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Saalbach ski holidays are set in a large intermediate-friendly ski area to the south of Salzburg...
The wide, rolling pistes are typical of the skiing you find in this part of Austria - and so too is the energetic nightlife, only here it seems to have even more fizz than normal. Accommodation in Saalbach is mostly in large, family-run hotels and guest houses: there aren't many of the catered chalets that are so popular with British skiers in France and parts of Switzerland.
Resort height: 1003m
Saalbach-Hinterglemm offers 200km of pistes covering both sides of a long valley. There's some lovely, intermediate-friendly skiing and snowboarding in Saalbach, but you need to bear in mind that the highest ski lift rises to only 2,100m. Even in Austria, which tends to have a colder climate than France, this is quite low. What's more, many of the gentler pistes are south-facing, too, and suffer from prolonged exposure to the sun. So in a warm, dry season (such as 2006-7), many of the pistes struggle to hold onto their snow, despite the liberal provision of snow cannons. To be sure of getting the best from the resort, don't book a ski holiday in Saalbach months in advance. Wait until you can see how the season is progressing, and then go as last-minute as you can.
Most people fly into Salzburg and jump on a tour operator's transfer bus, which arrives in Saalbach after about two and a half hours...
You can also take the train to Zell am See and then catch a local bus up to the resort (which takes about three and a half hours in total).
The pretty Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski area offers an impressive 200km of pistes just waiting to delight intermediate skiers and snowboarders...
Saalbach's sunny slopes are ideal for anyone who likes to top up their tan while whooshing along on their skis or snowboard. However, if you're new to skiing, or something of an expert, Saalbach isn't such a good option. First timers will be better off up the road in Hinterglemm, which has the better and more snow-sure area of nursery slopes, while advanced skiers and snowboarders should consider the likes of St Anton, Verbier or Chamonix.
A good choice for budget holidaymakers, Saalbach offers that heady combination of superb skiing and great après-ski...
In many ways, Saalbach is the intermediate skier's St Anton - a place to ski hard, and party hard too. Every night, the open-air bars at the bottom of the slopes on the northern side of town are heaving, notably Bauer's Schi-Alm and the Backstattstall. It can get a little seedy later on - there are several lap-dancing clubs in Saalbach - but for the most part this is a good-natured and friendly scene. For dinner, the place to go is the wood-panelled Kirchenstube in the Hotel Zur Dorfschmiede in Hinterglemm, although the Herzlstube in Saalbach's Kendler hotel is good too.
Unless they've come principally for the partying, neither Saalbach nor Hinterglemm are ideal for non-skiers. However, many of the hotels have wellness areas, where you can swim or have a massage and sauna, and you'll find some of the usual range of outdoor activities on offer, such as tobogganing and guided walks. For the best shopping, take the bus down the valley to Zell am See.
Saalbach isn't an A-list resort, so prices aren't excessive - watch out for late-booking discounts, as there are sometimes bargains to be had here. As in many ski resorts, you'll find the cheaper accommodation is on the outskirts of town, which is a bit of drag, especially if you have to walk into the resort beside the busy main road.
You're not in the high Alps - so expect the scenery to be more “Sound of Music” than “Cliffhanger”. Saalbach is low-rise, compact and traditional in style, with pretty, pedestrianised streets.