One of the greatest downhill racers of all time, Franz Klammer, was born in a village close to Bad Kleinkirchheim, where he honed his skills. And while the Olympic champion is less recognisable without a bright yellow 1970s skin suit, Der Kaiser can still be found hosting BKK’s Skiing Before 9am programme. And the current generation of speed merchants arrive every January for the women’s World Cup downhill on Klammer’s eponymous and seriously steep piste. The majority of the 103km of snowsure pistes here, however, are red - although there is also an easily accessed beginners’ area on a sunny plateau at the top of the Nockalm gondola.
The region as a whole has over 800km of pistes across more than 30 areas, covered by inclusive lift passes such as the Topskipass Carinthia-East Tyrol Gold. Just an hour from Klagenfurt, on the Italian border, Naẞfeld is a self-declared “surprise resort”. Its 110km of slopes include terrain parks, family areas and a recently upgraded lift system. Its 25 mountain huts and terraces suit chilling out or partying, but hardcore skiers can try the longest race in the world, Schlag das ASS! Gerlitzen is a pretty family area with accommodation on the lake and up on the mountain. And Turracher Höhe is a luxurious resort with personal touches such as a piste butler service, in addition to winter fun facilities that include an alpine roller coaster, husky sleds and traditional curling and skating on the lake. Whether you are a beginner, returner or expert skier, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth here.