Zell is not the typical Austrian ski resort, probably because it was already the summer holiday hub of the Pinzgau region long before the arrival of winter sports. It’s a pretty, welcoming and efficient town along the edge of a lake (‘am See’ means ‘by the lake’), and its mountains lie in a ring around the town’s other three sides. The resort of Kaprun has its pistes on the next mountain to the south, and the two share a liftpass. Zell has it covered for eating, drinking and things for non-skiers to do – walking out onto the frozen lake has to be a highlight.
Zell caters equally for families and those after something more energetic, be it on or off the slopes. Access is easy with direct trains linking Salzburg and the station in the centre of the town. The skiing is not extensive, but there’s a good range for all – steep black runs into the middle of the ring, and gentler reds and blues down its ridges. The two resorts have about the same piste mileage, but Kaprun’s go 1000m higher, right up to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. The glacier is open year round, with skiing from October to June. When Zell’s slopes get too sun-struck, the glacier is good insurance, although everyone has the same policy, so expect queues.