Ski Information: Maria Alm, Hochkönig area, Austria

This quiet little city has all the time discovered itself off the overwhelmed monitor regardless of being solely an hour from Salzburg. However new lifts have built-in it into the attractive Hochkönig ski space and trendy motels are opening their doorways.

Maria Alm is an unassuming place but charmingly conventional, dominated by its church with its 76m needle-like steeple, the tallest in Salzburgerland and one of many pointiest in Austria. It was that a shuttle bus was wanted to get to the 120km of the Hochkönig ski space however the swift, silent 10-person Natrunbahn gondola, opened late 2018, connects city centre and mountain prime.

Concerning the Hochkönig area

Hochkönig means Excessive King, and the mountain of the identical identify dominates the views from the ski slopes which run via a number of cities and villages, from Maria Alm at one finish to Muhlbach on the different, a terrific day on the market and again. The mountain, with a ridge that extends nearly so far as the snowboarding does offers a grand panorama even because the runs dart cosily amongst the bushes.

Hochkönig Panorama

Hochkönig Panorama (c) mawieser

Maria Alm is the most important place to remain; it’s not a significant resort (though now it has a direct hyperlink to the slopes that’s prone to change) however there are first rate, bars, eating places and motels.

The snowboarding at Maria Alm’s Natrunbahn

On the prime of Maria Alm’s Natrunbahn you may take the lengthy, fairly ski again down or head on the opposite manner to connect with the Hochkönig circuit. Down after which up, the snowboarding above Maria Alm reaches 1,900m at Aberg-Langeck the place a number of quick black pistes and varied off-piste choices present a problem in an space the place a lot of the snowboarding is nice, intermediate fare.

The Hochkönig mountain at almost three,000m runs in a ridge parallel to the ski slopes as they head east, tree-lined runs that dart down first into Hintermoos and Hinterthal (an extended purple from prime to backside with the choice of switching to a black half manner). From there, runs jump over the Gabuhel peak, Austrian snowboarding as you all the time think about it, picturesque and secure for all of the household. And, whereas this is likely to be a largely unknown space, the lifts are all trendy.

From right here there are a lot extra ups and downs – as much as fabulous viewpoints and down via the bushes – earlier than arriving on the farthest level, the little city of Muhlbach. And then you definately get to do all of it in reverse, the whole lot wanting completely different. And it’s good for households with blue runs accessible almost all the best way, save for a couple of straightforward reds.

One other bonus is that Hochkönig is on the Ski Amade elevate go (named after Salzburg’s most well-known resident, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), which has 760km of pistes in 5 areas, together with the elegant spa city of Dangerous Gastein and the Dachstein glacier. Nowhere is greater than an hour aside and, given the quick drive from Salzburg, it’s a terrific area to come back and discover a unique space every day at no added value.

Why go there?

The appeal: The 120km of runs give loads of choices for all ranges however in a quieter, extra laid-back manner than better-known locations. As of but there aren’t any main British tour operators – and not one of the crowds.

The benefit: Maria Alm is barely 44km from Salzburg airport. There are various shuttle companies, it’s a simple drive in a rent automotive and a few journey corporations provide transfers.

A style of winter: Hilltop Gasthof Kronreith (a brief cab trip or a good stroll) has good sincere Austrian dinners – and a 1.5km toboggan trip down. A horse-drawn carriage takes you on a moonlit trip via beautiful surroundings. And there’s evening snowboarding in Maria Alm three days every week – one in all many free affords on the Hochkönig Card, complimentary at most motels.

The place to eat on the slopes

Tom: Epitomising Maria Alm’s new boutique aptitude, up to date cowshed stylish, created by Tom Schwaiger, brother of Sepp, behind the city’s latest, coolest resort, the Sepp. A primary-floor balcony space appears to be like via the glass roof (which slides again on good days) and over the bar downstairs, lined with outdated chairlift seating. Posh nosh, too – I attempted the particular menu constructed round Jägermeister herb liqueur together with such gems as pear soup with a slice of pear in Jägermeister dip and a Jägermeister and pear puree cocktail.

Pear soup at Tom

Pear soup at Tom (c) Nick Dalton

Steinbockalm: Farther into Hochkönig, at Hinterthal, with implausible views. The place is a neat combine of contemporary and conventional, two rustic huts linked by a cool bar and lounge above which sits the terrace. Suppose dishes like braised beef with creamed polenta, fried mushrooms and potato straw. Particular occasions embody Sushi Sunday, stay music, craft beer festivals and even a farmers’ market.

The X Issue: A Culinary Königstour is a day trip on skis both guided or alone taking in six summits and diversified mountain huts. Dwelling Cooking offers you Alpine snacks, pancakes and different delicacies at 4 farms. Herb Enjoyment offers meals and pure secrets and techniques at 4 spots whereas Peak Enjoyment affords a four-course tasting menu cut up across the peaks


Finances: There are a selection of small pensions right here, together with Pension Augenbrundl in a quiet countryside setting however a simple stroll to Maria Alm’s centre. Cosy rooms with balcony or terrace and hearty breakfasts. Doubles from €58, B&B.

Mid vary: Lodge Sepp, new in late 2018, combines woody custom with up to date stylish and a contact of playfulness. Proprietor/architect Sepp Schwaiger is the mastermind. There’s a elevate with an inside clad within the steel panels from a kind of outdated, upright cable automotive cabins –with a ‘window’ that reveals movie of an actual mountain trip. The highest (third) flooring is the guts: piles of teapots so you can also make your individual cuppa, a cheery bar and a restaurant and included breakfast buffet till 1pm. On the terrace is an Airstream caravan transformed right into a sauna – it juts over the road with ‘Don’t Panic!’ painted beneath. Alongside is an open-air infinity swimming pool fed by a pure sizzling spring. Doubles from €200, B&B.

Hotel Sepp lounge

Lodge Sepp lounge (c) Nick Dalton

Easy methods to get there

FLY: EasyJet has price range flights from London Gatwick to Salzburg 5 days every week together with flights from Luton, Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast.

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