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Zell am See Resort Report Feedback Thread

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is a feedback thread for Elizabeth B's resort report:

Zell am See (February 2006)

Feel free to add, comment, or write your own report...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Zell am See

11th - 18th march 2006

THE HOTEL

We stayed in the grand hotel which is a 5-10 min walk to the City Express Gondola and Intersport Hire Shop. Food was excellent and had great view of the lake. Only down side was the Austrians smoking freely everywhere in the hotel. The railway is right beside the hotel, but we didn't hear a sound all night due to two sets of double glazed windows.

THE SKIING

Snow quality was good for mid march with 170cm Upper and 70cm lower. It was -16 at 2000m early in the week, but warmend up to a pleasant -6 later in the week. Late in the week the bottlenecks at the bottom got a bit churned up, but this was a relatively small area.

The skiing was very pretty and relatively easy, black 15 was my favourite as it was always quiet. 14 was also good for a challenge. There is over 1200m vertical drop, so some nice long runs. I found it quite busy at the start of the week, but never qued for more than 5 minutes.
Loads of restaurants on the mounbtain so were spoilt fo choice, even went to one where we had to get towed back out by skidoo!!!
Overall found Zell a bit limiting as I like to cover alot of miles and you gould easily cover the whole mountain in a day.

Mid week we went to Saalbach by public bus (6 euro return), which takes about 25 minutes. We got off at Vorderglemm and did the circuit anti-clockwise, ending up back in Vordergleem after 5 hours. This was the highlight of the trip and we hope to do a week in Saalbach next year.

We also did a day on the Glacier above Kaprun. It is a huge area, but all the runs are very much the same, but worth a trip for the day especially if conditios are poor lower down. Food still good value. I had lunch for less than 10 euro at 3029m.

NIGHTLIFE

Apres Ski was a bit part of the holiday. Crazy Daisy's is the main hot spot, beside the Grand, Daile was also good fun. Lupos was good value and is just below the City Express. The bar in the Grand was also a very pleasant way to spent the evening. On thursday the Hotel opened the Wunderbar on the roof of the hotel especially for us and our Brummie friends, which was great fun.

OVERALL

A great trip, and Austria has now gone to the top of my wish list for next year. Very relaxed atmosphere, good snow and pleasant, pretty ski-ing.
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Like Elizebeth reported Zell am See has 3 unlinked areas. Distancewise I think it is not easy to cover more than 2 areas in a day and so one should spend at least one day in each area. Zell is the largest and is very scenic with the lake visible from most of the slopes.

It can be a good choice if one goes at a time where snow isn't too sure because Kitzsteinhorn, being a glacier, is a pretty good insurance when there is no snow to be found eslewhere.

Johnboy has reported a trip to the neighbouring Saalbach which, with 200km piste, is a much bigger skiing area than than the total 130km piste of Zell am/Kaprun/Kitzsteinhorn put together.

Saalbach is fully linked with Hiterglemm and Leogang. Being larger and more spread out it can be an excellent choice for couple of day trips from Zell.

A nice feature of Saalbach is from the front end at Vorderglemm to the far end Hiterglemm the skiing distance, less the chairlift distance, is between 10 to 12 km on each side of the valley. Therefore doing a complete loop will clock up a skiing distance between 20 to 24km.

There are a few skiing loops of this size. The unidirectional White Ring in St Anton is 20km and the largest Sellaronda I know is 40km with skiing 26km distance. Therefore doing the Saalbach Hiterglemm loop is a good adventure if you are staying in Zell and get there first thing in the morning. The anticlockwise is easier as it avoids the black slope which one must use in the clockwise direction at the Hiterglemm end. In the easier anticlockwise direction the last run is 7km long blue (2a+2b). There are only two 2 compulsorary red, No. 48 (0.7km) and No.7 (1.5km), and so the loop can be easily managed by most intermediates. It can be a thrilling experience because by the time you reach the far end you would have skied several mountains and cannot see the one you start from.
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We were in Saalbach early March and there was talk of linking Saalbach and Zell. I've been hearing this for a few years now but this year I heard that construction will start next season. Anyone have any news on that??
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Just discovered snowheads... great site so I thought I'd contribute.

