This picturesque lakeside town may come short on major challenges, but it makes up for all that having the sheer beauty of its setting. It could be a bit of a hassle to get to the skiing. But when the setting sun is lighting up the lake and you're back in the town enjoying a few apres-ski cocktails, those few extra miles will not matter. Kaprun's ski region is a free bus ride away, but be sure you check the lines when the snow melts elsewhere. You must take the gondola or the new cable-car to get to the glacier,constructed to replace the funicular after the tragic fire in 2000.
The joint ski pass, available at Zell am See, Kaprun and Kitzsteinhorn, permits you to ski 130km of runs served by 57 lifts. Zell has an exciting range of slopes, though with only 75km it is slightly limited. Its patchy snow record is compensated by extensive snowmaking, while Kitzsteinhorn features a snowsure alternative. From Zell, there are three ways going up the main Schmittenhohe mountain: the much improved Zeller Bergbahn 'Cityxpress'; the Schmittenhohebahn cable-car from Schnittental which isa 2km bus ride; and, in the different direction, another bus ride away in Schiittdorf, the Areitbahn.
The 120-year-old Glocknerhaus is among the local eateries that you may come across, midway up is the Areitbahn, and Cafe-Restaurant Areitalm, whosechef bears something of a national reputation.
Forsomething unique, try the Schmiedhofalm, which is a bit out of the way but much quieter. Try also the Bella Vista, with excellent views from the top of the Gipfelbahn (3,029m).
There is a fine half-pipe on Schmittenhohe, but advanced boarders must go to the glacier above Kaprun, where they can enjoy a fun park and a permanent half-pipe.
Skating on the lake is also offered, 200km of cross-country tracks (including a floodlighted loop for somnambulists), and naturally, tobogganing, snow-rafting and ice climbing. You'll find water in a different form at Zell's indoor pool at the Sport & Leisure Centre, and bowling lanes. Squash can be enjoyed at the Grand Hotel and indoor tennis at the Tenniscenter.
© 2012 Athena Goodlight
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