Zell am See Resort Reviews
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Zell am See
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Visitor reviews for Zell am See Ski Resort
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.
Zell am See Ratings
Based on 12 votes. 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: 4.7
(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: 4.0
(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: 3.9
(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: 4.6
(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: 4.5
(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: 4.5
(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: 4.6
(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: 4.2
(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: 3.9
(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): 4.1
(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): 4.5
(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.
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!!!
January 29, 2008
dave cox from United Kingdom
Zell am See is the most beautiful place I have visited. I will be going there at the end of Feb for 2 weeks. This will be my 8th winter visit and there is something for everyone. I have also been there four times in the summer and I'm still unsure when it is the most fantastic.
December 17, 2007
Dawn from Austria
Went for Christmas 2006. Had a fab time. Snow was limited as it was everywhere this year. Some friends had no snow at all in other Austrian resorts! We had enough and they kept the canons going as much as they could. It was ok, just got slushy later in the afternoon. It is the most beautiful place to visit; the lake and mountain are so pretty. Oliver's restaurant at the very top of the mountain is fantastic. Stayed at the Fischerwirt in the centre of town. Very nice and friendly, staff were excellent. Going again for Christmas and new years this time and there is loads of snow.
December 02, 2007
dave rock from United Kingdom
I went to Zell am See at Christmas time last year. It was a good time to go and the snow was quite good too. Lots of things to do for the children too, especially as they have a great kindergarten there. The night life was good too. They had a nice market in the town centre and sold some lovely mulled wine there which helped warm you up. A great place to go all 'round ! Enjoy.
March 16, 2007
Edward Donnelly from Ireland
Sorry, back again. Have to disagree with Johns comments below...great terrain for everybody particularly beginners. Some nice sections on blue runs that would give a beginner great confidence and should have them on reds by the end of week.
March 16, 2007
Edward Donnelly from Ireland
Great spot to spend a week, particularly if with a group of mixed abilities. Schuttdorf is probably the best place to stay as it is positioned between Zell and Kaprun, so if conditions are varied in the week you can choose and have easy access to either resort. Very picturesque with really friendly locals. Have skied in France,Italy,USA and Andorra but Zell (& Austria) is by far the best all round ski holiday. Not only just about skiing but fantastic apres-ski. Having a few schnapps in an igloo bar at mountain summit as the sun is setting and silouettes of skiers dancing on tables in their skiboots to tacky Euro techno was FUN. Prices are great particularly for ski equipment. Black runs are really of red standard, but if you think you're so advanced that these runs are limiting, there is plenty of off-piste!!
January 29, 2007
Iain Wilson from United Kingdom
Just got back from an interesting week of skiing in Zell, Jan 20-27. This is the second time I've been skiing here. Last year the snow was fantastic. Went the week of the 21st and it was totally amazing, there was even snow at the airport, the first time in ten years apparently. The trip via the coach to the resort was snow all the way. Then Zell its self was covered. All the roofs had snow. The village was covered. Stayed last year at the Waldhof (http://www.derwaldhof.at/). A very nice 4 star hotel up the valley and away from the main centre. A great hotel with excellent food and a very friendly staff. Plus the best part was the ability to ski right to the door.
This year, however, was a complete different take. After arriving at the airport it was warm. There was no snow anywhere! The coach trip up the resort didn't look great either. The resort was clear and none of the roofs on the hotels had any snow. The centre looked completely different, still very nice, but not as nice as it was when covered in snow. This year we stayed at the Zum Hirschen (http://www.hotel-zum-hirschen.at/). A very different hotel near the centre and about 50m away from the city express lift. Food was good, but we all felt that the staff could have been a bit more friendly. Rooms were very clean and facilities were great. Just the friendliness let it down and the amount of smoke.
As for the skiing, last year was great, all the runs were open and the snow was well over 170cm. The sun was out and it couldn't have been any better. Yhis year 75% of the runs were open. A lot of the slow easy blues down to the centre were closed and had NO snow on them. Only one of the blacks was open but covered in ice and a real danger to ride. Later in the week the temperature dropped and they could start to run the cannons, which cover 90% of the slopes. By the end of the week a few more runs had opened and the snow was beginning to cover the lower runs. On the Saturday we left it snowed all day and we could see the lower runs were open back to the city express.
So in summary, if they have snow it's a great place with something for everyone. However, if the snow is limited, then the beginners will struggle as the easy blues will be closed and the experts will miss the black runs as the ice and lack of lower snow will close them too!
For a better view of the snow, a webcam and some more info have a look here - www.schmitten.at
Would definately go back again and again.
March 22, 2006
john coleman from Ireland
Had a great time at Zell am See, mid February, snow was fantastic. It is a most beautiful place to vist. Not great slopes for starters, and some of the chair lifts can be very crowded. However, we all had a great time, and will go back again.
March 13, 2006
Declan Soden from United Kingdom
Back from a week skiing in Zell am See with 10 friends (4th March-11th March 2006). Great conditions, loads of snow, stayed in four star Schwebebahn at the top of the village next to the main gondola. Nice place, good food, although hotel reception service was pretty poor, they had overbooked the hotel which caused some problems and were charging for tap water (3 euro for a jug and 6 euro for a bottle) plus tea and coffee were extra even though we paid half-board. Nice to go, best snow fall I've seen in six years, if you're advanced the one trip would be enough, the village is pretty but does not have a lot of choice unless you're shopping for ski gear. Skied in Canada (Whistler), Sweden, Andorra and Austria and by far the most picturesque of all.
February 16, 2006
julia from United Kingdom
Been to Zell am See many times. It is beautiful. Down on a lake with good apres-ski, nice shops and cafes and lovely mountain restaurants.
The skiing can be a bit limited when the snow is poor and sometimes there is a big queue for the main cable car.
I would recommend Zell for early intermediates and for those with perhaps a non skier in their party.
January 26, 2004
paul from United Kingdom
Just got back from Zell am See 24th jan 04.
Zell is a very pretty place with views over the lake from most pistes.I have just spent a week with four beginner snowboarders,and found the resort suitable mostly for intermediate boarders and skiers.Most blue runs in this resort are narrow ski shuses.As other people have mentioned,Crazy Daisys is THE place to go for Apres ski,and piste-side umbrella bars are relatively quiet compared with other resorts.Any questions feel free to mail me. : )
January 05, 2004
Jason Murtagh from Ireland
Just back from my first visit to zell am see. great conditions there at the moment. snow fall every day , plus the snow cannons have been going too.... Result great sking . best from middlestation up. all lifts ,condolas ,cable cars open for business. for beginners the nursery slopes have a good covering too. apres ski.. got to be crazy daisy's.great music atmosphere and of course great beer.
October 29, 2003
Helen Woodger from United Kingdom
this is a fantastic resort, with the perfect mix of everything plus cluture spilling out of ever corner. slightly limited skiing area, but amazing apres ski. visit crazy daisies for a beer and listen to boots band play - you can even take them home with you in CD form! any tips you want from hotels to bar email!