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The Skicircus of Salzburg

Austria’s 4-in-1 Giant Winter Playground

By Becki Enright (Borders of Adventure) as part of her #YearInAustria

Anywhere blanketed in snow is spectacular, but when four areas of the Austrian Alps come together to make one enormous sugar bowl, the winter activity options become endless.

You’ll see mentioned the four regions of Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn, which are better known as one – Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. They all came together to form one gigantic winter adventure playground. So big, it now has 70 lifts that take you up into altitudes reaching 1,914 meters, and 270km of powered slopes that get you back down.

So when you find yourself in one of the largest ski areas in all of Austria, where do you even begin? As the name suggests, Skicircus is quite the winter production.

The area is ideal for beginners, with 140km of blue slopes. With a private instructor (which you can choose from one of five ski schools) you could be ready to take these gentle descents on within two or three days. There’s also enough incline to tempt the more advanced, with a further 110km of red slopes and 20km of black to cut fresh tracks in.

Although ski may be Austria’s national sport, with immense pride taken in the endless kilometres of fresh power slopes, there are alternative ways to enjoy the winter off-piste. The Salzburg mountain range is no exception to this demand – it lays claim to 150km of cross-country trails, seven ski-touring routes, a handful of high-adrenalin activities and a dedicated ‘Nordic Park’.

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Off-the-slope action

The central marker for fun is the Asitz Mountain. When people are seeking more thrills aside from a day of ski, this is the peak (place) to be. Adrenalin junkies take note, because here is where you can take the cable car up but choose the thrill of the toboggan run to get down. Whirl down when the trail is lit up in the evening, after a rustic Austrian culinary feast at one of the tasty mountain pit stops.

And if whooshing down a mountain on a retro-looking wooden sledge wasn’t enough to satisfy the already high endorphin rush, Asitz is now equipped with the means from which to fly off it. The new Flying Fox is one of the longest and fastest ziplines in the world at 1,600 metres and 130km/h that soars you between two peaks and over the wide expanse of the valley floor.

Asitz is also home to torchlight hikes and other forest bound adventure activities, including a weekly ski tour evening for those who just don’t want to get down from the mountain too early.

“It’s no wonder that many of Austria’s internationally successful athletes (cross-country skiers to be precise) come from Saalfelden Leogang.”

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While the four areas boast seven snow parks, two free ride parks, five toboggan runs (the a 6km toboggan run in Biberg in Saalfelden being another popular choice), racing trails and snow tubing, there is now a place where alternative ski activities come together in one arena. You can even learn how to ski-jump, eagle style.

The new Saalfelden Nordic Park is a winter sports facility of 150km of cross-country trails (of both forest tracks and racing routes), and where you can hike challenges path such as the Haid Trail and the winter wonderland of the Kolling Forest or take a light 30-minute meander on the Ritzensee Trail. Add on the possibility of snowshoeing tours and you have a bank of Salzburg mountain panoramas to reach via nature’s pristine tracks.

Ice-skating on Lake Ritzensee, horse-drawn sleigh rides and igloo building complete the winter playground options. And should there be a forecast snow flurry to re-load the slopes and valley walls, there’s always the chance to clamber up a colourful route on one of the indoor climbing / bouldering walls.

It’s no wonder that many of Austria’s internationally successful athletes (cross-country skiers to be precise) come from Saalfelden Leogang. This is certainly the place to be encouraged, whether you speed down the slopes or find some other exhilarating winter way to circuit this enormous patch of the Austrian Alps.

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About the author

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Name Becki Enright

From London

Living in Vienna

Blog bordersofadventure.com

Instagram @bordersofadventure

Twitter @BordersofAdv

#YearInAustria


This article is part of the #YearInAustria project in collaboration with Becki Enright, the award-winning travel writer behind Borders of Adventure. After living in Vienna for one year, Becki wanted to explore more of her adopted homeland, and so this 12-month journey into the very best of Austria began.

We invited Becki to travel the length and breadth of Austria to explore its many cultural, historical, culinary and adventurous delights.

View the #YearInAustria itinerary, read our interview with Becki (Is there more to Austria than schnitzel and Sound of Music?), and see highlights from her trips... Discover it all here!

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