Board and Ski
Saalbach - Hinterglemm is a ski resort comprising two separate villages Saalbach and Hinterglemm. The ski area is a narrow valley with uniform peaks on each side which have created a natural ski circus. Hence the marketing name of the area as www.skicircus.at . It provides some of the best boarding in Austria since all the slopes descend to the same valley meaning that any route you can find will take you down to the valley where you can either walk to a nearby lift or pick up the free bus service running every 10-15 minutes through the valley.
The valley is serviced by 55 lifts which also link to the neighbouring village of Leogang. Most of these lifts have been upgraded recently to provide easy access to the 200km circuit.
The resort is defined by the seven major gondolas which take you from the villages to the mountain tops. These correspond to the major snowboarding areas, although as already stated all these areas are interlinked and it is possible to complete a circuit in a day if you have the energy! These lifts are in anti clockwise order the Schoenleitenbahn, Kolmaisbahn, Reiterkogelbahn, Zwoelfer-Nordbahn, Zwoelferkogelbahn, Westgipfelbahn and Schattberg Express.
Saalbach village has three major gondolas, the Kolmaisbahn, Schoenleitenbahn and the Schattberg Express.
The Kolmaisbahn takes you to the south facing slopes from which there are 2 major blue runs and two red. These all descend to the nursery slopes at the bottom of the gondola. In between these runs are great opportunities for off piste boarding with can be either taken down to the lift or to the road. A short walk from the bottom is the Bernkogel Sesselbahn a three man chair which has one wide sweeping blue run ideal to loosen you muscles in the morning. At the bottom you can try out the half-pipe before returning to the town centre. It is possible to link up with runs into Hinterglemm and the blue run 34a which takes you back to home doorstep!
Alternatively you can head east across the valley to the runs serviced by the Schoenleitenbahn. There are a couple of runs down to the gondola station and if the snow is good and you are up for it you can follow the path straight under the gondola. Remember to wave at the skiers gaping above as you leave your trail. The top of this lift links to the Leogang area. Here there is a natural bowl with seven marked runs. Of course there are good off piste opportunities between each of these and the added attraction of a fun park for trying out your tricks. Remember to get back up to the Schoenleitenbahn before 4pm so you can get back across to Saalbach and not face an expensive cab journey home.
Alternatively you can take the Schattberg Express up to the south of the valley. Here are a couple of runs serviced by a four man chair. These wide runs are great for beginners and for the lazy there is the Simalalm restaurant with great views. Again there are good off piste opportunities which all lead down to the lifts. You can also take the 7.5km blue run which takes you too the bottom of the Schoenleitenbahn. After having some fun here you can head west where a two man chair takes you to the top of the Westgipfelbahn where you can head off to Hinterglemm. As you sit in this lift you can see a natural bowl below you which provided us with some great boarding last year. A short walk up the adjacent peak and you can board down another natural bowl to the Simalalm. Get there early and you can be the first to leave some awesome tracks which you can photograph and send home!
Hinterglemm now has four major gondolas thanks to the addition of the Westgipfelbahn this year.
The Westgipfelbahn head s southward up from the floodlit slopes, the nursery slopes and also sits above the fun park with its rails, jumps and ramps. From the top of the lift you can link across to the Schattberg Express, or head down a wonderful wide red run. Cut across the loop at the top and you ll encounter some great off piste slopes. Watch out for the skiers as you leap the lip back onto the slope!
The Zwoelferkogelbahn takes you up to another natural bowl with a couple of blue and a couple of red runs and a challenging couple of black runs. Come a short way down run 18 and drop off next to the fence and have some fun snaking down the face. Carry on across the blue run and have some fun in the powder field. At the bottom have a drink in the Elmaualm and then take the six man chair up to the top. At the top you can see another natural bowl if you can face a short hike to the top. There s some more good boarding if you head of towards the Seekar if you can handle the drag lift to the top. We promise you it s worth it! From the top of the Zwoelferkogel you can take the black run down and link up with Hochalm area at the far southwest of the valley. A two man chair takes you to the mid station where three lifts fan out. There are 6 wide and forgiving runs with some great off piste opportunities between them. Alternatively from the bottom of the black run you can take the Zwoelfer-Nordbahn back to the top of the Zwoelferkogel and do it all again!
The last of the gondolas is the Reiterkogelbahn. This takes you up to the mid-station where a six man chair awaits. This area has some of the widest blue and red runs to perfect your technique and a glorious suntrap if the weather is with you. Alternatively drop under the lift into another powder field to the left of Piste 32. If you head west you ll link up with the areas in Hochalm described above, Head east and there s some paths heading back towards Saalbach all of which you can drop of the lip and find your own way down. If you ve had enough for the day head down to the bottom of the Reiterkogel and dance on the tables in the Goasstall the best bar in Little Holland (as Hinterglemm is sometimes known as). Alternative follow run 34 down until you join 34a and you can coast down to your own doorstep!