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Zell am see v's Saalbacch Hinterglemm

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi i'm looking for some advice from anyone who has skied in Zell am See and Saalbach Hinterglemm in mid March(2ed week).Which is the better resort for snow fall, so there is no sluch at the end of the runs(towards town centre).we are a group of intermediate & advanced beginners(although we haven't skied in years),as this is the only time we can go we're a bit worried there might not be good snow this time of year. I have also read that Saalbach Hinterglemm has alot more runs than zell, but is it suitable for my advanced beginners. And finally any recommendations for a hotel/chalet, half board for good food and wine..
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@MaryB, no guarantee that there won’t be slushy runs in March in either ski area. It’s pretty much pot luck. However, S-H does have a wider range of runs and aspects so slush would be easier to avoid. It’s a bit higher than Zell 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?
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is considerably higher than Zell am See, and it has 270km of mainly intermediate pistes, compared with Zell am See's 77km. Although Zell am See's ski area is very scenic (with views over the lake), Saalbach's area is far superior, in terms of not only size, but also variety, snow reliability and convenience. (If it's relevant, Saalbach's apres-ski is also far better).

The second week of March (the first week after the end of high season) is generally a good time to go from the point of view of flights and quieter pistes. Last ski season conditions in the middle of March were excellent, with cold temperatures and firm, unmogulled pistes (FWIW I reckon that the most enjoyable skiing was in mid-December, mid-January, mid-March, and early April). Having said that, last season was exceptionally good, and the weather can never be predicted; in mid-March it could be mild and spring-like just as easily as cold and wintry. If the weather is warm and sunny, the lower, south-facing runs of any resort are liable to become soft and chopped-up in the afternoon. If that bothers you, it's very easy in Saalbach to stay high for the skiing, and, when you're ready to return to the village, to take a gondola down from the mid-station. The resort has more gondola cable-cars than any other resort in the world (17 in total, including Leogang and Fieberbrunn). You can also plan your afternoons so as to take advantage of the better snow on north and west-facing pistes.

Saalbach's ski area is renowned as an "intermediate's paradise". A good proportion of the runs are blue, and most of the rest are red, with only a few blacks. Like many big, interlinked areas, it lends itself to long-distance cruising. It's possible to ski right round the main valley, and also to Leogang and back, entirely on blue runs, and without repeating the same run twice. Some of the blue runs are up to 7km long. Some of the blue/red runs are easier than others, so it does help to know which ones are best for the particular standard of skier, but your "advanced beginners" should find it easy enough to find pistes that are suitable and avoid those that might be too challenging. One blue run that can get a bit churned up in the afternoons, especially in warm weather, is piste 2b. However it's a big area and easy enough to find nice runs for early intermediates to practise on without getting overwhelmed.

There is only one fully-catered chalet in Saalbach (Ski Miquel's Chalet Christina), which is a few hundred yards walk along the main road from the Schattberg Xpress gondola. Unlike in France, chalet operators don't tend to thrive in most Austrian resorts; this is because of the high standard of self-catering and hotel accommodation, the generally reasonable prices for both accommodation and food and drink, and the fact that most ski resorts in Austria are proper villages with a lively apres-ski scene and plenty of good, reasonably-priced restaurants and bars (as opposed to the purpose-built ski stations where chalets come into their own).

I would regard it as a high priority to secure accommodation in a good location - if in Saalbach, preferably towards the top end of the village (where the three homeward blue runs end up). There is a fair amount of ski-in ski-out accommodation - or as good as, with minimal walking in ski boots.

If looking for half-board hotel accommodation, most of Saalbach's village centre hotels are likely to please (4 stars: Kohlmais, Kendler, Eva Village, Bauer, Neuhaus, Panther, Alpinresort, Saalbacherhof, Bergers' Sport Hotel) (3 stars: Peter, Keonig, Gappmaier). Be aware that some establishments changed to B&B last season - apparently because of a change in Austria's tax laws - those include the Hotel Post, the Alpen Hotel, and the Pension Enzian. Others will no doubt recommend hotels in Hinterglemm, such as the Alpine Palace.

As well as plenty of well-located apartments, there are many good B&B guest houses (pensions), which could save you a fair amount of money (and the saving should enable you to dine out in the village and mountain restaurants quite lavishly). It's worth noting that there are at least 60 mountain restaurants, and I don't know of a bad one - lunchtime can be quite an event!

