WINTER DELIGHTS AWAY FROM THE SLOPES
In Saalfelden Leogang, winter can be enjoyed in all its facets: whether quietly and romantically on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or on an adventurous snowshoe tour. Meanwhile, active holidaymakers can glide across the cross-country skiing trails. Experience winter on or off the ski slopes – you can do both in Saalfelden Leogang. Relax and unwind at one of the region’s excellent accommodations featuring regional specialties. Create your favourite kind of holiday, just the way you want it.
Cross-country skiing at the Nordic Park and around the Ritzensee lake
But in the Saalfelden Leogang region, a perfect day in the snow can also be enjoyed away from the ski slopes. Highly recommended, for example, is an excursion to the Nordic Park by Ritzensee lake in Saalfelden. Here, fans of Nordic sports will find everything their heart desires. At the heart of the area lies the Fun and Snow Park, where the kids can develop their enthusiasm for cross-country skiing. All new this year, there is now an exciting new cross-country skiing obstacle course featuring 22 stations. 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. In addition, starting in January 2022, there will be a new Nordic quiz rallye around the Ritzensee lake for families who love cross-country skiing at the Nordic Park. Those able to solve the quiz can pick up a cross-country-ski gift from the tourism association.
Adults can book courses in the classic and skating disciplines. Those who are already confidently under way on their cross-country skis will find numerous prepared trails around Ritzensee lake. These range from easy to very demanding and include the World Championships trail, which is also used for training by local professional sportspersons such as Simon Eder and Julian Eberhard. In total, around 150 km of groomed cross-country skiing trails are available to guests during winter. Besides the World Championships cross-country skiing trail, the medium-difficulty 4.9-km Kollingwald forest trail is ideal for ambitious cross-country skiers. It 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.
As Austria's top cross-country skiing destination, Saalfelden Leogang promotes young talent
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. Five million euros are being invested in these projects.
In Saalfelden, champions are forged: Train to become a world champion in Nordic disciplines
Saalfelden Leogang is one of Austria's four leading cross-country skiing destinations. This is based on the following criteria: diversity of routes, professionally prepared cross-country trails with guaranteed snow and accommodation providers that cater for cross-country skiers. For those looking to start a successful sports career, Saalfelden Leogang is the first stop. 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. On top of their professional training in competitive sports, students receive their diploma as well. The attractive training opportunities are certainly worthwhile: Numerous top athletes originated from Saalfelden Leogang or at least attended school here. 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).
Ice skate across Ritzensee lake
The frozen Ritzensee lake is also a wonderful location for ice skating. When the temperatures are right, the lake is transformed into a gorgeous natural skating rink. It is illuminated until 10 pm, enabling visitors to glide across the lake and practice their pirouettes until late in the evening. Alternatively, enjoy a break on one of the benches dotted around the lake. And don't forget to allow plenty of time to fully appreciate the snow-covered landscape nestled against the impressive backdrop of the Steinernes Meer plateau.
Nighttime Adventure: Moonlight ski touring at the Asitz mountain
In the Saalfelden Leogang region, the moonlight ski tours on Asitz mountain are especially memorable. Ski touring fans will relish the peace and quiet here. Available every Tuesday and Friday, the Asitz evening ski tours are a convivial occasion, inspired by the motto "hike up, ski down and stop off for a sociable drink in between". Those wanting to explore areas of untouched winter landscape should book a trained skiing and mountain guide. For ski touring by day and by night, check out the Dynafit Biberg ski touring park. When setting out on ski tour, it is crucial to carry the right safety equipment with you at all times.
The magic of winter hiking and the Kollingwald woodland swing
It is as simple as it is beautiful – all you need for a winter hike is good, sturdy footwear and off you go. Many of the paths in Saalfelden Leogang are cleared, which means you can easily stroll through the snow for miles.
Why not try the 11.8-kilometre Haidrunde circuit? This runs along Ritzensee lake and then leads through the magical winter landscape of the nearby Kollingwald forest. The 7.1-kilometre Lettingrunde circuit is significantly shorter, but just as delightful. And if you just have half an hour to spare for a walk, we recommend the path around Ritzensee lake.
All three routes take you past the new woodland swing in Kollingwald forest at Ritzensee lake. This is an ideal opportunity to take a seat, relax, relish the peace and quiet of the forest and simply enjoy a different perspective for once: The woodland swing resembles a wooden hammock. Lying in the woodland swing, gaze up at the treetops above. There's no better way to forget everyday stresses and strains.
Fair Play in the Winter Forest: Protecting the Forest
Fresh air, peace and pristine nature: The forest serves as an ideal retreat. A walk or snowshoe hike through the forest provides soothing relaxation and yet the forest is also an important habitat for many plants and animals.
For this reason, it is important to protect this resting place and treat it with respect. In Saalfelden Leogang, we have established "fair play rules" for the winter forest environment. These guidelines include, for example, rubbish and noise prevention in the forest. Forest visitors should absolutely remain on marked trails and routes, be fully outfitted with safety gear, and observe wildlife quiet zones.
Tobogganing fun for all ages by day and night
Going tobogganing is an absolute must for any winter holiday. The exciting descent is best earned by first tackling the two-hour ascent up the Biberg. The reward for this is an exhilarating ride along the six-kilometre natural toboggan run. But if you really can't wait to get tobogganing, you might be better off using the shuttle service. Hire sledges are available at the local inns. Accessible by gondola lift, the toboggan run "Leo’s Kufengaudi" on Asitz mountain can also be reached in comfort. For an especially memorable experience, try tobogganing at night. This is available on specific days, thanks to floodlights on both runs.
