Great outdoors offer snowy dream escapes, writes John Hill
Here’s a great escape from the UK’s winter weather woes and soaring prices – a winter sports holiday. Because there’s a wonderful world in the mountains where the sun shines almost daily. And here’s the good news – it usually feels warmer in the hills as the air is drier than humid Britain, and allows you to enjoy a myriad of leisure pursuits in a ski resort even if you are a non-skier.
How about snow-shoewalking or trekking uphill, skating, swimming in or outdoors, dog sledding, ice driving or snowmobiling, fat biking (spiky tyres), sleigh rides, or simply walking in the snow-covered forests or hills. Anything you can do on land you can do in the mountains and best European country for an action or leisure break is Europe’s largest ski area! Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, is the perfect centre for both a ski and non-skiing holiday. The region is vast, but just over an hour from Mozart’s Salzburg, and for decades been looking after skiers and tourist adventurers and is Austria’s most popular destination both summer and winter.
All the resorts are picture-postcard pretty, with prices to suit every pocket and none of the high-rise that spoils many ski destinations. Also, the entire area is eco conscious, with the ski lift operators using space-age technology to save the energy from ski lifts to warm public building in the valley. There’s also a great party life in the evenings, as après ski can be enjoyed by all.
A fine example was Good Holiday’s James Whitaker, the late great Royal Family commentator who won ITV’s Gourmet Traveller of the Year award by training and slimming down at Leogang’s Krallerhof Hotel, and then flew to Thailand and take the star prize, and told the world he had won mainly because he loved the training, fitness and cuisine at the Krallerhof spa.
As man-mountain Whitaker slimmed down and aged he skied for only an hour or so then adjourned to the Krallerhof mid-mountain restaurant and sipped fruit teas and ate slimming salads, to keep his award-winning shape.
He was often joined by Britain and Europe’s big-earning elite, the City of London’s rich bankers and financiers, who all loved the hotel’s warm atmosphere, and closeness to the ski slopes for both ski and apres ski as the region is known as the Home of Lassig (pure pleasure). And great news for spa lovers everywhere – The Krallerhof spa has undergone a massive refurb to make it Europe’s largest winter spa and opens in the spring. So, book now to avoid disappointment.
All areas of Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn offer ski and après ski delights and in particular tasty mountain foods such as hot goulash soups, mountain game and fish, fresh salads, and the famous Salzburger Knockl desserts, which though delicious can be seriously bad for slimmers.
At Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn non-ski action is plentiful…from learning cross-country skiing, or just watch thrilling downhill race events such as the World Freestyle competition; or go zip-riding on one of Europe’s longest wires.
Leisure lovers can attend an international jazz festival or just go walking in the woods and take a romantic sleigh ride back to your hotel. It’s all there.. waiting for you.
- John Hill, editor of both Good Ski Guide and Good Holiday, has been a regular summer and winter visitor for 30 years and rates it Europe’s best mountain retreat.
- See goodskiguide.com for fuller info or