We tested with the child the ski slopes at the Grossarl ski resort in the Salzburgerland region, Austria. Check out which routes are friendly for children and beginners, and which are for advanced skiers only.
Grossarl-Dorfgastein is a ski resort on two slopes of the Kreuzkogel massif (2021 m above sea level). It has 73 kilometers of ski slopes and 17 lifts. Grossarl is also part of the Ski amadé – Austria’s largest ski area – with 760 kilometers of ski slopes and 270 ski lifts. And all this on one ski pass. During 3 days spent in Grossarltal, we were discovering the ski areas on the eastern side of Kreuzkogel, in the Grossarl resort. If you are going there, check what awaits you on the slope.
When to go?
The Grossarl ski area is open from December to April, the slopes are artificially snowed, and the conditions are very good especially in the upper parts. Queues run in hours:
Hochbrandbahn (blue gondola): 08.30 to 16.30
Panorama (yellow gondola): 08.00 to 17.00
For how long?
The Grossarl resort is intimate, good for a family skiing trip for a few days or a week holidays. And if you get bored – you can always cross the massif and explore the Dorfgastein route with the same ski pass. For us it war perfect to spent here 3-days with a beginner skier, and we were both satisfied: Sergiusz, who is a great skier, and me, who think: sure, I can take a black route, but what for?
Where to stay?
The best place for skiers is the town of Grossarl, located at an altitude of 924 m above sea level. This is a typical tourist settlement, there are fewer residents than hotel beds. We stopped at the Hotel Nesslerhof a minute’s walk from the bottom station of the blue line. At the entrance to the town there is a ski school for children.
What are the lifts there?
Two gondolas go up from the town of Grossarl – blue (Hochbrandbahn) and yellow (Panoramabahn). The blue gondola goes 1322 m above sea level. The slopes next to the top station are quite steep, so we recommend it for the first time only for advanced. We used it with the child from the second day, when he became familiar to snow and remembered what is going on in skiing.
The yellow gondola is at 1849 m above sea level. (on the way it has an intermediate station) and there are very easy areas for beginners. So for the first time with a child, it is better to go there. At the top station Panoramabahn there is a ski town for children, funslope, a slope with the function of measuring time, as well as a restaurant and recreation area with sun loungers. It was there that we stopped to rest during all-day skiing.
Besides the gondolas, there are also chair lifts that bring skiers to the top of Kreuzkogel (2021 m above sea level). From there, you can cross to the second (western) side of the connected ski centers, to Dorfgastein. There are four chairs (from two to six-bed), there are also T-bar lifts in the resort. From the top station of the yellow railway leads the Tellerlift Kreuzhöhe, which you will take to the easiest and most friendly, and at the same time perfectly prepared section of the blue route. It’s the perfect place to start training with a child who has had a break or is just starting to ski.
Difficulty of slopes
There are many easy (blue) and medium (red) routes and one black (route No. 7) in the Grossarl resort. From the Kreuzkogel peak to the bottom of the gondola station you can take the blue routes, which at times connect with the red ones. The best conditions are in the upper parts of the resort – at the end of the season, the snow may be wet at the lower stations, but the resort is constructed so that you can ride in the upper parts all day, and then down with the gondola.
The most important routes
Route No. 1 and 1a (Skiweg)
Blue, very easy, surrounding with a gentle curve the Kreuzkogel slopes. In the lower parts it runs through the forest. Going along an almost flat, wide dash among the trees, the route is very beautiful and gentle. If you are looking for the easiest way to get to the top station of the blue gondola from the Kreuzkogel, Skiweg is a good choice. You have to be careful at a few intersections and not get to the red slope, because sometimes Skiweg turns at a sharp angle and it’s easy to make a mistake.
Routes 3, 3a and 3b (Familien)
A blue route intended for families. However, it is more difficult than Skiweg. The slopes are wide, although in the lower parts they require more skills. In the upper parts – from the Kreuzkogel peak, the route is the most pleasant – wide, gentle and very well prepared. It’s really great there, you can relax in the Sonnen Platz and Natur Platz areas, where there are benches, hoes, boulders and trees and you can enjoy amazing views. The perfect place to calm down. In the lower parts, if your child is not yet a ski champion, take route No. 1.
Routes 2 (Standard) and 9 (RSL Kreuzkogel)
You can take them from the top of Kreuzkogel, so they are the most scenic and have the best snow conditions. Good for a series of short descents and a quick return to the top with the chair. Perfect for more advanced skiers, they are not so crowded as the blue Familien route running parallel. Go there with a child who is already experiencd skier.
Route 4 (Finstergrube)
You have a good chance of finding it by mistake, because it often connects and crosses the blue route No. 1. But even if it happens – no worries. It is not a very difficult red route and can be overcome even with a moderate child.
Route 5 (RSL Hochbrand)
Parallel to route no. 3, a wide, scenic, beautiful ski path that allows you to spread your wings. There are a few more steep walls, but thanks to the fact that they are very wide, they are not a problem even for a small intermediate skier.
Route 7 (Lärchenhang)
A short, 800-meter steep road from the upper station of the chair connecting to the blue route from Kreuzkogel. If you change your mind at the last minute, you can easily take the blue route from here. The slope is relatively wide, but steep – over a short distance overcomes almost 200 meters of the level difference. It is only suitable for advanced skiers, advanced children ride on it under the watchful eye of their parents. In the lower part it connects to the blue 1a.