Overview of Zell am See
The picturesque lakeside town of Zell am See-Kaprun in Austria is home to the charming Zell am See ski resort. Developed from a very old village into a modern town which hosts the ski resort, the character and history of the area still manages to remain unspoiled in spite of the modern developments. Sitting idyllically between Lake Zell and the Schmittenhöhe ( the mountain in Zell am See), the town has is a major attraction both in the winter and summer seasons. The resort has a relatively small ski area in comparison with other major resorts in Europe however, it nevertheless appeals to a lot of holidaymakers. The area was first populated as far back as the 8th Century; the medieval Romanesque cathedral standing as a true testament to its past. The town centre still maintains some of its old buildings and cobblestone streets from that time. The resort is car-free and almost 100% pedestrian, save the shuttle buses that ferry skiers across to the lifts and other parts of the town. There are ski-in and ski-out accommodation options and you will also find that most of the bars, restaurants and amenities are within a short distance walk.
Ticking the box of the typical alpine resort, Zell am See is truly one of the most aesthetically pleasing resorts in Switzerland. There is a postcard feel when you are in the town which is helped by the lake Zell and the backdrop of the Hohe Tauren mountain range which towers over the resort in the distance. The resort is well known for its child-friendly activities and welcoming atmosphere. Although it is widely perceived to be a family-friendly resort, there is a vibrant apres-ski scene here with several bars and lounges featuring great music and entertainment. There is also a wide variety of non-ski activities suitable for all ages groups, offering great entertainment for everyone.
Zell am See ski resort is flanked by the Kaprun ski resort and the Saalbach resort on either side. The slopes on these resorts are accessible via the K-onnection gondola, so visitors have additional exploring options of up to 408 kilometres of ski terrain covered by the Ski Alpin pass.
Skiing in Zell am See
The Zell am See-Kaprun ski area has a combined 138 kilometres of pistes which are mostly red and blue coloured runs suitable to beginners and intermediates. Advanced skiers have not been left out as there are also a number of black and challenging reds on the Schmittenhöhe as well as neighbouring Kaprun. The terrain varies between wide open pistes further up the Schmittenhöhe and tree-lined runes lower down towards the resort. We have made a few key suggestions below.
Beginners are well catered to at Zell am See with the majority of the pistes being blues and a couple of easy red’s. There are a few nursery slopes at the resort to get going with few more exciting blue runs coming down either side of the Schmittenhöhe at 2000 metres. Take the CityXpress gondola from the town centre for access to the Schmittenhöhe or take the shuttle bus to Schmitten to catch the cable car to the summit.
Confident intermediates in search of challenging reds can hop on the shuttle bus to Kaprun and hit the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier which sits at 3203 metres where they can find a few short but steep reds further up. Access to the glacier is via the Gletscherjet2 gondola or the Gipfebahn cable car. Not wanting to go too far, there are a few reds on the north side of the Schmittenhöhe including a 1,200 vertical drop.
Advanced skiers will enjoy the tree-lined blacks on the Schmittenhöhe, with the steep 4 kilometre Trass recognised as a popular run thanks to the 1,000-metre vertical drop. Get there early when the snow is good and has been freshly groomed to make the best out of it. Off-piste opportunities abound, especially on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Hire a local guide for the best tips on where to find more off-piste adventure.
Snowboarding in Zell am See
Zell am See-Kaprun has been a longtime favourite of snowboarders. There are two snowparks in the area; one on each resort. The snowpark on the Schmittenhöhe is located just off the Hochmaisbahn station and is suitable for all skill levels, with the park separated according to skill level. It has up to 12 different obstacles including kickers, a variety of boxes, cannon tubes and mushroom jib. The snowpark at Kaprum sits on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Larger than the snowpark on Zell am See, the Kitzsteinhorn snowpark has three different parks within it which are also separated according to difficulty and ability levels. It is fully equipped with everything you would expect at a snowpark including a 150-metre superpipe.
Snow Conditions on Zell am See
No weather forecast available
Zell am See has a relatively good snow record. Despite a resort altitude of just 798 metres, the majority of skiing in the area takes place on the Schmittenhöhe which sits at 2,000 metres. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier in neighbouring Kaprun ( which forms part of the ski network) sits at 3,203 metres see’s skiing commence very early on in the season from about mid-October due to the reliable snowy conditions and north-west position of the terrain. The Schmittenhöhe and Kitzsteinhorn glacier both have 100% snow-making capability which guarantees skiing throughout the season.
Apres-Ski in Zell am See
Contrary to the popular belief, there are vibrant apres-ski attractions outside of France. Countries like Austria and Switzerland have been perceived as having a subdued apres-ski in the past however, in more recent times we are beginning to witness a turn in the trend and Zell am See is certainly not left out. They may not be well known for having flamboyant parties and confetti cannons (just yet) but the party train is slowly but steadily making its way across Alps.
The first stop on the party express in Zell am See has to be SchnapsHans. It is already heaving at lunchtime with DJ sets and live bands. The large outside terrace is the main hub and dancing on the tables is the order of the day. Great music, great atmosphere and great range of drinks menu. The music switches between old and new R&B, dance, rock and blues. In bad weather, the party moves inside the two-storey establishment.
Villa Crazy Daisy
The next stop is Villa Crazy Daisy, the self-proclaimed leading apres-ski venue in Zell am See since the early ’80s. Open from 3 pm every day, Villa Crazy Daisy is well known for its Austrian nail game; a fun game where each person within a group tries to hammer a nail into a log but only using the blunt side of the hammerhead ( its even more hilarious after a drink or two). Friendly and very welcoming with a good range of drinks and a good music selection.
