Skiing in Steiermark (Styria)
Steiermark (or Styria) in Southeast Austria is the second largest state in Austria and shares a border with Slovenia. Most of the skiing is in the North and West, including the renowned Schladming Dachstein ski area, famous for its World Cup night slalom race.
Kreischberg (Lachtal / Murau)
The Kreischberg and Lachtal / Murau are two unconnected ski areas in the Murtal mountains. The Kreischberg ski area takes its name from its main mountain. The highest lift reaches 2,118m and most of the pistes are below the treeline. Murau is at the bottom and its suburbs border the lower slopes provided there is snow all the way down to the valley floor at 868m. Lachtal is about half an hour away by car and is significantly higher: the resort itself is at a very respectable 1600m and its lifts ascend to 2,222m. The combined area offers 86 km of pistes plus 15 km of ungroomed ski routes, accessed from 23 lifts, and is covered by by a single ski pass.
The old medieval town of Schladming is the centre of both a linked inner ski area spanning four different mountains (Planai, Hauser Kaibling, Hochwurzen and Reiteralm) and an outer area of satellite resorts reached by car or bus, including Fageralm, Galsterbergalm, the Dachstein glacier and Stoderzinken. The inner ski area is certainly large enough (there are 123 km of slopes, serviced by 44 lifts) but it’s not particularly high – all the skiing is between 745 and 2,015 m. Snow reliability is better than this might suggest because most of the slopes are north-facing and there is impressive artificial snow-making, but for genuine high altitude skiing you have to travel to the 2700m Dachstein glacier, accessed from the lift at Turlwand.
Spital am Semmering / Stuhleck
The Stuhleck mountain ski resort is located near the town of Spital am Semmering. There are 24 km of pistes accessed from 9 lifts, with skiing between 777m and 1,774 m. There is also a separate winter sports area near Spital am Semmering with a 5 km long natural toboggan run.
Tauplitz and Bad Mitterndorf (Schneebären)
Tauplitz and Bad Mitterndorf are two linked ski resorts that share over 40km of pistes and 16 lifts, the highest of which reaches 1,965m. Skiers can also choose to stay up the mountain at Tauplitzalm. The Schneebaren pass covers not only this area but also the the unconnected, smaller ski areas of Loser, Planneralm, Riesneralm and Kaiserau, approximately doubling the skiing available.
Turracher Höhe is located on the border between Styria and Carinthia at 1763 m. Lake Turrach is at the centre of the ski area. In total there are 43 km of slopes, accessed by 14 lifts, rising from a low point of 1,400m to over 2,200 m.
Getting to Steiermark
The regional capital is at Graz which has an international airport with flights to the UK and most other European countries. There is an even greater choice of flights at Salzburg airport with numerous low cost airlines and charter flights flying in from all over Europe. Innsbruck, Vienna, Munich and Ljubljana airports are other possibilities.