing hectic but do want variety and to avoid too much repitition. Ski in ski out - apartments and some nice bars needed. Loved Hochgurgl but was a bit limited. Any specific advice ? Italy considered as a possibility. Many thanks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'll say it first... Saalbach would be ideal for you.
Big area, plenty of ski in ski out available. Lively apres available so really good for a lads week too!
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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?
Hmmmm.... Saalbach
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@timmythedog, Saalbach Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The Hotel Kohlmais is ski in ski out, right on the piste, I haven't stayed there but have eaten well there. Self catering there is fellow Snowhead Tatman Tours, who has a good location, the Kohlmains is close to the Apre action, but far enough away for it not to be a concern.
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Def Saalbach or Hinterglemm.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Another vote for Saalbach. 4th and 5th visits planned for the coming winter. I'm assuming that the lads are not in their twenties and looking for banging tunes, but a little older and happy to sing along to Country Roads...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Saalbach or Solden.
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Thanks everyone - much appreciated !
Have skied Les Arcs/ la Plagne ( lots) Madonna, Obergurgl, Solden and Andorra so looking forward to fine tuning the research in Saalbacg!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ischgl would be a good choice IMHO Better skiing than Saalbach but it can be pricy.

Lots of nightlife.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@timmythedog, and @radar, Did someone mention my name? Smile

Thank you @radar, for the recommendation - we're actually next door to the Hotel Kohlmais (so about as ski-in ski-out as you can get) and have been known to cater for "lads' weeks", subject to certain assurances (such as that our elderly Austrian neighbours won't end up calling the police rolling eyes )

We also know many other Brits who rent apartments in Saalbach and are always happy to help where we can.

@timmythedog, If you would like a copy of my comprehensive guide to Saalbach, covering the skiing, apres-ski, transport options, restaurants, ski hire, ski-schools, and everything else you can think of, send me a PM with your e-mail address. Also you may find the annual threads like this one illuminating:
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=126801&highlight=saalbach&start=120
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Can recommend @Tatman's Tours from personal experience, just don't sit on the bench!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Another vote for Saalbach.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@kb36, ...especially whilst wearing a kilt and sporran Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@timmythedog, schoolboy error on my part, it's the Astrid hotel with the Kohlmais Stub' n
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I think I had better book up for Saalbach this season as this thread is so +ve about it.
I didnt realise it was so Ski in Ski out.
Its over 20 years since I was last there.
I was going to take the train around to Leogang from Zell am Zee last year for a day, but the misses threw a sicky.

So thats settled Salbach for me this year ... and I think there is a new lift going in over to Zell.

Do I feel winter coming on?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@DrLawn, The lift to Zell am See from Viehhofen opens next year, so the Ski Circus and Zell won't be linked until the 2018-19 season.
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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?
@quinton, Ahhh! But I can fulfill my dream of catching that train from Leogang to Zell ...
Is there a route down to Viehofen from the top of Zell?

Back in the early 80s we stayed in the jauser station up the track Vorderglem where hoards of people came up at night, got wrecked and toboganned back to the main road.

Good times Smile
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@DrLawn, Yes, the route down from Zell am See to Viehhofen reopened last winter. The new gondola already ran last season, but only from the mid station to the top. So next winter, like last season, you'll be able to ski down to Viehhofen and then take a bus to Schönleiten to access the Ski Circus, or get the Postbus back to Zell.

You can ski to Leogang from the top of Schönleiten, or even do the anticlockwise circuit of the Ski Circus first, ending up back at Schönleiten, then ski over to Leogang and get the train back to Zell from there. If you run out of time, you can get the Postbus back to Zell from any point in the valley.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
saalbach ,just started to think about next year and took all of 2 minutes to decide to return to saalbach why? good hotels in fact the choice of first class affordable, just, hotels is wide excellent service throughout, the resort is not cheap but vfm, well prepared and maintained pistes what ever the weather , friendly clientel from all over europe and beyond, less % of uk guests so gives a feeling of being away, austrian hospitality at its best ,good cruising and varied skiing for a week or so suitable for mixed abilities , various ski days without doing the same bit over and over, lots of quality mountain huts to suit all tastes and budgets , some of the best apres party nights in the alps/, probably best suited to the slightly older crowd who are passed their best in skiing terms i.e not wanting to go steep n deep or at a speed faster than they can drive but still young at heart looking for fun, maybe not the place for beginners non skiiing pals or those with young children as it would be a waste of resources both yours, theirs and the resorts, this will be our 5th consecutive saalbach trip albeit interspersed with others and over the years since I was a lad have had the good fortune to go to most in europe saalbach is imo the best all round , the regular poster tatman is very helpful if you have any questions re the area
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Usually we base ourselves in Zell am See and drive/bus to Saalbach and Kitzsteinhorn Glacier some days. For a lads week Saalbach would be good. All the resorts around this area are good and we prefer them to the higher Tyrol resorts because most runs are through tree lined pistes.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@ski for fun,
Quote:

the regular poster tatman is very helpful if you have any questions re the area

Embarassed Blush Embarassed Blush

Quote:

