Top Lift: 2188m
Ski Area: 863km of piste
Adult Lift Pass: 227€ for six days
In a Nutshell
The Salzburger Sportwelt is a large intermediate ski area covering a dozen villages within easy reach of Salzburg. The main resorts are linked by lift, while regular buses serve the outlying corners of the area. Towns and villages vary in character.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
This easily-accessible Salzburger Sportwelt ski area is extremely popular with Austrians from Salzburg and elsewhere, but much underrated by overseas visitors. It is part of the Ski Amade region, which includes Schladming, Maria Alm, and the Gasteinertal resorts – and they all share a lift pass.
St Johann im Pongau is the regional capital of this corner of the country and is a ski resort in its own right. However, the cathedral city was burnt to the ground in 1852 and lacks the medieval charm of Salzburg or Innsbruck. It has its own small ski area and from the pistes above the town you get a panoramic view of the cathedral. The town makes an ideal starting point for excursions and daytrips in the Salzburg area.
Of far more interest to the skier is the outlying village of St Johann-Alpendorf, which perches at 800m at the foot of the Gernkogel summit and is 3km from the city centre. From here Wagrain, Kleinarl, Flachau and Zauchensee are all linked from valley to valley by a complex network of modern lifts. Zauchensee is the highest skiing village in the Salzburg Sportwelt.
Wagrain and Flachau are the most centrally placed and convenient resorts. Flachau was both the birthplace of Hermann Maier and a pioneering resort in building the first ski gondolas. The family-friendly village of Wagrain has wide, open slopes, a snowboard park, and a 6km natural toboggan run.
Altenmarkt and Radstadt, linked by piste and lift across the 1677m Kemahdhohe, are both pleasant little market towns. Radstadt itself is medieval and from its local peak – the Rossbrand – are panoramic views of more than 150 alpine summits. Their main ski area of Zauchensee is a few minutes’ bus ride away.
Hot-air balloon capital
Filzmoos, hot-air balloon capital of the Austrian Alps and a winter bolt-hole for Viennese aristocracy in the first years of the 20th century, shares its ski area with neighbouring Neuberg, just off the edge of the circuit. All eight centres are included in the regional Ski Amade lift pass. Salzburger Sportswelt has 350km of piste, but the lift pass covers an astonishing 863km.
What the villages have in common is that they are all extremely family-friendly, some with dedicated hotels offering childcare, games rooms, children’s pools and one with a private nursery slope. There is a good choice of ski schools, mountain restaurants, and – as you would expect in Austria – the apres-ski is lively.