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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Zell am See

Country: Austria

Domain: Europasportregion

Author: Elizabeth B

Date: Feb 2006

Our holiday: I went with a school trip which consisted of around 30 13-16 yr olds. The ski school at Arietbahn were really good.

Website : www.zellamsee.at or www.europasportregion.info

Basics : Zell am See is 80km from Salzburg, and can also be reached easily from Munich. It has a train station in the centre of town. We travelled by coach, and it took around 16 hours from Calais.

Lift system : The main uplifts into the Zell area are either cable cars or godolas. Despite going at a busy time, lift queues for the gondolas were well managed, and each cabin went up full. The cable car up to Schmittenhohn is a long ride, and had the longest queues. Once up the mountain, there are a couple of T-bars, but mainly chairlifts. At the Kitzsteinhorn, there are more draglifts, due to it being a glacier, but these can be avoided by taking a cable car up to the top.

The terrain : The ski area is split into three sections that aren't lift linked. The main Zell area, Kaprun and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. On this trip, I only skied the main Zell area, but have previously skied at the glacier. Most of the skiing is intermediate, but there a couple of good black runs...no 14 being a good one that maintains a reasonable pitch for the descent.

The snow : We had great conditions, with fresh snow before we arrived. Part way through the week it snowed again, keeping the pistes fresh.

Off-piste : Because I was with a group of kids, I didn't explore the off piste opportunities. I suspect that they are't too great, but may be wrong.

The resort : Zell am See is a town that has plenty of character. It is a year round resort, with much of it's business in the summer, so is well suited for non-skiers. There are a range of shops, good sports centre (swimming/sauna/ice rink), cinema and plenty of places to eat. There is also the opportunity to go walking on the lake when it is frozen.

Food : Other than the hotel, the only place we ate was the ArietAlm mountain restaurant. Was happy with this place, and they had a picnic area (outside).

Accommodation : We stayed at Club Kitzsteinhorn which is purpose built youth accommodation. If you ever need to book for a group of teenagers, then this is the place! It is a couple of minutes walk from the Arietbahn lift, and has all the faciities (and more) that you could ever want. There is a full sized sports hall, squash court, pool & table tennis room, bowling alley, disco room, cinema and pizzeria on site - most of which are free to use. In the summer they have a swimming pool, climbing wall and volleyball court outside. The owners are friendly, and the place is geared up for kids. Would recommend it to anyone running a school/youth trip.

Costs: A plate of chips on the mountain was €3. A bottle of coke in the hotel was €2.

Conclusion: Loved Zell. Had previously been in the summer, and enjoyed the experience. It was nice to go back in winter. A great family resort with tree-line skiing and beautiful scenery.

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