Schladming is one of Austria's 'undiscovered' ski resorts. Perhaps if it was in the Tyrol rather than Styria and maybe 500m higher overall, then it would be in all the travel company brochures.
As it is, the four mountains make up one of the top advanced intermediate ski areas in the country and keen skiers will make their own efforts to get to the resort.
The Ski World Championships held in 2013 have increased visibility for the area and the yearly night slalom World Cup race has grown in popularity and now attracts thousands of visitors.
Elevation: 745 metres
Location: 8970 Schladming - Styria - Austria
Schladming is - like many mountain resorts - a former mining settlement. Here the workings for copper, lead and silver date back into the Middle Ages and Schladming was originally granted its town charter in the 14th century.
It is located in the Enns valley between the Schladminger Tauern range (where the Schladming ski slopes are located) and facing the Dachstein range to the north. At the western end of the valley the motorway offers good connections to Carinthia and Salzburg while, a little bit further away to the east, the junction at Liezen offers motorway access to the provincial capitals of Graz and Linz.
The construction of the railway line through the valley in 1875 influenced the birth of mountain tourism and in the 1950s the first ski lift was built on the Planai.
The ski area has long had a strong presence in competitive racing and the first downhill was held on the Planai back in the 1970s with the Ski World Championships following in the next decade.
Despite that the resort, similarly to the resort of Serfaus in the Tyrol, never quite gained the popularity on the English-speaking market that rival and arguably less attractive resorts have achieved.
However the visibility has been boosted once more by the holding of the World Championships for the second time in 2013, as well as with the continuing popularity of the annual night slalom World Cup race which brings thousands of visitors to the town.
Schladming doesn't offer Tyrolean village charm, but skiers who are looking for a variety of long challenging runs should make it one of their top choices - perhaps the best way to define it (although the inhabitants would shudder at the description) would be a 'French-style' Austrian ski resort!
Schladming is a medium-sized town with plenty of hotel (and other) accommodation. Those looking for a quieter location can always try the smaller settlements of Haus im Ennstal and Rohrmoos
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Schladming can boast four mountains with good top-to-bottom runs as well as one of the most prestigious ski races on the calendar. It deserves to be rated among the best ski resorts in Austria.
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Schladming is quite a way from the more popular winter areas of the Tyrol and Salzburg. But nevertheless it has good motorway connections to nearby airports offering a choice of destinations.
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