NORDIC WINTER SPORTS IN SAALFELDEN LEOGANG – EXPERIENCE PURE NATURE
The Leoganger Steinberge mountain range and the Steinernes Meer plateau provide a stunning panorama for winter sports enthusiasts. Practising Nordic winter sports brings you even closer to nature. Moving through the snow-covered landscape at your own pace allows time to appreciate the surroundings – the glittering of the snow beside the cross-country skiing trail, the hushed calm of the woods during a winter hike and the gleam of the frozen lake as you skate across its surface. In Saalfelden Leogang, all these winter sports can be enjoyed in one place, the Nordic Park at Ritzensee lake. From here you can set out on one of the cross-country skiing trails or try your hand at biathlon. A winter hike is particularly atmospheric, or why not slip your feet into a pair of ice skates and glide across the lake – whatever takes your fancy.
The Fun and Snow Park – even more enjoyment and action for young cross-country skiers
Steep curves, ski jumps and a specially designed slalom course – the new amenities in the Fun and Snow Park will ensure the coming winter season is packed with fun and action for those who are just discovering cross-country skiing for themselves. That's important, as beginners in cross-country skiing can't yet cover great distances and therefore benefit from shorter routes that offer plenty of interest and diversity. That's exactly what you'll find at the Fun and Snow Park. The facility is also the centre of the Nordic Park at Ritzensee in Saalfelden. Here visitors can develop their cross-country skiing skills in a playful manner, on different-sized mounds, jumps and bends, with the occasional detour into deep snow.
Out and about in one of Austria's leading cross-country skiing destinations – from leisurely to athletic, and even late in the evening
Saalfelden Leogang is one of Austria's four leading cross-country skiing destinations. This is based on the following criteria: Diverse routes with various degrees of difficulty and professionally prepared cross-country trails with guaranteed snow. Add to this accommodation providers that cater for cross-country skiers and offer corresponding wellness facilities, direct access to the cross-country skiing trails and a varied culinary menu. With 150 kilometres of prepared cross-country skiing trails, Saalfelden Leogang fully meets these criteria.
The region's cross-country trails are so diverse in terms of length and degree of difficulty that everyone, whether beginner or advanced, whether they prefer a leisurely or a challenging pace, will quickly find the route that suits them best. The 4.7-kilometre cross-country trail around Ritzensee lake covers a wide range of terrains and is ideal for athletic cross-country skiers. With a bit of luck, you might meet Austrian biathletes such as Simon Eder and Julian Eberhard on this World Championships trail – they both train here. The Kollingwald cross-country skiing trail also starts in the Nordic Park. It is 4.9 kilometres long and considerably easier to complete. The shortest trail by Ritzensee lake, just 1.8 kilometres in length, is open daily until 10 p.m. and is equipped with flood lighting to enable use in the evenings.
Biathlon taster courses for children and adults
For those who want to gain additional athletic skills while on the track there are also biathlon taster courses available in the Nordic Park. Shooting provides an ideal diversion from the uniform movements of cross-country skiing. In addition to the sport's typical skating technique, the biathlon course teaches participants what they must take account of when shooting with a laser rifle. Children can also participate in the weekly HSV club training. Equipped with cross-country skis, you can even go all the way to Hochfilzen, the home of biathlon.
Ice skate across Ritzensee lake and toboggan on Gugelhupf mountain
Every winter, ice skating fans can barely wait for Ritzensee lake to thoroughly freeze to a depth that will allow the necessary preparations to be made for the skating. The lake then becomes a wonderful natural ice rink. It is illuminated until 10 p.m., enabling visitors to glide across the lake and practice their pirouettes until late in the evening.
And those who have come equipped with a sledge will also find a suitable hill for tobogganing in the Nordic Park – the Gugelhupf mountain.
Winter hiking through the snow-covered landscape and to the new woodland swing
Hiking can also be enjoyed in winter and is a particularly wonderful way to experience nature. Saalfelden Leogang offers its visitors numerous maintained paths, so sturdy footwear is all that's required to enjoy strolling through the snow for miles. The new woodland swing in Kollingwald forest is a very rewarding destination. The swing is situated along the 11.8-kilometre Haidrunde circuit. Those following this route will encounter magical winter landscapes along the shore of Ritzensee lake and in Kollingwald forest. A little shorter but just as delightful is the Lettingrunde circuit, at 7.1 kilometres.
And for those who want to be under way for just half an hour we recommend the path around Ritzensee lake. This also features various new installations and benches for sitting and relaxing.
Culinary attractions at the Nordic Park
All this exercise in the fresh air calls for the occasional stop-off at an inn. There are three restaurants situated by the lake. Restaurant Ritzensee offers regional and seasonal cuisine and a lovely view of the lake. An excellent spot to warm up in with a cup of tea and a slice of home-made cake is the Klampfererhof restaurant. Alternatively, visitors can indulge in the Alpine cuisine on offer at the Ritzenhof lakeside hotel and spa.