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Saalbach Hinterglemm - so many questions?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I’ve never skied in Austria, but I’m looking at Saalbach Hinterglemm for our ladies trip (3 of us) January next year (hopefully). The organising always falls to me and I think one of the reasons I’ve not opted for Austria in the past is because there seems to be a lot of buses, where as ski to door / 5 minutes walk to lifts/lockers has always been the preference.

The abilities ski wise is one of us has been twice, picked it up easily but is cautious, one who has been half a dozens times is good but has little confidence, and I tend to use the trip as a warm up before the family trip. Therefore lots of nice blues, some wide reds are the preference for this trip.

We also like some nightlife although this doesn’t by ‘wild’ some atmosphere for some beers from the slopes and some after dinner drinks is perfect.

Saalbach Hinterglemm seems to tick the boxes but the questions I have, and I’m hoping someone out there knows the resort can help, are:

1) can you walk between Saalbach and Hinterglemm?
2) if not which is the best of the two to stay in? Any accommodation recommendation?
3) are there ski schools available in each of the two areas? Any ski school recommendations, we usually do group lessons due to different abilities.
4) are you able to ski without using lots of busses between areas?
5) are there some nice restaurants and bars?

Any other resort info would be appreciated.

Thanks
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1) not really practical, although there is a free bus service in both directions along the valley.
2) There is a massive choice of accommodation, of all levels in the resort. The area's tourist board site allows you to search out what you want (www.saalbch.com). My favorite is the Dorfschmiede in Hinterglemm.
3) Yes, again the Saalbach.com site can list them for you, We've used snow academy for private lessons in the past, their instructors/guides were excellent.
4) Definitely, you can ski amongst Salbaach, Hinterglemm, Leogang, Fieberbrunn without touching a bus or taxi.
5) Loads and loads, some big, some small, all shapes, sizes, and types. I don't have a favorit, like to try them all (or as many as I can).

We've had many years of great skiing in Saalbach Hinterglemm, starting in 1992. THe area is now extensive, but despite its size continues to have 'charm'
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@Bianchigray, To us Skiing in Austria is a joy we have been going to Saalbach since 2016

@Bob, has covered most of your answers.

2 ) in Saalbach if want to be close to the lifts then you could look at the Eva Village , good location and you can get to three lifts very easily , next door are Das Neuhaus and Mitterer and quite a number of other options

3) There is a choice of ski schools in Saalbach the meeting point is near to the Turm 6-seater.

5) lots of good mountain restaurants , for the evening there a good choice of restaurants from pizza up to amazing steak at Seppis and there are bars to suit various tastes from a relaxed drink in the Eva Alm to a more lively one at the Spitzbub and many more, it isn't all classic austrian Apre!

A plus side to me with Saalbach is that its relatively straight forward to get over Leogang or Fieberbrunn, having said that there is great skiing in Hinterglem and some of my favourite runs and we often take the bus to the end of the line and ski back from there.
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I think your group will really enjoy the area. Can't comment on the hospitality as we were camping in Fieberbrunn but I loved the skiing there. We were there mid March and temps were quite high, I imagine in Jan you'll get much better snow.

I made some (jokey) notes on a piste map which I'll post below. There aren't any comments on Vorderglemm as we skied there a couple of weeks before but I recall those runs being very good too.

The only one I really didn't enjoy and wished I'd never started on (had to do it as it was the way home Sad ) was the red 40 off the back of Zwolferkogel - it was icy, bumpy, narrow and really busy - loads of other people struggled, skiing 50m to the next safe place and then girding their loins/catching their breath for the next phase - I could see it being designated a black in another resort - maybe a red here to get the resort "joined up"....

I'm quite a cautious skier - if there's loads of space I'll pick up the pace but otherwise I'm happy on cruisey blues and reds. Your trip sounds fab snowHead



Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Sat 6-02-21 18:52; edited 1 time in total
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@Bianchigray, I live in Saalbach and know the area fairly intimately. If you give me your email address (send a P.M.) I'll gladly send you my comprehensive, 20 page guide, covering everything you're likely to want to know, together with some suggested ski itineraries and other useful information.

Focusing on your specific questions:
1) can you walk between Saalbach and Hinterglemm?
Yes, but it takes about an hour. I did it once, and it was a crisp, starlit evening so quite pleasant, but not something that most people would choose to do, when taxis are so plentiful, quick and cheap.

