Ski Holidays - Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria
Ski holidays in the Saalbach Hinterglemm area offer access to one of Austria’s premier interlinked ski domains with a wide range of runs and extensive off-piste opportunities. The area is made up by a four resort network consisting of Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Fieberbrunn and Leogang, the latter linking at the eastern extremity of the area. Fieberbrunn, to the north, was linked in 2015 via the new Tyrol-S Gondola, directly above Hinterglemm, and makes the area one of the largest in the country. Saalbach and Hinterglemm are charming towns, providing direct access to the huge 'Ski Circus' area. Both are well known for having a lively après ski scene and bustling nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, which tend to be energetic throughout the evening and into the early hours of the morning.
Ski holidays in Saalbach-Hinterglemm – the ski area
The whole ski area consists of 270km of pistes (52% blue, 41% red, 7% black) and 71 lifts. There is the highest proportion of fast detachable chairlifts and gondolas of any major resort in the world which makes for virtually queueless skiing. The altitude of the ski area ranges from 830m at resort height to 2,100m at the top stations so with colder winters here compared to the western Alps of France and Switzerland the whole area has a good reliable snow record right through to April. The runs on the north side of the valley (south-facing) tend to be preferred by many due to the sun cover, however, do be aware that this can cause the runs to get relatively slushy towards the end of the season. The north facing runs have more shade and trees, so the snow conditions tend to be much better, especially in the late season. There is extensive snow making throughout the separate resorts which keep the runs open early and late in the season.
The area is a good choice for all skiing abilities. The nursery slopes in both Saalbach and Hinterglemm are close to the village centres, so there isn’t too far to walk in your boots after a long ski lesson. Further to this there are eight ski schools to choose from. For intermediates there are plenty of blue and red runs and an abundance of fast lifts to keep queuing minimal. Don’t miss the long flowing run down to Leogang which can often be overlooked by visitors. This lovely long north-facing run descends all the way down to the town where a quick pit stop at the rustic Kraller Alm restaurant is highly recommended. The rest of the ski area has many pleasant rustic mountain restaurants which are all usefully marked on the piste map. Expert skiers should head to the Schattberg X-press lift or the gondola to the north-facing Zwolferkogel which has a 3km black mogul descent immediately beneath the lift. Experts will also love the off-piste terrain which is best discovered with the services of a local mountain guide. As well as the large range of on-piste and off-piste skiing there are five snowparks, two free-ride parks and five toboggan runs to enjoy.
Ski holidays in Saalbach-Hinterglemm – the resorts
Saalbach and Hinterglemm are two adjacent villages situated in the Glemm valley. The villages have expanded along the valley floor but there is little through traffic as the valley has a dead end past Hinterglemm. Although the two villages are only 4km apart and haven't quite mmerged they work as a single-market identity. They are joined by runs and lifts which extend along both sides of the valley. Saalbach is the larger and more developed of the two villages, however, both are lively with large après-ski scenes. Partying often begins in the mountain restaurants before the lifts close, and then continues in the bars and clubs of both villages throughout the night. For non-skiers there are plenty of outdoor and indoor activities. In Hinterglemm there is a sports centre with tennis courts and an ice rink and if you prefer a more exhilarating experience we recommend the toboggan runs in either Saalbach or Hinterglemm. Real adrenaline junkies should also try paragliding off the mountain tops! Fun indoor activities include a bowling alley and two local ski museums – good for soaking up the history and culture of the local mountain lifestyle.
Ski holiday Saalbach-Hinterglemm – Saalbach
The larger of the two resorts, Saalbach, is an attractive and characterful village which is modern, yet in a traditional style. Compared to most Austrian villages Saalbach is placed with lifts leading to the slopes located very close to the car-free village centre – creating a blend of Austrian charm and practical convenience. In fact Saalbach is one of the best Austrian resorts in terms of ski convenience with nursery slopes in the centre and also excellent access to the resort’s fast and efficient chairlifts.
The village is big and has the best après-ski in the area. There are plenty of places for dancing – try the Alibi bar and the Zum Turm (a converted jail) for a busy and lively atmosphere. With DJs and regular live music, Saalbach has a real reputation for excellent nightlife, so if you are planning a big group holiday and enjoy going out – this is a brilliant choice for you. If you are keen on this ski area but would prefer a slightly quieter ski holiday, Hinterglemm is probably a better choice.
Saalbach has a wide variety of accommodation options with hotels in abundance. The 4* Hotel Saalbacherhof has a lovely rooftop garden and, if you enjoy going out, in the basement there is a popular nightclub which is equipped with a large stage, dance floor and big speakers that pound out music throughout the night. The Bergers Sporthotel is also of note for party-goers being host to three lively bars - there is no shortage of après-ski atmosphere here! It is also only a two minute walk from the hotel to the slopes and main gondola station so it's not too far to walk in the mornings.
Ski holiday Saalbach-Hinterglemm – Hinterglemm
Hinterglemm is considered to be more low key than Saalbach with regards the apres ski scene and is therefore more popular with families. The easily accessed and spacious nursery area which is separate from the main slopes is also highly appealing to families. This area is also brilliant for children to easily progress to slightly more challenging terrain as there is a also gondola which serves a good blue level run. Hinterglemm has a great snowpark with steep corners, ground waves and speed jumps. There is also a beginner line and the park is served by its own heated gondola.
Après-ski is also a large part of Hinterglemm, with a lively atmosphere starting on the slopes every afternoon and migrating to the bars in town later in the evening. For the liveliest places pay a visit to the Londoner or the Glemmerkeller which will be busy until the early hours of the morning. The rustic goat themed Goasstall just above the village is a great après-ski location but head over to Saalbach for the best après-ski and nightlife on offer in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm area.
For a family-friendly hotel, try the 4* Gartenhotel Theresia, located opposite the children's ski area and the ski school meeting place. The town centre is a five minute walk away but this is a plus in that there is a t-bar just across the road, providing direct access to the slopes. A more luxurious option is the Hotel Alpine Palace which has a 5 star rating and has a huge 2,000 square metre alpine Wellness Centre including a sauna, steam room, gym and relaxation area.
Ski holiday Saalbach-Hinterglemm – Leogang and Fieberbrunn
Leogang and Fieberbrunn offer a quieter, more relaxed environment but still offer excellent access to the wide range of slopes in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm area.
Leogang is suited to families and couples wanting a quiet holiday. However, the Kraller Alm restaurant offers a small après ski scene for those that would like a taste of the après experience! The 4* Hotel Puradies is highly recommended. It is both smart and stylish and offers a wide variety of accommodation choices.
Fieberbrunn is quiet and appeals to families looking for a more relaxed ski holiday. The area is well suited to beginner and intermediate skiers but with new access to the 270km Saalbach-Hinterglemm Ski Circus area, there is plenty of skiing for all abilities. In addition, Fieberbrunn is well known for having an extensive free ride area which may be popular with more expert skiers and snowboarders.
Getting to the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski area
Salzburg is the nearest airport, which is approximately a two hour flight time from London. From here the resorts of Saalbach and Hinterglemm are a short one and a half hours' drive away. Leogang and Fieberbrunn have a slightly shorter transfer time of just over one hour.