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Saalbach - Hinterglemm - Leogang - Fieberbrunn 2018/19 Official Unofficial Thread

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Kicking off this year's thread with two updates on new lifts.

We've just had the long-awaited news that work has started on the new link to Zell am See - i.e a gondola from Viehhofen up to the existing mid-station of the Zell am See Express. This will enable skiers to pass both ways between Zell's Schmittenhoehe and the Saalbach ski area, making the Ski Circus again (by far) the biggest interlinked ski area in Austria, (Sorry Arlberg!) It is anticipated that the new link will be operational from the 2019/20 season. Coming from the Zell direction, skiers will still have to catch the ski bus, which runs at 20 minute intervals, up to the Schoenleitenbahn, although in another few years or so it is planned to instal a new lift from Viehhofen up to the Schoenleiten area of Saalbach.

Work has been progressing apace on the new Kohlmaisgipfelbahn 10-seater gondola. The bottom station, which is opposite our apartment building, is ginormous! Today the lift company posted a photo on FB of one of the new cabins, all wrapped in plastic but in situ.

Incidentally it's been a great summer here in Saalbach, and the Hecherhuette weekly "all you can eat, including fillet steak for 17.5 euros" go from strength to strength!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
133 days and we'll be there...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hate to say this but any willy waving on S-H tourist office's part will have to wait until until the buses are phased out, by which time things may well have moved on in the Arlberg.
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Well done TT for kickstarting the thread for this season.

125 days, 5 hours, 22 mins and 37 seconds until I get there
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Me and the family are heading there in January. First time in Europe for my kids.

Not looking forward to a 17 hour flight from Auckland to Doha on the way though.
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Me and the family are heading there in January. First time in Europe for my kids.

Not looking forward to a 17 hour flight from Auckland to Doha on the way though.
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Me and the family are heading there in January. First time in Europe for my kids.

Not looking forward to a 17 hour flight from Auckland to Doha on the way though.
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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!
Hope you enjoy all three visits!
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munich_irish wrote:
... by which time things may well have moved on in the Arlberg.


How could they expand any more?
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Am I the only one who thinks the link to Zell is a bad thing? I can't see myself skiing over that way so for me the only impact will be more skiers in the Leogang area.
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Just booked flights and an apartment for my brother and me 12th -19th January. We went to saalbach a couple of seasons ago and had a great time.

We are planning on using the www.holiday-shuttle.at scheduled shuttle (thank you mr tatman) but if any one is on the 8.15am flight from Bhx to Salzburg on the 12th and wants to share a private transfer, please get in touch
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@PeteMan, I wasn't entirely convinced by the link to Fieberbrunn, but I've come to realise that there is no downside to more runs and more lifts - the accommodation and car park capacity of the valley remains the same, so the number of people on the hill will grow only marginally. For everyone venturing over from Zell, there will be a balancing person going in the opposite direction. From either side, there is nothing compelling to draw people to stay in one place but predominantly ski in the other, so this will only ever be a day trip out to somewhere different. In that respect, it adds to the choice and the draw of both areas and I don't really see a downside to it.

When the Kaprun lift developments are completed to link the glacier to the Maiskogel area, I suspect they will look again at the abandoned plan to link Kaprun directly to Zell with a P2P gondola, at which point it all becomes an even bigger lift-linked area.

Fieberbrunn was part of the Kitzbuhel Allstar pass arrangement for several years before it joined S-H, and that was based on the possibility of linking from the Kitzbuheler Horn to Fieberbrunn eventually. There's also some scope for a further development in the Glemmtal if they wanted to expand further, on the western end around Lengau, and if that ever happened then it wouldn't take a genius to realise that a couple of lifts would join up to Jochberg in the Kitzbuheler Alps. However, all of this is limited by the economics, and by the Austrian planning restrictions, so if it happens at all it will be 10+ years away.
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@ousekjarr, The only slight concern is that Zell am See has a direct rail link to Munich and Salzburg (and possibly other major cities), which might draw some crowds to the Ski Circus.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Hate to say this but any willy waving on S-H tourist office's part will have to wait until until the buses are phased out, by which time things may well have moved on in the Arlberg.

