Zell am See
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Visitor reviews for Zell am See Ski Resort
November 20, 2017
mhswansea from United Kingdom
Surprised there are so few reviews for Zell am See, so just thought I might add to them. I have been coming to Zell since the eighties and have always enjoyed my stays here. Skiing is ideal for intermediates. If you want big mountain skiing with long steep descents, best go to France or Switzerland. Local ski areas can be a bit mixed conditions in recent years, but if you have a hire car there are many resorts nearby with easy access. We always have a day at Maria Alm and its neighbouring resorts which is an easy drive. Alpendorf is also great for families and mixed ability groups. The recent link with Vierhofen opens up a vast area of skiing at Saalbach/Hinterglem also, but this red run was narrow and icy when I skied it last January. Glade skiing is not permitted in Austria, to allow descents through wooded areas. Otherwise, the limited off-piste skiing would have a bit more to offer. The hotels are good value, typically Austrian and never too far away from the main lift stations and the ski bus service is regular and efficient. Go in late Jan if you can. In school holidays the resort's easy accessibility means it is very busy but I have rarely encountered serious lift congestion at other times.
Zell am See Ratings
Overall: 4.2. Based on 13 votes and 22 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Zell am See.
Public Transport: 4.8
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Zell am See, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Zell am See, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 3.9
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.8
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Zell am See.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.8
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Zell am See, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Zell am See is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Zell am See relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.7
(1) There are no snow groomers at Zell am See, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Zell am See are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Zell am See is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 4.7
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Zell am See, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.7
(1) Zell am See usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.6
(1) The staff at Zell am See are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Zell am See are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.6
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.9
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.2
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Zell am See has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Zell am See, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 3.3
(1) Not even a kicker at Zell am See, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Zell am See, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Zell am See has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.7
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 4.7
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 4.3
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 4.0
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 4.2
(1) Overall, Zell am See is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 4.4
(1) Overall, Zell am See is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
December 30, 2016
Iain Higgins from United Kingdom
I have been to Zell from 2006 and will be there March 2017. The hotels I would recommend are St Georg, Waldorf and Zum Hirschen. The skiing area is fantastic for all levels and going to the glacier in Kaprun is a must. There is lots to do other than ski i.e. leisure centre has lots to offer, walks/bike rides around the lake, fine restaurants and easy relaxed shopping. This pretty town is well kept and is also perfect for the summer break.
April 14, 2016
Allister Burdett from United Kingdom
Spent an awesome family week (2 x middle aged trundlers and 2 x zippy teens) in beautiful Zell mid March. Went direct on everything from flights (Monarch), apartment (Alpen Apartments), ski hire/lift pass (Intersport), Taxi (taxi 4 you). We even caught the 260 bus direct from Salzburg Airport to the town. Everything went perfectly. Everyone was so helpful and our experience of restaurants in town and on the mountain was excellent. Spa and Billa supermarkets are comparable to UK prices. The fun park was brilliant. We particularly loved blue 3 and the run back down the mountain each day. Everyone seemed so considerate on the slopes too. With the Kaprun glacier up the road it really cannot be beaten as a family resort. Will most definitely return next year.
January 04, 2012
Snowgoose from United Kingdom
Stayed in Zell over Christmas. Conditions were fantastic for the whole week. Stayed in the Pension Herzog. B&B €34pppn. It is excellent value, clean comfy and friendly. It is only 200m from the CitiExpress and 300m to the centre of town. As for the skiing, as with most resorts get up early to avoid the rush. Definitely avoid the top of the CitiExpress at about 10 when the schools set off. For some of the best conditions head to the red runs on the right of the mountain as these are sunny, wide and fun. None of the blacks barring the top of black 11 are too testing as they are wide albeit in places steep.
A trip up to the glacier is worth a try. The piste map suggests that it is very close. It's not. The bus trip takes about 30 minutes. Again, early morning is the time. The glacier loses the sun from early afternoon and the temperature drops quite quickly. The main blues between the drag lifts get very busy, actually the whole of the glacier was very busy. There was only one black open on the two days we went to the glacier and there is only one tricky bit to that which is quite steep and narrow but again not up the standard of many blacks.
