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Domain: Linked to Zell am See and Kitzsteinhorn Glacier on lift pass
Date: 23 to 30 Jan 2010
Our holiday: Family holiday with wife and 6 year old daughter on 3rd trip; 3rd year to same reort (Kaprun, Austria), TO (Esprit), and chalet (Mara)
Website : http://www.maiskogel.at/wb/pages/english/winter/family-orientated.php; http://en.kitzsteinhorn.at/news/webcams.htm; http://en.kitzsteinhorn.at/
Basics : Kaprun 4km from Zell am See; 1.5hr (very pretty) coach transfer from Salzburg airport
Lift system : 3 easily accessed areas: Kitzsteinhorn glacier at end of Kaprun valley, Maiskogel in Kaprun , and Zell am See 4 km/12mins on bus
The terrain : Glacier accesssed by 15min interval buses, which are rarely packed, 2 cable cars/bubbles to take you up 2 stages (so 12 min bus then prob about 15 mins to get to ski area). Glacier is typical glacier - on clear days it is absolutely awe inspiring; on windy snowy days you know you that you are taking part in extreme sport (even on a flat piste). Have been up there twice in 3 years now in bitter whiteout , but those days of sunshine ..... Lots of marked off piste for those who like that sort of thing. Beautiful cruisy long pistes, with 3 different gradients on the main glacier - great for bombing down. Some reds down from the main glacier that you would think would be sheltered on bad days, but usually they are even more whiteout than up above! Again on clear days you are on the edge of the ridge on these and are very very beautiful surroundings. 3rd level cable car takes you right to the top of the mountain - possibly a bit of a long ride, but if you dont like the standard Tbars, then it's an alternative that most glaciers dont have.
Zell - lots of VERY WIDE pistes. Beware - many people head to Zell when it's bad weather because of the good old belief that you are a bit more protected/better visibility in amongst the trees. I think the narrowest piste here is about 200 m wide, so you wont be getting much protection. I always find Zell extremely busy, more so than France (!), and to be perfectly honest i don't enjoy it that much. However it is the place that most people spend much of their week in when based at KAprun and they seem to enjoy it there, so who am i to say different. Easily accessible by regular bus from Kaprun, and then 3 levles of bubbles up to the top of the Areitbahn, and then head off in a few different directions on varrious facing slopes. THere are 3 or 4 blacks all the way down to parts of Zell tha in good snow are great fun. When it gets warmer, it gets very slushy on the bottom third.
Which brings me to the Miaskogel - branded/marketed as the "family" mountain in Kaprun itself. (Kaprun also has the Lechnerberg, on one side of town, which is the longest begineers slope i have seen - brilliant for new skiers of for kids learning without lunatics bombing through to the bottom of the slopes. ) The Maiskogel is always quiet, is served by 2 lifts taking you to mid station and then the top, and is also served by the Maiskogelbahn cable car which is where those skiing on the glacier get off the bus, up the cable car, and down the Maiskogel for the end of the day. The Maiskogel purports to have a black at the top, which in icier weather might just get there. We had good snow last week, and still probably about 5% to 10% of people going down it were falling on the short black section which suggests to me that the grading is not that far off.
FIS run B level (?) GS competitions on the Red here.
Skiing down the Maiskogel gives you great views of Zell and the Valley eastwards when the sun sets over the mountains.
Oh, and did i say, it's always empty !
The snow : Firm to start with, topped up nicely several times through the week; pretty good in total. Same in Jan last year; MArch 2 years ago was a lot of artifical as there wasn't snow in the village that month.
Off-piste : Looked very snowy and nice on the 5 marked trails up on the glacier
The resort : More like a large village/small town. Has a smallish centre, with lots of accomodation spreading out and about. Not much nightlife, but a few apres ski bars that are well frequented. Pavillion is good early evening; Pallettis later on.
Food : Hotel Orgler in centre of town for great Austrain food - makes you appreciate Sauerkraut when it's made like this. On the Maiskogel i really like the Stangerbauer, just below the first lift on the left - good Gulashsuppe, best Apfelstrudel around (and i am a connesseur!); On the Glacier, come out of the 2nd cable car and just before the Alpine centre on the left is a circular/round brown restaurant - brilliant Austrian food at great prices - try the deer stew or the spinach dumplings (Mrs sev112's recommendation) - and you wont finish the cakes!. At Zell just head for the Pinzgauerhutte - requires a 1/2 mile narrow track to get there, followed by being dragged back up the track by the owners' snow mobile !
Accommodation : Chalet Mara, with Esprit. Brilliant childcare for the 3rd year running . We have had 3 great years with them. Thier childcare staff are exceptional. Never planned to leave our daughter in their care all day, but we get grief from teh littlun if we don't these days! They always manage to find very proefssional and responsible young chalet staff as well. Good good food this year.
Costs: About ¬£1800 for 2 adults and 1 child, included half board, 3 lift passes, child ski hire, child ski lessons and childcare from 8.45 to 6pm, with additional childcare to 9.30 if we wanted in that price !!!! 2xSki carriage was in that price. Also flights on Monarch from Gatwick. Good value if you ask me.
Beer on the mountain was about 3 to 4 E a pint. Strudel about 3E, Hot Chocolate about 2.50E.
Conclusion: Another great week in Kaprun - i love the fact that everyone heads to the Glacier and Zell, leaving the Maiskogel all to me
Final lesson learned - the obvious off-piste shortcut from the Maiskogel past the cemetry down to within 200m of the chalet is not a highly used route for a very good reason - there be rocks beneath that snow, as my lovely new serviced and waxed bases of my skis found out !
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