2) if not which is the best of the two to stay in? Any accommodation recommendation?
Each village has its fans, and you would have an enjoyable time in either. I'm naturally biased towards my own home patch, but Saalbach has been described to me by people who often stay in Hinterglemm as an indisputably preferable base (the expression "no-brainer" has been used). It is centrally placed in the system, has a more compact and arguably more attractive village centre, and the options for skiing back at the end of the day are generally better. It probably also has a better range of bars and restaurants. That's not to say that Hinterglemm doesn't offer distinct attractions, especially for families, with its snow park (jumps, etc.) and night skiing piste (although that can be incorporated in an evening in Hinterglemm, with dinner and taxi back to Saalbach afterwards).
Taxis are easy to find without even having to call for one, and the journey between the two villages takes only about 5 minutes, so the attractions of both villages can easily be sampled in the course of a typical week's holiday.
Both villages offer great local skiing, as well as plenty of pistes that would be suitable for your ability range. On balance I would say that the blue pistes of the Kohlmais and the Bernkogel above Saalbach are probably slightly less demanding than their equivalents at Hinterglemm.
Both villages have specific apres-ski attractions - Saalbach has the Bergeralm, the Hinterhag Alm, Bauer's Schialm, Burgi's Bar and Spitzbub, and later the Crazy Deer, Bobby's, the Off-Piste bar, Oetzi Bar, Castello, Taverna and many others; Hinterglemm has the Goassstall, the Schwarzacher, the Hexenhausl, the Glemmerkeller, and Tanzhimmel/London Pub. Over the last 20 years Mrs TT and I have spent plenty of time in such places, and generally we prefer Saalbach.
There is a dedicated toboggan run in Hinterglemm. On the other hand, Saalbach offers a very popular evening at the Spielberghaus (ride up on a piste basher, have dinner, and toboggan back to the village for several km).
There is plenty of ski-in ski-out accommodation to be found in both villages, although it may help to take advice from someone who knows the "ins and outs" (literally). The choice of location is one of the most important considerations.

3) are there ski schools available in each of the two areas? Any ski school recommendations, we usually do group lessons due to different abilities.
There are several ski schools in both villages, but these days a minority offer group lessons. In Saalbach, Furstauer is the biggest ski school and it offers group lessons.

4) are you able to ski without using lots of busses between areas?
Yes, it's possible to completely eliminate any need to use the ski buses, although they are useful for getting quickly from one end of the valley to the other. For example, I like to end my day by skiing down the Kohlmais directly to my front door. That often means that I might want to catch the last gondola from one end of the system. If I happen to be skiing at the other end of the valley beyond Hinterglemm, I can get to that gondola in about 20 minutes by catching the ski bus, whereas on skis it would take an hour or two. When you get to know the area, it's easy to plan itineraries that bring you to where you want to end up late in the afternoon, without any need to use the bus.
The ski buses are also useful for those occasions when you've had enough and decide to call it a day, without skiing back. Wherever you end up along the main Glemm valley, you can easily catch the ski bus and get back to your base quite quickly.
If you ski over to Leogang or Fieberbrunn (both achievable on blue runs), or to Zell am See, you should allow sufficient time to get back to the main valley.

5) are there some nice restaurants and bars?
There are at least 60 excellent mountain restaurants, as well as good village restaurants and bars (my guide contains recommendations).
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Quote:

The only one I really didn't enjoy and wished I'd never started on (had to do it as it was the way home ) was the red off the back of Zwolferkogel - it was icy, bumpy, narrow and really busy - loads of other people struggled, skiing 50m to the next safe place and then girding their loins/catching their breath for the next phase - I could see it being designated a black in another resort - maybe a red here to get the resort "joined up"....

@Scamper, That run (the Zwoelfer Nord Abfahrt) used to be a black run until two or three years ago. They created some easier red by-passes around the steepest sections, and then (probably for the reason you mention) made it a "red with optional black sections", rather then a "black with optional red sections". I used to regard it as the toughest black in the area, but it's been made easier.
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@tatmanstours, Thanks! It's reassuring to know it probably wasn't me being crap! I don't think I "skied" it as much as skidded down with the brakes on!!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Bianchigray, can you give an idea of your budget or board preferences please? I am already planning for early Jan 22 and have had several quotes back (mainly looking at B and B or HB) so could offer some ideas of price for you. Already our BB quotes range from 55-90 euros pppn and HB from 450 euros per week (749 euros inc lift pass) to beyond 800. I havent delved too far into self catering. Tons of knowledge on here as you can see already.
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@tatmanstours, I've sent you a pm requesting a copy of your guide, thanks.
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@Corky, Sent Smile
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as an avid fan and a holiday skier who albeit a tad older than some can only agree with most of whats been said , personally prefer to stay in saalbach preferably in one of the 1/2 board hotels all of which ive stayed in would happily return and wouldnt be put off staying in those I havnt having been in most if only for a meal or a drink. I can honestly say that in a lifetime of skiing hols every year since I was a kid to most places in europe just wish id found saalbach and all it has to offer a long time ago and whilst still going to other places occassionally there is a great time to be had however and who ever you are travelling with, my only concern for next jan would be how much will be changed ,allowed ,restricted etc but if the hotel is open and the lifts are running mrs ski for fun and I will be there rather than anywhere else
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@tatmanstours, Received. Much appreciated. Planning to go next year for the first time all being well.
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Thanks for all the replies - looks like a good choice for us.

