Did you know, that over 70 percent of environmental pollution created on a ski holiday comes from the journey itself? Those wishing to improve their carbon footprint should try leaving their car at home and travelling to their ski resort using public transport.
Reaching the top Pongau ski area of Snow Space Salzburg with its winter sports resorts of Flachau, Wagrain and St. Johann couldn’t be easier or more comfortable. The ski area not only lies right next to the Tauern motorway, the mainline railway station in St. Johann makes a perfect base for accessing the slopes. Free ski buses meet all arriving and departing trains and transport guests to and from the ski area – it takes less than 10 minutes from the railway station in St. Johann to the slopes in Alpendorf.
Unlike any other ski area, Snow Space Salzburg is already accessible by rail thanks to 32 ÖBB Railjet connections along the westbound route from Vienna to Salzburg and onward connection to St. Johann im Pongau. In addition to the two daily direct connections from Vienna, on the weekends in the winter season between 27th December 2019 and 13th April 2020, there are a further three connections from the capital, and the journey time is only 3 hours and 39 minutes. There are also several direct connections daily for guests travelling from Graz, Munich and Klagenfurt to St. Johann. From Zürich there’s a direct Eurocity connection daily, also offering panorama carriages, where you can enjoy the fabulous mountain scenery on your journey.
I’ve put together a few important tips for all those wishing to take a leaf out of my book and choosing to travel to their favourite ski area using public transport.
9 tips for a relaxing journey to Snow Space Salzburg
- Save money with a combined ticket: before setting off on your journey you can purchase a discounted combined ticket including your rail ticket and ski pass (1 day or 6 days) at all Austrian railway stations. Just ask for a winter sports combined ticket at the railway ticket office.
- Arrive at your hotel and your luggage is already there: the ÖBB (Austrian Rail) offers a very special service with a house-to-house luggage service. Your luggage, including ski equipment, is picked up from your home and delivered to your booked hotel. Or would you prefer to take your ski equipment with you? You can safely store your skis and boards in a closed ski bag in the cycle compartment of all Railjet trains.
- Don’t carry, rent: it’s better to try out the latest ski and snowboard equipment as and when you wish, than carrying your own ski equipment with you. In the Snow Space Salzburg ski area, there are twelve sports shops available at the valley lift stations offering the latest ski rental equipment, already waxed, sharpened and ready to go. To avoid wasting time down in the valley, I recommend you book rental online whilst on the train. Here for example: intersport-kerschbaumer.at/
- Go to sleep in Hamburg and wake up in the snow: Snow Space Salzburg ski area can be comfortably reached from many German cities on a night train. Trains run directly from Hamburg, Hannover, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt to the railway stations, so you can travel comfortably overnight to your winter holiday. Just let your accommodation owner know when your train arrives, they’ll gladly organise a shuttle to your hotel.
- Browse the Ski Guide during your journey: pass the time on the train by downloading the Ski amadé App on your mobile phone. Here you’ll find a perfect overview of all lifts and slopes in the ski area and using the high resolution 3D maps you can plan your day’s skiing from the train Here’s the download link: https://www.skiamade.com/de/live-info/digital-ski-amade/mobile-app
- Check in online and avoid the queues: you can also use the train journey to select your ski pass and pay for it online. When you arrive in the ski area you can pick up your ski pass up from one of the Ticket-Points using the QR-Code and head off for the slopes without queueing at the ticket office.
- Be mobile on your car-free holiday: in the three winter sports resorts of Flachau, Wagrain and St. Johann plus the surrounding resorts, the ski lift companies operate 20 ski bus routes with more than 70 bus stops. The whole ski bus network covers an area of 241 and guarantees your mobility on holiday without your own transport.
- Explore something new: the free ski bus from the railway station in St. Johann transports you in less than 10 minutes right up to Alpendorf, there you’ll find yourself at the heart of the new Hermann Maier Ski Route. With an elevation gain of over 6700 hm, 35 kilometres of slopes and 20 lifts the ski area can be explored in one day. Signposts lead to the most picturesque spots, sporting highlights and the best panoramic views, all of which the ski star enjoys too.
- A special bonus for guests from the City of Salzburg: for keen skiers from the City of Salzburg a free shuttle bus runs daily from 23rd December from the City Centre to the ski area of Flachau. The ski bus picks you up at 8.30 am from Mirabellplatz and brings you home from Flachau at 4.00 pm.
Foto credits: Snow Space Salzburg, OEBB Christoph Posch