The main new attraction at Bad Kleinkirchheim, (the Austrian town where Franz Klammer learned to ski) for the 2008-09 season will be the Thermal Romerbad with a vast Wellness area and no fewer than 13 different saunas so as soon as you come down from the slopes, its a refreshing sauna and Wellness session! You can laze in the thermal outdoor pool and watch other winter sports enthusiasts skiing down towards you.
Après-ski in swimming trunks? That’s no washout but tingling relaxation the Bad Kleinkirchheim way. Nowhere can guests get from the icy snow into the pleasantly hot water faster than here in the Carinthian Nock Mountains. Above all, this is possible due to the two thermal bathing centers of the enjoyable winter-sport resort, which very quickly change snow kings into water sprites and ski-ladies into bathing beauties.
“From the Pistes into the Spas" – this leitmotif is put into action day in, day out in the alpine well-being haven. Passionately and professionally.
Here different kinds of pleasure can be obtained within short distances. If you want, you can stop off your skis at the end of the final slope of the Franz-Klammer downhill run and jump directly into the steaming pool of the Roemerbad thermal bathing center. Normally, however, water nymphs and water sprites enjoy the relaxing effects of the thermal water after a sunny-southern day of skiing the Carinthian way. This will not only tackle the muscle ache in overworked skier’s calves, but also helps to strengthen heart and circulation as well as the immune system, vessels and connective tissue, alleviates rheumatic problems and neuritis and supports the chances of recovery after surgery and infectious diseases.
The resort of Bad Kleinkirchheim looks to British connections in the winter and provides a weekly bus service from Ljubljana, departing each Saturday from mid-December 17th, and costs approximately £30.00 each way.
Transfer times to BKK are just 90 minutes. Easyjet (0905 821 0905; www.easyjet.com) flies daily to Ljubljana from London Stansted which makes the Slovenian capital the ideal jumping off-point for a BKK break. Many car rental companies also have outlets there, making weekend trips possible, too Carrentals.co.uk (0845 225 0845; www.carrentals.co.uk), for example, offers Ford Focus-sized cars for 205 for four days. The Slovenian connection supplements the more established approach to BKK, through Klagenfurt, which in the winter is served by direct flights from London Gatwick, courtesy of the Austrian airline Styrian Spirit. This new service, which begins in November and will operate as Carinthian Spirit, will be available four times a week (on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday). Online bookings can be made at www.styrianspirit.at, and each flight will connect with a transfer bus to BKK.
Carinthia has enjoyed tremendous growth in the ski market, comments Oskar Hinteregger, Austrian National Tourist Office Director UK & Ireland. British skiers are always looking for new destinations and have discovered them in the south-eastern Alps. The combination of long, wide, and flattering pistes, as well as two large spas have made BKK a favourite with the Brits. The provision of convenient transfers from the airports directly to the hotels demonstrates the commitment by the resort to this market.
Bad Kleinkirchheim is in a spectacular valley about half an hour north of Klagenfurt (capital of the Austrian province of Kaernten) and only 90 minutes south of Salzburg. So it is easily accessible for motorists via the Tauern motorway (toll tunnel of euro 9.50) or from Klagenfurt.
To provide guaranteed snow throughout the winter, there are no fewer than 800 snow-making machines which can produce the equivalent of 50cm of fresh snow. So "BKK" (as it has become known in the UK) can easily claim to offer the best prepared ski slopes in Carinthia (Kaernten). The skiing area has 56 miles of groomed pistes with slopes to suit beginners and experts alike. If you fancy a challenge there is the FIS run, two and a half miles long, and named after the son of the l976 Olympics legend, Franz Klammer. There is an impressive vertical drop of 4,500ft!
BKK is not just about skiing - but there is a lot of it - it is also a thermal centre and the special waters provide a relaxing and curative way of restoring the body, especially important to middle aged and elderly people. Guests have been coming to Bad Kleinkirchheim since 1884 but skiing started around the l960's since when it has taken off in a really big way. There are numerous hotels to select from and 26 hotel indoor pools and 50 saunas complete the range of well-being pleasure offered in this resort, which has given the term “bathing culture” a special significance.
The mountains are spectacular and provide a vast skiing area covering around 100km of pistes served by 25 lifts, many of them new installations and include 4 gondolas. There are additionally 7 childrens lifts. Out on the mountains there are around 20 "rustic" chalets for coffee or a mid-day meal between skiing the varied runs. BKK is not for the true beginner. Intermediate and advanced skiers will enjoy the terrain which includes 77km of average difficulty (red) and 8km of difficult (black) slopes. There are 18km of easy (blue) runs but if you join ski school the instructors will have you to the top of the mountains within your first week!
There is quite a long main street running through the village with plenty of small shops, several supermarkets, banks, a post office and the thermal bath centres. There are numerous hotels, large and small, but a considerable emphasis on "wellness" within the valley. BKK is all about skiing and no wonder it produced an Olympic champion in the form of Franz Klammer. From Kaiserburg (2055m)there are good red runs right down to the village or from Strohsack (1904m) there is the Franz Klammer downhill course which is both black and red - but very steep - and an excellent piste for the really good skier! Along a small valley on the opposite side of the mountain is the ski station of St. Oswald with lifts to the top at Spitzegg (1913m) and Brunnach (1901m) offering good red runs.
There is no doubt that Bad Kleinkirchheim has much to offer British skiers with a car journey from Calais of around 12 hours or a one hour transfer from Klagenfurt.
For further information, please contact the tourist office in BKK on: www.badkleinkirchheim.at