@tatmanstours I will PM you now - thanks.

@toyah807 we tend to opt for cheap and cheerful (as long as its clean and warm), we find its the flights that make a big difference to the price so we try to secure those first. Accommodation tends to be a similar price (at basic end) and we normally weigh up SC, BnB, or HB once we know where we want to go and factor in location etc. Although 450 for HB seems a good price.

I really hope next year happens, I should be on my way for our family half term trip now.
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You know it makes sense.
@tatmanstours,

I have also sent you a PM re the 20 page guide; could not resist.

Thanks.
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@Bianchigray, and @xtr, no problem Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I have been skiing for 50 years and discovered Saalbach about a dozen year ago. I wish I had done it earlier. My number one choice for all round skiing and apres skiing.
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@Bianchigray, Saalbach sounds perfect for you and friends.

I discovered Saalbach about 10 years ago and been there every year since and most years twice!

It’s well connected as others have said and I have rarely had to use the bus (only to get me from one area to another quicker than skiing )

There is great food up the mountain and in the village and compared to France I found it much cheaper for food and drink.

Generally speaking as you would expect the more central you stay the more expensive.

If you are looking to build your own package, I would suggest looking at www.saalbach.com and click on the accommodation link. I have found it very useful for finding rooms.

I normally stay fairly central at the top end of the village with Hotel Kohlmais and Kunst-hotel Kristiana being my favourites, but they are at the pricier end.

More reasonable and just out of the centre, but only 5 min walk to the Schattberg lift and the bars at the bottom end of the village I can recommend Siegmundshof, whilst on the main road, don’t recall it as noisy and was great value. Also they do not do dinner, so you get to enjoy the many restaurants (you will find most hotels do half board) This year also they have made a piste down to the bottom of the village, so you can ski back on a blue to the bottom end of town, rather than the only option of Schattberg black.

Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Fieberbrunn and Leogang are have fantastic pistes and linked , you will love it
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@Bianchigray,

as @toyah807, knows, I’ve also had a few quotes recently for next season. Some may duplicate those he’s sent you but a few might be different.

They include some in Hinterglemm as well as Saalbach. Happy to send you if helpful, along with any notes I made about some.

If 3 of you and in a hotel, do you usually share a triple, or split by having 1 solo room?

That latter option narrows the choice down a bit, although some seem to charge a reasonably low supplement for solo use room.

Apartment usually easier to accommodate 3 I guess.
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@ribblevalleyblue,
Quote:

I normally stay fairly central at the top end of the village with Hotel Kohlmais and Kunst-hotel Kristiana


A few of us have just booked for the Kristiana. Is it good then? Any tips please, eg room choice and location?
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@PeakyB

Yes lovely hotel and great staff. No complaints about the food. I have only stayed 3 times and in single rooms, had a lovely Art room at the front overlooking the Bernkogel and the road(wasn’t noisy) , which was beautiful must have been recently refurbed think that was 2 years ago, also had room at back which was not as nice but still perfectly fine. Friends have stayed in twin/double rooms and found them great and have booked again for next year. I only went to Kohlmais last year because had wife and 4 year old with me and the pool was needed for them. The location across the road from my favourite bar Burgi’s worked better for me aswell!

