Schladming was transformed for the 1998/99 season by three new lifts and new pistes, which now link four previously fragmented mountains. There is now more than enough to keep a keen intermediate happy for a week without having to mess around catching buses, as you used to have to - and you really get a sense of travelling around. Taken together with Schladming's reliable snow record, impressive snowmaking system and pretty, traffic-free village centre, the resort deserves serious consideration. Even before it linked its mountains, Schladming received rave reviews from most of its customers.

Two of the big British tour operators now feature the resort in their brochures, and we predict that more will add it to their programmes over the next few years. So if you want to get there before the crowds, go now.

What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ New lifts have linked extensive but previously fragmented slopes

+ Excellent slopes for intermediates

+ Extensive snowmaking operation and superb piste maintenance

+ Very sheltered slopes, among trees

+ Close to snowsure Obertauern and Dachstein glacier

+ Lots of good mountain restaurants

+ Charming town with friendly people and a life independent of tourism


? Nursery slopes (at Rohrmoos) are inconvenient unless you stay beside them - and beginners are expected to pay for a full lift pass

? Little for experts

? The slopes lack variety - one mountain is much like the others

? Most runs are north-facing, so can be cold and shady in early season