Elizabeth mentions in her report on Zell that there doesn't seem to be much off piste (qualifying it with "I may be wrong"!!!)

If the snow is good, you know where to look, and you go with the right guide there are some fantastic ski tours and some decent off piste in and around Zell. If you go off the end of the drag next to the kids run at the back side of Schmittenhohe (the drag alongide the short gentle blue which brings you back to the kettingalm retaurant) theres a tasty but short off piste route through the trees which brings you out at the Pinzgauerhutte. Stop there for lunch with good food and fab views and then you can actually ski all the way down this valley to Piesendorf and get a taxi back. There is another great route which involves walking along the ridge, then skiing of towards Saalbach on quite a long route. A shortish walk uphill and you can access the Saalbach lift network then get a taxi back to Zell from Saalbach (after a few livelyapres beers of course!). Up on the glacier theres some very good off piste runs which usually have fine snow. A particualrly good one is down the right had side of the piste map as you look at it. You can ski all the way down into the valley if you have the stomach for it, or stop at the bottom lift station on the glacier. Some of the lower part of this route is a bit scary and narrow with trees everywhere. Hardly any of the instructors now a lot of the good off piste - many of the routes are a big sevret and oonly a handful of the guides have enough confidence in their ability to judge the snow and conditions when with clients to give them a try. If anyone wants a guy who knows it all like the back of his hand email me and I'll let you have his contact details.
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fatirishman has added a resort report:

Zell am See (March 2008)

Feel free to add, comment, or write your own report...
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Hayls, who did you hear about the Zell/Saalbach link from? We have also hear reports of the possibility for many years, but also just as many people saying 'it will never happen'. Have to looking at it purely objectively, I would be surprised, being as Zell stands to gain masses of advantage, but Saalbach hardly any...

Would be interested in any further info on this!

D
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Deliaskis, Hi, I'm just back from Zell and looked at some new houses being built at the bottom of black 15. (ski in -ski out) .on reading the immobilien web site it says....."the first stage of a 5 year plan to link Zell with Saalbach's 200kms of piste's" www.absolut-immobilien.com click on "flat-2 bed" then look at no. 745
this first time I'v seen it in writing. Would they be allowed to advertise it if it were not true ?
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Byron Gates, oooh they look lovely (and sold out, and completely out of our range anyway!). That is actually a different immo company to the one we heard it from, which was Hadlich in Schuttdorf. We had it verbally, this is the first time I've seen it written, but I suppose they could still say it's the first stage of a plan...which might never come to fruition...? Tis interesting though and would be very good for Zell.

Did you have fab snow?? We had friends out there last week who said it snowed on arrival giving them perfect first day conditions.

D
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I got back yesterday. Spent a week in Zell and finished off with two nights in Salzburg - what a lovely city. For the time of year conditions were excellent - it snowed almost continuously from Saturday to Wednesday. The skiing is a bit limited in terms of mileage but some good blacks. Lets hope they can link it up with Saalbach.
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Deliaskis, one of our instructors last week was talking about the possibility of linking to Saalbach, and the general impression was that it was a bit more likely than before....but they're still sceptical as to whether it will actually happen.
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hi, I am new on this board so hope I am posting correctly. Our family have for the last8 years gone to Obergurgl but this year we are going to Zell Am Zee. Has anyone been there in the week after Xmas, Will queues be awful ? Is there a connecting cable car with Kaprun ?..well done on a great site.
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alicia,

Only been in March, so can't comment on how busy it may be post Xmas. There isn't a cable car connecting Zell to Kaprun, but there is a free bus on your lift ticket. Highly recomment a day trip to Saalbach.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
alicia, I was there last New Year, it was busier than normal but I never queued more than 5 mins for any gondola or chair. Snow was fantastic.

Zell and Kaprun are linked by ski bus, whilst it is only about 7kms away it takes anything up to 45mins due to the number of stops. As a result most people ski either at Zell or Kaprun and don't tend to switch between the two in one day.

