A little more fresh snow in Schladming

5th February 2016, by Dave Watts

Much needed fresh snow started to fall on Wednesday lunchtime

Much needed fresh snow started to fall on Wednesday lunchtime

For most of our Austrian tour we had to put up with icy or slushy and bumpy conditions, depending on the time of day and orientation of the slopes. The unseasonably warm conditions made sure of that. Our last day, Wednesday, was no exception and the morning saw us skiing hard packed snow on Reiteralm (our favourite Schladming mountain on our previous visit because of its high-tech lift system and nicely varied terrain but not so enjoyable this time because of the snow conditions and the crowded pistes).

We soon moved on to the linked Hochwurzen mountain, which was much quieter and so more enjoyable to ski, and then on via a gondola link to Planai which can be reached directly from the centre of Schladming by another gondola too. That’s when it started to snow and our last run before a late lunch was truly delightful with fresh powder on a smooth surface. Flakes were still coming down gently as we left on Thursday morning. Hopefully, the new snow will have improved the pistes for the coming week (when the Fasching carnival season will be in full swing and Austrian resorts will be packed with partying guests in fancy dreass celebrating before the start of Lent).

We finished on Wednesday with a beer in the back room of the bar opposite the Planai lift station, which has walls covered with photos of Arnie Schwarzenegger who loved to ski in Schladming. Then we phoned for the free ski shuttle bus provided by our hotel, the 4-star Pichlmayrgut, to take us home. This will drop you off and pick you up wherever you like – a great service.

The Pichlmayrgut is a big hotel based on an estate dating back to 1117 – so it will be celebrating its 900th anniversary next year. It is personally run by the Steiner family and has splendid large rooms in several linked buildings set high above the main road, opposite the point where the Reiteralm and Hochwurzen mountains meet. My room had a lovely big bed positioned so that you woke each morning to splendid mountain views. Editor Gill’s had a huge bath in the bedroom with similar views. The hotel has a fab wellness area with indoor and outdoor pools, a big Jacuzzi in a grotto setting and a variety of different types of saunas and steam rooms. There also a well-equipped gym, a fitness room for classes and stretching, two squash courts, two indoor tennis courts and bowling alleys. No need to venture out except to ski really.

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