In January of 2015 I took a short trip to Germany and Austria to visit two very special friends who have an apartment in Schladming. What I thought would be a short visiting trip to the little village ended up with me falling in love with this hidden gem. Fortunatley for me, Jack and Nicci are in the early stages of building a ski-in ski-out house on the black slope of the Planai (one of the main skiing mountains of the valley), which means that a much longer visit is now in the works for December 2016.
For some background information, Schladming is a tiny village about an hours drive south of Salzburg in Austria. It has world class ski slopes, on several mountains which are all included in your ski pass, and has been home to the World Ski Championships. Schladming is in a valley, only a short drive from a few villages, such as Rohrmoos and Dachstein. The town is centred around skiing, with frequent buses available for trips to adjacent slopes in the district. What makes this town so special is the all-year-round attraction of the Planai. In winter, naturally it is used for skiing, and in the summer there are glorious hikes, with many restaurants on the mountain to visit.
My skiing experience was incredible, although this was probably because I have skied before. Because the Planai is used for world championships, the various slopes are mostly black and red, with only two or three blue slopes, so for first time skiers I would recommend learning at Rohrmoos, where the slopes are predominantly blue.
Aside from the spectacular views, walks and ski experiences, my culinary tour of the region did not disappoint. I experienced some of the most exquisite traditional Austrian food for a fraction of what I had imagined it to cost. Two of my favourite restaurants were Waldhäuslalm, also know as the Duck pond, and Braunhofer. Naturally all the culinary experiences involved the drinking of the local helles, the Schladminger.
For those of you considering a winter trip in Europe I would highly recommend Schladming. Aside from the skiing, there is also tobogganing, sleigh rides, and day trips to neighbouring regions, all at your fingertips. Accommodation runs from Saturday to Saturday, so bear that in mind when planning your holiday. If you are interested in hearing more about this area send me an email and I'll get back to you with more specifics to suit your trip.