Pristine nature and pure romance: A horse-drawn sleigh or snowshoe hike
Those longing for relaxation and a romantic break from the everyday hustle and bustle will love travelling through the winter wonderland in a sleigh drawn by Noriker horses. During a scenic sleigh ride, enjoy the idyllic peace and quiet while wrapped in a warm blanket. While snowshoeing, immerse yourself in the silence along the way and simply enjoy it. Those who prefer to leave the route planning to a local can book a group snowshoe hike and let a guide take care of it. As a reminder, it is very important to have the proper safety equipment should you leave the trails or ski slopes.
WINTER adventure programme - with guide and plenty of action
Beyond the slopes, explore the winter landscape in Saalfelden Leogang individually or in a group with a guide: From 27 November 2021 to 3 April 2022, there are guided snowshoe and winter hikes, torchlight hikes, ski tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides and cross-country skiing taster courses. Those wishing to take part in an event need to register with the relevant providers by 4 pm on the day before. With the Saalfelden Leogang Card, activities are even free of charge with the Saalfelden Leogang Card!
Ariel acrobatics with the Flying Fox XXL zip line
From the beginning of March 2022, visitors to the region can glide through the sky and enjoy a very special view of the Leogang mountainscape. The Flying Fox XXL is one of the longest zip lines in the world and guarantees fun and a small adrenaline kick for all the family. Travelling at up to 130 kilometres per hour, the zip line covers 1600 metres, running from Asitz middle station right to the other side of Schwarzleotal valley. In addition, you can enjoy fabulous views of the Salzburg mountain landscape.
TONspur islands: 365 days of music enjoyment in nature
The Saalfelden Leogang region also boasts an extensive outdoor cultural programme. Experience nature, sharpen your senses and enjoy culture at the same time: it’s all possible at the Asitz in Leogang. During your hike, you’ll pass by the five TONspur islands, which were completed in 2020. These stations, where you can listen to live recordings of the TONspur concerts from the previous year, are located along the hiking trail and the ski piste between the mountain station and the Asitz summit and are especially popular with true music fans. This fantastic outdoor attraction is so indescribably beautiful that the TONspur Islands were even awarded the MAECENAS Austrian Art Sponsorship Prize in 2020.
Enjoy comfort and relaxation in excellent and sustainably managed hotels
Saalfelden Leogang is known for its first-class hotels. Especially in winter, after a day of skiing or an outing to enjoy the winter landscape, guests appreciate the opportunity to end the day with a wellness treatment. Many of the region's establishments feature exceptional wellness and spa facilities, where sustainable rest and recreation are the maxim. Locally sourced natural materials such as wood and stone often feature in the interior design, generating a feeling of wellbeing.
As of this year, the Forsthofgut hotel has a new Family SPA with wellness offers for the whole family. A lakeside restaurant was also built and new suites complete the offer. This winter season, guests at the Hotel Salzburgerhof can look forward to a new Sky SPA. Furthermore, the Riederalm Good Life Resort now features a new dining room and newly furnished rooms for holidaymakers this season.
Some of the region's hotels place a strong emphasis on environmental protection, with initiatives including the provision of electric cars for guests. In-house biomass heating plants, wood chip heating systems and composting plants are used to provide energy and special attention is also paid to avoiding waste.
In addition, many companies and businesses in Saalfelden Leogang have already been awarded the Austrian Ecolabel. This seal of approval evaluates a wide range of measures such as public transport, waste disposal and resource management.
Enjoy regional and natural ingredients
No holiday in Saalfelden Leogang would be complete without fine cuisine. The numerous hosts in the mountain inns and huts and the restaurants follow local traditions and mainly cook with regionally sourced produce. Local specialities include a range of organic sausages and other meat products. Since 2014 the 'ECHT.GSUND.GUAD’ (genuine, healthy and good) seal of approval has been used to make local product quality easily apparent at a glance. Many products from the region bear the green quality seal.
And the region is certainly no stranger to exclusive dining. Seven establishments have been awarded a total of 14 Gault Millau toques.
A detour to "Stocki's Distillery” in Leogang is always worthwhile. It’s the only distillery in Austria with three qualified fine schnapps sommeliers and a master distiller. Distillery tours are held here every Tuesday and Thursday. There is even the possibility to visit the gourmet shop.
The Misssi ice cream shop in Saalfelden has been open since the beginning of July. If features ice cream made from natural and regional ingredients. In other words, the milk is sourced from local cows and ingredients such as fruit, honey and nuts are sourced locally. Everything is free from flavour enhancers, colour additives or aromas.
This local ice cream producer values supporting small farmers and their families and thus also promotes the sustainable cultivation of food. The name, Alpeneis (Alpine ice cream) pays tribute to its local origins. Those keen to enjoy ice cream in winter can visit the round-the-clock ice cream vending machine right in front of the ice cream shop. Selected ice cream varieties are also available here in family packs.
In recent years, more and more fantastic farm shops have appeared on the scene, which are also open in winter. Many Pinzgau delicacies as well as farm products including eggs, bacon, cheese and meats from local cattle can be sampled and purchased here. For example, at the Leogang village shop and Saalachtaler Bauernladen farm shop. No matter the time of day or night, fresh organic vegetables are always available at the Stechaubauer organic farm shop. Inside the vegetable hut, select your vegetables from a self-service machine via touchscreen.
Take advantage of the many benefits of the free Saalfelden Leogang Card guest card
The Saalfelden Leogang Card is the ideal way to experience the region's diverse winter programme. It provides access to activities on the mountain and in the valley, from guided hikes in the snow to tobogganing fun, and the use of Saalfelden's town buses. The Saalfelden Leogang Card lets you use numerous services free of charge – some once per stay, some daily. Many other services are discounted. Any visitor staying in a Saalfelden Leogang Card partner establishment will automatically receive the card at check-in. The card is valid from the day of arrival until the departure day (inclusive).