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|Resort: Zell am Ziller
Domain: Zillertal Superski
Date: 05 Jan - 12 Jan 2008
Our holiday: Traveling as a single with Crystal (48 years old, married but wife doesn't ski).
Website : http://www.zell.at/en/zell/winter/start_winter.html for the local area (Zillertal Arena) or http://www.zillertal.at for the domain
Basics : The resort is about 1 hour from Innsbruck, in the same domain as Mayrhofen. I flew from Bristol to Innsbruck, as part of the package - which for that flight uses Autruian Airlines - far superior to Thomsonfly IMO.
Lift system : The majority of the lifts in the area are fast chairs, with a gondola for initial entry in each of the individual areas. I found very little queuing, although it was low season. The various areas within the domain are not lift linked, but all of the buses and trains in the valley are included with the lift pass, and are frequent and convenient for accessing different areas from one centre.
The terrain : The large majority of the pistes in the Zillertal are red, although there are a few more blacks in the Mayrhofen area than in some of the others. In the Zillertal Arena, there are only two full length blacks, one of which is required if you want to ski from Zell to the other end (unless you bypass it by taking a chair down). The blues are even more limited though, with only the nursery slopes above Zell itself, plus one long blue that you can't get back from without a long drag and then skiing a red. There are a few more over twoards the far end of the Arena at Kongsleiten and Gerlos.
The snow : I really could not have asked for better snow conditions during my week. It snowed on the Sunday and Monday, leaving about 10-15cm of fresh snow for the rest of the week, and tempratures stayed just about low enough to keep it in good condition.
Off-piste : Difficult for me to realy comment, as I was sticking to the pistes after injuring a leg on the first day. From what I could see, there was plenty of it, but it got tracked pretty quickly in te areas between the main pistes. there still appeared to be quite a lot with very few tracks once away from the busiest areas.
The resort : Zell am Ziller is a working town, although with quite a few hotels and the usual "chocolate box" look of the Tyrol. Most of the hotels are near the centre of town, while the Gondola station is a little out of town, so the free ski bus is pretty well essential.
Food : If you are in town for lunch, there is a very pleasant cafe/confectioners next to the bridge over the river. The Lammach restaurant on the mountain near Konigsleiten does a really nice grilled half chicken for 6 Euros.
Accommodation : I stayed in the Hotel Brau, which is currently the only one offered by Crystal. It is a 4 star hotel, and IMO was excellent. My room itself was nothing special, but was OK. The staff were always pleasant and helpful, without being obtrusive. The food at dinner was always excellent, with 5 courses most nights, four on the two buffet nights. And they have a very good wellness area with Sauna, Steam room, whirloppl baths and large relaxation area (all free) plus magsage and solarium at extra charge.
Costs: Difficult to say as I have little recent experience of other ski areas. Prices generally seemed comparable with those I found in the Dolomites 2 years ago. A large beer was generally around 3 euros, a Hot Chocolate usually around 2.50. Gulaschsuppe was between 3 and 5 Euros, with Spaghetti Bolgnese usually being around 6-7, main meals with chips usualy being around 8.
Conclusion: I would very happily go back to that resort and hotel, even though my enjoyment of the specific trip was somewhat curtailed by injury.
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