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Saalbach and Zell am See connection

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@Saalbachsnowhead, the "yellow snow" is marking where all the runs are covered by snow canons or lance, meaning that the base is guaranteed throughout the season. This ensures that you can ski the whole circus round for most, if not all of the season. They call it investment, along with the modernised lifts (i.e. the removal of drag lifts and replacement with modern comfortable chairlifts or cable cars). rolling eyes snowHead snowHead wink
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Now it is expected that all the main slopes will have it anyway in all big resorts but I guess it's still mostly there for marketing wink
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
The ski route/ soon to be piste down to Viehhofen opened today for the first time this year, Schmitten facebook page has several photos and I must admit it looks like a great run in he pictures.

https://www.facebook.com/schmitten.at/

I hope the snow is as good when I get back out in about 6 weeks time
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Looks good, did they do most the piste work last summer? I assume it would be pisted wider as well when it becomes a run. Smile
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Blue 68 is wonderful.
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Video of the of the ski route down to Viehhofen courtesy of the guys at Crazy Daisys.

https://www.facebook.com/Villa-Crazy-Daisy-256697181020730/?fref=nf

I must admit I was not hugely bothered about the link to Saalbach as I would normally drive round anyway but this new run looks good, should hold snow well due to its aspect and if Salbaach do put the link back up to the Schonleiten I will certainly ski across. Just got to get back to planning a nice day route now.
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@Saalbachsnowhead, Last August we were looking across from the Hecherhuette restaurant on piste 68 (from Schoenleiten to Viehhofen) and could see cranes and earth-moving machinery across the valley - presumably a lot of tree-felling as well as other preparatory works for the projected link.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Only ever driven through Zell. What is the Schmittenhohe ski area like? It looks a little small. Seen an apartment that looks interesting close-ish to the CityXpress lift. The link to Viehofen and beyond makes it very interesting for us.

Also how long would it take to get to Kaprun/Kitzsteinhorn from there?
Is there any mountain biking? (I know Leogang isn't too far)
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Hammerite
Schmittenhohe is not huge but it does have a bit of everything, good mix of runs for all abilities ( blacks 13 and 14 are some of my favourite runs anywhere) good mix of aspects and plenty of tree skiing for poor weather days.
Kitzsteinhorn is about 10 mins away and extends ski season to October to May/June
No marked mountain biking at Zell as far is I know but several downhill trails at Kaprun and as you say Leogang is pretty close.
We bought our place without even skiing there based on how great the place was in the summer. The lake is amazing, town very vibrant and great walking in the hills.
If you have any more questions get in touch
Cheers
Mark
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@hammerite, The link to Saalbach does open up the possibilities for Zell am See, may be a good time invest in an apartment!

Kitzsteinhorn is a 35min bus ride from Zell am See, it's a bit quicker in a car.

There is is mountain biking at Maiskogel and Kitsteinhorn in the summer, I don't think you can take a bike on the Schmitten lifts.
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@mbeaney, @ratherbewindsurfing, thanks, very useful.
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@ratherbewindsurfing, it's 15-20 mins at most by car from the centre of Zell unless you drive up on a very busy day. Bus takes 20-25 mins depending on how many stops in Kaprun it makes. I did this multiple times during new year week this year.

@hammerite, Maiskogel is also a great little mountain for learning and developing your skiing.
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As we're teachers, the idea of an October half term skiing and mountain bike holiday sounds appealing!
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You know it makes sense.
I would say 10-15 mins max to drive to Kitzsteinhorn, I have never used the bus as always have a car.
We have skied a few times at October half term and it can be limited with anything from fresh powder to glacial ice but hey it is October and you are skiing. When I was there in November last year there were a few people out on their bikes around Langweid on the Kitzsteinhorn but this was a pretty mild autumn. I would have thought most biking in October would be in the valley. One thing in October/November there are not many restaurants etc open in the town, only ones that the locals tend to go to regularly.
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So what is the current status of the Saalbach - Zell am See connection?
I know that there will be a lift from Viehhofen to the Zell area from next season but what about Viehhofen to Saalbach?
I know it is linked by bus currently, but when would it be reasonable to expect a lift to be completed and when do we expect snow-making facilities to be installed on Piste 68 from the Asitz down to Viehhofen?

@hammerite, have you seen this 2-bed apartment in Viehhofen - could be a decent investment opportunity too.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-property/property-48145150.html
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@AthersT, thanks, we asked for details a while back. It's part of a holiday park (Landau something...) it means that it comes fully furnished and with some excellent facilities. But there are restrictions on how you use the place. Part of the reasons we're looking is to have a bit of freedom over when and we go. Thanks for passing this on though, if you see anything else please do send it on.
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A report in the Salzburger Nachrichten (in German) confirms that the upper section of the new link from the Schmittenhöhe at Zell am See to Viehhofen in the Glemmtal will be built for next season. The lower section link down to the valley will only become available two years later (2018/19), when the other lift linking Viehhofen to the Schönleiten and Polten lifts (also with snow-making on piste 68, I assume, though that isn't mentioned in the report) will have been built. That will finally provide lift connections in both directions between the two areas.

