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Saalbach and Hinterglemm were originally villages in the farming valley of the Glemmtal and, despite, the changes that the ski industry has brought, that rural character remains during the summer months. But the developments brought about by winter sports have led to Saalbach-Hinterglemm becoming one of Austria's top ski resorts.
The boom in winter tourism and skiing in the area really started after World War II, and the communities have profited from an increase in general prosperity and an influx of inhabitants. From a population of around 1,000 in the mid-1900s the number of inhabitants has grown to over 3,000 with the biggest increase taking place in the 50s and 60s as tourism developed.
Since 1987 the separate village of Saalbach and Hinterglemm have officially become one local council area called Saalbach-Hinterglemm. The ski area also includes the communities of Vorderglemm further towards the entrance of the Glemm valley, and the former mining village of Leogang in the neighbouring Leogang valley.
The combined ski area includes over 200km of ski runs and enough variety that the visitor needs to get up early in the morning just to do a loop around the whole area, and that's without stopping too much along the way! The 62 lifts in what is termed the "Skicircus" are a result of the massive amount of investment that has been pimped into the resorts to make the linked ski area a rival for the title of "biggest in Austria".
Saalbach-Hinterglemm is reached from the main road between Zell am See and Saalfelden, while Leogang is even more convenient and is on the road between Saalfelden and St Johann in Tirol.
What Saalbach and Hinterglemm are good for...
- plenty of skiing around the valley on intermediate runs
- 'ski resort' style villages at the bottom of the slopes with no bus journey necessary
- attractive villages with some nightlife but that are also suitable for families
What Saalbach and Hinterglemm are not so good for...
- most ski runs go all the way down to the valley and highest runs are not so high, although snowmaking is in evidence on major connecting pistes
- limited challenging skiing