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Saalbach and Zell am See connection

 Poster: A snowHead
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Thanks quinton, and Tom W, I believe there are going to be 3.6 km of new piste on the connecting gondola
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During the summer I noticed cranes up high on the Bernkogel and was told that they are preparing to upgrade that dratted T-bar next summer, so it looks as though 2015/16 may be a very expensive year for the lift company.
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Tatman's Tours wrote:

I have read somewhere that connection is paid by Frieberbrunn.
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On the seilbahn.net web site there is an extensive report, in German, about developments in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang (and Fieberbrunn still to come) Ski Circus.

The article also includes interesting historical details of the beginnings of the ski areas, e.g. that once upon a time the Schattberg cable car had a toilet (for emergency cases) rolling eyes
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Tom W wrote:
I have read somewhere that connection is paid by Frieberbrunn.


Did you mean "Freibierbrunn" (free beer fountain)? Now, that would be something LaughingLaughingLaughing

But it is true that Fieberbrunn seems to be paying for (most of?) the new lift coming next year.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Fri 10-10-14 0:06; edited 1 time in total
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espri, A shrewd bit of business by S/H. Perhaps the same deal with ZamS? I do hope they've played hardball with the Porsches? As I and others said earlier in the thread there is no real gain for S\H in connecting with ZamS other than area km's to advertise?
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robboj,
km's to advertise means quite a lot nowadays.
Lots of new runs and villages to ski will attract people to return to Saalbach.
Saalbach will be positioned right in the middle of this new large area so I guess best location to ski everywhere (specially to Zell).
It still might be hard day to ski Hinterglemm or Fieberbrunn in a day a return to Zell.
So Sallbach will win for accomodation I believe.

Can't wait to see the new big piste map Wink
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Although Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang is not as prominent on the UK skiing radar as some of the French resorts, it would be wrong to assume that it is not already a popular place. In fact, it's the second most popular skiing area in the world according to last years industry report, attracting over 2 million visitors. http://www.planetski.eu/news/6020
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quinton wrote:
Although Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang is not as prominent on the UK skiing radar as some of the French resorts, it would be wrong to assume that it is not already a popular place. In fact, it's the second most popular skiing area in the world according to last years industry report, attracting over 2 million visitors. http://www.planetski.eu/news/6020


Interesting, I never knew it ranked so high, if you combined visitor numbers from Zell/Kaprun and Fieberbrunn with Salbach's would you then have the most visited ski area in the world giving you an extremely marketable position. Does anyone know how these figures are calculated, for example when I am in Zell I often ski in Salbach for a day, do I count on both or is it based on where I lay my head.
As noted above if I was a 1 week visitor and looking to ski the whole area I would definitely stay in Salbach but as I have a place in Zell I will continue to stay there and probably continue to get the bus or drive round to Salbach when I want to ski there.
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Tom W, Yes fair point but IMV its a bit of a 'false' reason. As you say it would be an ordeal to try and cover it in a day. Presumably somebody thinks it works though?
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Speaking as someone isn't too unhappy for Saalbach to "win for accommodation" but has reservations about the potential benefits to Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang (S-H-L) of these new links, I'm trying to think positive. Skiing in S-H-L is for us mainly about planning daily itineraries, much as you would in the French Trois Vallees or Portes de Soleil, albeit on a smaller scale, and the fact that the skiing is distributed over nine inter-connected sectors (Leogang, Schoenleiten, Kohlmais, Bernkogel, Reiterkogel, Hochalm, Zwoelferkogel, Schattberg West, Schattberg East) lends itself to that. I can see that the possibility of additional excursions to Fieberbrunn, and subsequently Zell am See, is a definite positive, particularly for regular visitors to Saalbach, some of whom can already find their way around the current ski area blindfolded! If, with the addition of Fieberbrunn and later Zell am See, the Ski Circus overtakes La Plagne and achieves the ski industry's number 1 position as the world's most popular ski resort, I suppose that should be cautiously applauded, although I'd be happier if it were accompanied by further extensions of the ski area (which probably won't happen) and very careful building control
.
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quinton's link is interesting, but it doesn't really seem to compare resorts like-with-like. If you're looking at single resorts, then Saalbach, Hinterglemm and Leogang should really be given separate figures. That would presumably place them way down the list.

