This internationally known tourist resort, at an elevation of 1,003m (3,291 ft.), emphasizes relaxation, recreation, and sports -- both summer and winter. It's located 64km (40 miles) southwest of Salzburg, 399km (248 miles) southwest of Vienna, and 185km (115 miles) southwest of Linz.
Saalbach has seen rapid growth as a winter-sports resort in recent years. Hinterglemm, its twin, is about an 8-minute drive west on an unclassified road that's signposted at the head of the valley. Often the region is spoken of as a unit -- the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski area. The resorts are linked by a lift system and ski bus.
Saalbach has numerous lifts near the center of town. There's one cable car big enough to carry 100 passengers, along with 40 tows and chairlifts that provide access to a variety of well-groomed slopes and deep-powder runs. The major lift, the Schattberg cableway, leaves from the heart of Saalbach, taking skiers to the top station (2,001m/6,565 ft.), where an excellent restaurant boasts a sunny terrace with a panoramic view. Of course, summer visitors can also take the cableway to enjoy the scenery.
The Glenntal Ski Pass, valid for the 60 lifts and the 193km (120 miles) of downhill runs of the Obertauern region (Saalbach, Hinterglemm, and Leogang), costs 41€ ($65) for 1 day, 112€ ($179) for 3 days, and 196€ ($313) for 6 days. It's sold at the bottom of the biggest ski lift as well as the Schi-Pass Kasenbureau on Dorfstrasse (tel. 06541/6271).
The Saalbach-Hinterglemm visitors' racing course is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to noon and 2 to 4pm, with slaloms, giant slaloms, and parallel slaloms being held. Both resorts have ski schools and provide ski-circus runs. In the winter, tobogganing is also popular, as are ski-bobbing, sleigh rides, and curling. Many cross-country ski tracks start from here.
From spring until late in the autumn, you can take quiet walks or extended hikes along some 257km (160 miles) of well-laid-out footpaths, as well as go mountain climbing, horseback riding, or bowling, or play minigolf and tennis. A nearby lake is great for swimming and sailing. A kindergarten caters exclusively to vacationers' children.
Saalbach can be a good base for exploring the neighboring resorts of Kaprun and Zell am See.