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Huge new ski area for Austria
Sunday April 5, 2015 - Email this article to a friend

It will be one of the biggest ski areas in the world as the SkiCircus in Salzburgerland expands into the Tirol and joins with Kaprun and Zell am See. But is big necessarily better?

Next winter the Skicircus resorts of Saalbach, Hinterglemm and Leogang will be linked to Fieberbrunn. 

Then there are also confirmed plans then to link the whole area to neighbouring Zell am See and Kaprun.

It would mean an area with 380kms of pistes.

The combined area would be huge and would be up there with some of the linked ski areas in France such as Espace Killy (300kms), but smaller than Les3Vallees in France (600kms) and the Portes du Soleil that straddles Switzerland and France (650kms).

The first phase sees the resorts of Fieberbrunn in the Tirol linked to the resorts in Salzburgerland for the next season of 2015/16. 

The project is know as TirolS.

Tirol joins SaalzburgerlandTirol joins Salzburgerland












Agreement reachedAgreement reached









"The Fieberbrunn lift company is investing around €20m and it will catapult the whole region in a quantum leap forward in growth and value. 40% of the cost will come from own finances, the rest will be met by banks, which means that all of the requirements have been met for the realisation of the new ski link," said a statement from the ski area.

The linking lift will be a Doppelmayr 10-seater single cable gondola lift.

It will be able to take 2,600 people per hour.

A new piste of 3.5km with a vertical of 780m will be created.

It will have snowmaking from top to bottom.

The Skicircus will expand in this first phase to 240kms of pistes and 68 lifts.

Artist's impressionArtist's impression









But is it just a case of making a ski area bigger?

The resorts think not and stress each has its own qualities and the whole will be better than the individual parts.

The addition of Fieberbrunn will bring its freeride terrain to the main area.

"A good lift infrastructure plays a most important role in the whole economic development of an Alpine region, according to expert opinion, both for winter and summer," said a statement from the resorts.

"There are countless other examples of ski areas that have linked up with each other that give good reason to hope that this project will have a purely positive effect on the development of tourism in the whole region," it added.

PlanetSKI recently toured the existing Skicircus resorts in a day; see here for the feature article.

Other areas across the Alps are also looking at large expansions and think big is better.

In France there are plans to link Les2Alpes with Alpe d'Huez as we have reported here and another large project is linking the ski areas of Zermatt/Cervinia with Champoluc/Gressoney and Alagna as we have outlined here on PlanetSKI.

The next stage in Austria, once Fieberbrunn joins the Skicircus, is the link between Saalbach and Zell am See/Kaprun.

There is already a run between the two resorts and now permissions have been given to construct a lift.

The two resorts are already close to each other.

Skicircus, AustriaZell am See as seen from Saalbach











Skicircus, AustriaSaalbach as seen from Zell am See











The lift will run from the Schmittenhöhe to the Glemmta.

Permissions were given in January 2015 and no objections were subsequently received.

"After a four-week objection period, the permission is now valid and there is nothing to stop the connection of the Schmitten with the Glemmtal going ahead," said a statement from Zell am See/Kaprun.

It will be a 10-person gondola with two stages and will cost €25m.

"With this connection between the Schmitten and the Glemmtal, a new era of skiing on the Schmitten is about to commence," said the chairman of the lift company, Dr Erich Egger.

"This pioneering step increases the appeal and guarantees the competitiveness of the Zell am See-Kaprun, Saalbach-Hinterglemm and Leogang skiing areas," he added.

However one drawback for the future of the ski area is its height.

In the current resorts of Saalbach, Hinterglemm and Leogand all the slopes are under 2,000m and many are south facing.

At this time of year, April, this can cause problems.

However Fieberbrumm goes to 2,020m, Zell am See to 2,000m and Kaprun has a glacier with skiing and snowboarding to over 3,000m.

Zell am See and Parun have a joint lift pass but are only linked by bus.

With construction set to start this summer it seems the resorts all believe that big is indeed better.

For the spirit of the mountains

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