We visited Schladming in Austria for the first time to ski there for 6 days from 12th and 17th January. There hadn’t been fresh snow for just over a week when we arrived and there was no fresh snow during our stay but the snow was in excellent condition, very little ice, and really well groomed every day for the entire week.
There are 4 main mountains closely spread along the valley and all well linked by ski lifts, mostly modern fast lifts so we experienced almost no queues and the maximum wait was about 5 minutes at one lift. The new Planai lift from the town is so fast there were no queues at all to get out of the town to start the day. Planai is the main mountain above the small town of Schladming, to the east this is linked to the ski area of Hauser Kaibling. To the west of Schladming are 2 mountain areas, Hochwurzen and then Reiteralm is the furthest. We liked all of the areas. Reiteralm had some good black runs, surprisingly without moguls so my knees enjoyed skiing them several times! If there were moguls I would have avoided them. One of them, Black Rose, claimed to have a 41º slope; it felt very steep skiing down it with the steepest part at the top and it was concave so you couldn’t see all of the slope below as you start. It took me back to my ski mountaineering days in the 1990’s! Planai also had a good black run down into the town, the last part of which is used for the annual night slalom World Cup race.
They started setting up the grandstands in the car park at the foot of the slope after we had been there a few days, the race was about 10 days after we returned home. The arch at the bottom of the run made for some interesting shots at different times of day but the night shots were best because of the lighting.
Ski slopes have an interesting way to describe steepness, a slope of 45º is called a slope of 100%, so Black Rose at 41º is 80%, Black Power at 31º is 60%. I always assumed a vertical slope was 100%, that is a 90º slope, so 45º would be a 50% slope. That’s obviously not impressive enough for ski area marketing people so they’ve devised an alternative with bigger numbers, what happens when the slope is greater than 45º? Some sources claim that a 30º slope is 66% being 2/3 of 45º, so not sure where the Schladming numbers come from.
At the end of each days skiing we made for a bar for the apres ski drinks and very loud music. Most days we finished skiing at the foot of Planai so we just walked across the road to the Platzhirsch Alm. We stayed in the Hotel Neue Post which was very comfortable and convenient for the lifts.
We went with Crystal on a Tui flight from Manchester to Salzburg but take-off was delayed by a few hours and we ended up at Linz Airport. It was difficult to find out any information but we think it was because our aircraft needed to be repaired so they flew a bigger one in from somewhere else and it was too big to land at Salzburg. The plane was pretty full but we were really squeezed in to our seats which were quite a bit narrower than a normal person at the shoulders, so I spent the whole flight shoulder to shoulder with my neighbour. Crystal were also very disorganised when we eventually reached Salzburg Airport for our resort transfer bus. Nobody seemed to be in charge or knew what to do with us. We ended up in a taxi on our own with a driver presumably related to Niki Lauda, judging by the speed he drove at! Once at Schladming all was fine and the return was uneventful but we will try and avoid using Crystal and Tui in the future.
Here are a few pictures, the black and white photos were taken on a Mamiya 7 camera with a 65mm lens on Ilford 400 Delta film (rated at 320 ISO) using a Sekonic spot meter for the exposures. I took just 3 rolls during the week even though I had 9 rolls with me, I don’t take shots unless I think they are saleable and I take very few duplicates these days so I need less film. The negatives were developed in Ilfotec DDX 1+4 for 6 minutes and then scanned and edited with Photoshop in order to add them to my website and include them here. The colour images were taken on my Motorola One mobile phone and just cropped in Photoshop. I walked away from the ski area a few times (not easy in downhill ski boots and deepish snow) looking for better shots particularly of the mountains around the ski runs. These were mainly for my black and white shots and all were hand held, I didn’t carry a tripod while skiing this year although I did have my little Gitzo Mountaineer series 0 tripod back in the hotel just in case.