EDIT: Oops. Reading the report more carefully, it seems that the lift on the Schönleiten/Polten side will only be ready a year later, i.e. 2019/20. Seems a pity that it is taking so long to complete the link.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Looks like good progress being made on the new lift station, link shows time lapse photos of the construction of new piste and station.


http://viehhofen-mittelstation.live-panorama.com/

Also announced at the agm of Schmittenhohebahn this week that the bottom section of the Areitbahn will be replaced next summer with a 10 seat high speed gondola increasing uplift by 50%.

I have also heard rumors that the proposed lifts and slopes above Piesendorf may well be resubmitted with some modifications.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 27-05-16 15:26; edited 1 time in total
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@mbeaney, do you have the full link to the time lapse please?
Good news on the Areitbahn - the only place I've encountered big queues on my (2) visits to Zell.
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Try this

http://viehhofen-mittelstation.live-panorama.com/
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nice, thanks.
Really good quality on that cam too!
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Wondering if anyone knows if the slope will be ready for the week before Christmas? They have put out guard fencing but cannot see the snow cannons in action...
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@JWillsnowhead, I would have thought so, you can see in the top left of the images the cannons are already laying down snow. Also that side of the Glemmtal valley can be very cold and shady especially the further down you go.

I remember last year I was there in Xmas/NY week and although further up in Saalbach it was unseasonably warm, down in the lower Glemmtal near to the Offroad/Quad Bike Park it didn't get above 0 all day due to it's shady aspect.
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Quote:

down in the lower Glemmtal near to the Offroad/Quad Bike Park it didn't get above 0 all day due to it's shady aspect.

This is a very good point and often overlooked. As I commented in another thread somewhere, it dawned on me last year that, the weak winter sun being low on the sky in December and much of January, and the Glemm valley being a relatively narrow 'V' shape (compared with wide flat-bottomed valleys like at say Soell and Mayrhofen) and having an east-west orientation with high mountains flanking it to the south (as well of course as to the north), the valley bottom and lower pistes (even those on the south-facing side) tend to be in the shade and hence colder than those higher up. This struck me during Christmas week, when I found myself puzzling why, despite the poor early snow, the village nursery slopes were being maintained, apparently without much trouble, in good, firm, powdery condition, and why in late afternoon sunshine I was skiing from good snow on the higher slopes, through softer, heavier snow at mid-station altitude, and then onto good snow again as I descended onto the lower runs down to the village. It's obvious really when you think about it. At that time of the season it's necessary to go up in the cable-car to see any sun, and the web cams invariably record lower temperatures down in the valley/village than up on the mountain.
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Thanks for the reassurance, its just that I have checked the link given above
http://viehhofen-mittelstation.live-panorama.com/ unfortunately it does not show the snow cannons in use near the middle station just bare earth where the piste has been created. Hope there is a dump of snow in time for my visit!
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We were in Wagrain last Christmas. 17C at the top of the Graffenberg on Christmas day, it barely got above freezing down in the village.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@JWillsnowhead, Definitely a pile of snow emerging around 100-200m up the slope visible on the pictures.
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It wasn't open when I went in December with friends and family Sad ... But, that gave me an excuse to grab two days and a "contrived" business trip to Muenchen after the snow dump in early January. Smile X4 is a wonderful run down a real treat and a great addition to the many really good slopes in Zell am See. Very Happy
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You know it makes sense.
Any news on the lift up to the Saalbach side? In Viehhofen this summer there is construction by the site of the zell lift as the road is being diverted for the lift station, which should all be done by December 2018, however it all seems quiet as to when a lift up to the Schonleiten/Polten will be built Puzzled
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@Saalbachsnowhead, According to a friend who lives in Viehhofen, a reservoir is being built on the Saalbach side, to provide water for the snow cannons on piste 68. There is speculation about the exact positioning of the bottom station of the new lift up the Zell side and the linking piste. No word yet of the lift up the Saalbach side, but one step at a time.
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I've always thought it seemed a lot more logical for the lift to end near the top of the polten, the only downsides being a longer time to get over to Saalbach and more people at the Schonleiten mid-station -but there has been a lot of added capacity in the past years with the new polten and gondola so this shouldn't be as much of an issue; also any Jausernbahn (Jausern-Schattberg) in the future could help! Just have to sit and wait! Smile
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Indeed wait it is. A big sign announcing the Zell am See link as "Coming Soon" on the site of the Viehhofen valley station where road was diverted. Trees cut along the line of the cableway but no construction... There is so much other lift construction at Kaprun and Saalbach there's enough to be excited about for 2019.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Just appeared on my Facebook feed: (translated from German):
Dear guests, today is a very special day: The Schmitten in Zell am See celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony for an important project for the future ski area from Kaprun via Zell am See to the existing Skicircus Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang. With the ZellamseeXpress Section I, which goes into operation in the winter of 2019/20, the touchdown in the Glemmtal valley is finally over. We look forward to welcoming our guests in the middle of the largest ski area in Austria in the future!
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@tatmanstours, Very Happy
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@tatmanstours, just 11 years since the ‘rumour’ was first posted on this thread
snowHead
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Fantastic news, so Facebook has so uses. Very Happy
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ABOUT THE PROJECTED NEW LIFT FROM VIEHHOFEN TO THE SCHOENLEITEN AREA ON THE SAALBACH SIDE (Translated from the original German language article in the Salzburger News):
"The missing lift from Viehhofen to Schönleiten mountain station is to be planned and built by the Saalbach-Hinterglemm Lift Company. The project is delayed, however, because there are problems finding a suitable location for a reservoir. Several have been rejected for ecological reasons. At the last possible location there are doubts as to whether it is geologically suitable. To investigate the subsurface, several 100-meter-deep holes were drilled. Probes in the holes measure until 2020 if there are any movements. The lift should therefore be opened at the earliest in 2022. If the location is not suitable, the project is in doubt and thus the merger. "Without snowmaking it does not work on a southern slope," says Jakob Eder, Managing Director of the lift company. That would not be accepted by the guests. "We have to find a solution." Anyway, Saalbach is, like Zell am See, behind the merger."

