Ellmau or Saalbach for next year? Owlmother how did you get on?

(9 Posts)
flashheartscanoe Sat 01-Mar-14 20:59:03

So I've narrowed it down to these 2- I'd love to hear opinions from anyone who has been to either. We are 2 couples with intermediate teens down to 5 year old beginners. Need a big ski area but easy access to the slopes. We went to france this year but preferred the ambience of Austria.

MrsMW Sat 01-Mar-14 21:15:49

Ellmau every time - lovely little village, great nursery slopes, choice of 3 ski schools, easy access to much bigger ski area via efficient funicular. A handful of livelier bars to keep the teenagers happy during apres-ski but really quite tame so nothing too scary for you in terms of letting them out. That said, have never been to Saalbach so can't provide a particularly balanced opinion!

OwlMother Sun 02-Mar-14 08:25:23

I can highly recommend Ellmau- we had a great time. The snow conditions in the village were not perfect, but this is only relevant if you've got any beginners, all the real skiing is accessed via the Hartkaiserbahn. Once you're up there you can go for miles!!!

Our 3dc were in group lessons, they're all much more able than us. I can't speak highly enough of the teachers- we were really impressed. 1st Ellmauer Ski School www.skifuchs.at Dh and I had private lessons from them too

Every afternoon it was amazing to hear where the kids got to- hot chocolate at the iglu, the black on Hohe Salve, fun park in Soll.

A couple of things to look out for.... Where your accommodation is relative to the funicular. As this is a main access point into skiwelt you don't want to waste too much time getting to it. Queues were never terrible though.
I'm not sure if they do this for all accommodation but intersport delivered hire kit to the hotel and picked it up again at the end. One less job.

The food provision on the hill was good- lots of places to stop in between runs. And night skiing in Soll was amazing according to dh. He and ds (13) skied over, had dinner- did night skiing and taxied back.

Let me know if there's anything else I can add- I think we're booking Ellmau again next year!!

OwlMother Sun 02-Mar-14 08:33:31

Have just realised I've been a bit unclear re snow!! The nursery slopes in the village were all in use, as was the snow garden etc. Very little children seemed to stay there. School age beginners seemed to meander between Ellmau and Going earlier in the week, moving on to Hartkaiser towards the end. Snow once up Hartkaiser was fantastic. Intermediates were up Hartkaiser from day 2, with ski teachers keen to keep them for lunch as it meant they could go further. This meant they could get to fun parks, timed salmons, speed trials etc.

flashheartscanoe Sun 02-Mar-14 11:51:33

Thanks so much Mrs. M and Owl- it sounds like we cant go far wrong with Ellmau- so glad you had a good time. I am just a bit put off by the one funicular thing- it seems like we can either stay near the funicular or the nursery slopes but not both.
Is there an ideal location? We would be looking to book an apartment.

The ski school sounds great- nothing like that went on with esf this year- not even a race on the last day. Did your kids do all day ski school? I know they tend to in Austria. Is it ok to pick them up after lunch sometimes- they like to ski with us too.
I know my DD would love to do the night skiiing.
Sorry to quiz you! its all just so much money I want to get it right.

OwlMother Sun 02-Mar-14 12:26:09

Right. Location first. We stayed at Kaiserblick hotel, which was quite well located for both the funicular and the nursery slopes/ ski school. Exiting the boot room took us directly onto a run down to the nursery slopes, ow we crossed the road outside the hotel we could ski to the funicular, via a short t-bar tow. If you look up the hotel and see what apartments are available nearby, this would be a good bet. To get home from the funicular there is a ski bus. The funicular is a bit of a pain but you only do it once a day.

Ski school. Our kids were in all day, because, as they are pretty advanced, it would have limited them to have come back at lunch, they'd have gone nowhere near as far. However, the teachers were flexible- they knew where they'd be at lunch, we could meet and collect them. And because they often opted for an early start to beat the queues at the funicular the full day was 9.30-2.30. 2.30 finish was often at the top of Hartkaiser so we did a few runs and then the home run back with them. All of ours opted not to do race day- too much hanging about- so we spent the last day doing a kind of ski safari with them. Our kids were in the red and black groups- website shows video of what this is- and they did these long outings, the other groups may have stayed closer to home.

Hope this makes sense!!! Quick question- are you looking at half term next year and if so, when is yours? Is everyone at the same time again?!

MrsMW Sun 02-Mar-14 20:02:09

Ah the Kaiserblick, know it well - I stayed there for the first time as a teenager in the late 80s and have since been back over 10 times, most recently with dd who was then 11 months. It's grown a lot recently, prices to match! I think there are some apartments on the same road (Kirchbicl) but sorry haven't stayed there myself. You could try the Pension Heuberger landhaus - a separate house to the main b&b, literally just below the Kaiserblick. sleeps 6 I think and all self contained. Ski in ski out to nursery slopes, or cross the road to ski down to the drag that gains access to the funicular. To avoid getting the bus back you can get a 2 man chair from the bottom of the funicular that then brings you back to the right side of the hill to ski back to the boot room. Half term does get booked up quickly though, and whilst staff at hotels speak good English, IME those at smaller hostelries aren't quite so good so a rudimentary level of German wouldn't go amiss. All super friendly though so any effort will be appreciated!

flashheartscanoe Mon 03-Mar-14 21:30:40

Briliant facts and advice- thanks very much for taking the time. I think we may go for the apartment in ellmau.
Our half term is always the same- it starts on the weekend around valentines- 16th feb next year. I seem to remember easyjet flights were released around easter time last year.

bluebizzy Tue 04-Mar-14 15:02:39

I've been to neither but DH is currently in Saalbach on a boys holiday with strict instructions to check it out for the Xmas holiday we are going to be booking. Not sure what level of skiing you are but he said he hasn't yet seen any easy slopes and probably wouldn't be suitable for me. I am a nervous blue skier.

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