maybe not the place for beginners non skiiing pals or those with young children

If I can slightly digress from the OP's theme of a lads' trip and respond to this observation: judging from the favourable comments we've had from guests who are accompanied by beginners, non-skiing pals/partners and/or young children, I'm not sure that many people will agree.
The beginners facilities are excellent, with good nursery slopes at village level (served by a short chair lift), high quality tuition from the likes of Furstauer, Snow Academy, Easyski and Zink. There is also an excellent, recently-created (with the installation of the new chair lift a couple of seasons ago) gentle nursery area on the upper half of the Bernkogel, which usually maintains good snow throughout the whole season. Also, bearing in mind that many beginners are scooting round the whole valley by their fourth day, there is a massive amount of easy, cruising terrain to go at - even a complete circuit of the valley, entirely on blue runs - with the availability of regular ski buses back to the village for any who find that they've had enough and don't want to ski back.
Non-skiers like the resort, because it's a pretty place to spend time (c.f. the gaunt, purpose-built ski stations), with other pastimes available, like walking beside the river, guided snow-shoe walking, sleigh rides and visiting Zell am See with its beautiful,lakeside setting - only half an hour away on the local bus, and of course Salzburg - again an easy day trip. There is always a fun time to be had on or off the slopes (as keen apres-skiers will attest), and the apres-ski venues are all easily accessible to non-skiers. There is a mountain restaurant at the top and/or half-way point of all the dozen gondolas, which are of course an ideal way for non-skiers to get up and down the mountains, in order to meet skiers for lunch or afternoons spent sunbathing in deckchairs. (Incidentally, as well as being the fourth most visited ski resort in the world - second in Austria after Ski Welt - the resort operates the most gondolas of any resort in the world http://www.vanat.ch/RM-world-report-2017-vanat.pdf)
As for families with young children, both Furstauer and Snow Academy ski-schools cater well throughout the skiing day (not just mornings) for children, and child minding can be arranged through them or the tourist office. The children's nursery skiing areas are located in the village centre. The apres-ski venues that kick off at around 4.00pm and go on until around 7.30pm are generally family-friendly (we have one family of regular guests, whose youngsters have even been known to be invited on stage to play air guitar with the band at the Hinterhag Alm), as is the famous Bobby's Pub, which has an amusement arcade and two ten-pin bowling alleys. Then there are toboggan evenings, ice karting, sleigh rides.....never a dull moment!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
not disagreeing with you tatman, just my observation as if with a beginner or 2 I find you are obliged to help them as you are usually with family and or friends, the same with younger kids or those in child care and so you maybe wouldnt get the most out of the resort that it undoubtably has to offer, you may recall that we have visited saalbach with young children and agree that the resort does have first class facilities for teaching and child care if you get organised plus some of the best apres if not the best to be found anywhere, my view is more on the value side of things cos saalbach with the best will in the world cannot be said to be anything other than towards the higher cost end and if with kids or beginners think you should consider wether the whole group/family are going to get total value for money in those circumstances although similar can be said about a lot of resorts
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@ski for fun,
Quote:

with a beginner or 2 I find you are obliged to help them as you are usually with family and or friends, the same with younger kids or those in child care and so you maybe wouldnt get the most out of the resort that it undoubtably has to offer

I can see what you're getting at. I always think that those with beginners and/or kids, and who are intending to stick together most of the time, might just as well experience some of the delightful, smaller resorts, which will be deemed too small once everyone is skiing at a good standard. However, if the better skiers in a mixed ability group are intending to go off and do their own thing, whilst the novices are in ski-school or the kids are being minded, then the Ski Circus will keep everyone happy - e.g. you can shoot over to Leogang or Fieberbrunn for lunch and still be back in good time to meet the kids/beginners from ski-school. You can likewise do a complete circuit of the main Glemm valley in three hours (four hours if you factor in a lunch break), skiing at a leisurely pace, so again it lends itself to dropping the beginners/kids off at ski-school or with the child minder at 10.00 and still being back in good time.
My other point is that the above itineraries and excursions are usually within the range and realistic aspirations of complete beginners by their fourth day on skis.
Another factor that I didn't mention before is that, since the nursery slopes are in the village, and not up the mountain, a full lift pass isn't needed from Day 1; there is a "PAYG" points pass that can be used just for the chair lift over the main Turmwiese nursery slopes (£50 buys you 500 points, and each lift is worth a differing number of points), so diffident beginners or those who don't want to do a lot of skiing can save money that way.
There is also an often overlooked, small nursery slope next to the village church - the Snow Academy children's area is in one corner of it - and the rope tow that takes you to the top of it is free, so again money can be saved.
i'm surprised that you consider Saalbach to be costly, because my perception from guests' comments and feedback on this forum has been otherwise. Much of course depends on what one is comparing it to. My understanding is that it has found to be significantly less expensive than most French and Swiss resorts and also certain Austrian ones (e.g. St Anton, Ischgl, Lech), although it might well be more expensive than say Andorra or Bulgaria. I would have thought that it's on a par with other Austrian and Italian resorts of comparable, or even smaller, size. I would be interested to hear what others think.
Maybe money can be saved on lift passes and other ski pack items by going to smaller resorts; I suppose that you get what you pay for, although I wouldn't have though that the prices compare unfavourably with most other resorts. Obviously much depends on the choices made in regard to accommodation and catering. There is a big difference between a TO package to a 4 star hotel and an independently-organised trip, staying in a B&B or a 3 star hotel, or an apartment. The cost of living is, if anything, cheaper than the UK, and supermarket prices not much different from the UK - possibly slightly cheaper for many things, even allowing for the current dire exchange rate. Mountain restaurants are apparently a lot cheaper than in comparable French resorts (10-12 euros will buy you a decent lunch and a drink), and Bobby's Pub will serve you a good quality and ample "daily special" evening meal for between 7 and 9 euros. Well-located ski-in ski-out accommodation can be found for £35 per night.
Whilst on the subject of cutting costs, Hansi of "Hansi's Best-Price" ski rental shop (next but one to Bobby's Pub at the bottom end of the main village street) will give a very worthwhile discount on all equipment - normally 20-30% if you mention that I recommended him to you.
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