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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Kaprun
Country: Austria
Domain: Die Europa Sportregion (together with Zell Am See)
Author: slikedges
Date: 23-24 Feb 2007
Our holiday: Sneaky couple of extra days.
Website : http://www.kaprun.net/en/winter.html
Basics : Pinzgau, just over an hour's drive south west of Salzburg. Flew Coventry to Salzburg by Thomsonfly 25kg total luggage allowance including max of 10kg as hand luggage with skis extra at £30 return. Airport terminal about half the size of your old high street supermarket. Bigger than a Tesco Metro of today but the Tesco Metro would have better shopping. 0725 flight 1020 arrival. Only hand luggage so first to car rental which is on other side of the pickup/dropoff area outside. In car preparing to go at 1045. Straightforward drive, no signif traffic, good roads all the way until last 3 miles. Kaprun itself is low 775m so even then there's unlikely to be any snow on the roads to worry about. Parked at hotel at 1200. Quick change. Picked up pre-ordered lift pass. Caught bus to glacier dead on time at 1216. Arrived bottom of glacier cable car station 1230.
Lift system : I didn't ski in the Zell am See part of the region. I didn't ski in the small low Maiskogel sector which ends near the centre of Kaprun village itself 3 minutes walk from my hotel and covered in artificial snow up to 1675m. I only skied in the Kitzsteinhorn glacier sector. The system starts with 2 parallel sets of cable cars either of which go up to the 1st station at 1976m. From there you can hire skis and ride the chairlift up to the 2nd station at 2452m or catch the cable car up and hire skis there. Both these rental shops are Intersport and a fair number of the village ones too. You can return your skis to any of them and can leave them overnight in the shop on the mountain for free too, so no traipsing around with them. The 2nd station is also the main focus of the sector in terms of facilities (bars, restaurants etc). From the 2nd station there are 4 choices: 1) you can catch the 3rd stage of the cable car to the 3029m top 2) you can catch a new fast 6 seater chair to the point from which all the T-bar served glacier runs fan out above you 3) you can take a T-bar up half-way from where there's a snowpark or a ski down to another couple of chairs, one of which will take you up to an altitude from where you can get down to where the glacier runs fan out 4) you can ski down to the 1st station. There was only one old chair. The rest were modern detachable 4/6 seaters with canopy. On the glacier proper it's all T-bars.
The terrain : It's a glacier. Nothing very challenging. However nice scenery and good regular wide pistes, excellent for training. Not very extensive - takes half a day to know your way round. Won't need a lift map after that.
The snow : Lots of snow, hardly any bare patches on piste, no ice to speak of. All runs open and the run back down to the top of Gletscherbahn 1 was good - not even slushy. Off piste was variable, windblown crust, small pockets of powder, but actually mostly tracked out and not too different from skiing on the steeper pistes. Also the weather was good, esp on Fri with blue skies and only a little breeze. On Sat it was a little cloudy but still lots of sun and with moderately strongish winds at the top.
Off-piste : Didn't explore much, just the bits I could see from chairs and were well tracked or mogulled. Am told there are opportunities.
The resort : Kaprun is reasonably attractive. It's more of a large village than a small town. From what I could work out, almost all the major hotels are on one or other ski bus route.
Food : Excellent in my hotel and in the self-service Big Apple at the 2nd station. Germknodel, mmmh! And very reasonably priced!
Accommodation : Hotel Orgler right in the centre of town. It was the old village inn next to the river, 4*, well appointed, friendly Englisch sprechening staff, parking, 30metres from the busstop for glacier.
Costs: pretty inexpensive
Conclusion: Excellent place for a quick cheap snowsafe fix.

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