The best ski resorts in the Salzburg region
Continuing the topic of skiing, I would like to recommend several other excellent resorts besides Grossarl-Dorfgastein and Flachau.
The resort of Mühlbach am Hochkönig is located 60 kilometers from Salzburg. It is not so known among foreign visitors as Zell am See or Kaprun, but the quality of the slopes is not inferior to them in any way. If you look at the ski lift plan, you can see that they connect the nearby resorts of Dienten and Maria Alm. And if you choose the paths with knowledge, you will get an excellent route from Mühlbach via Dienten to Maria Alm – half a day there and half a day back—a whole day of intense skiing and never going on the same track. The difficulty level of the trails is very diverse. Of the 120 kilometers, about 60 kilometers are blue. At the same time, they are very wide to feel at ease and safe. About 40 kilometers of red slopes and about 20 kilometers of black ones. Of these three villages, Maria Alm is the most touristic. Nearby is an even larger settlement of Saalfelden, with plenty of shops and leisure facilities. Mühlbach is a small village; the buildings here are on steep slopes, you can't walk much. You can get from Salzburg by train to the town of Bischofshofen and from there by bus or taxi. Bischofshofen has a famous ski jumping stadium, leisure facilities and shopping.
If you put your children on skis, I recommend choosing a smaller resort Lofer (Lofer). The tracks there are almost all for beginners. A big plus is the availability of a free rope lift at the lower station of the cable car. You can practice there before buying a ski pass and going to the main ski area. Upstairs is a ribbon lift "magic mat" for little skiers and several fan parks with slides and pictures with fairy-tale characters. Experienced skiers in Lofer will be bored, but the resort is ideal for family skiing with young children. The total length of the trails is 46 kilometers, of which 31 kilometers are of easy difficulty (blue). An important role is the price of ski passes, which is lower than at large resorts.
Lofer is only 50 kilometers from Salzburg. However, it is not very convenient to get there by public transport, and buses from Salzburg rarely run. For example, it is better to go by car or order a transfer from me. It is also necessary to consider that the path passes through Germany, and document control is possible.
Next to the Lofer is the Bavarian town of Bad Reichenhall. There is a lovely city center and an excellent thermal complex, Rupertusthermen, where you should go with your children.
Another resort for teaching children to ski is Werfenweng. A huge plus of the resort for families with children is its flexible and sparing rates. The ski area for beginners includes a fun park with figures of fairy-tale characters, small slides and slalom poles, an indoor ribbon lift, and three buggies that move at an average pace. The resort is close to Salzburg, 45 minutes by car. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that the main ski area for experienced skiers is relatively tiny. But the descents' difficulty level is decent: medium and challenging, and the tracks are straight and fast. I recommend it to fans of high-speed skiing! Watch the video about the resort below.
If someone in your company does not ski or you want to combine downhill skiing with wellness holidays, walks, and cross-country skiing, then the Bad Gastein and Bad Hofgastein resorts suit you. There are thermal springs, wellness radon tunnels, and a suspension bridge between the peaks of the mountains with stunning views. There is an excellent selection of family hotels and apartments in the medium-price category. Thermal waters are connected to many hotels. Bad Gastein can be reached by train from Salzburg in 1.5 hours or Munich in 3.5 hours with a transfer to Salzburg.
The ski area is large, about 100 kilometers, equally red and blue. I think infinitely long family trails are too narrow for overtaking, making experienced skiers nervous. I recommend the resort to those who do not often choose to go skiing, for families with children and elderly relatives. There are excellent cross-country ski trails. I recommend setting aside a day for skiing in the nearby Dorfgastein resort. You can get there in 20 minutes by bus, train or taxi.
As a place of deployment from these two settlements, Bad Hofgastein, in my opinion, is more comfortable. The town is more significant; there is a pedestrian zone with shops and restaurants. The Alpentherme Gastein thermal complex is much larger than the Felsenthermen in Bad Gastein. However, Felsenthermen is newer, fresher, and more modern.
Bad Gastein is located right on the slope of the mountain, steeply going into the valley; from the windows of the hotels, there is a picturesque view of the valley of the Gasteinerache river embraced by the Alps. This is a charming historical town with a waterfall in the center and 19th-century architecture. But the downside is that if you like relaxed cross-country walks, you must constantly overcome altitude differences in Bad Gastein. The distance between Bad Hofgastein and Bad Gastein is nine kilometers, Salzburg 90 kilometers, and Venice 330 kilometers.
The Radstadt resort is attractive primarily due to one of the longest toboggan slides in Austria. The path is laid separately from the ski slope, wide enough for overtaking, and the backlight turns on in the evening. The sleigh is rented on the spot for 5 euros, and a deposit is paid for 5 euros. An elevator in the daytime costs 14 euros for an adult and 8 euros for a child, or you are the owner of a multi-day ski pass Ski Amade. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the toboggan run is open until 21:00. The evening fare is slightly more expensive and is paid separately. On the contrary, there are not many ski slopes to Radstadt, only 17 kilometers.