Alternatively you might claim that they should come under a single figure as they're in the same ski area. That's probably a better of looking at it, but if that's the case then why are "Courchevel, Meribel, Mottaret" (7th), Val Thorens (8th) and Les Menuires (18th) listed separately?

IMO the fairest list would list places by lift-linked ski areas (and areas which are on the same pass, but not quite linked, like Chamonix). Under that system, the 3 Valleys would probably come first, followed by Paradiski. Bringing it back on-topic, a linked Saalbach-Fieberbrunn would probably come in around third. Still impressive (and somewhat surprising, I must say), but probably still a long way off the 3 Valleys.
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denfinella, I agree, it is not entirely clear why some areas have been split and others combined. Having said that, S-H-L have been completely linked for 20 years and once on the pistes, you are not aware which village you are skiing above, so the Ski Circus really is one area.

I only mentioned it because Tom W, wrote about people 'returning to Saalbach' (as if the village has become less popular) and there are countless posts on Snowheads asking about 'does it snow in Saalbach, are the lifts modern enough, can I ski-in/ski-out, do any UK TOs go there... etc.' which suggests that to British skiers, Saalbach has fallen off the radar, when in fact the Ski Circus is one of the top 5 areas in the world, so there must be something about it that people like.
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Yes, I do agree with Tom W's view that kilometres is an important selling point. I must say that before joining snowheads I was put off Saalbach-H-L by the WTSS book and my own experiences. Years in high French resorts had made me think it looked just too sunny and low for me. More research and info on here has made me rethink that (and in fact, I went to Soll last year which is even lower).

Having said all this, now I know these lift links are planned I probably won't visit until after they're built, as there'll be even more to explore!
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Quote:

Years in high French resorts had made me think it looked just too sunny and low for me. More research and info on here has made me rethink that


As the '2014 International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism' puts it:

"Although often important at a regional level, the altitude of a ski resort
is not really an important benchmark worldwide, since at some
places around the globe one can ski at sea level, whereas in other
countries, one needs to be at the higher elevations to access decent
snow conditions."
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Just catching up with developments in the Ski Circus.
I am considering buying a place in Vorderglemm as that will become the centre of this vast new connected area.
Ski to Zell and back one day. Up to Hinterglemm next then Fieberbrunn.

Seriously though surely they should concentrate on the Bernkogel t bars. Not too bad as a skier but surely boarders must detest this lift.
Am i right in thinking they installed the Wetterkruzlift when it wasnt such a big deal?
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Quote:

Seriously though surely they should concentrate on the Bernkogel t bars. Not too bad as a skier but surely boarders must detest this lift.

Am i right in thinking they installed the Wetterkruzlift when it wasnt such a big deal?

Hi Ian, they installed the Wetterkreuz lift last year, because they were building a new reservoir in the valley between the Bernkogel and the Reiterkogel and needed to move that T-Bar that used to bring you back onto the Bernkogel from the Hinterglemm direction.
You're right about the Bernkogel II T-bars - I know people who refuse to go that way to Hinterglemm, such is their dislike of them (although those of us old enough to remember the days when most of the lifts were T-bars probably think that we 'ad it 'ard, and that such people are more spoilt than they realise).
The good news is that we were told the year before last by none other than Hans Peter that the upgrading of the T-bars was imminent, along with a new restaurant on the opposite side of the piste from the Baernalm; and, when we were in Saalbach this summer the tops of tall cranes could be seen at the Bernkogel mid-station. One of our neighbours was informed, apparently by an authoritative source, that the building of the new restaurant was in progress, in preparation for the replacement of the T-Bars.
I realise that this is second-hand hearsay - other contributors to this thread may be more knowledgeable.
One thought that occurs to me is that, if Fieberbrunn is paying for the new link, there may well be money in the kitty for the Bernkogel project to be undertaken in 2015/16, which would tie in nicely with the likely increase in numbers heading up the Bernkogel, resulting from the completion of the Fieberbrunn link.
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I spoke last week with a neighbour who owns some of the ground where the piste for the Fieberbrunn-Hinterglemm link will be built. She believed too that it will be built next summer. I suppose the area will then be from the top SHeLF Laughing

It has been reported on the German alpinforum.com that the Bernkogel T-bars will be replaced next year too (along with building a new restaurant there), though I'm not sure how well-based that claim is.

