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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Zell am Ziller
Country: Austria
Domain: Zillertal Superski. Basically, a long and pretty valley with several ski resorts in, all combined on one lift pass to make 600km of runs. The biggest and most popular resorts are Mayrhofen, Zell am Ziller and Kaltenbach. However, there are also smaller resorts such as Fugen, and the Hintertux glacier is also on the lift pass. There is a very efficient bus/train system which is included on the lift pass, and for 172 euros a 6 day lift pass is very good value.
Author: Markus

Date: 17 Feb - 24 Feb 2007
Our holiday: Family holiday - two beginners, and the rest intermediates.
Website : Zell am Ziller ski area website: www.zillertalarena.at
Zillertal Super Ski: www.zillertalski.at
Basics : The Zillertal is in the Austrian Tirol, just over the border from Germany. We flew with KLM from Durham Tees Valley > Amsterdam > Munich and then got the train to resort. Was fine on the way out, but on the way back we had a cancelled flight which meant a night in Munich and getting home 24 hours late.
Lift system : On the whole, a modern and efficient lift system throughout the valley. There have been many investements in the past few years and the fact that most lifts are fast detachable chairs kept queues at bay since this is a very busy area. Unfortunately, the gondola out of town from Zell am Ziller upto the ski area could not cope with the amount of skiers and apparantly there were collossal queues between 9-10. I never noticed since i was always there at 8.00am sharp. Was not possible to ski back down to town and therefore there were queues to get back down, but i simply skied till last lift and then enjoyed a nice beer before downloading queue-lessly. The Penken Gondola in Mayrhofen is apparently even worse at peak periods, however, on the day i went to Mayrhofen i entered the ski area at the Horberg Gondola which is in teh small resort of Schwendau which was empty and got me into a nice part of the ski area anway.

Zell am Ziller enjoys a lift link with the resort of Gerlos, and this link is on a long and slow chairlift at 2500m. Beautiful scenery but for some reason its always about 10 degrees colder up there than anywhere else! Apart from those niggles, the lift system is pretty damn good Wink

The terrain : Intermediates Paradise. To sum it up, it was perfect for me. Not only was i staying in a resort with 150km of pistes of mainly intermediate standard, i was able to go to other ski areas aswell, which were all very different. Not fantastic for advanced or beginner skiers, but definetely amazing for intermediates. Also, within the valley you can ski upto 3250m on teh hintertux glacier and down to 700m in Schwendau (if the snow is good), so it is very snow-sure with good vertical.

The snow : Well, apparently it was the worst in years, and teh valley was indeed very green but the pistes were in remarkably good condition. Even in the high temps, the pistes were good all day some off-piste could be found.

Off-piste : Obviously, the snow wasnt ideal, but i managed to find some nice powder higher up and on teh glacier. The area is not reknowned for off-piste and therefore it doesnt tend to get tracked out too quickly. However, dont come here if you want lots of amazing off piste runs, but its good if you like to dabble a bit next to the piste Very Happy
The resort : The resort of Zell am Ziller was quite pretty, but quite spread out and the centre was quite far away from the lifts. I was in an apartement right near the lifts so that didnt bother me. The resort was fairly "dead" at night, but it didnt bother us as we were on a family ski holiday. Dont come here if you want apres-ski, go to Mayrhofen instead where its fantastic.
Food : If you're in the area, you must eat at the "Schnitzelhutte" in Zell am Ziller on piste 8. Huge schnitzels at great value Very Happy In general, everywhere i ate was good value and with good food. Defintely way cheaper than France, and cheaper than most places in Austria.
Accommodation : S/C in "Haus Martina". Appartement right near the lifts, and while it wasnt amazing it was good value and very functional.
Costs: Incredibly cheap. 6 day lift pass: 172 euros
7 person appartement: 140 euros per night
Eating out, very cheap, as was the drink Very Happy Cant remember figures, but definetely remember thinking "wow, this is cheap!"
Conclusion: I had a fantastic holiday.

The resort of Zell am Ziller is largely unkown to the brits and was a good base in the valley. I spent my first two days skiing there, which is part of the largest lift linked area in teh valley, the zillertal arena. Had a day at Mayrhofen which was fun, a day at Kaltenbach which i also enjoyed and the highlight for me, my day at the HIntertux glacier. Like previously said, amazing for intermediates who want to clock up the mileage, and whats more, you're in a different resort everyday but they are only a few KMs from each other! Stunning views and nice villages, and nice and cheap too...

Yes, it was full, but that was to be expected at half term, but i managed to avoid the big queues and had a great week Very Happy

A few pics here:
http://www.snowmediazone.com/the_zone/showgallery.php/cat/682

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