THE MOUNTAINS of the Tyrol and SalzburgerLand are well-known to British skiers, however two hours south of Salzburg lies Austria’s best-kept snowboarding secret – Unhealthy Kleinkirchheim. Tucked away within the far southeast of Austria and unfold over the wooded flanks of the Nock Mountains nationwide park – or “Nockies” as they’re affectionately referred to as – Unhealthy Kleinkirchheim (BKK for brief), is a spa city relationship again to the 12th century. It’s Austrian snowboarding legend Franz Klammer’s favorite resort. He grew up snowboarding right here, there’s a fiendishly steep world cup downhill course named in his honour and he nonetheless skis right here a number of instances yearly.
Final winter EASYJET launched the primary direct flight from the UK to Klagenfurt, the capital of the lesser-known province of Carinthia.
The quaint little airport is only a 45-minute drive away and is the right antidote to overcrowded household resorts.
The snowboarding is right for each freshmen and stronger skiers, with greater than 160 miles of pistes dotted over 4 most important mountains. It’s sufficient to maintain even essentially the most mileage-hungry piste-bashers pleased for per week.
On this a part of Austria the mountains are much less serrated and extra shapely, with gladed flanks operating a lot of the manner as much as rounded-off summits, that means plenty of lengthy tree-lined runs and beautiful views into neighbouring Italy and Slovenia.
Hold your eyes peeled for the glass-fronted sauna “dice with a view” on the prime of Kaiserburg, an exquisite spot for a mid-morning warm-up or a day snooze.
After a day on the slopes, you’ll tackle a distinct type of après-ski exercise right here. Most individuals head to thermal baths to assuage drained legs, quite than dancing to Alpenpop.
The resort has two thermal spas, one at both finish of the sprawling city. Fed from the recent waters of the pure spring, the newly-renovated St Kathrein (therme-kathrein.at) is nice for households, with a big tornado waterslide and an indoor/ outside journey pool.
Römerbad (badkleinkirchheim.com) is a extra trendy and grown-up advanced with 13 saunas on completely different themes together with Finnish pine, stone, saltwater and Roman steam baths.
The indoor pool is formed like the within of a cave and comes with a whirlpool. A mini slide results in the sun-drenched outside pool with spectacular views of the world cup run.
Snowshoeing is a stupendous approach to expertise the serenity of the mountains, for skiers and non-skiers alike.
The ski college (skischool-bkk.com) can prepare every day hikes and after driving up the Maibrunnalm chair you possibly can snowshoe over the rear facet of the Nockies. Be careful for eagles circling overheard and the tracks of deer and rabbits. The tour ends with beers round an outside fireplace at a bar.
Take a morning off the slopes to discover the historical past of the village and its many church buildings with a guided tradition stroll. Organised by the Nockalmhof Biosphere Reserve (biosphaerenparknockberge.com), it begins at St Kathrein Church, the place a gradual stream of sizzling water emerges from rocks in a cave. In olden instances villagers would soak their fingers and bathe their eyes in it.
From right here you stroll below an extended cover of snow-laden ash bushes, curved over the trail like a rose arch to the closely frescoed St Udalrich Church, considered one of 4 you soak up on the tour, all of the whereas studying in regards to the completely different peoples who’ve inhabited the valley.
There are a number of completely different toboggan runs all through the week, however the true spotlight for youngsters is a torchlit stroll with ponies (trattlerhof.at).
Meet on the atmospheric Trattlerhof, a hotel-cum-stables on the outskirts of the city the place workers put on velvet and lederhosen and light-weight big tallow candles, earlier than heading off down a observe and following the river.
The stroll ends on the characterful Einkehr restaurant the place sizzling chocolate and glühwein by the firepit is adopted by fabulously skinny crust pizzas (Italy is just 30 minutes drive away), Carinthian cured meats and a effective Austrian crimson, all to the soundtrack of an area accordionist.
A magical night time within the mountains to conclude your BKK journey.
Lodge Kolmhof (kolmhof.at) affords seven nights half-board from £420pp primarily based on 4 sharing. EASYJET (easyjet.com) flies from Gatwick to Klagenfurt from £25.18 one-way.