Review of Kaprun

30th April 2017 by J 

We spent 2 days on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier just outside Kaprun as part of a week staying in Zell Am See, in late March 2017. Kaprun’s local Maiskogel slopes were closed, so this review is only looking at the glacier. Zell’s ski area is included on the same lift pass.

Regarding WTSS’ upsides and downsides for Kaprun, I’d agree completely.
For the upsides, even approaching the end of a poor season for the Alps, when Schmittenhöhe’s pistes over at Zell were slushy and bare patches were starting to appear, snow conditions were fine up on the glacier. The terrain does all suit intermediates; as a pair of intermediate snowboarders, there were no runs (outside of the parks) that were beyond us, including the blacks.

For the downsides, the glacier ski area is relatively small on its own and could probably be skied in a day, and both the ski area and the buses to and from Zell and Kaprun were very crowded. It’s safe to say the crowds were more dangerous than the pistes.

As at April 2017, WTSS’ piste map is not quite up to date. The main differnces are the red/blues in the top right corner served by the Maurerlift drag have been regraded to black (but probably should be red) and draglifts primarily serving the reds on the left of the map have been replaced with the Schmiedingerbahn 8-seat chair (the highest chair in Salzburg, apparently).

In terms of runs, I’d recommend trying Black 14/Black Mamba, the area’s signature black. It advertises a 63% gradient but isn’t all that scary for intermediates and is fun and swervy, like a skicross course. Best tried early in the day, before it gets mogulled and busy. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any pistes that avoid the crowds; Black 5a, Black 5b and Red 12 are probably quietest. All the blues and reds up and down the centre of the piste map were very crowded all day, and moguls formed quickly. The parks are very impressive, with lots of lines ranging from beginner/intermediate up to expert/pro. It’s probably worth noting the final landing area from the park in the centre of the piste map runs straight into and across Blue 1, which was already very choked with traffic; we saw several near misses here.

Views over the ski area, valley over to Zell am See and Hohe Tauern national park from the highest accessible point are beautiful. The panorama platform at 3029m is reached by the Gletscher-Shuttle funicular or Gipfelbahn telecabin, and is definitely worth a look. There is a walkway “through the mountain” from the main station and viewing platform to a smaller one a bit further around, extending the field of view a bit. There are no pistes back down though, only the funicular or telecabin.

There is also an Ice Camp near the midstation, with large igloos, pretty ice sculptures and an ice bar.

Overall I enjoyed my 2 days exploring over here, but am glad I stayed in Zell instead. The buses to and from are a bit of a pain, but I had more fun on Zell’s nearly empty (but slushy and threadbare further down) slopes compared to the crowded and mogulled (but better condition) slopes on the glacier.

Return to Kaprun