If you would like a copy of my comprehensive guide to Saalbach, which covers everything from transport options to recommendations for restaurants, ski pistes and apres-ski venues, send me a PM with your email address.
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@MaryB, welcome to snowHeads.

Although impossible to guarantee no slush by mid March, overall it’s a great time to be in the mountains. Your chances of good snow conditions are high, so I wouldn’t worry about that.

Of the two places you're considering, Saalbach Hinterglemm is clearly the best option for your group.

snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
...Zell am See is partnered with Kaprun, with glacier. The whole area claims 131kms of marked piste.

Also apparently now possible to use new gondola between Glemmtal and Schmittenhöhe, opening up much larger linked area. I imagine local expert @tatmanstours will know details and practicalities of that.

Even so, for your group in March, the better base is likely to be Saalbach.
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Embrace the slush - it's fun to ski in.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Have skiied in Zell mid march for the last 4 years. The runs into town will always be slushy due to the low altitude of the village but most of the ski area is at the top of the mountain so most people just take the lift down from mid station at the end of the day - so not a good reason to avoid Zell IMHO. Conditions above mid stationhave been generally excellent.
@PeakyB, I believe you're talking about the new Zell Am See Express lift. Only the top section has opened so far so not a full link yet - don't think they will finish it this summer.
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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!
MaryB wrote:
Hi i'm looking for some advice from anyone who has skied in Zell am See and Saalbach Hinterglemm in mid March(2ed week).Which is the better resort for snow fall, so there is no sluch at the end of the runs(towards town centre).we are a group of intermediate & advanced beginners(although we haven't skied in years),as this is the only time we can go we're a bit worried there might not be good snow this time of year. I have also read that Saalbach Hinterglemm has alot more runs than zell, but is it suitable for my advanced beginners. And finally any recommendations for a hotel/chalet, half board for good food and wine..


I chose Hinterglemm over Ischgl and St Anton for what it is worth. The area seems to be just what I need!


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 12-09-18 14:35; edited 1 time in total
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I have stayed in Zell am See twice now although mainly as it is a resort that my non-skiing wife enjoys for the atmosphere and good walking (I usually have a week or three in off-piste orientated resorts too). The skiing will bore after a couple of days. Add a day in Kaprun too. We jumped on the train for a day in Kitzbuhel and coach ride to Saalbach too last time. When Zell is linked fully to Saalbach I would go back (caveat with the wife).

Saalbach looked like an intermediates paradise on our foray w/c 11th March. Yes there was some slush late afternoon. Most memorable was the Hahnekam in Kitbuhel which was almost unskiable late afternoon with gloopy porridge like snow. Long days and sun though mid-March
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Whilst Zell am See has a nicer setting and some lovely skiing, Saalbach Hinterglemm wins hands down for me.
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Thank you so much everyone for a very good insight as to what to expect. So i will go with Hinterglemm for my sking this year...Thanks again & happy sking to everyone Cool
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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.
@MaryB, good choice. Have a look at Adler Resort. We’re going there in January and looks amazing. Option to go all inclusive per day, as well as using self catering. Good location close to Goasstahl (apres venue)
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@PeakyB, and @Tubaski, I recently heard a rumour - supposedly from someone in the know - that they're starting the work on the new gondola from Viehhofen up the Schmittenhoehe (linking with the existing mid-station) this month. I'm currently in Saalbach and will be here for at least another week, so I'll keep my eyes peeled as I drive through Viehhofen.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@sugarmoma666, yes I used to like slush. Now my knees are worn out and it’s agony Confused
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@tatmanstours, thanks, sounds like that would be a valuable addition. These big capital projects tend to take a year or two?
Nevertheless, S-H top of my list of places to go in 18/19.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just appeared on my Facebook feed: (translated from German):
Dear guests, today is a very special day: The Schmitten in Zell am See celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for an important project for the future ski area from Kaprun via Zell am See to the existing Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang. With the ZellamseeXpress Section I, which goes into operation in the winter of 2019/20, the touchdown in the Glemmtal valley is finally over. We look forward to welcoming our guests in the middle of the largest ski area in Austria in the future!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Zell is prettier. But very low and near a wet lake.

Go to Saalbach or Hinterglemm.
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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?
@Whitegold, Zell is prettier. But very low and near a wet lake.

What other sort are there?
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It was very frozen when we went - skated on it
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mikeg36, dry lakes?
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That'll be a hole in the ground Smile
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