@munich_irish, Surely worth at least half a willy though (and the ski bus service will never be phased out, thank goodness - and incidentally that 20 minute ski bus journey from Hochalm to the Schoenleitenbahn has saved us from missing happy hour at the Bergeralm many a time).
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@PeteMan, "Project Dias", which is to link the Rendl area at St Anton with Kappl in the Paznauntal. There is currently a court case in Vienna considering an appeal from some land owners and there is some doubt that the two ski areas really want to implement the plan in any case. However if the land owners loose the case then it is quite possible the lifts will be built and there will be a significant increase in the size of the Arlberg ski area. Whether it makes any sense is another question altogether, it would be little or no use to anyone staying in Zürs or Lech, the most benefit would be for Kappl which would go from a minor ski resort to part of the St Anton set up.

Plans are already approved and initial building work in progress for a lift to Schröcken, though there is already a piste, there is no way back up except a few buses.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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What's the likelihood of the Spielberghaus sled run being in action in mid December??
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@NickYoung, I’ll enquire if I go up there before we leave (in the next few days). Unless they have a specific opening date it may depend on conditions. You could give them a ring and ask. As you know everyone speaks good English.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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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Couldn’t wait the 120 ish days until my next trip....so decided to pop over for a few days and explore the area in autumn.

So far it has been fantastic weather, it is fascinating to hike around the winter pistes with the cows.

It has been so enjoyable we are seriously considering takin our summer holiday here next year.
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@ribblevalleyred, Many people we meet prefer it here in summer. Peaceful, beautiful and warm - also plenty to do.
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@ribblevalleyred, we’ve had two summer holidays in the area, in consecutive years. Only a new family dog stopped us making 3 in a row it this year. Highly recommend it. Time it with one of the town events like Hinterglemm’s Bauernmarkt or the Glemmride mountain bike festival (races and freestyle events to watch even if you don’t ride).
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tatmanstours wrote:
@NickYoung, I’ll enquire if I go up there before we leave (in the next few days). Unless they have a specific opening date it may depend on conditions. You could give them a ring and ask. As you know everyone speaks good English.


Sorry, wasn't clear...their answer is "yes, dependent on conditions, of course".

What I was looking for was the inside opinion on "are we likely to have the conditions, in order to open"? How do you rate the snowline in mid-December?
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The highlight of many a week this summer has been the Thursday evening barbecue at the Hecherhuette. All you can eat, including as much fillet steak as you can handle, for 17.5 euros. All the staff are from the Czech Republic, except for Lucky Luke, the Welsh waiter from Barry Island, and they are all just great! Drive up there in the afternoon and work up an appetite in their lovely outdoor swimming pool (which you may well have all to yourself). After the banquet, be prepared to hear all your favourite apres-ski songs and to be roped into dancing on the tables, etc.

@ribblevalleyred, You're in luck!

Just posted on FB:
One more barbecue at the Hecherhütte!!

This week on 20.9. 2018 we say goodbye to a super (Grill) season! We'll barbecue for you again. No matter what weather! (but it will probably be nice). The pool also has 25°!!! Call for reservation!! 0664 356 17 46

From 24.9. The Hecherhuette Viehhofen is closed!!

We thank everyone who visited us and are looking forward to you from 7.12.2018 for the next winter season!!
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Quote:

What I was looking for was the inside opinion on "are we likely to have the conditions, in order to open"? How do you rate the snowline in mid-December?

@NickYoung, Impossible to predict. All I can say is that I've been arriving in Saalbach before Christmas for the last 12 consecutive years - last year 13th Dec and the year before 10th Dec. More often than not (and with a couple of exceptions, when the snow arrived late), the mid-December piste conditions have been pretty good, but I've never sussed out the toboggan run, which, as you will know, is basically a dirt road or track that leads from Hinterhagweg up to the Spielberghaus. If the snow arrives on time in November, like last year, it may well be open - but who knows? If I were a betting man, I'd say it's 50/50, but, if you were asking about decent skiing conditions (and bearing in mind that, even when the snow comes late, the Saalbach lift company has proved itself capable of covering most of the pistes using snow cannons), it would be better odds than that - more like 75/25, or even 80/20.
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Should we go to Saalbach in Christmas or not - that is the question (about the snow condition) Confused

@tatmanstours, You are the expert - any hint? snowHead


Has been some time since we have been in Austria. Shocked
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Quote:

Should we go to Saalbach in Christmas or not - that is the question (about the snow condition)

@Hyst, I can't promise that I can answer this succinctly, but here goes. What I am about to say will apply equally to many, if not most, non-glacier ski resorts.

Saalbach opens its ski season at the beginning of December, in the expectation that in most years the snow will arrive during November, enabling the resort to open on schedule and to be up and running without any problem in early December - and I still regard that as the norm. That was certainly the situation between 2007 and 2013, when I used to arrive in Saalbach a few days before Christmas and gained the general impression, from speaking to people in the resort, that I'd missed two or three weeks of good skiing on quiet pistes. There have been many years (including the last two) when snow conditions in November have enabled the resort to open some of its skiing area ahead of schedule for the last two weekends of November.

