Ski Kaprun and the Europa Sport Region
 

Ski Kaprun: Snow-sure skiing/boarding for all abilities

There are, without doubt, areas in the French Alps that offer a bigger skiing area and where, if you're a serious "piste-bagger", you wouldn't have to ski the same run twice in your entire holiday. However, if you're looking for an area that offers good, varied skiing to interest all ages and abilities, where you can quickly familiarise yourself with the area (without having to devote hours of study to unintelligible piste maps) and which offers a bit more in the way of scenery, trees and charm than some of the French resorts, then it's hard to beat Kaprun/Zell.

Europa Sport Region

Kaprun and Zell are at the heart of the widely respected and quality-approved "Europa Sport Region" with 57 lifts and 130km of piste across four areas, and a massive vertical range from 785 metres (resort) to 3,029 metres at the top of the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. In times of unpredictable climate and snowfall the glacier gives the best guarantee you can get for your playtime and work-out on the white stuff - which, let's face it, is what it's all about.

In Kaprun, skiers and boarders have the choice of two ski areas (Kitzsteinhorn and Maiskogel), plus the local slopes in the village. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier is a 10 minute bus ride from the centre of the village and offers a great range of runs, particularly for the intermediate and beginner.

If the altitude or wind chill gets too much, hop on the free ski bus and just a 10 minute bus ride down the valley you have access to the Schmittenhöhe mountain between Kaprun and Zell. It offers a further 80 kilometres of piste, including some excellent terrain for the advanced skier. The tree-lined slopes above Zell offer stunning views across the magnificent Zeller See - the 3km long lake (or ice rink!).

Boarders will not be disappointed, Kaprun has a couple of half pipes and there is a board park at Zell am See.

The piste map illustrates the available ski area in and around Kaprun.

Snow-sure

One factor we wanted to be confident about when we selected Kaprun as our base was the reliability of the white stuff. There's nothing worse than arriving in your resort after winding round the hairpins to find green (or more likely brown) mountainsides with perhaps one sad and yellowing trail produced by the snow-cannons.

Okay, no-one is able to predict whether the snow will be good or ugly, early or late. BUT, in Kaprun/Zell not only do we have an area with great snow cannon coverage on the lower slopes, we also have the glacier and its snow-sure status. If conditions are poor elsewhere in other Austrian resorts, then Kaprun is their destination - lucky you, you'll have it right on your doorstep without the hassle of being transported in!

This snow guarantee also provides for an extended season and allows early or late trips to be combined with other non-skiing activities. It's not every resort where you can guarantee to be able to put on skis in mid-April (or July and August for that matter).

To give you a flavour of quite how snow-sure this area is (even in the bad winter of 2001/2) here is some historic data for Kaprun available from the Ski Club of Great Britain: www.skiclub.co.uk .

Snow Fall In Kaprun - Last 3 Years

Month/Year Lower slope
average (cm)
Upper slope
average (cm)
April 2001 290cm 500cm

November 2001 0cm 51cm
December 2001 20cm 139cm
January 2002 39cm 140cm
February 2002 9cm 131cm
March 2002 27cm 174cm
April 2002 5cm 155cm

November 2002 32cm 138cm
December 2002 17cm 142cm
January 2003 25cm 147cm
February 2003 61cm 160cm
March 2003 37cm 147cm
April 2003 10cm 135cm

November 2003 32cm 131cm
December 2003 52cm 149cm
January 2004 68cm 243cm
February 2004 92cm 291cm
March 2004 106cm 301cm
 

If you are anything like us we are always curious and excited to find out how much snow has fallen in the days leading up to the holiday.

There are many sites which offer this facility. 

Try this one: www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Kaprun.shtml

Or try these two sites for a live camera at various locations across the Kaprun/Zell mountain: www.kitzsteinhorn.at and www.schmitten.at