St. Anton am Arlberg attracts skiers from all over the world to tackle its challenging runs, limitless off piste and its very lively après scene.
It is affectionately known as the ‘the cradle of Alpine skiing’. Skiing, as we know it today, was pioneered to a large extent by men from the Arlberg and acquired the outstanding reputation it still enjoys today as a winter sports centre.
Here are a few key facts about the region:
- Hosts world famous ski resorts with 276km of piste (and around the same again for off piste opportunities).
- The Arlberg region is made up of 7 resorts that are all accessible on your lift pass.
- The longest run is 8.5km leading from the Valluga via the Ulmer hut to St. Anton.
- The ‘Mooserwirt’ and ‘Krazy Kanguruh’ are world famous après ski bars attracting huge crowds in the late afternoon.
- Lech and Zürs have superb lift systems, great piste skiing and high quality hotels.
- It is located just over an hour from Innsbruck airport.
- Around 7 metres of fresh snow falls in this region every year providing epic snow conditions.
Ski resorts within the Arlberg Region
Memorable runs include the Rendl home run which can be tackled from the main Rendl station or can be extended by taking the chairlift to Riffel 2. This is a fast flowing red run that drops 1300m right into the town centre. The two board parks in the St Anton area are at the top of Rendl mountain, one large and one small – perfect for the experienced and those of you just learning jumps, rails and boxes.
From the Galzig top station you can enjoy a fast blue run down into the picturesque village of St. Christoph. This run is sure to whet your appetite to try some longer and more challenging runs. Black 2 – Kandahar, is a challenging run that good skiers and boaders will love.
Ski route 16, Mattun, runs right through the valley between Kappl and Schindler before joining up with the main home run into St Anton. You get great views of the mountains either side of you and will have tonnes of space to pick your line down.
Make sure you get the cable car up to the top of Valluga 2 for the best views in the region.
St Christoph, a pretty little village, has one main lift taking you to the top of the Galzig area. From here you can connect with all other areas within St. Anton. One special note is that Ski Austria’s headquarters are based here which illustrates how challenging this area can be. The Arlberg Hospiz hotel supplies amazing ribs and wings platters – a highly recommended lunch stop.
From the top of the Schindlergrat chairlift, take red 14, into blue 17 for an amazing run down into the pretty village of Stuben. This spot tends to be a lot quieter than the main areas in the Arlberg region and offers some wonderful ski touring opportunities.
Lech and Zürs
These two very famous resorts attract skiers of good ability to tackle the famous ‘White Ring’ – a 40km circuit taking in both resorts. With everything from easy flowing blues to more technical ski routes, you will marvel at the views across the Arlberg and Voralberg regions and the distance that you have travelled. There are many mountain restaurants along the way, as well as fine dining in both Lech and Zürs. Why not join the Crystal reps around this famous circuit and enjoy a well earned lunch at a beautiful mountain restaurant.
Piste skiing in Lech and Zurs is amazing. The red runs either side of Zürs village are personal favourites. Red 10 provides some amazing views of the area. The blue runs off the Wiebermahd chair in Lech are wide open, flowing runs that are especially enjoyable. It is also much quieter on this side of the ski resort than the St Anton side.
A hidden jewel within the Arlberg region. This quiet resort boasts some wonderful flowing pistes for all abilities but with most of the runs connected by wide open off piste areas, it really has something to offer for everyone. This area can be reached by bus or you can take advantage of the ski away day that is offered in resort. A must for anyone staying within the Arlberg region.
APRÈS SKI, DINNER AND NIGHTLIFE
Normally we would lump après and other activities in together but there really is quite a lot to talk about on the party-front alone. St. Anton boasts one of the best après scenes in the world. The numerous après bars that are located on the main piste into resort cater for all tastes.
Heustadle is well known for Rock music fused with a typical Tirolean experience. Taps bar is the venue for live bands whilst next door the Krazy Kanguruh runs happy hour from 3.30-4.30pm.
After you have tried out your choice of the above après bars there is only one place to head; no, not back to the village but to the most famous and legendary Mooserwirt. Voted best après bar in the world, the Mooserwirt is not to be missed. It boasts German techno mixed with classic rock tunes and a capacity for up to 3,000 skiers and boarders, with many dancing on the tables (in their ski boots). You could imagine this place might get pretty hectic and (as this iconic mountain bar manages to sell more beer each day than the rest of St Anton’s bars put together) it does.