Your only problem will be if there is a lack of snow, then you and everyone else in that part of the Salzburgerland will head for the Kitzsteinhorn glacier at Kaprun and the queues will be horrific. Shocked
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thanks for that info , I was worried about queues cos there was virtually no queuing in Obergurgl and we have been a bit spoilt ...but looking forward to beautiful scenery in Zell.
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alicia, You will love it. We have been many times including the busiest weeks in Feb, slightly busier than New Year. Queues tend to be only on the most popular runs, however these do not normally take more than 2-3 mins. The new Trass Express lift has really made the mountain more accessible aswell....
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dk100..thanks that's so good to know ! there are very impatient young men in our group !Yeah I read about the Trass Express and wondered if this would ease the situation.
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just another few queries... where is the ski school meeting place ? We have 3 children who need to join ski school, they have skied 3 times already so I presume they would not need to go to the kiddies school which would be in the arietbahn area if I am correct?We dont want to waste any time !!so it is good to know all the little basics. ! Is the top of the city Express a good place for all the family to meet up because we are all at different levels? would the kids be skiing around this area mostly on the first day ?..thanks for all the help .
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alicia,

My advice to you would be to look at Zell on Google Earth and familiarise yourself with the geography in conjunction with the excellent interactive piste map on the Schmittenhoehe website. Google it and select the English tab and you have everything there including real time videos of every run, cable car and chair lift.

Ski School meeting places depend on where you are staying, they are either at the bottom of the Areitbahn at Schutddorf, the top of the City Express (or Zeller Bergbahn as old timers still call it) or at the Schmittenhohe Cable Car valley station. If you can tell me where you are staying I will be able to give you a good indication of where is most likely?

There are two main schools, Ski School Zell am See and Sport Alpin Zell am See, both equally good in my experience with the former being the larger school. Their offices are at the bottom station of the City Express, the former is actually in the building along past Intersport Brundl and the latter across the road in a detached building, both are well signed so you cant miss them, googling either will take you to their page and you can contact them to book in advance.

They meet to grade you on the Sunday or Monday morning of each week and take it from there. Both schools will take classes back to the same point at the end of each day.

As far as a family meeting point goes, the area at the top of city express is known as Mittelstation and has a large Gasthof which gets very busy at lunchtime and around 3pm. It is as good a meeting point as any depending again upon where you are staying.

Bear in mind that there is no Blue valley run at Zell so you may have some in your group who will be unable to ski to the valley, especially on tired legs at the end of the day. For example;

Black 11, known as Nord, is the run down from Mittelstation and is really only blue/easy red in many parts. There are however a couple of steep narrow parts that are most definitely black at that time of year as they will have been in the shade for a while and will be icy and busy.

Black 13 and 14 , Standard & Trass respectively go down to the Schmittenhoehe valley station, only Standard is accesssible from Mittelstation. Again both are black, Standard is red in parts but Trass is most definitely black, again both will have been mostly in shade for a time by the end of the day at New Year and will be very icy.

Red 15 is known as the Sud and again goes down to the Schmittehoehe valley station from the Sonnenalm/Sonnkogel, which is on the opposite shoulder of the mountain from Mittelstation. This used to be classed a black but never really was and officially became a red when a narrow forest track part was mainly cleared and widened a couple of years ago, this is the sunny side of the mountain and if the snow cover is thin can be tricky as it is slushy and heavy by the end of the day.

Finally, Red 10, the Schutt is probably the most pleasant run down to the valley at Schuttdorf. if, however, you are staying in a hotel in the Schmittenhoehe valley it is not exactly a quick or convenient way home.

Anyway, I do go on, let me know where you are staying and I'll give you MHO on the best bets for meeting up etc..
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alicia, here is a link to the interactive map that robboj refers to. I have this saved in my favourites as we are off to Zell with our 4 year old daughter at beginning March. Let us know how you get on.

http://www.gpixs360.com/pois/karte.php?map_id=1
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Thank you Robboj and Lorenzo for all that info. ..brilliant..we are booked into the Feinschmeck Hotel in the pedestrian area .
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
And yet another question ..Can we buy lift passes at the hotel,?..just to save valuable time!! We also intend booking a private instructor, would you be able to give advice please and when to book ? thanks for all the info.
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[quote="Lorenzo"]alicia, here is a link to the interactive map that robboj

That interatctive map is great. Its 3 years since my trip to Zell, seeing those clips from the
lifts brought back some good memories
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