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Home » Our Ski Resorts » Skiing in Austria » Zell am See

An idyllic medieval town perched on the edge of a stunning lake, Zell am See isn't your usual Austrian resort, and is the perfect retreat for those looking for a winter holiday in peaceful, scenic surroundings. Giant mountains surround the resort and its cream-coloured buildings. When the lake freezes, people jump into action - fishing through the ice, going ice-boating, curling or skating right across the surface to Thumers-bach village. Joined with neighbouring Kaprun, the resort is a part of the Europa Sport Region, and the mainly intermediate-friendly skiing is spread over three mountains - Schmittenhöhe, which you can access straight from Zell am See, Maiskogel and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier in Kaprun which are accessed by a short bus ride.

The region offers 130 km of downhill pistes and more than 200km of pistes for cross country lovers along a well-prepared network of trails. The glacier offers 365 days a year skiing, making Zell am See-Kaprun a great late season and even summer destination as well. Intermediates will be able to cover just about the whole area, and will love the freedom of the uninterrupted 6.3 km Schüttenabfahrt run. Beginners will enjoy the convenient nursery slopes at the Sonnenalm lifts, and some gentle tree-lined runs.

Experts can test themselves on the World Cup downhill course, and the glacier at Kaprun. There are several other black pistes, but if spending a decent period of time here, there is limited really challenging terrain for advanced skiers and snowboarders. If you have hired a car, it's worth visiting some of the nearby resorts, including Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Bad Gastein-Bad Hofgastein, Wagrain, Schladming and Obertauern. As with any low altitude resort, the snow is not always reliable, and lifts can get long at the glacier. While having won awards for its family facilities, Zell am See also draws a young funky crowd with its lively après-ski scene. The old village dates back to the 13th century and has been pedestrianised, making it a lot more peaceful. You can wander through the winding streets and check out the ancient church and city tower. This is a fun, lively resort in a beautiful setting which will suit beginners, intermediates families and young groups.

Zell am See ski ratings:




Après Ski

Family Skiing



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More on Zell am See:

Zell am See for Different Ski Abilities

Beginner skiers

Beginners are well looked after at Zell am See, with wide gentle slopes and good nursery areas. About 20 percent of the trails here are rated for beginners. Head first to the beginner area on the Schmittenhöhe mountain directly behind Zell am See. After that, you can try the various nursery slopes at Lechnerberg behind Kaprun village centre. When you've mastered a couple of turns, you can try out the good snow on the easy runs on the glacier.

Intermediate skiers

Cruise all over the place as an intermediate at Zell am See. You'll find a whole lot of diversity to keep it interesting here, with different types of runs, chutes and bumps everywhere. Try the blue runs at the Glocknerlift, or choose any part of the 50 km of red and blue runs to speed down, including the Schutt, which descends the full 1,200m vertical back down to the resort.

Expert skiers

There are a number of sharp black pistes to try out here, with some varied and difficult reds as well. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier is snow secure and offers some great red slopes. Behind Zell am See, the Schmittenhöhe mountain offers about 80 kilometres of piste, including some good terrain for expert skiers. Adventurous skiers can also test their skills on challenging World Cup Downhill courses. However this isn't a major expert's resort, you may want to look to one of the neighbouring resorts for black terrain after a few days skiing.

Zell am See Ski Schools

Zell am See Ski & Snowboard School

Learn to ski and snowboard or streamline your technique and experience the fascinating world of winter, in a group or with a private instructor. Zell am See Ski & Snowboard School offers private lessons - individual ski & snowboard tuition, group ski lessons & snowboard courses for first time skiers all the way to free ride professional snowboarders. Their three main offices are situated directly at the valley stations of the cable cars (Areitbahn, cityXpress, Schmittenhöhe) and with six meeting places to be found over the whole Schmittenhöhe skiing area, they can offer the most comfort and perfect service.

Frost - Zell am See

Frosts service minded, hardworking instructors focus on the individual, specialising in private lessons that are tailor made to the wishes of each client. The Kaprun skischool offers lessons in English, German, Russian, Czech, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and Norwegian. Take advantage of their knowledge about the local area. At Frost they focus on teaching and guiding in Kaprun and Zell am See but also offer all their services in the nearby ski resorts. Let them share their passion about skiing by taking you to our favourite places.

Après Ski and Off the Mountain Activities

Après Ski

Enjoy a buzzing nightlife in Zell am See. It's a great place to meet people with lots of friendly bars and lively pubs and clubs. Try the overly decorated cocktails at B-17, or check out live music at the massively popular two bars at Resi. Also recommended - Diele, Hirschenkeller, Karambar and Bierstadl. Take your pick of 40 plus restaurant serving everything from French to Italian and Chinese, as well as local Austrian specialties. There are cosy bistros and loud boisterous restaurants. For good Italian, head to Giuseppe's, and for authentic local cuisine Traubenstüberl is a good choice.

Off the mountain 

Zell am See is a buzzing town with lots to do and see when you're not skiing. When the lake freezes, you can try ice-sailing, ice-dinghying, ice-surfing and snow kiting upon it. There's snow buggying at the Winterpark in Kaprun, a fitness centre, wellness and beauty treatments, panoramic flights, bowling, cinema, swimming, flood-lit tobogganing, horse-riding, sleigh and llama rides, snow-hiking, curling, caving 1600m below the surface in Europe's longest cave passage, paragliding, parachuting, aeroplane flights and gliding, tennis and squash. Just walking around the town is worthwhile as well - see the historical shopping streets, check out open air art galleries. Tour the lake on the old slow train or visit the local museums.

How to get to Zell am See

By air

The closest airport to Zell am See is Salzburg (82 km). . There is a direct bus from the airport to Zell Am See which runs twice a day, or alternatively, you can catch a bus into the city centre and take a train to the resort. In addition, Salzburg airport offers car hire with all of the major operators. There are also many international arrivals into Munich airport, and some regular flights to Innsbruk airport.

If you choose to hire a car from Salzburg airport, head south on autobahns A-1 and A-10, then turn right on to the B-311 for Zell am See. Kaprun is a farther 15 minutes along the same road.

By train

To travel by train from the UK to Zell am See, catch a Eurostar train departing from London's Waterloo station twice daily for Paris. From Paris, trains run to Munich and Zürich. From either destination, it is possible to catch connecting trains to Zell am See via Innsbruck or Salzburg.

By car

If you opt for driving from the UK, take a car ferry or the Chunnel train service across the Channel. Once in France, it is a two-day drive from Calais to Zell am See / Kaprun (over 1,200kms) via the cities of Reims, Metz, Stuttgart, Munich and Salzburg.