However 2014 and 2015 were disappointing seasons for early snow, not only in NE Austria but generally across the Alps. Blue skies prevailed, and the snow clouds didn't really arrive until Christmas week. We were still able to ski at Christmas, and I don't remember too many complaints - it's amazing what can be accomplished with snow-making (in which Saalbach has invested heavily), but it's fair to say that things weren't exactly normal (white strips of piste snaking down a green valley) until the long-awaited big dump arrived just after Christmas.

In 2016 I finally got to realise my ambition of getting to Saalbach earlier in December - I arrived on 10th December and was delighted to find that there was plenty of skiing (150 km plus) and that the pistes were in excellent condition, despite the fact that it was supposed to be the worst season for early snow in living memory (and that most of the snow had been manufactured). Everyone I met, including several ski instructors of my acquaintance, had big smiles on their faces - we had more snow than many other resorts right across the Alps, and all the main pistes and the links between the Ski Circus villages were open.

Last season I arrived on 13th December, and conditions were absolutely perfect - as they were generally across the Alps.

Out of 12 consecutive Christmases in Saalbach, the two mentioned above (2014 and 2015) were the only two that have been disappointing from the point of view of available skiing. In those two years it wasn't a question of not being able to ski at all - we have always skied on Christmas Day - more that it was necessary to confine ourselves to certain pistes or go high. We still had fun.

I don't have a crystal ball and certainly wouldn't advise on likely prospects this coming season. However all I would say is that, based on past experience, it is more likely than not that pre-Christmas piste skiing conditions will be very good, and I intend to get there early enough in December not to miss them. (I know people who are planning to arrive in late November - they did the same last year and had a whale of a time on the glacier at Kaprun, as well as in Saalbach on the last two weekends of November). A planned Christmas ski holiday will always be a gamble, but the odds are favourable.
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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.
+1 for @tatmanstours description above.
Have been skiing here several years pre-Xmas and always good...
One thing about the poor natural snow years in pre season is that the pistes are generally complete, but empty as people think it's going to be poor so the skiing can be fantastic 👍
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Since 2005, the only xmas id say was a struggle was in 2006 when there wasn't any real snow arriving in the Tirol till after NY. The Kitzbuhel downhill in the Jan (07) got cancelled even after they spent a lot of money flying snow in. Of course, snow making has moved on in leaps and bounds since then. We even store the snow over here in the Kitzbuhel ski area. Our first Pistes are meant to be opening the end of October, though usually one run and its always artificial. They like to be the first no glacier resort to open.
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You know it makes sense.
tatmanstours wrote:
Quote:

Should we go to Saalbach in Christmas or not - that is the question (about the snow condition)

@Hyst, I can't promise that I can answer this succinctly, but here goes. What I am about to say will apply equally to many, if not most, non-glacier ski resorts.

Saalbach opens its ski season at the beginning of December, in the expectation that in most years the snow will arrive during November, enabling the resort to open on schedule and to be up and running without any problem in early December - and I still regard that as the norm. That was certainly the situation between 2007 and 2013, when I used to arrive in Saalbach a few days before Christmas and gained the general impression, from speaking to people in the resort, that I'd missed two or three weeks of good skiing on quiet pistes. There have been many years (including the last two) when snow conditions in November have enabled the resort to open some of its skiing area ahead of schedule for the last two weekends of November.

However 2014 and 2015 were disappointing seasons for early snow, not only in NE Austria but generally across the Alps. Blue skies prevailed, and the snow clouds didn't really arrive until Christmas week. We were still able to ski at Christmas, and I don't remember too many complaints - it's amazing what can be accomplished with snow-making (in which Saalbach has invested heavily), but it's fair to say that things weren't exactly normal (white strips of piste snaking down a green valley) until the long-awaited big dump arrived just after Christmas.

In 2016 I finally got to realise my ambition of getting to Saalbach earlier in December - I arrived on 10th December and was delighted to find that there was plenty of skiing (150 km plus) and that the pistes were in excellent condition, despite the fact that it was supposed to be the worst season for early snow in living memory (and that most of the snow had been manufactured). Everyone I met, including several ski instructors of my acquaintance, had big smiles on their faces - we had more snow than many other resorts right across the Alps, and all the main pistes and the links between the Ski Circus villages were open.

