read our guide to Zell am See, a charming lakeside medieval town in Austria southwest of Salzburg - one of Austria's most famous ski resorts.Tree-lined skiing and snowboarding in the Europa Sport ski region with some great après-ski off the slopes.
If you ski Zell Am See you are in for a traditional Austrian winter vacation nestled between a lake and a mountain. This is one of the most famous winter sports venues in Europe. The slopes combine the resorts of Zell am See and Kaprun to offer 130kms of groomed pistes as part of the Europa-Sport Region. Just 100kms southwest of Salzburg, this area is easy to reach and offers some excellent skiing and snowboarding at all levels. You can also use the airports of Innsbruck and Munich but they are over 2 hours away.
Pretty, tree-lined slopes with great views down to the lake
Varied terrain including a couple of genuine black runs and off piste
Lively, but not rowdy, nightlife along with over 40 restaurants for evenings
WE DON'T LIKE
Sunny, low slopes often have poor conditions despite snowmaking, which makes the area more limited
Trek to lifts from much of the accommodation and sometimes crowded buses
Less suitable for beginners than most small Austrian resorts
SUITABILITY RATINGS 1-5
On the slopes
The great thing when you ski Zell Am See is not only the tree lined skiing and boarding but also the fantastic views from the peak at Schmitten Pfiff. If you are a beginner the pistes of the Areitalm, above Schuttdorf, are perfect as well as the left hand slopes of the Schmittenhöhe bowl - cruisy blues and wide pistes. The lower slopes do not always have good snow cover, but there are snow cannons. The Schmittenhöhe also hosts the reds and blacks. There's a fantastic 8kms descent that has a 1,200m vertical. There are a number of challenging runs including three blacks through the trees, some mogul runs and some great powder skiing if the snows right!
So as well as all the local pistes, less than 30 minutes away you also have a free ski bus that takes you through to Kaprun and therefore, the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. The glacier offers snowsure conditions and all year round skiing, along with some great bowls and off piste terrain. Boarders are also well looked after with a good terrain park and a rodeo-funpark, along with jumps and some awesome off-piste. If you can afford a local guide, you will see there is so much more to explore too.
If you ski Zell am See you are also in the ski region of Europa Sport.
Off the slopes
There are over 13,000 guest beds in the region, catering for all tastes and prices, and excellent nightlife. You can choose from an amazing 40 restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs - popular choices for dinner include Giuseppe and Lebzelter, while nightspots to try include Lupo's Bar, the Rock and the Bierstadl. Away from the slopes there are lots of activities - why not try something different like tobogganing, sleigh rides, ice-skating, hang-gliding, paragliding, or hot air ballooning?