NORDIC WINTER SPORTS IN SAALFELDEN LEOGANG
Nordic winter sports are a particularly intense way to experience the snow-covered landscape. Moving at your own pace through the winter wonderland allows you plenty of time to enjoy. In Saalfelden Leogang, all these winter sports can be enjoyed in one place, the Nordic Park at Ritzensee lake. From here, you can enjoy the cross-country skiing trails or attend a biathlon taster course. For families who love cross-country skiing, the Fun & Snow Park with a new exciting station obstacle course and Nordic quiz rallye is the place to be. Those who long for romantic silence should try a winter hike through the snow-covered forest or glide over the Ritzensee lake on ice skates. In addition to the varied sports programme, there are plenty of regional specialities being served at the restaurants around the lake. In addition, you can enjoy wonderful views of the Leoganger Steinberge mountain range and the Steinernes Meer plateau.
Fun & Snow Park - families that love cross-country skiing should check out the new station obstacle course and quiz rallye
Steep curves, ski jumps and a specially designed slalom course – these are the new amenities in the Fun and Snow Park. The variety-rich winter park is the centrepiece of the Nordic Park. Here, children’s enthusiasm for cross-country skiing comes alive. The Fun & Snow Park is also the ideal place for cross-country skiing beginners who are not yet ready for longer distances.
This winter season, there is a new exciting obstacle course featuring 22 stations based on a proven system developed by the Swiss Ski Federation. This is also the first such obstacle course in Austria based on this model. The obstacles are not just for little ones, however. Adults are also invited to try out the Nordic discipline. They encourage young and old to learn in a playful way. There will also be a new Nordic quiz rallye around the Ritzensee lake starting in January of 2022. This easy trail can be completed with cross-country skis and is particularly suitable for families and children. Those able to solve the quiz can pick up a cross-country-ski gift from the tourism association.
Variety and fun: Saalfelden Leogang is one of Austria's top cross-country skiing destination
The Saalfelden Leogang region is one of the top four cross-country skiing destinations in Austria. The cross-country skiing network here boasts 150 kilometres of trails. Leisurely or intense, beginners or professionals, Saalfelden Leogang features perfectly groomed trails at different degrees of difficulty in addition to guaranteed snow until spring. In addition, there are also plenty of culinary delights to be enjoyed along the cross-country skiing trails. Restaurants in the Nordic Park invite you to take a well-deserved break with regional delicacies. Sample, e.g., a warming Kaspressknödel (cheese dumpling) soup.
For those keen on an intense day of cross-country skiing, there’s the 4.7-km varied World Championships cross-country ski trail around the Ritzensee lake. Here it’s often possible to meet a few prominent fellow athletes. Top Austrian biathletes, such as Simon Eder and Julian Eberhard, train on this cross-country skiing trail. The medium-difficulty 4.9-km Kollingwald forest cross-country skiing trail is ideal for ambitious cross-country skiers and starts at the Nordic Park. Those who still have something left in the tank in the evening can tackle the 1.8-km cross-country skiing trail around the Ritzensee lake or the Griessen high-altitude trail on cross-country skis, which is floodlit until 10 pm.
Restful mountain air, glistening snow, varied cross-country trails and delicious cuisine are surely amongst the criteria that undoubtedly make the Saalfelden Leogang region a top cross-country skiing destination.
Future stars are forged in Saalfelden: Development and training in Nordic skiing
A centre for Nordic skiing will be built at two locations in Saalfelden by 2024. In addition to renovations, quality improvements and an expansion of the Nordic Park at the Ritzensee lake, the ski jumping stadium in Uttenhofen is also being renovated. Saalfelden is thus positioning itself as a home for successful and up-and-coming athletes. 5 million will be invested in this project.
The attractive training options available in Saalfelden make this possible. The Nordic Ski Middle School Saalfelden offers students the opportunity to complete basic training in the disciplines of Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping or biathlon while attending school. In addition, winter sports enthusiasts at the Saalfelden ski high school can choose from six categories of professional training in the areas of Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing and Ski Freestyle. In addition to their professional training in competitive sports, students receive their diploma as well. The training opportunities are certainly worthwhile: Numerous top athletes went to the ski high school in Saalfelden. Famous names include Lisa Hauser (biathlon World Cup winner, gold medal winner at the World Championships), Marita Kramer (ski jumping World Cup winner), Mario Seidl (Nordic combined World Cup winner, Olympic and World Championships medallist) and Dominik Landertinger (biathlon World Cup winner, Olympic and World Championships medallist).
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 constant 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 Heeressportverein (HSV) Saalfelden club training. The biathlon area in Hochfilzen is accessible on cross-country skis and thus allows one to combine shooting at cross-country skiing.
Ice skate across the Ritzensee lake or go tobogganing from the 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 pm, 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. Here, there is plenty of tobogganing fun for the family.
Winter hiking through the snow-covered landscape and to the new Kollingwald 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 woodland swings in Saalfelden Leogang resemble wooden hammocks. 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.
Enjoy culinary variety at the Nordic Park
With so much exercise in the fresh air, reward yourself with a 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.