Skip to content

Cookies 🍪

This site uses cookies that need consent.

Learn more

Zur Powderguide-Startseite Zur Powderguide-Startseite

Language selection

Search PowderGuide


TouringTip | Lungau

Ski tours on the sunny side of the Alps

by Helmut Gassler 04/21/2024
The Lungau is a landscape (and at the same time a political district) in the south-east of Salzburg and offers several advantages and attraction points for us downhill-orientated ski tourers thanks to its geographical location.

Due to its comparatively remote location and long-lasting remoteness, mass ski tourism arrived in Lungau rather late and to a lesser extent. The existing ski resorts (especially Katschberg, Turracher Höhe, Speiereck and Fanningberg) can all be categorised as small to medium-sized and are somewhat off the beaten track. Dedicated freeriders are unlikely to stray into these ski resorts. The well-known Obertauern, which is also very popular with freeriders, is within easy reach of the region, but is part of Pongau and is also to be assessed differently from a climatographic point of view, as it mainly receives snow from the north-west due to its north-facing location on the Tauern Pass and is therefore one of the snowiest resorts in Austria - unlike Lungau, which is located in the inner Alps.

On the other hand, the Lungau is particularly proud of its high number of hours of sunshine. Every year, St. Michael im Lungau registers an average of almost 2250 hours of sunshine, which is significantly more than in the regions north of the main Alpine ridge (e.g. in Bavaria with an area average of just 1600 hours).

presented by

Even though the Lungau is a peripheral region (in terms of accessibility to/from the economic centres), its location between various mountain groups, each of which is different, makes it the perfect starting point for an incredible variety of ski tours of different qualities such as length, exposure and difficulty. The Lungau is therefore perfect for longer stays. Even if the weather conditions are uncertain, you will still find suitable touring conditions somewhere, as the mountain groups are exposed to different conditions depending on the weather conditions. At the same time, these different mountain groups also offer completely different ski terrain and characteristics for ski tours due to their geological make-up. The Radstädter and Schladminger Tauern mountains border the Lungau basin region to the north, the Hohe Tauern mountains to the west and the Carinthian Nockberge mountains to the south. Towards the main Alpine ridge, these Tauern mountains offer steep and often rocky peaks with inlaid cirques, through which steep, sometimes quite challenging routes lead. The Schladminger Tauern, on the other hand, form ridges running north-south away from the main Alpine ridge, with open and very broad ridges of medium steepness sloping down towards the Lungau.

These ridges form some of the most famous ski tours in Lungau. First and foremost is certainly the Preber (2740 m) with its extremely broad south-facing ridge, which forms an almost even slope of around 800 metres in altitude with a gradient of just under 30 degrees and makes for a first-class parade descent. Despite all the euphoria, it should of course be borne in mind that powder snow is not necessarily to be expected on this slope due to its exposure to the sun and wind. The tour is ideal in late February and March when firn conditions prevail. The tour takes place in the lower, wooded area on a (groomed) toboggan run, so that even in winters with little snow you can still ski back, for quite a long time, to the starting point at Prebersee (Gasthof Ludlalm, 1520 m).

Interestingly, the famous Preber has several lesser-known but also very beautiful "twin tours", which have a similar character (wide open south-facing slopes, access in the forest via forest roads). These include Gumma (2316 m) and Gensgitsch (2279 m) as well as the Tockneralm (2357 m), which, however, is located in Styria (Krakauebene).

The wide, open panoramic view to the east, south and west is also characteristic and very appealing. It feels like the entire Lungau region is at your feet, with the Nockberge mountains in the background and the Hohe Tauern mountains to the west.

The valley around Zederhaus is another touring area in its own right. Although the Tauern motorway running through this valley detracts a little from the romantic winter idyll of this actually secluded valley, the quality as a ski touring location is fortunately not affected.

presented by

The southern portal of the Tauern tunnel is the starting point for a whole series of tours that start from there in a star shape. Ironically, a north-facing powder snow paradise can be found in "In der Hölle" (“In Hell”), a cirque north of the Felskarspitze (2506 m), where the powder snow is preserved for a long time due to the sheltered location.

The neighbouring valley to the south of Zederhaus is the Muhrtal, which is probably largely unknown on the ski scene. At the end of this secluded and pristine valley is the source of the Mur and above the Rotgüldensee lake is the Gr. Hafner (3076 m), which is (falsely) considered by many to be the easternmost three-thousand metre peak in the Alps (in fact, the neighbouring Grosser or Malfeiner Sonnblick (3030 m) outranks it). This valley is particularly popular with ice climbers due to its extremely steep flanks interspersed with waterfalls. However, if you overcome these steep flanks - via tedious forest roads - you will find several ski tours on the upper level that are definitely insider tips.

A completely different type of landscape can be found in the Nockberge mountains, which mark the southern border of the Lungau and the transition to Carinthia. These more than live up to their name and form gentle, hilly mountains, which are, however, almost ideal "ski mountains". Climatically, this part of the Lungau is particularly favoured by north-westerly weather conditions, so that you can still experience a sunny day of ski touring here when the valleys towards the main Alpine ridge are already in the foothills of the Nordstau. With the Dr. Josef Mehrl Hütte (1730 m) and the Karneralm (1895 m), there are also two high, snow-sure starting points here.

With its location between these different mountain ranges and their different geological and climatic characteristics, the wide open basin and its nice, small towns (the main town is Tamsweg at 1020 m with approx. 5800 inhabitants), the Lungau is a diverse and attractive ski region that does not have to hide behind the famous names of the north.

Note: The PG touring tips are general descriptions of tours that we like very subjectively. Our touring tips do NOT refer to CURRENT CONDITIONS. Read the situation report and the weather forecast and plan your tour accordingly.

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)


presented by