The central Planai ski area is reached by a gondola that rises from the edge of Schladming. Alternatively, you can drive up an all-weather road to a car park just below the mid-station. A network of modern, mainly high-capacity, chairs serve intermediate blue and red runs that wind down between the trees.
Pistes and chair-lift provide links to the peaks of Hauser Kaibling on one side and Hochwurzen and Reiteralm on the other. Fageralm, a few kilometres further along the valley towards Radstadt and Salzburg, is another small but enjoyable ski area. In the other direction towards Linz and Graz lies the pretty village of Haus-im-Ennstal, flanked by two gondolas that rise to the top of Hauser Kaibling. Beyond Haus, the 1986m Galsterbergalm above Pruggern provides slightly more demanding terrain.
Schladming is not normally recommended as a destination for off-piste skiers and, in the main ski area above the resort, leaving the marked piste is positively discouraged. However, a heli-skiing company, Heli Team Bedarfsflug (+43 3687 81323), operates here. High-altitude snow-sure skiing is possible on the adjoining Dachstein Glacier, reached by cable-car from Turlwand. Horsefeathers Superpark on the glacier is one of the largest snowboard parks in the Alps.
The 2013 Alpine Skiing World Championships will take place in Schladming in 2013, with the training slopes at Reiteralm and Hauser Kaibling.
World-class cross-country skiing
The Ramsau plateau, situated just a few minutes’ drive from Schladming, is one of Austria’s most scenic cross-country areas, and is a former venue for the Nordic Skiing World Championships. It has 145km of snow-sure marked trails between 1100m and 1300m.