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Rating: ★★★★ 8,4 out of 10
“Intermediate skiers who love to go down woodland slopes will love Schladming Dachstein. You will be delighted by views. Schladming is a regular venue for world biggest skiing competitions. Freeride spots are plentiful and easy to access . This part of Austria is full of resorts, so if the conditions are not right in Schladming, you can easily pick another area (and for free if it is in Ski Amade domain). Salzburg is only 100 km away, after a day on snow you can enjoy stroll around historic old city. If Salzburg is too far away or you don’t have a ride, you can stay in Schladming which has pedestrian zone full of shops, bars and restaurants.”
Pros: wide, long, excellently groomed pistes, delightful views, nice city centre, friendly locals
Cons: lack of black runs, 2 lifts linking different areas are old and slow with possible queues in high season
|Easy||47 km (39%)|
|Intermediate||68 km (55 %)|
|Difficult||8 km (6 %)|
Schladming Dachstein is part of Ski Amade domain which has a total of 760 km of not connected slopes. You should definitely visit Flachau and Bad Hofgastein. There are 4 connected mountains around Schladming which have 123 km of pistes in total. Those mountains are called: Hauser Kaibling, Planai (closest to the city), Hochwurzen and Reiteralm. There is big open air and multy store free parking near the base station of Planai gondola which will take you to the rest of slopes. Lifts are mainly new and fast except two very important linking 2-seaters (connecting Hochwurzen and Reiteralm to the rest of the slopes). Long queues are possible there during high season.
Pistes are mainly red, wide, and excellently groomed. A great thing is that there are no boring linking slopes or huge cable cars (which you have to wait to fill up and get away) between different areas. It is interesting that lower runs are much steeper (black runs are short and lead to the lowest part of the resort). An additional complication for beginners is the fact that those black runs are often icy.
The highest peak of the area is situated at 2,015 m. Schladming and surrounding villages are located at around 750 m above sea level. As a result of that, snow can get slushy or icy depending on time of the day. Snow reliability is great due to orientation of the slopes and snow making machines (more than 90% of slopes in Ski Amade domain can be covered with artificial snow). Schladming is one of the stops on FIS World Cup tour, every year. The city can proudly claim that it is one of the best ski resorts in Austria for having had the honour to host two FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, in 1982 and 2013.
There is a variety of attractions for younger population such as timed giant slalom slopes, fun runs, snow cross tracks, speed measuring pistes etc.
If you want to ski on Dachstein glacier you will have to take the free shuttle bus or drive to the bottom of the mountain. A lift ride to the top will provide you with some unforgettable views. Once you get to 2,700 m you will be able to make breath taking pictures from the suspension bridge and a terrace hovering over abyss. Skiing is not as spectacular as panorama since there are only 3 drag lifts and one 2 seater.
Schladming has a generous number of freeride areas, you will enjoy off piste days there. Higher points are tree less. Pine woods growing around the groomed slopes are not too dense thus it will be easy for you to find ideal line between trees. Planai has marked area (piste number 13) where you can go freeriding. If you go to the right from marked slope you will find yourself a nice run, but you will have to walk (around 10 minutes) at the end of descent. Area around piste 7 at Hauser Kaibling is also interesting. Reiteralm has lot of options around its 6-seat lift and pistes 2 and 3a.
If you are not sure where you are going to end your run don’t stray away from marked slopes. I really have to thank Debbie and Pete, UK expats, and friendly locals Mati, Roli and Gerald for sharing their knowledge and showing me around the mountain. I enjoyed every minute of it.
For freestylers there is Superpark on Planai, just by Weitmoos lift. The name of the park is a mild overstatement, but it has all that a prolific trick-maker can need: several kickers (for all levels) and big number of rails, pipes and boxes. Reiteralm has small park for beginners called X.point. It’s kind of sad that there was snow park on Dachstein. It used to work throughout the year but had to close down due to climate changes.
Closest airport is in Salzburg, which is around 100 km away (1h 20 min by car). Linz airport is 170 km away, and it will take you 2 h 15 min to get from the airport to Schladming. Gratz is 190 km away and the trip by car is going to take you 2 h 20 min. The Salzburg airport transfer prices range from 150 EUR (per car, one direction). If you are traveling with larger group you can hire a van or a mini bus which will save you money for a refreshing beverage at the destination.
If you like travelling by train you are in luck since Schladming has its own train station. It is well connected to other major cities in the region. You can use railway for the transfer from an airport if you have time to spare.
Austria has great road network. It is easy to get from one part of the country to another. Try to use only the petrol stations on regional roads, and you will find that the price for gasoline is 20% less than on the highway. Having a car will let you visit the neighbouring resorts or Salzburg with ease.
You have a number of options regarding your stay – there is the centre of Schladming, the surrounding villages or any of the neighbouring hills. One should always take note on the distance of accommodation from the first lift. Shuttle buses (free for ski pass owners) are not that frequent. There are ski in/out hotels located on surrounding hills. If you stay in any of them you will have easy access to the slopes. But, on the other hand it will take you longer to get to the city centre, restaurants and bars. There is wide choice of properties where you can stay, from apartments to 4 star hotels. One of the best in the area is Falkenstiner Hotel Schladming.
The hills surrounding Schladming are dotted with mountain restaurants and bars. They mainly serve local, traditional food, and the prices are reasonable. You should visit Reiteralmhutte located in Reiteralm close to 6 person chair lift. They have great sun deck and interesting food (try the traditional soup made from the meat of mountain goats). If you like modern looking establishments there is Kessler Alm with great contemporary design and beautiful view. Away from ski pistes is Halseralm, 400 year old house which is curiously electricity-free. Free roaming domestic animals are all around the house. Wooden stoves and homemade food (try pancakes flambé or snack made of eggs) will warm you up after day in cold weather.
In the evening you can have a walk around pedestrian zone in the centre of the city. There is big number of shops selling everything from snow sports equipment to designer clothing. Choosing the restaurant to have a meal in will present you with a wide range of cuisines. We had drinks in Mango-Tiki Lounge & Bar and we enjoyed it. Hohenhaus Tenne bearing the title of the largest apres ski hut in Europe, is where you can party long into the night.