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Scheffau...a good option?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi snowheads
We are travelling next March in a group of minimum 8, half accomplished skiers and half newbies this year. Can anyone tell us what Scheffau and the surrounding ski area is like - are there gentle blues to get to the other areas and back to Scheffau or are the slopes quite steep? We have been told that Austria tends to be more blue (even the reds) but a couple of the party are not confident skiers and it would be nice to have a few gentle runs for them to try their new skills.
Also anyone know how the WiFi is on the slopes around Scheffau?
Thanks for your help. X
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There is wifi at various points around the Skiwelt circuit, never bother with it so cant say how good or bad it is. The phone signal covers most places.

In general Skiwelt is pretty good for beginners. As always how easy or difficult a particular piste is more down to snow conditions at the time rather than the colour shown on a map. There is a "blue" down to Scheffau but it is only open in good conditions and ends up at the wrong side of the car park for the bus stops back to the village. The main run back is a "red", its not difficult, there is one very short steeper pitch right at the bottom though there is an easier section off to the right. The snow is often not ideal especially later in the day, hard or conversely piles of soft sugary snow plus lots of skiers, many of whom find it a bit of a struggle.

Brixen might be a better option, yes the run down the village on the northern side is well known for its poor conditions but easy to get the gondola down and there is a good network of "blues" starting at Hochbrixen. Also easy to access the Westendorf (and Kitzbühel) skiing.

Personally Skiwelt is a January option, by March the snow is often not in the best condition. I realise this is rather a generalisation and conditions next March might be superb but in general they are not. If you want to go to this area I would look at Kitzbühel instead, there is higher skiing (though some of it is similar in terms of height to Skiwelt) and has much beginner friendly skiing too along with terrain attractive to experienced skiers.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It's a small place so if you're eager for any apres then I would choose elsewhere.

Furthermore I would not consider going in March. I love Austria, but I've had numerous holidays with very poor snow conditions and visiting one of the lowest resorts in March seems a recipe for disaster, especially if you're in a place with bug all else to do. Assuming you are going early March, I would suggest Saalbach Hinterglemm for Austria - it's a bit higher and has extensive snowmaking. It is also more expensive, but this is unsurprising considering the Skiwelt is one of the cheapest in the Alps.
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Whereas this March the snow in Austria has been exceptional. rolling eyes
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
What I'm saying is that to write off skiing areas based solely on altitude is disingenuous. I have encountered slushy patchy snow in La Plagne and Pas de la Casa in March (the latter of which was only around 60% open), and in Cervinia in February where the conditions were significantly better lower down in Zermatt.

Conversely I have also encountered fresh snow at valley level in Austria in April.

You cannot predict weather. You get what you get. Constantly advising people to 'go high', especially new skiers, might mean that they encounter bitterly cold conditions, closed lifts due to wind, zero visibility due to lack of trees.

Austrian ski areas, despite the perceived lack of altitude, are open from late November/early December to mid April. The lift companies work very hard to maintain good safe conditions throughout. Yes you are more likely to get long sunny days in March and some slushy conditions, but you could equally get fresh snow.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
One of the best things about the SkiWelt is that in general you can upload to the top station and then ski down to a mid station in all of the areas. You would only need to ski down to the valley at the end of the day, and even then you could download. There are exceptions, for example, going from Brixen to Westendorf, but there is plenty of skiing, blues and reds, higher up than the villages.
I can highly recommend Hopfgarten, where the gondola is right in the village, so there is no need to take a bus back.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@queenie pretty please, Well said!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I like the SkiWelt, and I like low and forested areas. I also don't want to bash the SkiWelt or Austria, and I agree with much of what @queenie pretty please has said. But...

Just because you've had slush high up and fresh snow low down in March in two different locations, it doesn't change the fact that slush is more likely low down (and on sunny aspects) than higher up, or that fresh snow is more likely higher up than lower down. Similarly, the claim that the snow is apparently "exceptional" this March (I'm not sure I totally agree on that anyway) has little bearing on next year, which is when the OP is visiting.

Specifically on the subject of the SkiWelt, there is a reason why it usually closes in late March whereas many other resorts open for longer. The reason is: snow conditions towards late March and beyond are more likely to be poor, or at least poorer than in higher areas. And the fact that many Austrian areas are open into April will be of little relevance if you are in Scheffau, where lifts close in March.

Personally, given the chance, I would choose to ski somewhere like the SkiWelt in late January or February, at which time I would also be actively avoiding high, exposed resorts. In March I would be starting to look just a little higher (not necessarily super high), particularly towards the end of the month. That's not to say that I would have a bad time in the SkiWelt, but the odds start to shift in favour of somewhere higher.