The last free ski bus back to town is about a 10 minute walk from the Mooserwirt and leaves at about 5.50pm but alternatively you could ski down the mountain. A word of warning though – the piste is not lit and after a few beverages may look a little dark and blurry. The bus comes highly recommended.
Once back in town, it might be a good idea to line your stomach before heading to another bar. For traditional Austrian grub, including the classic Tiroler grostl (a deliciously unhealthy mix of sautéed potatoes and tender beef topped off with a fried egg), Der Grieswirt, should be top of the list.
For more international tastes – Bodega is great for a bit of tapas and Anthony’s Italian serves up a mean pizza and pasta. For cheap eats on the go, pop into the Arlberger Village Bakery on the main pedestrianised street through St. Anton. We love their schnitzel and Leberkase.
Still not ready for bed? Well, a wide range of different bars are available in the village. Bar 37 is of note as it only has the capacity for 37 customers which is very cosy. Piccadilly is great for live bands, Bobo’s for Karaoke, Scotty’s for a very British feel and many many more.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE APRÈS
St. Anton is more than just a ski resort with bars, it is a real village with oodles of charm. Aside from stunning scenery, snowy walks and quaint frescoed buildings there is much to keep you occupied.
Every Wednesday evening from 9pm, the Arlberg ski school put on an amazing ski show that is free to watch. This is located behind the wellness centre on the main piste in St Anton. In this show, the instructors tell the story of how skiing has changed throughout the ages along with tricks and jumps performed by the experts.
Located at the top of the Nasserein lift is a 4.5km long toboggan run. Toboggans are easy to hire through any ski hire shop and on a Tuesday and Thursday the run is open till 9pm for floodlit tobogganing. A Glühwein or two at the restaurant at the top beforehand can make the run a bit more interesting.
On the other hand, if you just want to relax after a day on the slopes, try the ARLBERG-well centre.
Located about 200 metres from the main Galzig/Gampen lift stations, this wellness centre has a selection of steam rooms and saunas, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool with jet propelled rapids (very fun) and gym facilities. If you are shy, you may just want to use the swimming pools – the saunas and steam rooms are strictly without bathing suits.
For those looking for a little more adrenaline after your day skiing or boarding, you may enjoy the ArlRock centre where there is extensive indoor climbing. Those who really want to test their skills can scale an ice wall in the colder months. This centre also offers Austrian bowling, tennis courts and indoor football pitches.
ACCOMMODATION IN ST. ANTON
There is a wide range of accommodation with St. Anton ranging from chalets right up to 5 star luxury hotels.
Crystal has 6 chalets in St Anton, all within easy access of the lifts and the town centre. Ranging from 2 star rated, smaller chalets, such as the Chalet Schlosshof which are ideal for small groups, right up to grander Crystal Finest chalets that can accommodate over 30 people.
These are perfect if you want a ‘home from home’ experience as all chalets have highly trained hosts who will cook hearty meals, prepare afternoon tea and make sure you get the most out of your holiday with their friendly, approachable manner and insider knowledge of the resort.
A variety of hotels are on offer within St. Anton. For serious luxury, there is the traditional 5 star Hotel Alte Post with its fabulous spa facilities, open log fire, characterful lounge and bar area.
If you’re after something a little more contemporary, then why not check out the brand new 4 star, boutique style Anthony’s Hotel? With bright and fresh decor, it contains its own moonlight Sky Spa where you can watch the stars and piste bashers from the outdoor rooftop whirlpool.
Whatever the accommodation type you are looking for, there is sure to be something to suit your tastes and needs. Wherever you stay, you will be sure to have a wonderful experience.
LECH AND ZÜRS
Accommodation in these exclusive resorts is primarily in high quality hotels. Both resorts have quiet, picturesque village centres with cosmopolitan après ski and fine dining experiences.
For more information on holidays in Arlberg ski area, please visit the Crystal Ski website.
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
Have you been on holiday in the Arlberg? What were your highlights? Leave your ski and snowboard holiday tips for other readers in a comment below.