I haven't looked at this 22 min
video about Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang myself but others recommend it.
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And here to complete my report, some photos of the new Steinbergbahn as it looks today. First viewed from the west..



A view of the main building of the valley station...



And the opening date, 5th December...



As there won't be any piste under the lift this year, I suppose it will be mostly of interest to those planning to take the lift back down anyhow (though you could take a bus from the other car park). One other fact I confirmed with an engineer on the site is that the T-bar up to the Hotel Krallerhof will be built, although there isn't any sign of it yet. So we will have one new T-bar in the Ski Circus before any are removed Laughing

As I had my winter tyres fitted today, roll on the snow Very Happy
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An update on the proposed Zell-Saalbach link. As earlier posts have noted, a new itinerary run, number 38, has appeared on the Schmittenhöhe piste map for 2014/15. This runs down from the top of the Sonnengratbahn into Viehhofen and follows the path of a former piste. In some places the original piste was only 2.5 meters wide - and of course there has never been a lift back up - but some trees have now been cleared to widen the piste and heavy machinery is at work at the Sonnengratbahn in preparation for a lift installation.

My understanding is that when the new lift is built part of itinerary route 38 will become an official piste but that the piste will not go all the way to the valley floor in Viehhofen. Instead downhill skiers will descend to Viehhofen by getting onto the mittelstation of a lift that will cross the road to land more or less where the existing Viehhofen Babylift is. Alternatively you could take the lift all the way down from the Sonnengratbahn, so it's more of a link than an extension to the Zell ski area. Another new lift will be built in Viehhofen taking skiers up to Polten.

To return to Schmittenhöhe the process is reversed. There is an existing run - #68 - down from The top of Polten to Viehhofen, so that it will be possible to ski to Viehhofen from Polten and then catch the lift up to the top of the Sonnengratbahn and thus link into the Schmittenhöhe system.

All this should be ready for the 2016/7 season.
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Brownbear101, Thanks for update, certainly makes sense for a lift to cross the road? Although the run down to the middle station is going to need a lot of widening from 2.5m? Even if they make it 10 m its still going to be narrow, given how steep that I would think it will be there? Add that to almost being perpetually in shade in winter its going to be icy too? If so I rather suspect the lift from the Sonnkogel will be the chosen route for most?
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An update on the proposed Piesendorf-Schmittenhohe project. Last week the Verwaltungsgerichtshof (VwGH) decided that the proposed extension of the Schmittenhöhe towards Piesendorf with three lifts and five pistes should be allowed after all. However, before the construction works may start another court has to decide on the procedure, i.e. the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (BVwG), which decision will take a bout a year.

http://salzburg.orf.at/news/stories/2681769/
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Schmitten website has added aerial shot of route to Viehhofen from Sonnengratbahn, it still looks pretty narrow but I assume this will be widened if this is to become the main link piste into Saalbach lift system

http://www.schmitten.at/en/aktuelles
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I have a soft spot for Zell am See as it was where I re-discovered skiing 10 years (to the day) after learning as a teen (in Obergurgl).

I have never been back since (about 15 years ago) but I observe these developments with interest. I would have thought that any runs into Piesendorf would all be directly south facing - so not ideal. I suppose that lift and runs to Pisendorf would facilitate future links to the Kaprun areas.
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Yeah I love the town of zell but it's ski area is a bit limited.
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lampbus wrote:
I suppose that lift and runs to Pisendorf would facilitate future links to the Kaprun areas.