Clearly, they don't want to put a new lift in unless they can improve the snow reliability on piste 68. Skiers returning to Zell after a day's skiing in Saalbach, or those staying in Saalbach/Leogang wanting to go over to Zell, could of course take the projected new lift down if piste 68 is closed; however that is apparently not considered an acceptable compromise.
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tatmanstours wrote:
ABOUT THE PROJECTED NEW LIFT FROM VIEHHOFEN TO THE SCHOENLEITEN AREA ON THE SAALBACH SIDE (Translated from the original German language article in the Salzburger News):
"The missing lift from Viehhofen to Schönleiten mountain station is to be planned and built by the Saalbach-Hinterglemm Lift Company. The project is delayed, however, because there are problems finding a suitable location for a reservoir. Several have been rejected for ecological reasons. At the last possible location there are doubts as to whether it is geologically suitable. To investigate the subsurface, several 100-meter-deep holes were drilled. Probes in the holes measure until 2020 if there are any movements. The lift should therefore be opened at the earliest in 2022. If the location is not suitable, the project is in doubt and thus the merger. "Without snowmaking it does not work on a southern slope," says Jakob Eder, Managing Director of the lift company. That would not be accepted by the guests. "We have to find a solution." Anyway, Saalbach is, like Zell am See, behind the merger."

Clearly, they don't want to put a new lift in unless they can improve the snow reliability on piste 68. Skiers returning to Zell after a day's skiing in Saalbach, or those staying in Saalbach/Leogang wanting to go over to Zell, could of course take the projected new lift down if piste 68 is closed; however that is apparently not considered an acceptable compromise.


