Winter update: World Cup at Schladming will prove a boon to tourists
Sunday 13 January 2013
One of the biggest events in world skiing will take place in Austria from 4-17 February, when the Alpine Ski World Championships roll in to the resort of Schladming (schladming2013.com). The event attracts around 650 athletes from 70 nations, with the main downhill ski events rated second only to the Winter Olympics.
There are high hopes for Britain's best skiers, particularly the male and female No 1s, Dougie Crawford and Chemmy Alcott, who are both building their personal campaigns towards podium finishes at the Sochi Olympics in Russia next winter.
However well our ski stars perform, British holidaymakers will undoubtedly be winners from the legacy of the event, which has seen about €400m (£326m) invested in the infrastructure of the region. Nearly half of that spend has gone on swish new hotels, as well as upgrades to existing establishments, and almost a quarter on fast, comfortable lifts and other improvements. This investment should make the 117km of Schladming's interlinked four-mountain ski area, state of the art in skiing for years to come.
Regular tour operators to Schladming are locked out for the duration of the championships, but hotel rooms and day passes to attend the races are available if you make your own travel arrangements and book direct through Schladming-Dachstein Tourism (00 43 3687 23310; schladming-dachstein.at).
"Prices depend on where you stay but currently you could get a night in a three-star hotel with breakfast and a day pass to a race at the championship for €119," says Hermann Gruber, managing director of Schladming-Dachstein Tourism.
Slopes closed for competitions are limited to the Planai and a few other training slopes on the Reiteralm and Hauser Kaibling. About 85 per cent will still be open, though, so you can enjoy a full ski holiday, with the bonus of the World Cup events.
"There are absolutely no restrictions due to the Ski World Championships on seven of our main ski mountains, including Hochwurzen, Dachstein and Planneralm," says Mr Gruber. But if you want to wait until the championships are over to enjoy the fruits of all that investment and ski the slopes straight after the superstars, then try tour operators such as Crystal (0871 231 2256; crystalski.co.uk).
"Availability is limited to the four-star Hotel Royer at £892 per person for the week starting 23 February but the price gets much better the following week (departure 2 March), at £429pp at another four-star, the Ferienalm. Both packages include half board, flights from Gatwick and transfers," advises Crystal spokeswoman Marion Telsnig.
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