I too have had slush in March (at 3,000m+ in La Plagne) and, the following year, fresh snow at 1,000 metres in Italy on pretty much the same date. But specific examples of that sort of thing don't change the fact that it's more likely to be the other way round.

And some of the other points you make like "you cannot predict weather" (sure, but you can predict climate...) or "constantly advising people to go high" (neither of the replies were "constantly" advising anything) are a bit unfair.

Just my opinion.

Notwithstanding the above, the OP has already booked Scheffau so I hope they have a great holiday with ideal weather and snow.
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queenie pretty please wrote:
Whereas this March the snow in Austria has been exceptional. rolling eyes

I was in the Skiwelt 2nd week of March and sadly whilst the snow conditions were "exceptional" at times, it wasn't in a good way. On the 2nd day we had the worst snow conditions I've ever experienced - slush groomed then refrozen as solid ice across and along whole pistes.

I'd still happily go to Austria in March though.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@sugarmoma666, Don’t know about Ski Welt - I’m in Saalbach, but I expect that there are similarities. The last two weeks have been particularly good - fresh powder early in the week, followed by cool temperatures, keeping the snow good, and then warming up later in the week - sunbathing weather.
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@queenie pretty please, agree, I have been skiing in great conditions at Scheffau in March (Ski Amade too). However I live an hour's drive away, I can choose to go to Skiwelt if the conditions are good or go somewhere else if they are not. I have also been there in March when things are not so good. It is a different thing if you are booking a holiday, you want to be pretty sure that the holiday is going to work.

There is always a reasonable chance that March will bring the start of spring conditions, great for sitting on terraces in the afternoon drinking beer not necessarily so good for skiing (I doubt spring snow is want is wanted here). Personally I would suggest that the OP looks to somewhere with some higher skiing. Zillertal maybe, Obergurgl, Serfaus / Fiss, Obertauern, possibly Zauchensee all of which have plenty of easy beginner friendly skiing but are higher and more reliable resorts than places like Skiwelt and nearby.
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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.
tatmanstours wrote:
@sugarmoma666, Don’t know about Ski Welt - I’m in Saalbach, but I expect that there are similarities. The last two weeks have been particularly good - fresh powder early in the week, followed by cool temperatures, keeping the snow good, and then warming up later in the week - sunbathing weather.

We were skiing there 10-15th. I think we were unlucky to be there for a week with some awful weather.
Day 1 - rain up to high altitude and heavy slush all day
Day 2 - hard ice and very strong winds - went up the hill, then came down again pretty quickly.
Day 3 - best weather of the week - even saw some sun
Day 4 - tried to ski to Kitzbühel, but found Kiwest closed - probably for the best as started snowing heavily (quite nice really)
Day 5 - finally got to Kitzbühel - pretty nice weather but wind picked up.
Day 6 - heavy snow and increasing winds - nice earlier on, but snow got wet and heavy.

I think most of the Alps had done questionable weather that week, so not really blaming the Skiwelt. And in fairness, I had a fairly horrid cold that zapped my energy). I still love the area (but don't like Kitzbühel).
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
nigelg wrote:
.I can highly recommend Hopfgarten, where the gondola is right in the village, so there is no need to take a bus back.

Agreed, Hopfgarten makes a good base for confident skiers. I wouldn't recommend it for beginners, early intermediates or nervous skiers though - the local pistes aren't the easiest.

If staying in Hopfgarten, I can highly recommend the ski lockers at the gondola base station. You pay for them at the same time as your lift pass.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Just to add my tuppence worth. We went to Scheffau in mid March, quite some time ago now and it snowed heavily every day except one. It was too much to be ideal and we were hunkered down in the various ski huts with hot chocolates and rum rather than beers on the terraces. But I don't suppose this proves anything, except you can get any conditions at any time in the Alps.
To return the OP's questions. We had 3 beginners with us and they all loved it. The ski school took lessons from the top of the gondola, which helped and they found enough progression runs to keep them happy (except one, who is still nervous coming down blues/reds many years later).
The village is charming but a bus ride, or hilly walk from the lifts. As stated, there is little night life, but we took a night out in Soll and one in Kitzbuhel, which kept us going along with the village pub and hotel bar.
I have been to Soll a lot more recently and those of us who required WIFI seemed to getting on fine up on the mountain.

Hopefully you will have a great trip. I love Scheffau and the Skiwelt in general. Beautiful and great VFM!
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