Saw your post on FB TT. Hmm? will be a worrying one for ZamS. Maybe less so for S/H but I think they'd still be quite happy with all those ZamS beds being linked in? Plus the bigger is better marketing angle that ZamsS kms would add to the whole?
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@robboj, The general impression I get from talking to people in Saalbach is one of indifference about the Zell link. The link with Fieberbrunn seems to have been met with general approval, but the feeling about Zell am See is that a link between it and Saalbach would be overwhelmingly for Zell’s benefit, since its skiing area is (though scenic) so limited that few skiers from Saalbach would be incentivised to go over there, whereas the converse would apply to those coming over to Saalbach from Zell.
People in Viehhofen are very keen on the whole idea, for obvious reasons.
My feeling has been that the addition of Zell’s skiing area to the Ski Circus would add another interesting and pleasant option for those of us who spend all our time skiing around the current 270km of Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn - not that we feel restricted or get bored, but it would certainly do no harm to add another “string to the bow”.
My only real reservations have been (1) the effect on our favourite run, number 68, which we’ve been expecting to change from a delightfully quiet, off the beaten track run to a relatively busy thoroughfare for skiers heading to Zell, and (2) the possibility of hordes of skiers taking trains from Munich and Salzburg and elsewhere to Zell, and heading over to Saalbach, creating more pressure particularly in the Leogang and Schoenleiten sectors.
However the positive experience of linking with Fieberbrunn has helped to allay fears to some extent.
If, as reported in the above article, geological concerns rule out a new reservoir, it will be interesting to see what they come up with. I don’t know if the plan has been to create a new piste from Schoenleiten area down to Viehhofen, or to just upgrade piste 68 with snow cannons (actually it used to have mobile snow cannons on it until a few years ago - we heard a rumour that they had been removed because of objections raised by environmentalists that water to feed them was being taken from streams - not sure why that would be objectionable).
If the lack of snow-making capability should undermine the whole project, it should be borne in mind that the new lift from Viehhofen up the Schmittenhoehe is still going ahead come what may, and is intended to be completed for the 2019/20 season. So it will still be easy to get over from Saalbach to the Zell skiing area after skiing down piste 68 (or, when closed, piste 61 to the bottom station of the Schoenleitenbahn and then Ski bus to Viehhofen).
Skiers travelling from Zell to Saalbach will of course be able to ski down from the Schmittenhoehe (as they can now) and take the ski bus from Viehhofen up the road to the Schoenleitenbahn, a journey of about 10 minutes.
So my feeling about it is that the two areas will be sufficiently linked for those who want to take occasional excursions one way or the other (people like me, or those who are based in one resort or the other for say a week and want to spend a day in the other area).
So, in conclusion, those who would be primarily disappointed if the Viehhofen to Schoenleiten lift were to be shelved would probably be the inhabitants of Viehhofen, and the people on the Zell side, who are no doubt looking forward to being able to market Zell as a beautiful ski town, directly lift-linked into the Ski Circus, as well as forming part of the biggest fully-interlinked ski area of Austria.
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tatmanstours wrote:
@robboj, The general impression I get from talking to people in Saalbach is one of indifference about the Zell link. The link with Fieberbrunn seems to have been met with general approval, but the feeling about Zell am See is that a link between it and Saalbach would be overwhelmingly for Zell’s benefit, since its skiing area is (though scenic) so limited that few skiers from Saalbach would be incentivised to go over there, whereas the converse would apply to those coming over to Saalbach from Zell.
People in Viehhofen are very keen on the whole idea, for obvious reasons.
My feeling has been that the addition of Zell’s skiing area to the Ski Circus would add another interesting and pleasant option for those of us who spend all our time skiing around the current 270km of Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn - not that we feel restricted or get bored, but it would certainly do no harm to add another “string to the bow”.
My only real reservations have been (1) the effect on our favourite run, number 68, which we’ve been expecting to change from a delightfully quiet, off the beaten track run to a relatively busy thoroughfare for skiers heading to Zell, and (2) the possibility of hordes of skiers taking trains from Munich and Salzburg and elsewhere to Zell, and heading over to Saalbach, creating more pressure particularly in the Leogang and Schoenleiten sectors.
However the positive experience of linking with Fieberbrunn has helped to allay fears to some extent.
If, as reported in the above article, geological concerns rule out a new reservoir, it will be interesting to see what they come up with. I don’t know if the plan has been to create a new piste from Schoenleiten area down to Viehhofen, or to just upgrade piste 68 with snow cannons (actually it used to have mobile snow cannons on it until a few years ago - we heard a rumour that they had been removed because of objections raised by environmentalists that water to feed them was being taken from streams - not sure why that would be objectionable).
If the lack of snow-making capability should undermine the whole project, it should be borne in mind that the new lift from Viehhofen up the Schmittenhoehe is still going ahead come what may, and is intended to be completed for the 2019/20 season. So it will still be easy to get over from Saalbach to the Zell skiing area after skiing down piste 68 (or, when closed, piste 61 to the bottom station of the Schoenleitenbahn and then Ski bus to Viehhofen).
Skiers travelling from Zell to Saalbach will of course be able to ski down from the Schmittenhoehe (as they can now) and take the ski bus from Viehhofen up the road to the Schoenleitenbahn, a journey of about 10 minutes.
So my feeling about it is that the two areas will be sufficiently linked for those who want to take occasional excursions one way or the other (people like me, or those who are based in one resort or the other for say a week and want to spend a day in the other area).
So, in conclusion, those who would be primarily disappointed if the Viehhofen to Schoenleiten lift were to be shelved would probably be the inhabitants of Viehhofen, and the people on the Zell side, who are no doubt looking forward to being able to market Zell as a beautiful ski town, directly lift-linked into the Ski Circus, as well as forming part of the biggest fully-interlinked ski area of Austria.


Yep I agree with that completely. Still, ZamS must be worried, a one way/bus link doesn't market nearly as well as stepping off one lift and onto another. I've never skied piste 68 (hopefully will this winter though) but it looks fabulously skiable. The other side, as we discussed previously looks a bit of a bug and definitely for confident intermediates and above only. So, if the Schonleiten lift never gets built the ZamS Express 'could' turn out to be an expensive white elephant? If it fails they've nowhere to go unless they could try some kind of link to the east towards the Schattberg. Certainly wouldn't need snowmaking down in there?
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