Ski Amade Ski Region - Zauhensee resort
A 15-minute drive from Radstadt is one of my favorite ski resorts - the village of Zauchensee (Zauchensee). The trails here are vast, diverse, and well-prepared. The lifts are modern; sometimes, snow corduroy is preserved until noon. There was a case when I went for a ride to the resort of Flachau (Flachau), and it was as if the snow trucks did not work at all the day before, with solid pits and mounds. After complaining at the ticket offices, with the same ski pass, I went to Zauhensee, where the snow was five plus, and there were fewer skiers.
The total length of the descents in Zauhensee is 45 kilometers. But suppose this does not seem enough, then, having descended to the neighboring valley and having traveled 1 minute on a free ski bus. In that case, a vast region for skiing, Flachauwinkl - Kleinarl - Flachau - Wagrain - Sankt Johann Im Pongau, appears at your disposal.
Kleinarl is a picturesque village in the Alpine valley of the Arles River. Many hotels have spa treatments, traditional restaurants, hiking trails, and cross-country ski trails. The skiing area is vast, as lifts connect Kleinarl to Flachau, Zauhensee, Wagrain, and St. Johan in Pongau. Here everyone will find a level of difficulty to suit their taste and skill.
If you are an experienced skier, I advise you to take the ski route Skizircus Challenge. The main thing is not to forget about the working hours of the lifts! At 16:30, they all pass out at once.
Saalbach and Hinterglemm are charming villages and the BEST in entertainment and nightlife. Festivals of various kinds of music are often held in the open air. Ideal for young people! Link to the program of events in Saalbach-Hinterglemm. It takes about 1.5 hours by car from Salzburg Airport to Salbach. Leogang is located closer to Salzburg.
Obertauern - a ski resort in Austria
Obertauern is a decent resort where you can safely go for a week. Compared to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, the lifts here are a bit old, but the trails are exciting and varied. For 5-6 hours of intensive skiing, including lunchtime, I go around the resort in a circle two times. The total length of the trails is 100 km, of which 60 are blue. For fans of cross-country skiing, there is a 20-kilometer track at an altitude of about 1400 meters, so excellent snow stays there until the end of April when the lifts are closed. Hiking skiing (ski tour) in Obertauern can be practiced until mid-June when the snow tongues melt in the hollows. The town itself is located at an altitude of 1100 meters. There are plenty of bars and good restaurants. The resort of the average price category, the ski pass, is cheaper than at other famous resorts. It takes about one hour by car from Salzburg. The road leading to Obertauern (Katschberg) runs among the mountains at a high altitude. In case of heavy snowfalls, it is closed. Take note!
It is famous as the filming location of the 1965 Beatles film "Help!". In addition, there are several iconic places with memorials of the group, where it is necessary to take a photo!
Beautiful trails in the Zillertal Arena in Zell am Ziller (Zell am Ziller) near the Tyrolean Mayrhofen (Mayrhofen). That's where you can feel the unprecedented scale of the trails and the quality of the cover and lifts! I recommend it to everyone! On the Hintertux glacier, you can go skiing in the warmer months. From Salzburg to Mayrhofen, 170 kilometers. I highly recommend visiting there in the summer!
Tyrolean Kitzbuhel (Kitzbuhel), 80 kilometers from Salzburg, is a status place—a kind of Austrian Courchevel. Here I like the variety of trails and their approximately equal ratio in terms of difficulty. The highlight is the opportunity to test yourself on the orange track, where the annual Ski Alpin discipline is held - the Super G Slalom downhill.
The total length of the trails is about 180 kilometers. Kitzbuhel is a "noble" resort, correspondingly expensive. The ski pass cost, food, and accommodation are among the highest in Austria. Discounts are rare. For example, pensioners pay the total price for a weekly ski pass (see the cost of ski passes in Austria). Even for parking a car at the main lift, you have to pay, which I have never seen at other resorts. Though small, the town's center is lovely, designed in a single historical style. There are many fine-dining restaurants and expensive boutiques. Therefore, it is correct to say Kitzbuhel. Kitzbuhel is wrong.
I am often asked about reliable resorts where snow is guaranteed to lie in a warm winter. January in Salzburg usually begins with the heaviest snowfalls and frosts of -10 - 15 degrees. February is a cold and snowy month. Since March, thaws have started, but there is still excellent snow in the mountains. So there is no need to worry about snow in winter at ski resorts in Austria.
Another question is: in what month is it best to go skiing in Austria? I recommend the following periods: the first half of December until December 24, the Christmas holidays begin, and the tracks are crowded. Then the second half of January - the beginning of February. From the second week of February until the end of the month, the period of the semester and school holidays. At this time, the number of skiers on the slopes increases, respectively, it is more difficult to book hotels, restaurants are crowded, and the surface of the slopes deteriorates quickly. The whole month of March is an excellent month for skiing. It is already warming by the beginning of April, and you will have to climb higher and higher for regular snow.
If you come in the off-season, you can ski on the Kitzsteinhorn, Dachstein, Hintertux, and Stubai glaciers all year round. The only thing is that in summer, you will have to wake up early because closer to noon, the snow on the glaciers is already getting wet and not slippery.
I can advise my guests on excursions in detail on this topic.