Off Piste Bar
Another great stop on the Zell am See party express. Open every day from 4 pm, Off Pitse Bar kicks of with a live band and dancing can commence. Live bands feature just about every day. The bar kicks off with music and dancing until 8 pm before it becomes a club with DJ sets rolling out and dance music plays until early hours. A fantastic fun-filled experience.
Not far off from SchnapsHans, the Breiteckalm is another favourite on Zell am See which features loud funky music and an open terrace rife with good vibes. It’s on the way down from the slopes so we can technically call it a pit stop (Piste Stop!). Lots of dancing and a great stop to share the day’s experiences on the slopes in between shots.
Murray’s Irish Bar
For a more traditional pub experience, head over to Murray’s Irish Bar. An authentic Irish run establishment with Guinness on tap, good whiskey choices, live sports, darts and quiz nights. A friendly bar with a different experience for pub faithfuls.
Facilities in Zell am See
The small town of Zell am See has a few attractions and facilities to cater to the general needs and requirements of any visiting skier. Whether you are looking to secure some ski gear, relax at a spa or wander around the shopping mall for a bit of window shopping, there are quite a few attractions to choose from.
Ski Hire in Zell am See
There are several ski hire operators in Zell am See from where you can hire your ski gear. If you plan on travelling to the resort without any ski gear with a plan to hire some when you arrive, why not order from us online and save yourself precious time on the resort. Instead of spending time visiting the different shops to select your ski gear, you can very easily add the option of ski gear hire directly with us as part of your holiday booking. We have very close relationships with ski hire companies in Zell am See and are more than capable of securing top range brands and quality ski equipment. Without wasting any time on arrival at Zell am See, you can simply pick up the equipment that will already be paid for, ready and waiting for you. Feel free to have a chat with us regarding your ski equipment hire as you book your ski holiday.
Ski Passes in Zell am See.
Secure all your ski passes for yourself and the travelling group directly with us and travel to Zell am See with the peace of mind and assurance that your ski passes have already been taken care of and will be ready and waiting for pick upon arrival. Save time by avoiding the long queues at the lifts and ticket offices and include your ski passes as part of your booking. It is by far, the most convenient way of purchasing Zell am See ski passes.
Spa and wellness centres in Zell am See
Give your mind and body the best care available in Zell am See. A spa session is one of the popular and effective ways to unwinding and relaxing after hitting the slopes all day. You can even have a session to recharge in the morning before you head out to the slopes. There is a host of spas and wellness centres on Zell am See. The 4-star Tauern Spa Superior Resort is one of the best and comes highly recommended. Located in the resort, this facility boasts 10 steam baths and saunas of varying specifications. It also has up to 12 different pools for ultimate relaxation. The indoor heated pool comes complete with diving boards and slides. The Tauren Spa hosts the Alpin Vital SPA and Kosmetic Areal with over 17 different treatment rooms and where you can get an extensive range of treatments and massages. Away from the Tauren Spa, there are several hotels with resident spa and wellness centres to select from, the majority of which offer great treatment specials and modern spa facilities.
Shops in Zell am See
You can find a wide range of shops in Zell am See’s beautiful town centre. It is a car-free zone, allowing for a relaxed walk around the town. Shope range from fashion, sports, souvenirs and even a traditional market featuring arts and crafts to Italian (yes, Italian) delicacies. If you are visiting over the Christmas period, Elisabeth park in Lake Zell, transforms into a romantic Christmas Market featuring lovely Advent decorations which further accentuate the Christmas spirit.
Facilities for Children in Zell am See
Zell am See is very well equipped with child-friendly facilities and entertainment for the little ones. Children are certainly not left out of the fun and activities. Read further for additional information.
Children Ski Schools
There are several great ski schools at Zell am See for children, ranging from the tender ages of 3 and upwards. With so many options to choose from, why not book your children’s ski lessons directly from us as part of your ski holiday booking. We have great relationships with ski school operators across the Alps including Zell am See. The advantage of booking directly with us is that you save a lot of precious time selecting, locating and enrolling your children in ski schools. Let us save you the hassle and take care of that for you. Add ski lessons to your booking and travel to Zell am See with one less thing to worry about with the knowledge that once you hit the slopes, you already know the kids are sorted. All our ski lesson operators are certified and credible operators with English speaking instructors.
The Tauren Spa in Zell am See is a large sport and wellness complex that also has a kids section otherwise known as the “Kidstein”. It features a large children’s swimming pool with a choice of water slides. Young teenagers are not left out either as they also have a swimming pool dedicated to them. Moving on from the water attractions in the Tauren Spa, there is also an indoor active (play) area for children featuring different sporting activities from volleyball to climbing walls. Another very popular attraction for children is the Schmittenhöhe, an outdoor park where children get to meet Schmidolin, the cool dragon who entertains the kids and teaches them how to ski. The famous XXL Fun Slope is also on the Schmittenhohe, where kids can carry on skiing and snowboarding down the slopes. There are also non-ski activities such as ice-skating and toboggan runs. Lots of activities for kids!
Childcare in Zell am See
There is no shortage of childcare providers in Zell am See. There are kids clubs and childcare minders available at the resort with certified nannies and reputable organizations. For more information speak with us directly or contact the tourist office when you arrive Zell am See for additional recommendations.
Mountain Information on Zell am See
There are 138 kilometres of pistes between Zell am See and Kaprun. There are 59 blue runs, 51 reds and 28 black runs altogether serviced by a network of 51 lifts, cable cars and gondolas. The Schmittenhöhe on Zell am See peaks at 2,000metres with the Kitzsteinhorn glacier peaking at 3,000 metres