Last season I arrived on 13th December, and conditions were absolutely perfect - as they were generally across the Alps.

Out of 12 consecutive Christmases in Saalbach, the two mentioned above (2014 and 2015) were the only two that have been disappointing from the point of view of available skiing. In those two years it wasn't a question of not being able to ski at all - we have always skied on Christmas Day - more that it was necessary to confine ourselves to certain pistes or go high. We still had fun.

I don't have a crystal ball and certainly wouldn't advise on likely prospects this coming season. However all I would say is that, based on past experience, it is more likely than not that pre-Christmas piste skiing conditions will be very good, and I intend to get there early enough in December not to miss them. (I know people who are planning to arrive in late November - they did the same last year and had a whale of a time on the glacier at Kaprun, as well as in Saalbach on the last two weekends of November). A planned Christmas ski holiday will always be a gamble, but the odds are favourable.


Thank you very much for your answer. Very Happy
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Last Saturday, 29th September, a friend and I walked up the Streuböden piste in Fieberbrunn and checked out the work there on expanding the reservoir for snow-making. The reservoir is now nearly completed, with the lining being installed at the last corner. I believe the reservoir should start filling in October. Here are some photos...





Roll out the carpet...


Work has also been done on the Zillstatt piste towards the Wildalpgatterl restaurant. It is a good area for beginners. It has been widened by 20-25 metres. Whether the hump in the middle of the piste is going to stay as part of the fun area there usually is at this piste or is just temporary, I cannot say.

A good many trees have been felled, even some distance from the piste, but whether this implies any changes to the ski route F31, "Little mojo", I cannot tell...

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Hi,

Could someone, possibly @tatmanstours, confirm and may be give details to the Hut at the top of the Kohlmaisbahn?

I'm currently marking huts that would be easily accessible to a non skier for lunch/afternoon meets in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm area.

All I have currently is Wildenkarhütte, Skyrest, Westgipfelhütte and 12er Treff. Edit: also just noticed Luis Alm and Barnalm.

Thanks in advance.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
tatmanstours wrote:
Quote:

Should we go to Saalbach in Christmas or not - that is the question (about the snow condition)

@Hyst, I can't promise that I can answer this succinctly, but here goes. What I am about to say will apply equally to many, if not most, non-glacier ski resorts.

Saalbach opens its ski season at the beginning of December, in the expectation that in most years the snow will arrive during November, enabling the resort to open on schedule and to be up and running without any problem in early December - and I still regard that as the norm. That was certainly the situation between 2007 and 2013, when I used to arrive in Saalbach a few days before Christmas and gained the general impression, from speaking to people in the resort, that I'd missed two or three weeks of good skiing on quiet pistes. There have been many years (including the last two) when snow conditions in November have enabled the resort to open some of its skiing area ahead of schedule for the last two weekends of November.

However 2014 and 2015 were disappointing seasons for early snow, not only in NE Austria but generally across the Alps. Blue skies prevailed, and the snow clouds didn't really arrive until Christmas week. We were still able to ski at Christmas, and I don't remember too many complaints - it's amazing what can be accomplished with snow-making (in which Saalbach has invested heavily), but it's fair to say that things weren't exactly normal (white strips of piste snaking down a green valley) until the long-awaited big dump arrived just after Christmas.

In 2016 I finally got to realise my ambition of getting to Saalbach earlier in December - I arrived on 10th December and was delighted to find that there was plenty of skiing (150 km plus) and that the pistes were in excellent condition, despite the fact that it was supposed to be the worst season for early snow in living memory (and that most of the snow had been manufactured). Everyone I met, including several ski instructors of my acquaintance, had big smiles on their faces - we had more snow than many other resorts right across the Alps, and all the main pistes and the links between the Ski Circus villages were open.

Last season I arrived on 13th December, and conditions were absolutely perfect - as they were generally across the Alps.

Out of 12 consecutive Christmases in Saalbach, the two mentioned above (2014 and 2015) were the only two that have been disappointing from the point of view of available skiing. In those two years it wasn't a question of not being able to ski at all - we have always skied on Christmas Day - more that it was necessary to confine ourselves to certain pistes or go high. We still had fun.

I don't have a crystal ball and certainly wouldn't advise on likely prospects this coming season. However all I would say is that, based on past experience, it is more likely than not that pre-Christmas piste skiing conditions will be very good, and I intend to get there early enough in December not to miss them. (I know people who are planning to arrive in late November - they did the same last year and had a whale of a time on the glacier at Kaprun, as well as in Saalbach on the last two weekends of November). A planned Christmas ski holiday will always be a gamble, but the odds are favourable.