It is a good location, short walk down to the Bernkogel and Kohlmais lifts and you can ski back close to the hotel from the Kohlmais, there is a small cut through to the road, just below Kristiana, don’t go as far as the bottom or the lift (not ski lift) that links to Bernkogel or the car park. You can also ski to bottom of Bernkogel so few mins back up from there. Do go to Soul house at bottom of Bernkogel for apres, good band.
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@ribblevalleyblue, thanks, very reassuring and useful tips. Only 11 months and we should be there!
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Quote:

I normally stay fairly central at the top end of the village with Hotel Kohlmais

In case anyone’s interested, the Hotel Kohlmais (our next door neighbours) are doing a lot of improvement work this summer - great new outside bar at the front, and an extension at the back to their swimming pool, which will allow you to swim outside (part of the lawn is being sacrificed), and goodness knows what additional enhancements to their wellness suite. We had to give our consent to it all and sign the plans. (I should have made our agreement conditional on being allowed to put a door in between our downstairs apartment and their wellness suite, which is literally the other side of the party wall.)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Bianchigray, another huge plus for skiing in Austria is the quality and speed of the lifts.
Saalbach-Hinterglemm has one of the best lift systems, barely a queue even in peak season. And those heated bubble chairs ...

As already mentioned the food and drink is very reasonable, not much different to what I paid in my local!
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To add to @tatmantours comment on his next door neighbours the hotel Kohlmais, I stayed there for the first time last Feb after about 15 visits to saalbach and the food was the best I have experienced in a ski hotel, great location, staff and bedroom, preferred it to the Alpinresort in the centre of town
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@ribblevalleyblue, sounds great. Tried to look up their room rates for 2022 earlier but not on their website.

Any rough estimates anyone?
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@PeakyB, I think the cheapest double room is from 150 euros pppn in early Jan
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@PeakyB, at Kohlmais I paid €2576 for a 35m2 suite, it had a double bedroom and large lounge, full board for first week of March for 2 adults and 1 child

In my experience in the better hotels you will pay around €150 to €200 per person a night in January.

Friends of mine always go package with Crystal, including flight and transfer they pay roughly £1k each at Kristiana. Just had a look at 8th Jan when they have booked for next year and it’s £974 pp flight from Stansted.

I have always built my own package to use my avios for the flight and often fly in a day early to get a full days skiing on the Saturday, never failed to find a room for 1 night in Saalbach, but always has to be last minute, with fall back position would stay a night in salzburg.
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@toyah807, @ribblevalleyblue,

Thanks both, very useful, I’ll file the Kohlmais under ‘special treats’ like big anniversaries or my 100th birthday lads’ week.

Yes we’ve paid under £1k HB for the Kristiana with Crystal. That includes conveniently timed local regional airport flights, transfers and the extra protection that comes with a package.

I set out with intention of booking independently but it would’ve cost about £180pp more. Mainly due to the flights currently costing more than previous years.
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You know it makes sense.
Just a reminder that there are a fair few Brits who own holiday apartments in Saalbach, and which they’re happy to rent out, especially to fellow-Brits. We have a Facebook group that includes some of these apartment owners, and it’s no trouble to circulate a message if anyone is looking for self-catering accommodation, which usually works out cheaper than the hotels - especially as Saalbach is well-blessed for reasonably-priced places to eat. Unlike the hotels, many private owners are also able to be flexible over dates and prices.
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@tatmanstours, What's the Facebook group called?? Ta.
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@NickYoung, sorry, my mistake, I should have said that we have a FB Messenger group, which operates like a chat room for those of us who have apartments or spend a lot of time in Saalbach.
Having said that, there is actually a Facebook group called “Saalbach Superheroes”, which my son started and administers. It sometimes features offers of, or requests for accommodation.
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@tatmanstours, I've jumped on the bandwagon and send you a PM too!
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Saalbach looks amazing, the videos of the slopes make me wish I was there now.

Would Saalbach be a good location for for the following??

3 generation family (kids are 15, 15 and 13 all been skiing for 8 years), FIL is 75, but fit as a fiddle. I'm probably defined as advanced. My wife can ski parallel, but is incredibly timid and only likes to ski on greens or gentle blues. She will go on slightly steeper blues if they are wide and have undulations that allow you to take the steepness out of the equation depending on the line you pick.

We normally go SC, but are happy with any from that to fully catered.
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@Timmycb5, I too wish I was there! There are slopes to suit all, in both Saalbach and Hinterglem, nice wide blues and a great chair and cable car network, @tatmanstours, guide is very useful I'm still working my way through the mountain restaurants (I've got the 2016 edition), we have a place a 15 minute walk out of town sleeps 4 and then there a two other apartments, sleeps 3 and 4 that we know rent out in the same block, @tatmantours also has a place and a few useful contacts with other owners, if you want to explore self catering.
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Fab, thanks @radar, going somewhere new seem like a leap into the unknown. The guys it the ski hire shop in Les Gets greet me like a long lost brother, and I have the director of the local taxi firm on speed dial. So I'm hoping @tatmanstours guide might make going somewhere I've never a little easier. Nothing better than local knowledge!
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I realise there’ll be a big range but what does a typical dinner cost in Saalbach-Hinterglemm?

