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Leogang is a pretty, traditional village with a strong cultural identity. Located in the Pizgauer area of Austria the mixture of old and new building have been tastefully integrated and are loosely centred on its village church with its onion-domed tower. For skiers looking to escape from over-developped modern ski resorts but still wanting the facilities of a big modern resort it offers the twin benefits of being a cosy, picturesque little village but well connected to the huge and popular Saalbach Hinterglemm ski circus. It also has a reputation for being far more reasonably priced than its larger neighbours. The resort has a particularly good snow record for its altitude and is easy to reach from Salzburg.

Sharing the Saalbach - Hinterglemm ski area, Leogang offers the best of both worlds - a delightful little village with excellent nursery slopes, and the option of a huge lift-linked ski area, suiting all standards, on the doorstep.

Mountain

Leogang's local skiing is dominated by the Greater Astiz mountain. The journey to the top of this can now be completed in 12 minutes in an 8 seater gondola, the base of which is located at a carpark five minutes drive from the village centre. This lift replaced an old chair lift connection in the early '90s which used to take over an hour to make the same link. Once at the top of the lift you have the choice of enjoying the huge sunny bowl above the trees that lies between Leogang's skiing and the start of the Saalbach Huinterglemm Circus, or taking one of the wonderful long runs back down through the trees on north facing slopes to Leogang itself. Leogang's local skiing is seen as some of the best that there is from Saalbach Hinterglemm. If you wish to go further afield it 's 16km (10 miles) from Leogang to the furthest point at Zwolferkogel in Hinterglemm. The resort has an excellent snow record, boosted in recent years by the introduction of new snow cannons on the home run back to the resort under the Asitz gondola. Much of the terrain will suit recreational holiday skiers best with nearly 90% of the trails graded easy or 'intermediate' - for those who have skied two or three years or more). These include a few small areas served by half a dozen lifts right next to the village which are ideal for beginners or anyone wishing to just make a few runs in the morning or afternoon. Experts should try the black runs of Schattberg and Zwolferkogel or take a guide on the extensive off-piste powder fields. Cross country skiers have 38km of trails locally to try, ranging from easy to very difficult, and they are prepared as soon as the snow falls, equipment may be rented locally if required and there are access points throughout the village.

Families

Facilities for children are unusually good for a comparatively small Austrian resort. They include a non-skiing day-care facility which accepts children from age 2, whilst the ski kindergarten kicks off from age 4. Children receive free lift tickets up to age 7 and there's a special youth rate up to age 15, a slight improvement on most European resorts. The hotel Krallerhof is an ideal choice for families being home to the day-care mentioned above, as well as a swimming pool and offering cable TV and a nursery slope with drag lift of its own.

Eating Out

Leogang has a far better range of eateries than you might expect, with particularly good Austrian gourmet fayre served at the Gasthof Kirchenwirt's restaurant (awarded one chef's hat by the gourmet's bible - the Gault Millau guide) and the restaurant at the Krallerhof, another four star establishment, is also highly commended. Most of the other options are also part of the hotels. The Hüttwirt is one of those with a reputation for good food at a lower than average cost.

Apres

Much of the après ski begins up on the mountain at one of the area's many excellent ski huts - especially the Alm Bar (formerly the Schnapperhut) or the Riederalm. Down in the village the Kralleralm is the general off-the-slopes meeting point for locals and visitors alike (not to be confused with the Krallerhof). The fun normally continues with toboganning, rafting or sleigh rides, a couple of late night spots in the hotels are usually open past midnight, sometimes with music.

Boarding

Snowboarders will want to head over to the Saalbach side for the most 'boarder friendly attitude in the Alps. They're so keen on snowboarding there that they've actually banned skiers from 12 KM (7 miles) of slopes which are reserved solely for 'boarders! This is of course the reverse of the norm and the result of a policy adopted in the mid-'90s to attract the fashionable snowboard market to that fashionable resort. Saalbach has a fun park with halfpipes and has even developed new instruction techniques in snowboarding on reserved snowboard learning slopes. Annual contests in the Circus include the Continental Open which attracts international experts each January.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
926m
Ski area
200
Resort height
786m
Airport
Salzburg
Train station
Leogang