Badkleinskirchheim & St Oswalds Ski Area – Carinthia, Austria

Filed under: Places to Visit,Snow & Piste Reports — TheSkiBug February 14, 2016 @ 12:24 pm

Guest House near BadkleinkirchheimWhen we were first looking for property in Carinthia, Badkleinkirchheim was one of the areas we considered, mainly because it is one of the larger ski areas in this part of Southern Austria. Well we finally made it over and spent a few days ski-ing the area, as we managed to find a dog and house sitter for a week.

We booked into a great little guest house just up the road from Gnesau, and only a 10 minute drive from Badkleinkirchheim. It was fairly basic but did allow us to take two of our dogs with us and the food was pretty good.

The Badkleinkirchheim ski area is actually two areas as it is linked to St Oswalds. There is a large car park at the bottom of the Kaiserbahn cable car and its a short walk to the lift. The cable car goes to a middle station before heading off to the top. On our first day there, the snow cover was still pretty sketchy and it was a case of skiing mainly man-made snow in between green fields and trees.

Badkleinkirchheim & St Oswalds Ski Resorts in AustriaOur first run of the day took us to what has to be one of the worst T-bar lifts I have ever done, up a steep, icy rutted track, over mud in places back to the top of the cable car. From there we decided to head to the far end of the resort and St Oswalds. After going down to a chair, up again and down again we came out down in the valley and had to take our skis off to go under a walk-way under the main road through the resort. Once on the other side of the road, it was ski’s back on and up a slow short chair, then up another chair to the top of the other side of the valley. From here we worked our way to the far side of the ski region and the pretty little mountain village of St Oswalds. All in all it only took a couple of hours to get from one end of the ski area to the other.  We headed back to Badkleinkirchheim and the car park and treated ourselves to a beer and cake at the bottom of the mountain.

Badkleinkirchheim & St Oswalds Ski Resorts in AustriaThe next couple of days we explored a few other small ski resorts close by, but after some fresh snow fall half way through our week away, we headed to St Oswald’s again. Once again there was plenty of free parking within a short walk of the gondola. There was a little bit more of a queue to get up the mountain, but once at the top people dispersed and there was no more queuing. The 20 or so centimetres of fresh snow had come early morning and after the previous evening’s piste-bashing, so it was a bit lumpy in places and causing some difficulties for the beginners that were out and about at the start of the holiday season. We headed up and over into another small valley and were lucky enough to get some fresh tracks down. The piste on the other side was untouched but we had to do another run before the chair lift opened and we could get some of the first runs down.

Most of the pistes at Badkleinkirchheim are fairly wide and there is a good mix of gondolas, chair lifts and drag lifts. The chair lifts are mainly older ones and the resort does not appear to have had the investment in new infrastructure that Nassfeld has (where there are a couple of new heated, covered chairs) but there are lots of lovely looking mountain huts and restaurants. St Oswalds itself was very pretty but seemed rather short on restaurants and shops, and was really just a collection of chalets. The only place really to get anything to eat or drink, seemed to be the cafe at the bottom of the gondola.

Badkleinkirchheim & St Oswalds Ski Resorts in AustriaOur last day in the area, was Saturday and the start of half term week for some and holidays in Holland, Italy, Czech etc. The guest house and filled up and so we were expecting difficulties parking, long queues at the lifts……but we were pleasantly surprised to find we were some of the first people in the car park (at around 10am) and nobody waiting for the ski lift at all. We spent a couple of hours cruising the more or less empty pistes before heading back home.

Overall, we were impressed with the Badkleinkirchheim ski area and for those that did not wish to ski all day, you could always relax in the outdoor thermal spa pool right at the bottom of the slope, or there was a lovely cross country ski track which meandered through the golf course at the bottom of the valley.

Thermal spa at bottom of slope at Badkleinkirchheim

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