Ski Guide: Bad Kleinkirchheim (BKK), Austria
Known as BKK by the Brits and Bad Klein by the Italians, Bad Kleinkirchheim is perched on the edge of the Nock Mountain. “Nock” in German roughly translates to “lovely green round hill”, which is a very apt description for BKK’s pretty surroundings.
The mountains are dotted with an unusual type of pine tree that sheds its needles every year in the winter, giving them a golden hue.
About Bad Kleinkirchheim (BKK)
BKK and nearby St. Oswald have a population of just 1800 people. It has a friendly, intimate feel and is quiet in the evenings. Buildings are a mix of the modern and traditional: part wooden hut and part sleek concrete. The town is quite spread out and it takes a good hour to walk from one end to the other but there are plenty of cute and shops to visit along the way. There’s also a free shuttle bus running to all the major ski lifts.
BKK offers some of the best skiing in the region, with more than 100km of pistes reaching an altitude of up to 2055m. They have hosted the Alpine Skiing on numerous occasions, and will once again be hosting.
BKK’s most famous athlete is Frank Klammer, the Austrian former World Cup Champion and Winter Olympic gold medallist. Fondly known as the “Klammer Express”, he even has a ski run named after him.
The ski season in BKK runs until early April but spring had already sprung by the time we visited in mid March. The pistes were covered in a healthy dollop of snow but the town and surrounding countryside were cheerfully green.
If you choose to ski in March and April, the snow is pretty much guaranteed, but it starts to get quite mushy from around 1pm.
Kaiserburg: The ski area of Kaiserburg can be accessed by either the Maibrunnbahn chairlift or Kaiserburgbahn gondola. If you take the chairlift you can start the day by skiing the “Franz Klammer” downhill run, which is a fairly gentle black run with some cracking mountain views reaching as far as Slovenia and the Tyrol.
Apart from at the nursery slopes, Kaiserburg is fairly devoid of blue runs. In fact, more than 75 per cent of runs in the region are red slopes best suited to intermediate skiers. If you are a beginner, then we recommend booking some ski lessons with one of the 150 ski instructors.
There are few really challenging runs, but this seems trivial when the quality of the skiing is so good. I particularly enjoyed the black and red runs at the top of Kaiserburg II. The red FIS K70 ski route takes you all the way down to the valley through the pine forest.
St. Oswald: To reach the St. Oswald ski area from BKK, skiers need only walk five minutes from Meibrunnbahn to the Sonnwiesenbahn chairlift. The lift pass covers both ski areas and St. Oswald is a little more beginner-friendly.
Most of the runs here are short and sweet, and in March we were amazed by the glorious emptiness of the slopes. The snow quality at St. Oswald is quite varied, which made for some interesting skiing.