“ Salzburg, Austria. „
Because skiing in Europe is so middle class it’s a touch expensive and can set you back 600 pounds + a week so if its possible, try and get a low cost airline out to the big cities near the Alps and Pyroxenes mountains and book your accommodation through the internet as I did as there are big savings to be made, Travel agencies really do take a significant chunk of your package price for little work although they do include ski passes, rentals and schools which can be extra hassle on site. If you’re an absolute beginner this resort is probably the wrong place to really enjoy learning and one could consider the popular British resort of Mayhoffen near bye in Alpine terms which has long gentle nursery slopes where you can fall over for the first couple of days with out anyone noticing much, it can get to you at first if a touch thrustrating so you need to be totally relaxed to learn the skills from snow plough to the end of the weekoptional slalom. Zell am Zee s runs are quite testing on the whole although there green runs where you will eventually whiz down at the end of the holiday, Sadly for the Franz Klamers amongst you theres no pose black piste run back to the resort so it’s a lot of ski carrying, boot clumping, cable car thrustration, fear not the scenery will take your breathe away up and down the mountains if the packed snow on your boots doesn’t. Like professional golf tournament watching you need the latest gear and kit to impress as a lot of people are hear for the show as well as the snow. It’s not cheap either up there but you have to keep warm and “cool”with the latest Atomic skis and Raybands. My aparal topped $200 first time around. If your snowboarding then you know whats what in cool and I don’t so I will leave you to it. Its quite warm when the sun shines hard bouncing of the majestic peaks and the glistening ice packed snow so you WILL get sunburn on the face and hands so cream u
p. Don’t be intimidated by the little local kids that whiz around the slopes here with out poles or any fear, its quite amazing to see as they grin at you going ass over head as you extract the ski from your Salapets.If the worse comes to the worse slide over to the cafe and have a nice Gluevine tea, a kinda Irish coffee if you get my meaning . Ski lifts are the next big challenge. Type one involves lining up your butt and skis so the seat scoops you and your skis up simultaneously. The second and more complicated involves putting a button shaped seat between your legs ,leaning back slightly to pull you up the slope with your skis on the snow. Get it wrong and you will be on your ass quicker than Frank Bruno. Warning to all beginners, the deeper and powdery the snow the more inviting it looks as you decide to be over confident and ski over it which quickly becomes impossible as you twist both knees disappearing under the frost tinted snowpack. Twisted knees are very common and can ruin your week let alone carrying the luggage back through the airport in pain. Be fully comp on winter sports hols. I don’t know where that train is involved in that terrible accident but I can imagine how terrible that was as you are not to mobile with heavy boots and skis to hump around on the packed cable cars and trains Ski schools are the best way to stay on your feet all week and some learn quicker than others, You will succeed eventually no matter how pis****d off you get folks. At the end of the week when we were there they did slalom with the beeping gate ,flags and everything,really cool.If you finish you get a medal and the better your time the golder it gets. Night life here is romantic and secluded although even the big resorts like Mayhoffen aren’t that over run with clubs and bars so you are always where its at. The clubs are small pinewood finish jobs to melt the snow on the punters ski shoes and ofcourse the obligatory tecno blas
ts out to keep you drinking the cold German beers. Alcohol prices are no worse than a southern market town in the UK. Try Austrian ten pin bowling which involves firing the ball under a metal bar rather than with in a marked zone. Schnapps for the winners of course. Restaurants are restaurants where ever you go although these guys don’t double hit on the service charge which is refreshing and unexpected. Theres a Toboggan run that’s sometimes closed where you can take a slide down a gradual gradient full of beer. Accommodation in the town ranges from Bed and Breakfast to Pension hotels in the traditional style in wooded interior (splinters) and intimate dinning rooms and rec areas, great place to take someone you care for. Tip .If you feel you have a cold or sore throats coming on ask the girl in the local supermarket for something and she should give you a packet of herbal sweets that cure it almost instantaneously took sixpackets home for a quid. Miracle cure?
Zell am Zee was where we learned to ski. My wife had been trying to encourage me to try skiing for a number of years. Being of "advancing" years I have to confess that my reluctance was born of a conviction that I would never be able to learn to do it. So, it was with some doubts that I booked for the entire family to go. Family consists of myself (then in my mid forties), my wife and two kids (son - 10, daughter - 8). We did try a couple of dry-slope lessons at Rossendale. They did make me feel a little more confident. I grabbed the essentials of the snow-plough and what it took in order to change direction. I would strongly recommend everyone in a similar situation to do likewise. The journey to Zell am Zee was spectacular. The flight was into Saltzburg and the coach trip took us through incredible scenery, including passing by the castle that was used for "Where Eagles Dare", not looking anything like it does in the film! Zell am Zee is a beautiful town. Apparently it was also the town where the Porsche organisation started out. We got fitted out with a ski equipement very efficiently and the kit was adequate for our needs though clearly well-used. We set out to take our first lessons and immediately the drawbacks of Zell am Zee became apparent, there is no skiing to and from the town itself. To get to the slopes requires a walk to the bus station and bus up the mountain to the lower slopes. The buses tend to be packed and, of course you have to carry all your equipement around with you. There are lockers at the upper bus station where you can leave your kit, but I wouldn't recommend it. We joined the ski school and were introduced to Alan, a scottish ski instructor, who used to be a member of the GB ski team. We also met his fellow instructor, Mike, who was from Canada. Both were extremely patient and friendly. They got top marks from us throughout the week. Then we realised the second problem with Zell am Zee. There are two black runs emptying out into the nursery slopes! Learners have to contend with experienced skiers wizzing in and out of the lines of learner skiers, some of whom can hardly stand upright. Most disconcerting and, potentially very dangerous. Our initial dry-slope efforts stood us in good stead because we advanced far quicker than most of our fellow learners. By the end of three days we were really doing quite well. The kids went off to have lessons with others there own age. As you would expect they took to it like ducks to water. The lessons got a bit more adventurous and the runs longer. This introduced us to the third unfortunate thing about Zell am Zee. The nursery slopes are anything but even. In fact, a run down to the bottom is like a real rollercoaster ride. For beginners this really is a challenge. All right if you feel up to it but I can see how many felt quite frightened. Most had only booked three days of lessons. We had booked six. For the last three days my wife and I had Alan all to ourselves. These were defintely the best days of the holiday. Alan took us up over some quite challenging Red runs high up in the mountains and showed us around the wonderful ski area. It was all the most enormous fun. It was like having a trainer and a guide all in one. Zell am Zee has some great bars and restaurants. The ski school have adopted one bar (can't remember its name but you can't miss it when you get there) where the bar owner show videos of the day's activities on the slopes. Great fun. I can strongly recommend Zell am Zee. It is a bit on the expensive side but the skiing is superb. But if you are a learner I would suggest learning somewhare else. For that try Mottaret/Meribel.
Austria is new to me and my wife and I tried this resort for the first time last year and we were captivated, by the charm, atmosphere and beauty of the place. The skiing is only Ok but for a week and with one expert and one beginner it provided us with everything we needed. The pistes are picturesque and of long length. The snow was fabulous. The moutain facilities were fantastic and a hell of a lot cheaper than France or Switzerland. All in all it was perfect to go as a couple and to spend a week pootling around together. Reallly romantic and lovely scenery. We weree glad we went but mogul bashers should go elsewhere.