Nothing fancy, mid range restaurant, say 2 courses with a couple of beers or bottle of house wine?

What about mid range 1 course, 1 drink lunch on mountain?
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To avoid confusion or controversy, by dinner I mean an evening meal, usually taken between about 7 and 10pm.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Timmycb5, the answer of course is to have (at least) two skiing holidays per season, so that you can check into your “home from home” and also explore new places.
I know exactly what you mean by the attraction of sticking to a place where you have built up social contacts and a “comfort zone”. There is much to be said for knowing your way around - the best places to stay, to ski, to après-ski, and it’s always great to renew acquaintances and develop friendships.
A friend of a friend had always been to Mayrhofen and nowhere else. After about 20 years he was persuaded to go somewhere different, and apparently he did nothing but complain that “it wasn’t Mayrhofen”.
I have visited a wide range of resorts in the forty years since I started skiing, including both Mayrhofen (1982/83) and Les Gets (1987). In fact my only regret is that I never went to the Dolomites. During the late 80s and 90s, I discovered and developed my own little “comfort zones” in Leogang, Champery, and St Martin de Belleville, to which I made repeated visits.
However Saalbach is the only resort that for me ticked all the boxes, and which ultimately seduced me into buying my own place - which was quite a thing, because it’s akin to getting married after years of playing the field.
FWIW (it was a long time ago), I never contemplated returning to Mayrhofen, once I’d sampled the far more convenient skiing area of the Ski Circus, and I never wanted to repeat my single visit to Les Gets, which I found to be lacking in ski convenience (out on a limb from the best skiing of the PDS), and in social opportunities (one expensive and probably empty night spot). I’m sure both have changed a lot - as indeed has Saalbach, with its massive investment in probably the best lift system in the world, and in snow-making infrastructure. Also the relatively new links to Fieberbrunn and Zell am See/Kaprun, which have effectively increased the size of the ski area to 408km.
It’s probably worth making the point that the four main villages of the Ski Circus each has its own individuality, and all are small enough to engender that cosy, “home from home” feeling.
Many of our friends and guests return year after year and would probably not consider going anywhere else. Not only do they appreciate the size, quality and facilities of the ski area, but, like you, they have developed friendly relationships with the local rental shop owner (in our case, Hansi, who greets you like a long lost brother - perhaps they all do that! - and offers you a schnapps as soon as you walk through the door), local bar owners and regular seasonal workers, and of course the taxi drivers, who will whisk you from Salzburg Airport in about an hour, or between Saalbach and Hinterglemm in about 5 minutes.
One of my newest friends is Jimmy Petterson, who has spent his life as a ski journalist, writer and ski bum, having visited 648 ski resorts in 75 countries (no one has skied in more); his favourite resort is Saalbach. (Check out his two volume “bible of skiing”, “Skiing Around The World”.
However, beauty is as ever in the eye of the beholder - you can bet that that chap who goes to Mayrhofen wouldn’t like it!
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@tatmanstours, yes it's definitely good knowing your way round. I know exactly which part of the mountain to be in at what time for any given weather condition in Les Gets. And we're planning on doing exactly what you say in 2022... go on two holidays.

I expect Les Gets is unrecognisable from when you went, but it's not a big place. It has suited us very well for when the kids were little and whilst my wife has built her confidence, but now the kids are bigger, we need a larger resort that still ticks the boxes for my wife. She's only ever skied in La Rosiere (once) and Les Gets (several times). I'm a bit more well travelled with skiing in St Lary, Cervinia and Zell am See as well as La Ros/Les Gets. Don't want to return to Zell though, as that's where I broke my leg!
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@PeakyB, I am confused, at what other time would anyone have dinner?

We regularly eat at Del Rossi, the Hungry Deer and the Eva Alm, which are mid range as are most of the restaurants in Saalbach, there are a couple of take away places and you can go upscale at Seppi's

Del Rossi is probably our most frequented venue and I would say that you are looking at around 100 Euros for a decent main course (the lamb cuttles when on the menu are superb) and pudding and a reasonable bottle of wine.

On the mountain I can't say that I've ever been shocked, unlike France! which isn't very helpful.
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