Zell am See Lifts & Terrain

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Zell am See Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Interlinked Ski Resorts

Kaprun - Kitzsteinhorn
Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm

    Zell am See Ski Trail Map
  • Zell am See Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    Zell-am-See only
    760m - 2,000m (1,240m)

    Ski ALPIN
    760m - 3,029m (2,269m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6m
  • Lifts (28)
    9 Gondolas / cable cars
    10 Chairs

    Ski ALPIN - 121 lifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Late Nov - mid April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 77km (Zell am See)
    Longest run - 5km+
    Advanced/Expert - 20%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Beginner - 35%

    Ski ALPIN (incl. Kaprun & Skicircus) - 408km
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Ski ALPIN Card
    Valid Zell am See-Kaprun-Skicircus
    Adult - €55 to €60.50
    Child - €27.50 to €30
    Child u/5yr - Free
    Kaprun Ski Trail & Piste Map
  • Kaprun Ski Trail Map
    Kaprun-Zell am See Ski Trail Map
  • Kaprun-Zell am See Ski Trail Map
    Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang, Fieberbrunn ski trail map
  • Skicircus Saalbach Ski Trail Map

Zell am See Skiing & Snowboarding

Zell am See is all about the piste terrain. It is mainly east facing & below tree line, but quite varied. Unusually for a lot of the resorts in the region, Zell am See includes some very long advanced (black) runs. The range of beginner & intermediate trails will satisfy most skiers for several days.

A low base of only 760m altitude may lead to trails on the bottom half of the ski resort becoming icy, but the lifts up high are adequate enough to avoid the worst of it, if it indeed icing occurs at all!

Zell-am-See Skiing Highlights

The Zell am See skiing highlights are a rite of passage according to Powderhounds. They are only to be undertaken when there is no powder because skiing powder ALWAYS takes priority. Tick off the following when at Zell am See.

  • Ski the full 1,240m vertical of Zell am See from the summit of Schmitten all the way down to Schuttdorf & the base of the Areitbahn 1 gondola. Then do all the other top to bottom runs.
  • Ski all seven marked routes (X1 to X7). X3 & X6 are the picks.
  • Do the Ski Movie & Fun Slope from the top of Hochmaisbahn.
  • Play on the multitude of rolling piste trails throughout the resort.
  • Freeride the massive amount of steep tree lines within the resort but beware of stumps in low snow depths.
  • Take the ski route #4 into Saalbach and explore one of the great resorts of Austria (& the world).
  • Take the very spiffy Porsche designed Schmittenhohebahn cable car or the Kettingbahn chair to the top of the resort directly to the door of the best on mountain après ski location in Zell am See at the Schnaps Hans Alm bar overlooking the entire region.
  • After the Schnaps Hans Alm bar, challenge yourself to ski the Trass ski run from top to bottom without stopping, continuing all the way into Zell am See to continue the revelry at one of the great bars or restaurants in town.
  • On another day get on the bus to Kaprun & ride the new gondolas up to the glacier on Kitzsteinhorn. After exploring the glacier terrain, rip down some of the summit to valley off-piste routes.

Ski Lifts

There aren’t too many places that can boast having cable car cabins designed by Porsche. Zell am See can and does …….. boast about it that is! They do look pretty cool (if you are into that, but who really cares). Putting that aside, Schmitten does have an expansive & modern lift system hauling skiers and boarders up its 77km of premier piste skiing. The resort would be better off boasting about their sexy new black gondolas. When did all new gondolas become black?

Lifts total 28 and include 2 cable cars, 7 gondolas, 10 chairlifts & numerous surface lifts. All lifts are modern or functional for the respective locations. Some obvious exceptions are the lifts up to the Sonnkogel, an old clanger of a cable car & triple chair. Upgrades to lifts are ongoing, with new gondolas being introduced in recent years.

Lift Pass

The Zell am See ski area is lift pass linked to the delightful Kaprun-Kitzsteinhorn & Ski circus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. The combined Ski ALPIN lift ticket covers the slopes of Kitzsteinhorn, Maiskogel, Schmittenhöhe, Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang & Fieberbrunn. The difference in vertical from the base near Zell am See (760m) to the top of the ski-able area of Kitzsteinhorn (3,029m) makes for an impressive 2,269m vertical across the resorts – shame you can can’t ski it all in one hit! It does however provide access to a total of 408km of trails and 121 ski lifts - an area comparative to the massive Ski Arlberg.

Trail Map

The Zell am See ski trail map illustrates the piste runs on the front side of the resort well enough, but its detail of the backside trails & terrain around the Kettingbahn & the ZellamseeXpress is poor. The scale of the off-piste tree skiing is similarly poorly defined – probably to dissuade exploration!

Snowboarding Zell am See

The resort is generally a snowboard friendly location, but snowboarders are almost non-existent. What a great place! Seriously though, the only challenges for boarders is the awkward terrain & surface lifts along the high ridges between the summit & the top of the Hochmaisbahn.

On-Piste Terrain

The main strength of Zell am See ski resort is the quality & diversity of its 77km of on-piste trails, plus the ability to ski the entire 1,240m of skiable vertical in one muscle-destroying run. If it has a weakness, it is that most of the easy trails are limited to the upper mountain, with few options for beginners to ski/ride all the way down the mountain safely.

Novice & Beginner

The mountain has two novice learn-to-ski areas, but both require a bus ride if staying the main part of Zell am See town & both are at extremely low elevation - even for Austria. The best one is at the lowest point of the resort past Schuttdorf at the base of the Areitbahn 1 gondola. The other is at the main resort base above town where three major cable cars & gondolas converge. Beyond these areas, Zell am See has only one beginner rated valley trail with the majority of its 35% 'easy' on-piste terrain restricted to the upper mountain, possibly requiring downloading at the end of the day depending on where one ends up. Not an ideal situation for beginners.

Intermediates

Intermediates will revel in the 45% of Zell am See piste trails rated red, plus some of the easy ski routes. The advanced valley trails are do-able by intermediates if the piste is in good condition (i.e. groomed packed powder).

Advanced

One of the few ski resorts in Austria with a decent number of black trails, the long valley runs & other short pitches dotted across the ski hill will amuse all advanced skiers, melting thighs & generating tears through one’s goggles as you let it rip.

Off Piste, Freeride & Backcountry Terrain

Off piste terrain is only limited by your imagination. For the adventurous when the snow is deep, there are some quite lusty alpine bowls and literally kilometres of great challenging, tree skiing possibilities. Powder sits in small meadows along piste trails, however, note where summer fence lines have barb wire strung along them. Barbwire and ski bases do not mix.

Zell am See has limited to no obvious access to backcountry terrain unless one counts some options into the Glemmtal towards Saalbach.

Powder chasers should hit the upper mountain north-facing off-piste areas below the Kettingbahn and the short ski routes X3 & X6. Otherwise head for the steep trees in the resort’s bowels.