I am not sure that this is on the cards. It's still a long way from Piesendorf to the Maiskogel, that would be an expensive link for little benefit (it would need to cross the valley plus there's a small airport nearby).
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https://www.bergbahnen-fieberbrunn.at/neues-aus-kitzbuehel-tirol/12-12-2014/verbindung-mit-dem-skicircus-perfekt-ab-dez-2015 - fieberbrunn announce the connection of the skicircus and fieberbrunn, also a piste map is shown! Very Happy
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I was skiing on Bernkogel today and there has been major building work over the summer at the top of the gondola in preparation for replacing the old t-bars next summer - long overdue but now vital as this will form part of the link from Saalbach to Fieberbrunn. BTW skiing was good today - obviously limited but good conditions, blue sky and very few people made it a nice opening day of the season.
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Nice to see the piste map and the news about t-bars - great. Looks like a visit next winter Wink
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@quinton, I saw the building on the Bernkogel yesterday, I thought it was for a new mountain hut?
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@Saalbachsnowhead, I think you're right as it looks more like a restaurant than a lift station. I had heard that the existing hut would make way for the new lift. Or both may remain and the new lift station might go where the current t-bars start, or it might even be possible to make the existing gondola station into a mid-station. As you can see, I'm guessing Puzzled


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 13-12-14 20:13; edited 1 time in total
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Ok! Guess we wont know until next year Puzzled
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On 1st January there were already forebodings of the year ahead in Fieberbrunn with a sample cabin for the TirolS gondola (S as in Salzburgerland - two regions, one lft) which will link Fieberbrunn to Hinterglemm and the Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang Ski Circus from next season...


The lift will also be called the Vierstadlalmbahn, I believe (after a nearby farm).

I take that opportunity to wish all a Happy New Year and good skiing this season.


EDIT: And as a further -next- New Year titbit I have just read (in German) on alpinforum.com that there is already on show a sample chair for the new Bernkogel 6-seater lift also to be built for the 2015/16 season. Also further discussions of lifts from Viehofen to link to Zell am See and Leogang, though they may be longer coming (and there is a good diagram showing how the Fieberbrunn-Hinterglemm link will lie).
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On the German alpinforum.com a member has listed the new lifts and pistes planned in the SHL Ski Circus and linked areas (to be: Fieberbrunn and Zell am See). A couple of posts later there is a piste map showing the developments (and a little earlier a photo of the sample seat for the Bernkogel 6er).
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From the above link, the Jausern lift would be some feat of engineering.
Hope those improvements come off.
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If what's shown in the link comes off by next winter that will truly be a fantastic (genuinely by lifts and skis only) linked ski area. I just hope a winter of legendary snow & weather with no need at all for worrying or snow dancing accompanies it!
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@robboj, Other than the link to Fieberbrunn, which is confirmed for next season, the other links are described on the German Alpinforum as being 'reasonably likely' to go ahead, or 'rumours', so they almost certainly won't be in place for next winter. That said, Zell-Viehhofen-Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn will be one amazing ski circus if it all comes together in the next 3-5 years.
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It really would be a fantastic ski area offering something for everyone in terms of accommodation, nightlife, piste skiing, off piste etc.
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Plans for the Zell am See - Viehofen gondola online, is this all to be implemented for the winter 2015/16? - https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A//www.meinbezirk.at/zell-am-see/wirtschaft/vom-glemmtal-auf-die-schmitten-behoerdliche-genehmigung-d1292398.html
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I don't see any definite date for building the lift in the report. My understanding is that work will be done starting in August this year on installing the snow making equipment and establishing a piste on the upper section of the proposed run. Then the upper section of the two section gondola will be built first (maybe next year?). That would open up the new piste from the Schmittenhöhe (Zell am See) side for repeat runs.

Later the shorter lower section of the gondola would be built. There isn't any planned piste on this section, rather a ski route (though I believe this section can be skied over a track, maybe with some more gnarly "shortcuts"). I am unclear as to why the lift would be built in two stages - maybe there are practical/planning problems building at the Viehofen end. Or maybe they plan to construct this section along with the proposed lifts to the Asitz or Schattberg?
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