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Group Trip - Saalbach vs Kitzbuhel (or somewhere else)?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Am planning this years group trip for February and trying to decide where to go. We're a mixed group of all levels.
We enjoy the bit of apres but the skiing is the most important thing. Generally we go for fairly reasonably priced accommodation, food and drink but we're not looking for the cheapest resort we can get or anything like that.
We've went to the following together in previous years - Garmisch Partenkirchen, Solden, Ischgl & Selva Val Gardena

I'm thinking of either Saalbach or Kitzbuhel this year.
Would anyone recommend one over the other (or think either would be a good option)?
I assume both should be fairly snowsure from early to mid Feb?

Would there be anywhere you'd recommend over either? I know St. Anton would be an obvious one but there's a good few in the group that would hate the lack of grooming and only enjoy cruisey slopes.
We've avoided France/Switzerland cause it's much dearer food/drink/accommodation wise (and where it isn't you may not be getting as good a resort or have drawbacks like taking a bus to the lifts).

Would love any advice, always find the planning stressful Smile
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@colly10, in mid February either is likely to be good, though personally I would choose Saalbach/Hinterglemm in preference as you can ski back to the valley bottom and have the circuit and outings to Leogang and Fieberbrunn as options, where Kitzbuhel may have poor snow at the village level and can be much more expensive. Alternatively, Kirchberg accesses the same terrain and is generally cheaper.

The other options I'd suggest would be the SkiWelt (Söll, Ellmau or Scheffau), the Ski Amadé region (Flachau or Wagrain), or the Zillertal (Zell am Ziller or Mayrhofen/Finkenberg, all of which would fit the bill in terms of snow quality and having lots of blue and red runs ideal for a range of abilities.

My only concern would be that you've maybe left it a bit late for a group booking in February...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@ousekjarr, thanks, you've given me plenty to check out and put a fire under me to start looking at booking, we normally always book the end of August/early September but sounds like maybe they don't last there
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Do you have a preference on airport?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mr.Egg wrote:
Do you have a preference on airport?


Not really, generally we'd pick the place and decide which airport after. As long as the journey is manageable it's grand
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@colly10, this is a subject that causes a certain amount of dissension around here. Personally I would choose Kitzbühel over S-H. I think the skiing in Kitzbühel offers more variety and, for those that want it, challenge than S-H. However I would agree that this is not so true now the link to Fieberbrunn exists. S-H is better for apres. There is probably a different perspective from those who stay for a week of holiday as opposed to day or weekend visits (which is what I do). If you are not particularly bothered about apres etc I would suggest looking at Kirchberg, it does not have the glitz of Kitzbühel itself nor the range of bars and restaurants of the main villages in S-H do but it does allow access to both the Kitzbühel and Skiwelt areas which is perfect for a wide range of abilities.

Early February should be pretty much peak snow conditions. If you do choose Kitzbühel make sure you try some of the "ski routes" down to the valley. For reasonably competent skiers they provide a great experience and are usually not too far away from a piste in terms of snow conditions, there are some Youtube videos around so you can see what they are like.

For myself I would choose the Arlberg over any of the other Austrian resorts (I have skied a lot of them and come to the conclusion that when possible I go to St Anton). Of course St Anton does have downsides too (like all resorts). It can be busy and it is not ideal for timid intermediates - the final runs back to St Anton can be a struggle in the afternoons. However I think the range of skiing is a level beyond that found elsewhere, its not just for rubber legged experts. For a mixed ability group Lech or Warth are probably better as lots of straight forward skiing close at hand but they are not cheap places to stay.

I would agree about Ski Amade and the Zillertal and would also suggest looking at Serfaus / Fiss - never understand why it is not so well known in the UK, it would be perfect for your group.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@munich_irish thanks, I like the idea of the Arlberg myself but there’d definitely be too many in the group that would be too timid for St Anton. I’d like Lech as it gives the option of getting over to St. Anton for anyone who’s happy to go there, Lech has a reputation for being very expensive though.
It is skiing over apres but Kirchberg would probably be a bit too dead.
Looked into Serfaus/Fiss before, it looks great but it’s a family spot and probably too dead as well
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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!
@colly10, I won’t get into the Saalbach v Kitzbuehel debate (obviously I have a strong preference, as I spend much of my time in Saalbach, and most people I speak to agree that it trumps Kitzbuehel in most respects).
Mention has been made of the links to Leogang and Fieberbrunn, which, together with Saalbach and Hinterglemm, comprise the Ski Circus. However it’s probably worth adding that a new link to Zell am See is opening in December, which will offer another interesting itinerary option, and also increase the amount of skiing available on the Ski Circus lift pass to 408km. The only thing that restricts the Ski Circus from marketing itself as by far the biggest, fully-interlinked ski area in Austria (rather than the second biggest after the Arlberg) is that, whilst it will be possible to ski from Saalbach to Zell am See without resorting to public transport, the return journey will involve a 5 minute free ski bus journey from a point where you ski down to the valley bottom between Viehhofen and Vorderglemm and the Schoenleitenbahn gondola, which takes you back up into the Saalbach ski area (from the top it’s a straightforward 6km downhill all the way ski back to Saalbach).
Incidentally this minor irritation of needing to catch the ski bus (which runs every 20 minutes - and might become even more regular with the opening of the new link) to get back to Saalbach will be eradicated when a new gondola is constructed from the village of Viehhofen up to Schoenleiten on the Saalbach side of the Glemm valley. This is scheduled to happen in the next few years, subject to ongoing geological tests to establish the suitability of the terrain for a new reservoir to feed snow cannons on the run from Saalbach area down to Viehhofen.
I agree that watching the many videos available on YouTube is not a bad way of getting a feel for what a ski area has to offer (search for “Bergenholtz Saalbach” to see the very enticing videos posted by Richard Bergenholtz, who runs the “Underbar”, a popular Swedish late night bar in Saalbach (don’t know where he finds the stamina!)).
If you would like a copy of my comprehensive guide to Saalbach, covering everything you are likely to want to know, PM me your email address.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sun 4-08-19 18:50; edited 1 time in total
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@colly10, if your group could cope with the awkward home runs at Ischgl then the home runs at St Anton would be no problem at all. The past few years has seen closures at times of the main blue run back because of avalanche issues, this may or may not be fixed this year. The alternative is a black run, which in good snow is not that hard but can get badly moguled towards the end of the day and can see some would find that intimidating (easy to get a lift down instead). Lech is not a cheap place to stay unfortunately.

Agree Kirchberg can be a bit dead, an alternative is Brixen. Perfect for those who want to poodle around and easy to access Kitzbühel's more challenging stuff for those who want it.

Given you want to go first week of February you should have a good time in most places.
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@tatmanstours thanks, hadn’t heard they’re linking to Zell am See. Will check out the videos and definitely take you up on the guide when i put it out to the group.

The other good option mentioned was Serfaus/Fiss. Does Serfaus have a few decent bars or would the place be a ghost town by 10pm?
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