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From the Bad Kleinkirchheim piste map to the best ski schools, ski hire shops and après ski bars, here’s your essential review of this family-friendly Austrian ski resort.

Bad Kleinkirchheim ski resort Austria CREDIT iStock

Bad Kleinkirchheim, or BKK for short, is a charming spa town and ski resort strung out along a valley in the Nockberge mountains of Austria's Gurktal Alps, in the southernmost province of Carinthia. The village, together with its surrounding picturesque valley, is ideal for mixed-aged mixed-ability skiing groups. Beginners and intermediates are especially well catered for as 75 percent of its runs are reds.

Its luxury hotels, cosy cafés, refined restaurants, and classy boutiques make it a magnet for the well-heeled, and BKK is a particular favourite with Italian visitors due to its proximity to the Austrian-Italian border.

Austria's legendary downhill racer Franz Klammer is a local boy, and the Downhill & Super-G piste is named in his honour. Bad Kleinkirchheim regularly hosts events on the annual Alpine World Cup tour.

 

Bad Kleinkirchheim - Ski Map & Pistes:

The local Nockberge range features gently-domed yet steep-sided wooded hills, which provide a nice mix of wide blue ridge runs and fast red descents, with plenty of sheltered tree-lined runs for when the visibility closes in. Beginners have two separate village-level nursery zones, one at either end of the resort.

Bad-Kleinkirchheim-ski-map

Bad Kleinkirchheim's 103km piste- and lift-linked ski area extends across two nearby summits, the Kaiserburg and the Strohsack, and includes the slopes above the neighbouring village of St Oswald. It's pretty much all covered by an extensive network of snow cannons. The runs closest to the village are mostly north-facing so hold their snow well despite their modest altitude - the highest point is only 2,055m. The runs over to St Oswald are mostly on east-facing and best skied in the morning. St O's slopes predominantly face south – so the snow can be iffy, but it's a great spot for soaking up the sun on a leisurely mountain lunch.

BKK's primary access lifts are all gondolas and chairlifts, but snowboarders probably won't best appreciate the many unavoidable T-bars. A new snowpark has been laid out accessible from the Maibrunn or Strohsack gondolas, however, with plenty of fun features to keep riders occupied.

One unusual feature is the walk-in saunas or 'massagecubes' alongside the pistes in BKK and St Oswald, and BKK is also said to have more mountain restaurants per kilometre of piste than anywhere else in Austria.

 

Bad Kleinkirchheim - Off-Piste, Backcountry & Ski Touring:

Not bad. The resort is not hugely high, topping out at just over 2,000m above sea level, so you don't get any high-alpine descents here, and outside of the coldest winter months - ie. January and February - the lack of altitude definitely reduces your chance of scoring epic snow.

When it's on here, though, it's on. The way the relatively-old lifts are laid out means there's plenty of scope for cutting between them, and if you score good conditions, the tree runs here rival anything in Europe.

Higher up, there are some decent, if fairly mellow, slopes in the powder bowls on the Kaiserburg, and on the Priedroef, the Wiesernoch and Brunnach.

 

Bad Kleinkirchheim - Restaurants, Bars & The Town:

Winter and summer, Bad Kleinkirchheim's long-established main tourist attraction is its natural hot springs, around which two large thermal spas have been developed, and an abundance of solariums, steam rooms, therapy centres, pools, saunas and massage treatments: the plush Thermal Römerbad is next to the Kaiserburg base-area slopes at the eastern end of BKK, and the family-focused St Kathrein is in the western Bach quarter of the village.

For downtime fun, families will love the toboggan run near Kaiserburg Wöllaner Nock, there is a good ice rink in town and there are 60km of winter hiking trails

As is common in most Austrian ski resorts, the après ski scene is very jolly, mostly focused on noisy slope-side and base-area bars. Take Five is the resort's key après ski venue. Later in the evening, the focus passes on to a handful of late-night bars and a nightclub, as the majority of guests seem content to linger over a leisurely dinner in their hotel or at one of the resort's many excellent and elegant restaurants - the Loy Stub'n and the Eschenhof are highly rated.

 

Bad Kleinkirchheim - Ski Hire:

For ski hire in Bad Kleinkirchheim there are several branches of Intersport or try Skiverleih Sport Christian or Sportcenter - SPORT 2000 rent.

 

Bad Kleinkirchheim - Ski School:

There are four ski schools in BKK, and a ski kindergarten for children from age 3. These include two Ski- & Sportschule Krainer and Qualitätsskischule Brunner.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
7
Off the slopes
8
Off-piste
3
Ski Area
7
Vertical drop
985m
Altitude range
1070–2055m
Ski area
103km
Parks
1
Resort height
1100m
Summit
2055m
Airport
Klagenfurt (50mins)
Train station
Spittal, Villach (38mins), Villach (42mins)
beginner
17%
intermediate
75%
expert
8%