My only word of warning on the skiing front in Zell is that if you are with a beginner, advise them to take the cable down. Most of the runs down to the bottom are red or mainly black. The piste map shows a blue to the bottom of the CitiExpress. Don't be fooled. The blue stops about 150m from the end and there is then a fairly steep busy red down to the bottom. Quite often you see people taking their skis off and sliding on their bottoms to get down.
Nightlife in Zell is typically Austrian. Lots of Europop and oompah music but all great fun. Try the Outsider for a couple of apres-ski drinks and then move on to the Diele bar which bangs out music until officially 4am (but it does run later). I was disappointed by the Crazy Daisy. I had not been to Zell for about 20 years and remembered it as a good fun place but this time I found it all a bit flat and boring. A couple of times it was virtually empty.
Even though it was amazingly busy, most of the time lift queues were few and far between. However, it was very, very busy on the mountain and care needed to be taken to pick your way down through the crowds. (This could be down to the fact that this was the first decent week of snow of the season so everyone headed up the mountain.)
Overall, I would rate Zell as a good intermediate resort and worth a visit if you have not already done so.
February 07, 2011
Richard Purton from United Kingdom
As a group and as a family we have been going to Zell am See for the last 11 years. It is ideal for children, beginners and intermediates. But with 32 years of skiing behind me I still find plenty of challenging runs. Go at the end of January. Longest lift queue last week: 1 minute.
March 11, 2010
Barticagyal from Austria
I live here, right on the slope by the city express. The Schmittenhoehe area is always crowded in February. The best time to come is usually towards the end of January. Snow conditions are not always as good as Kaprun Kitzsteinhorn or Saalbach-Hinterlgemm as another reviewer says, but I agree, the area is good for beginner-intermediate people who just want to have fun on the slopes.
January 10, 2010
Fiona from United Kingdom
After reading all the positive reviews I had high hopes about Zell (Zell am See). It is definitely a beautiful, quaint town and parts of the ski area are very beautiful too but we were a bit disappointed by the skiing. Blacks are more like reds and the reds were often so crowded it was difficult to pick a route through all the people. We've since heard that this period of the year is the most crowded (1st week of January) as it is Christmas in Russia.
December 17, 2008
Dan from United Kingdom
As we have a flat in Schuttdorf we are regular visitors to the area, we love it and have been in every season of the year. Zell am See is great all year round. The only time we do not ski is summer, but the glacier is still usually open, however not great in August. There is a great deal to do in the summer, biking, walking, swimming, fishing, water skiing and more. Be careful of going in October as many of the restaurants and bars etc are closed. A few tips that may come in handy, if the snow is poor get on the bus to Kaprun. Snow on the glacier always seems to be good there to me. There is also another great resort in easy striking distance - Saalbach - which has an extensive ski area and generally has better conditions than Zell. Again you can get the ski bus there from Zell am See and if you have a car it is even easier; about a 15 minute drive. Saalbach Hinterglem has over 200 kms of skiing and a great lift system. You can get a single lift pass that covers all three resorts (Zell, Kaprun and Saalbach) at not much extra to the standard pass. You can even get a pass that covers some 22 resorts in the Salzburg area, including Kitzbuhel (approx 40 min drive from Schuttdorf). If you have a car many resorts are in easy striking distance and the road system is easy to use. We love the place, the people are great the facilities fantastic and the life style is how it should be. Hope this helps.
March 28, 2008
rebecca mayhem from United Kingdom
Visited Zell for the first time in Feb 08 for a friends wedding & it was so fantastic I was back there within 3 weeks! It's really pretty in Zell with wild nightlife and the glacier at Kaprun is amazing. I will definitely be back!
March 12, 2008
Fire44 from Ireland
Had my best skiing holiday ever, during the first week of February 2008. It was our first time to visit Zell am Zee, and we were very impressed. It's a beautiful area, great town, loads of restaurants and bars, plenty of shopping and facilities, and skiing was great. A lot of the easier blue and red runs are at the top of the mountain, where you can pick and choose which runs suit you. We will definitely return to Zell and Crazy Daisys for apres-ski!!!