Zell am See is set in a stunning location. The wide Zell valley and its lake (Lake Zell) make for a perfect backdrop.
Immediately above town rises the 2000m Schmittenhohe, which offers intermediate-friendly pistes both above and below the treeline. Meanwhile, 13km to the south, lies the other main skiing sector (Kaprun), on the Kitzsteinhorn. Here, the slopes rise to a more snowsure 3030m, offering skiing not just in winter, but in autumn and the first half of summer too. It is also the best area in Europe for early-season skiing.
Zell is our favourite place to stay (rather than Kaprun) it has a Kitzbuhel-esque feel to the town. Kaprun is more of a traditional ski village rather than a town. The lift station is 5km south of the village, and there are regular buses linking the two.
Location is a huge selling point for both Zell am See and Kaprun. It’s only 60 minutes’ drive from Salzburg airport, and there are regular shuttle buses too. Trains from Salzburg’s main railway station into the middle of town take 90 minutes.
760m – 2000m
December – April
Beginners will be well looked after by the local ski school, with the manageable pistes of the Areitalm, above Schuttdorf, and the left hand slopes of the Schmittenhohe bowl. The Zell ski schools have been running since 1945 and are some of the oldest in the world. We recommend buying your lift pass once you arrive in resort if you are a beginner joining ski school.
The widest range of intermediate runs can be found on the Schmittenhohe, including one superb 8km descent involving a breathtaking 1,200m vertical drop. Just 25 minutes away by free ski bus, and included on the same lift pass, is Kaprun and the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, which at over 10,000ft offers guaranteed snow. The connection to the Ski Circus (Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Fieberbrunn and Leogang) provides fantastic skiing for intermediates and back-country skiiers’ also.
Advanced skiers can test themselves with a range of challenging runs on the Schmittenhohe, which boasts 3 reddish blacks through the trees, some fine mogul runs underneath the chairlifts and some superb powder skiing when conditions are favourable.
Zell am See is very popular with Snowboarders. It is however to ride in the trees – a bummer for both skiers and boarders alike. In general however, this is a pretty good snowboarders resort with the added advantage of a glacier at Kaprun as described above.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the night slope in Zell is illuminated and allows you to ski high above the town centre of Zell am See at night. Free use of the night slope is included in every valid ski pass.
The alternative winter sports offering on the Kitzsteinhorn is characterised by special routes for ski tourers, a ski tour information point with details of the current snow situation, and a gastronomy offering tailored towards endurance athletes. On the ‘snow king’ and ‘ice breaker’ routes, skiers overcome an altitude difference of around 474 and 900 metres respectively. These can be skied from October in safe snow conditions.
Hikers, snowshoe walkers and Nordic walkers can enjoy nature in winter on soft feet. Around 40 kilometres of cleared trails lead through the picturesque mountain landscape of Zell Am See and its neighbour Zell am See. Anyone not wanting to explore the mountain world by themselves can discover the winter landscape on guided tours, for example on a snowshoe hike to the legendary ICE CAMP on the Kitzsteinhorn or a hike along the altitude promenade on the Schmittenhohe.The ‘gallery on the slope’ and ‘art on the mountain’ from Europe’s largest open-air artistic space with more than 29 oversized sculptures.
This has always been one of the classic winter activities in Zell Am See. An exhilarating coast down the natural slides between Kitzsteinhorn and Schmittenhohe is fun for young and old. The ‘Alpine Coaster Maisiflitzer’ at the Maiskogel is one of the region’s tobogganing highlights. The first year-round roller coaster in the Alps in the Salzburger Land is a very special adventure: the double seaters race down the valley on a track of 1,300 meters at a speed of up to 40 kilometres per hour!
Natural Lake Ice Skating
There is always something happening on the frozen Lake Zell am See and in the nearby ice rink. The lake is also a playground for ice sailors and snow-kiters. With the region’s ideal wind conditions, this is the perfect place to watch professionals and experts perform unique feats with their colourful sails. Some of these jumps cover up to 200 meters and can take the kiter up to 20 meters into the air. Skiers and snowboarders can try out these sports under the professional supervision of snow-kite teachers. Zell am See also have an ice rink where you can watch the local hockey team play or have a skate yourself.
