Zell Am See - Schmittenhohe Snowboarding
The 5th most popular snowboarding destination in Austria.
Sunday 17 December 2017 03:02 GMT
Southwest of Salzburg, the Zell Am See ski area has 36 pistes served by 21 lifts accessing a maximum vertical drop of 1,245m. This ski area is much bigger that it appears on their piste map. It offers a great mix of high alpine treeless pistes for powder days and lower glades slopes for flat light days.
This is a good all around family ski resort on the slopes of Schmittenhohe (2,000m) that is ideal for beginners and intermediates. The Zell Am See - Schmittenhohe ski area is a groomers paradise that is not particularly known for it's steep runs or off-piste freeriding. With that said, if you catch this place with some powder, both the ski route #35 (Ketting Route) under the Kettingbahn and the ski route #32 (Eiskanal Route) under the Hochmaisbahn can be a lot of fun. Also, the ski route #36 (Kanonenrohr Route) can be interesting. Advanced snowboarders would enjoy a few days here if there has been some recent snow.
There are four separate ski areas in the Zell Am See - Kaprun region; the advanced Kitzsteinhorn (3,203m) south of Kaprun, the family-oriented Maiskogel (1,675m) running into Kaprun, the beginner Lechnerberg running into Kaprun, and the moderate Schmittenhohe (2,000m) leading into both Zell Am See and Schuttdorf. Combined the ski areas have 57 pistes for snowboarding served by two dozen lifts with a maximum vertical drop of 2,410m. There is a free convenient ski bus linking each of the ski areas.
The main base lifts at Zell Am See (City Express), Schuttdorf (Ariatbahn) and Schmittental are known for their long morning lift lines, so make sure to arrive early. For a mid-day refuel from snowboarding at Zell Am See, there are several excellent mountain huts including Jaga Alm off the Sonnenalbahn or the Hochzeller Alm off the Schmittenhohe summit.
There’s big news brewing at Zell Am See - Schmitten! If you’ve been here and to the summit of Salersbachkopfl, you’ve probably looked to the northwest and seen how close the lifts at Saalbach-Hinterglemm seem. And, you’ve pondered “if only there was a lift down from here into the Glemmtal”. Well, your wish has come true. There is a new 10 seater gondola heading down towards the village of Viehhofen in the Glemmtal. It presently ends just above down at a “mid-station” terminal. The last section into Viehhofen should be open for Winter 2018/2019. In the past, you could hire a guide to take you down the ski route from Salersbachkopfl down to the bus stop in the Glemmtal located just west of Viehhofen. Now, there is Piste #21 which runs to the mid-station terminal (3.3km/800m vertical), and about halfway down, there is the old Ski Route X4 that still leads to the bus stop. The free ski buses down to Viehhofen lift or Zell Am See, and also up to Saalbach, run every 30 minutes. But there’s more! From Viehhofen, there’s a new lift heading heading up the other side of the valley connecting with the entire Salbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn ski region, which is the second largest in Austria. Without knowing it, they’ve make Viehhofen the center of action for a really large interconnected ski arena. If you do stop or stay in Viehhofen, make sure to grab lunch or dinner at the quaint, traditional Die Schmiede restaurant - it’s fabulous and run by a charming family.
After a day of shredding the slopes at Zell Am See, check out the apres scene at the Ebenbergalm on route #12D and Pinzgauer Hutte early off drag lift 16 on the back side of Hohe. For some nightlife, there are a variety of options including Crazy Daisys, Bierstadl, and finally the Viva Club.
For some authentic Austrian cuisine, try the Steinerwirt or the Lebzelter in Zell Am See.
Note, within the ski area, the Schmittenhohe Bahn tram lift out of the Schmittental basin may require an additional fare, but it can be worth it to get back up to the main summit.
To reach the snowboarding at Zell Am See from Salzburg by car, follow Route 215 west through Germany. Near Lofer, head south on Route 311 to Zell Am See.
To reach the snowboarding at Zell Am See from Salzburg by train, head to the Zell Am See train station. The train follows a kind of a long round-about route taking longer than you would normally expect.
Overall, Zell Am See - Schmittenhohe is the 5th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 65 snowboarding resorts in Austria.