Our piste rescue team - The guardian angels of the slopes

We all hope never to have to call on their help, and yet we’re glad when they’re quickly on the spot in an emergency – our piste rescue team. Sepp Egger and Christian Machorka have been working as piste rescuers at Bad Kleinkirchheimer Bergbahnen for many years. Today they take you into their everyday work and show you what’s behind their responsible task. 

Funkgerät Pistenrettung Skigebiet Bad Kleinkirchheim, Nockberge, Kärnten

Our piste rescue team.

The piste rescue team in the skiing area Bad Kleinkirchheim consists of six members. Their daily territory: 103 kilometres of slopes on 34 runs. And they know them inside out. After all, every peak, every tree and every lift support can be an important clue for describing an accident site. Due to the size of the ski area, four piste rescuers are on duty each day, each positioned at one of the central mountain stations: Kaiserburgbahn, Maibrunnbahn, Nockalmbahn and Biosphärenparkbahn Brunnach. By the way, this is also where our four permanent defibrillator locations are.


No two days are the same.

During the opening hours of the skiing area, our piste rescue team is on call. Sometimes a whole day goes by without a single call-out. On other days, the accidents pile up and our piste rescuers have to be at three accident sites at the same time. Of course, this requires a certain flexibility and stress resistance. But physical fitness and good skiing skills are particularly important for their work. After all, rescuing an injured person in the rescue sled (the so-called ‘Akja’) must go off without a hitch and safely even over steep slopes and in heavy weather.

The mission.

During the winter season 2021/22, our piste rescuers were called out on around 290 missions. Always with them are telephone and radio, first aid backpack, skidoo and Akja. If an emergency call comes in, they set the appropriate rescue chain in motion and rush to help with the skidoo. On site, they take care of securing the accident area – if not already done by other skiers – and provide the necessary first aid. Depending on the severity of the injury, the team can transport the injured person directly to the nearest mountain or valley station, where they are handed over to the local rescue service.


In case of serious injuries or if immediate pain medication is necessary, the response team must alert a rescue helicopter. In the skiing area Bad Kleinkirchheim we are in the fortunate position that two helicopters can be called to help: the “Alpin 1” of the ÖAMTC Air Rescue or the “RK 1” of the Austrian Red Cross. The air rescue team then arrives at the scene within seven to ten minutes.

Did you know...?

There is no charge for the first aid provided by the piste rescue service at the Bad Kleinkirchheimer Bergbahnen. However, if a helicopter or the Radenthein-Nockberge Mountain Rescue Service is called for assistance, the rescue costs of the injured person must be charged. Therefore, find out about your insurance cover before your skiing day.


Making an emergency call.

But now to the most important question: What do you do if you witness an accident on the slopes or are even involved yourself?

Important: To be able to act as quickly as possible in an emergency, you should always have these emergency numbers handy. If there’s a skiing accident during the opening hours of the skiing area Bad Kleinkirchheim, first alert the piste rescue service. They will come to the rescue as quickly as possible and at the same time set the necessary rescue chain in motion.


When making an emergency call, the following information is particularly important:

  • Where is the accident site? If you know it, give the slope number or the name of the nearest lift. But distinctive points in the landscape or a nearby restaurant can also be helpful.
  • What happened? What caused the accident?
  • Is anyone injured? And if so, what kind of injury do you think it is?
  • How many people are involved?
  • Who is calling? State your name and telephone number in case the team need to call you back.

But don’t worry: when you call, our team will of course guide you through all these questions. It’s important that you stay calm and follow their instructions. The clearer and more specific your statements, the faster the piste rescuers can get a picture of the situation on site and quickly take the necessary steps.


And after the mission is complete?

Our slope rescue team is obliged to document every rescue operation. We’re the only ski area in Carinthia that already uses digital tools for this. This enables our piste rescuers to provide all the relevant agencies with the relevant information about the accident correctly and efficiently.


How do I behave on the slopes?

To prevent accidents from happening in the first place, please be sure to follow the
>> 10 FIS-RULES << (Details in the link)


On top of this, our piste rescue team recommends the following tips:

  • Take the helmet requirement seriously. A helmet can save your life!
  • Don’t ski any faster than you can control your speed.
  • Observe the slope markings and avalanche warning signs and do not ski off the marked slope areas.
  • Do not overestimate your fitness level and take regular breaks.
  • Avoid alcohol before and during the descent.
  • Take note of the opening times of the skiing area. From 4.30pm onwards, the snow groomers are in use on the rope, which can be life-threatening for skiers.


Quite a bit of information, isn’t it? It’s best to read through the tips and rules of conduct again before your next visit to the Bad Kleinkirchheimer Bergbahnen. If you have any questions or anything is unclear, our team is always on hand, of course. We look forward to seeing you again and wish you a safe and accident-free skiing season!