View the live snow report for Zell am See here
The entire ski area around the Glocknerwiese is ideally tailored to the needs of families and beginners – from the lift to the ski slopes. Schmidolin, the Schmitten’s fun holiday dragon, is a big highlight for younger visitors. He offers fun and playful activities for all ages, including Schmidolin’s Kidsslope, Dragon Park and Dragon Tunnel. Children from 4 to 12 years of age can join the Schmidolin Fan Club free of charge.
There is also a wide selection of ski schools in the ski resort of Schmitten. In Schattdorf, the Schmittental and Viehhofen, there are large children’s areas with moving carpets and funny characters. The child-safe Kettingbahn and Glocknerbahn lifts complete the facilities for children on the mountain. Families and children are ideally catered for in the Familotel Amiamo, located right next to the ski slopes in Schattdorf.
The Kidsslope is located near the Glocknerbahn lift. A combination of obstacles, waves, a tunnel and a slalom course promises lots of fun for children – adventure guaranteed!
Schmidolin’s Dragon Park
Kids can learn a lot in the ‘Schmidolin’s Dragon Park’ children’s area. Located on the Glocknerweise, the Dragon Park offers fun races, wave runs, archways and obstacles for children.
Schmidolin’s Child World and Dragon Tunnel
The children’s area above the areitXpress mountain station has a covered moving carpet (“Schmidolin’s Dragon Tunnel”) as well as obstacles and funny figures. It is an ideal area for children.
Schmidolin’s magic carpet
There is an ideal children’s area with a people mover and the Bambilift at the areitXpress base station in Schattdorf.
Children’s areas run by the Ski und Snowboardschule Zell am See
The ski school is one of the largest in Austria and runs several children’s areas in the ski resort, including at the base station of the areitXpress lift in Schattdorf, in the Schmittental and at the middle station in Zell am See.
Boutique Hotel Steinerwirt 1493
Zell am See is conveniently located between a number of different airports. Salzburg is by far the closest but Innsbruck Airport is also not too difficult a journey.
The airports of Salzburg and Munich are conveniently situated. Salzburg Airport is only 80 km away; the distance to both Munich and Innsbruck is approx. 200 km. There is a number of bus services and individual, reliable taxi and shuttle services, picking you up from one of the airports.
By car, Zell am See-Kaprun is around 1.5 hours away from Salzburg. Munich is only a 2.5 hours’ drive away.
Main traffic routes and motorways take you from both cities to the Zell am See-Kaprun region.
Coming from Salzburg, you can choose: either you take the route via the Tauernautobahn motorway through the Salzachtal Valley or via the so-called “Deutsche Eck” route. The drive via the motorway is a bit longer but more comfortable. The Deutsche Eck route is more impressive. When arriving via the motorway, you must purchase an Austrian Autobahnvignette (motorway badge). The Tauernautobahn motorway will also take you to our region if you arrive from the south.
Coming from eastern direction, take the A1 Westautobahn motorway. The German motorway A9 from Munich will take you across the border and in direction Zell am See-Kaprun if you travel from the north.
If you arrive from Innsbruck in the west, take the A12 Inntalautobahn motorway first before exiting at Worgl. From there, you take the main roads through the beautiful mountain landscape of Tyrol before you finally arrive in the wonderful Federal State of Salzburg.
Zell am See-Kaprun has excellent railway links to all Austrian towns and cities; the Zell am See Train Station is directly in the town centre and in walking distance to many hotels, cafes and restaurants. The trains of OBB (Austrian Railways) run in regular intervals and take you safely and in comfort to your holiday destination. Especially attractive for winter sports fans: special OBB Saver Tickets take you from Vienna to a ski holiday in Zell am See-Kaprun at ticket prices starting from 24.90 euros per person. The train connections from Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Villach, Klagenfurt, Graz and various other towns are also convenient.