Booked snowHead I told my daughter it's just like Hokkaido! Madeye-Smiley If she complains - I will send her over to you. Toofy Grin


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sat 6-10-18 20:36; edited 1 time in total
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Quote:

Could someone, possibly @tatmanstours, confirm and may be give details to the Hut at the top of the Kohlmaisbahn?

I'm currently marking huts that would be easily accessible to a non skier for lunch/afternoon meets in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm area.

All I have currently is Wildenkarhütte, Skyrest, Westgipfelhütte and 12er Treff. Edit: also just noticed Luis Alm and Barnalm.


@AnotherAndrew, This is the kind of question I like. There has been no hut at the top of the Kohlmaisgipfelbahn; however this lift has been completely renewed during the summer, including the rebuilding of the top, bottom and middle stations, and the top station (which was work in progress when I climbed up there in August) looks as if they're possibly incorporating a bar or restaurant in it. Near the middle station of the Kohlmaisgipfelbahn you have the Asteralm and the Ederalm. You can also walk down from the top one or two hundred meters to the Panoramaalm.

Going round the main valley clockwise, starting with the Schattberg Xpress:

Schattberg Xpress: Skyrest
Westgipfelbahn: Westgipfelhuette (Highest point - amazing views) Also at mid-station: Bergstadl.
Zwoelferkogelbahn: 12er Treff - just a bar, but there is a good restaurant at the mid-station: the Winkleralm
Zwoelfer Nordbahn: 12er Treff (see above)
Hochalmbahn: Sonnhof (Recommended), Hochalm restaurant (was being completely refurbished during the summer)
Reiterkogelbahn: Wieseralm (Recommended)
Bernkogelbahn: Luisalm, Baernalm
Kohlmaisgipfelbahn - see above
Schoenleitenbahn: Wildenkarhuette, and at mid-station the Rachkuechl and the Hochwartalm
Asitzbahn (Leogang): the Alte Schmiede, the Asitzbraeu, and Mama Thresl's Hendl Fischerei (all three highly recommended), and at the mid-station the Stoecklalm
Steinbergbahn (Leogang): Same as Asitzbahn, except for mid-station
Let me know if you want to know about Fieberbrunn, but I'm guessing that, if some of your party are on foot, you don't.
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Many thanks for the reply and very useful information @tatmanstours.

I'll very likely venture over to Fieberbrunn, but not the non skier, so won't be needing any information, thanks.

You mention Asitzbahn and Steinbergbahn (Leogang), which bus or buses would be required for the non skier to get over to Leogang from Saalbach? I appear to be unable to find anything on this apart from the 680 timetable. Am I correct in thinking from Saalbach you'd need to catch the 680 to Zell am See and then another to Leogang?

Regards
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@AnotherAndrew, Car hire is relatively inexpensive, but, if reliant on public transport (and the non-skier wants to bother getting over to Leogang), you can research the options - times, connections, fares - on www.oebb.at (very user-friendly and has an English language option).
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@tatmanstours, certainly not a show stopper, just wondered if it was reachable easily with a bus service.
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@AnotherAndrew, I had a quick look on the above website - looks as if it takes about an hour in total and involves changing to another bus at Maishofen or a train at Zell am See. The train is probably the better option as the station isn't far from the Steinbergbahn gondola. The connections are generally well coordinated - public transport is good in Austria.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Though I've never walked it myself, my feeling is that the Leogang station is quite a walk away from the Steinbergbahn. I think the bus is the better bet, at least from Saalfelden. Getting from Saalbach to Leogang seems to be quite involved - if you're not on skis Laughing
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@espri, Never having travelled to Leogang by public transport I bow to your probably better local knowledge of the transport options. I only suggested that the train might be better, because my cousin, who was instructing in Kitz area last season, took the train to Leogang Station, and I remember him pointing it out to me from the gondola - it wasn't exactly close by but I got the impression it might be no more than a 10 minute walk. I agree that, if the public bus from Saalfelden stops by the Steinbergbahn, that would be the better, and more direct option. I haven't really studied the various options in detail, but clearly changing at Maishofen would be preferable to going all the way into Zell am See (unless the non-skier wanted to visit Zell on the way).
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I had something more like 20 minutes in mind but that might be exaggerated (somewhat uphill on the way back). The other thing that anyone trying it should watch out for is that the small village of Leogang has two stations - don't get off at the Leogang Steinberge station but the main Leogang station further on (coming from Saalfelden).
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