It’s snow time at last! The white stuff is falling thick and fast at this Austrian ski resort…


It’s snow time at last! The white stuff is falling thick and fast at this Austrian resort…

  • Tom Chesshyre takes a ski break with the Austrian village of Leogang as his base
  • ‘The region received a decent dusting of snow earlier this week,’ he says 
  • His hotel, Naturhotel Forsthofgut, features hot tubs and a steamy outside pool

Perhaps it is a bit of a mouthful, but ‘Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Saalfelden Leogang und Fieberbrunn’ in the Austrian Alps is one of the most convenient resorts to enjoy a long weekend on the slopes.

New BA flights from London City Airport arrive at around 10am at Salzburg Airport and transfers are an hour. So skiers can be on the mountain by lunchtime on Friday enjoying the pistes.

If you ignore the ludicrous name, it’s a brilliant way to get your ski legs back. Or simply enjoy the Alpine scenery while staying at one of its top-class spa hotels. Expect hot tubs and saunas galore (clothing optional in some).

Unlike many resorts in the French Alps, the region received a decent dusting of snow earlier this week and has consistently low temperatures.

‘Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Saalfelden Leogang und Fieberbrunn’ (above) in the Austrian Alps is one of the most convenient resorts to enjoy a long weekend on the slopes, says Tom Chesshyre

The village of Leogang, one part of the tongue-twisting resort — which has four village bases, hence the name — makes one of the best places to stay, being closest to Salzburg.

After dumping bags in rooms, you are soon on the slopes, sliding downhill amid delightful pine forests.

The ‘Skicircus’ part of the resort’s title comes from being able to ski in a massive ‘circuit’ round the villages. Those who complete it in a day will have covered 40 miles, known as ‘The Challenge’.

People who are not quite so keen can enjoy a few leisurely morning runs — the majority of pistes are suited to intermediates — and then do what Austrians like to do: relax at one of the mountain ‘huts’ (restaurants).

This is an integral part of ‘Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Saalfelden Leogang and Fieberbrunn’. And there is no better place to enjoy it than Hendl Fischerei hut, which translates as ‘Chicken Fishing’ as its menu consists largely of roast chicken.

The resort lies close to the city of Salzburg, pictured, so if you arrive at Salzburg Airport at 10am you can be on the mountain by lunchtime

The resort lies close to the city of Salzburg, pictured, so if you arrive at Salzburg Airport at 10am you can be on the mountain by lunchtime 

This is simply delicious, served with a barbecue sauce — along with champagne. That is almost all that’s on offer, aside from oysters (£4 each).

Leogang’s centre is little more than a handful of rental shops and spa hotels; if you want a knees-up apres ski life, the village of Saalbach is the place to stay. However, this is all part of Leogang’s secretive charm, and the top hotel for those keen on indulging on the hot and bubbly side of things is Naturhotel Forsthofgut.

You realise this as soon as you enter the labyrinthine chalet-style hotel, as guests roam about wearing gowns heading for various hot tubs and a steamy outside pool.

Lying back in the top-floor sauna, guests (clothed and otherwise) gaze across jagged mountains. This is in the adults-only section of the spa; there’s also a family section where all must wear swimming costumes.

'All in all, Leogang is a winner,' writes Tom. Above are skiers on the resort's slopes

‘All in all, Leogang is a winner,’ writes Tom. Above are skiers on the resort’s slopes 

The top hotel for those keen on indulging on the hot and bubbly side of things is Naturhotel Forsthofgut (above)

The top hotel for those keen on indulging on the hot and bubbly side of things is Naturhotel Forsthofgut (above)

For an evening out, another ‘hut’ provides a culinary treat on a par with Hendl Fischerei. About a 20-minute taxi from Leogang is Priesteregg, tucked up a mountain lane and offering ‘hat eating’.

You may wonder what this is — and you soon discover that it refers to a barbecue shaped like a witch’s hat placed on your table. On this hat you put pieces of beef and pork on little spikes and watch it grill. Then you collect it to eat along with potatoes and garlicky sauces.

The setting is a log cabin with a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on a wall. I cannot recommend ‘hat eating’ enough.

All in all, Leogang is a winner. The word ‘lassig’ means ‘relaxed and cool’. It is Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Saalfelden Leogang and Fieberbrunn’s motto — and it is how you feel after a weekend away.

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