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Zell am Ziller – Zillertal Arena Review

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lake view at Zell am Ziller zillertal arena

Zell am Ziller – Zillertal Arena Review

Rating: ★★★★ 8,3 out of 10

“Zell am Ziller is a village situated in Zillertal valley in the western Austrian province of Tyrol. It is a part of the Zillertal Arena domain. Slopes are best suited for intermediates, beginners and families. Pistes are diverse, but expert skiers might find them unchallenging. This part of Austria has a big number of resorts in a small perimeter around Zell am Ziller, so try at least one of them. Zillertal Arena has great spots for freeriding. Dutch and Austrian skiers dominate the slopes. Prices are reasonable. Nights are quiet.”

Pros: respectable total length of pistes, fun for the whole family, great freeriding spots, inexpensive

Cons: lack of challenging runs for expert skiers

Zillertal Arena Ski Map

ZELL am ZILLER – ZILLERTAL ARENA SLOPES

Easy 43 km (30%)
Intermediate 89 km (62 %)
Difficult 11 km (8 %)
TOTAL 143 km

Zell am Ziller is a part of the Zillertal Arena domain. The domain was formed in the year 2000, when ski areas of Zell, Gerlos, and Königsleiten united. The total length of pistes is a decent 143 km. Snow grooming is excellent. The highest peak of Zillertal Arena lies at 2,500 m above sea level, which is well above the average for Austrian resorts. Infrastructure is solid, and there were no long queues in high season. Snow reliability is good, but choose January and beginning of February for the best conditions. A later period during season might get too warm.

The domain is best suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers. Even black runs are not that steep and hard to ski on, except for one of them. If you don’t feel confident on your skis, avoid run number 36 between Gerlos and Königsleiten. The whole resort is full of interesting features for the whole family. You can try: snowtubing, parallel giant slalom runs, snow cross slopes, timed giant slalom pistes, speed measuring runs etc.

As mentioned in the overview of this Zell am Ziller – Zillertal Arena Review, expert skiers might get bored after several days. If you are one of them, do not despair. This is a ski resort-rich part of the country. Only an hour’s drive away, you will be able to find world class resorts such as Kitzbuhel or Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental. Both of them are included in the Super Ski Card (which covers 23 different ski regions in the area around Salzburg). Sadly Mayrhofen, which is only 10 minutes away, is not included in the Super Ski Card offer.

FREERIDE AND TERRAIN PARKS IN ZELL am ZILLER – ZILLERTAL ARENA

Zell am Ziller has amazing off piste areas. Another good thing about freeriding in the Zillertal Arena is the fact that people there are not that crazy about it. That means that there will be more untracked slopes left for you :). The area around Königsleitenspitze, on the right side of the piste number 42, should be the first one on your agenda after snowfall. It is easily accessible, wide and open. Be quick, since the slope has southern orientation. 

We liked the area to the left from piste 34 and top of piste 32 the most. You will find epic slopes there. Long, wide, and open terrain will be waiting for you. You will have to choose among an almost infinite number of lines. Everything comes with a price, thus you will have to invest significant effort to get back to the closest lift (Krummbach X Press). First you will have to pass dense woods, and then you will hike on flat terrain for a while. But it is a price worth paying.

Zell am Ziller has a nice snow park with several jumps and a number of tubes, boxes, and rails. There is also a big bag jump where you can practice new tricks. It is situated along Kreuzwiesen X Press lift. Gerlos has a small park near Vorkogel lift. It has only 2 kickers with several other features. There is also a half pipe just by Fussalm X Press lift. Maintenance of the half pipe wasn’t perfect during our stay. Hochkrimml has a small fun park for children and beginners.

HOW TO GET TO ZELL am ZILLER – ZILLERTAL ARENA

Closest airports are located in Salzburg, Munich and Innsbruck. Innsbruck is the nearest one, only 65 km away. You will need 1 hour to get there by car. Salzburg airport is 160 km away, so the drive is going to take you 1 hour 50 minutes. Munich is 2 hours away (182 km). The transfer price starts at 56 EUR (one way).

Austria has a great railway network, so train travel is a good option for your trip. Your last station should be in Jenbach. From there, take Zillertalbahn, a narrow gauge railway combined with a system of bus lines extending through the Zillertal valley, connecting villages along the way. Departures are scheduled every 30 minutes during season.

Coming to Zell am Ziller by car would give you an opportunity to explore the surrounding ski resorts. Austria’s road network is close to perfect. A 10-day toll sticker costs 9.20 EUR. It will allow you to quickly move around. Also, you won’t have to wait for ski buses in case your accommodation is not close to the first lift. Parking areas close to the lifts are free.

WHERE TO STAY IN ZELL am ZILLER

There is a wide selection of holiday apartments and B&B pensions in Zell am Ziller. Your accommodation won’t be ski in and out, so choose places close to the ski bus station. If you get there by car you can choose one of the surrounding villages and save some money on accommodation. If your budget is not a problem choose one of several 4 star hotels in Zell am Ziller. Enjoy their spa areas with pools, hot tubs, saunas etc.

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DAY ON SNOW (APRES-SKI) IN ZELL am ZILLER – ZILLERTAL ARENA

During the day we took breaks in the Gerlos area Umbrella Bar (piste 37). They have a great view and atmosphere. If you are cold, “Willi mit Birne” is going to get you going. It is the Austrian version of tequila. Instead of tequila, in Tyrol you get pear brandy and instead of a lemon after-shot you will get a piece of pear which will make life and drinking easier. Be cautious, don’t get yourself overheated ;). 

Die Almbar is another incredible place in Gerlos where you can have a rest during the day. In order to make your stay there more interesting people from the bar have built 2 jumps several meters from the sun deck. Try your luck and impress the crowd chilling and cheering in front of the hut, or just have a beer and see other people doing tricks.

You can go tobogganing around 6 different runs across the Zillertal Arena. Some of them are floodlit. Biggest after-ski parties are made around the bottom of the Rosenalmbahn 1 gondola station. If you are not a fan of Austrian folk-dance music, or dead-drunk when visiting, don’t expect too much. The night life isn’t spectacular. Innsbruck is a beautiful city only one hour away. It would be a shame not to visit it if you’re in the area. 

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