More Highlights of Austria’s Famous Arlberg Ski Area.

 

Welcome to the second of our 2-part rundown of all that is great and good in the mighty Arlberg ski area. Last week we looked at the area’s impressive stats, modern lift system, varied pistes and phenomenal off piste... This week we’re switching focus to the terrain over on the Lech side, the snow-parks on offer and the vibrant après ski. Without further ado, let’s crack on.

 

Skiing from St Anton to Lech

 

The Arlberg resorts of St Anton and Lech are linked up and skiable on the same lift pass, and although it’s not a particularly easy connection to make, it’s hugely worthwhile. The two resorts differ wonderfully in character and atmosphere, and no visit to the Arlberg is complete without a visit across the valley to the neighbouring resort.

 

There are two ways to get from one to the other. For most people, the best bet is to get the regular bus service that gets you across in 15 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a ski guide (ski patrol won’t let you up otherwise), you can go to the top of the Valluga and ski off the back of the mountain on an off-piste run down to Zug. For skiers of a certain advanced level, the run offers some of the finest scenery and deepest turns of any mountain face in the valley.

 

Freestyle parks

 

The Arlberg boasts two freestyle parks to contend with, one in St Anton and one in Lech. The St Anton O’Neill Park is masterfully-shaped, offering a ‘pro line’ with huge 15 metre kickers and challenging rails, a ‘kicker line’ with medium-sized kickers for intermediates, and the ‘jibline’ for those new to freestyle skiing or boarding.

 

The Snowpark Lech is slightly larger than the park in St Anton, with more features to contend with. It offers an easy, a medium and a pro line.

 

A snowboarder attcks St Anton!

 

Image courtesy of Tom Godber on Flickr

 

Après-ski

 

For punters, locals and seasonnaires alike, St Anton’s reputation for raucous après ski precedes it. The bars on the mountain and in the resorts are lively, varied and welcoming, and no keen après-skier worth his or her salt can rest until they’ve ticked off the mighty Mooserwirt above St Anton!

 

The Mooserwirt is without a doubt the best après-ski party in the world: dancing on the tables in the glorious winter sun to crazy Tirolean dance music is something everyone should experience at least once! For something slightly more understated, Krazy Kangaruh’s offers an excellent alternative and remains perennially popular among discerning seasonnaires.  

 

Breadth of accommodation

 

One of the most popular ski destinations in Europe, St Anton sits at 1305 metres above sea level offering some of te finest terrain in Europe. To meet demand, the resort boasts hundreds of different chalet and hotel accommodation options from super-luxury hotels all the way down to small, budget chalets – all bases are covered. The car-free village centre is charming and traditional, boasting a great deal of traditional Tirolean charm.

 

Lech, in turn, is a much more picturesque and traditional Alpine village. It sits at 1450m, with delightful chalets and peaceful hotels on offer. Overall, there are some lovely places to stay in the resort and whilst it is quieter than St Anton, there remains a welcoming après-ski and nightlife scene.

 

A resort that is often overlooked in the Arlberg area is Sonnenkopf. The hidden gem of the Arlberg area, Sonnenkopf boasts 10 lifts, 31 kilometres of piste and a freestyle park. There are a number of fantastic intermediate slopes to enjoy — 97% of which are cruisy blues and reds — and the highlight is the 8km Vermalen run. Sonnenkopf is a relatively young resort at just 38 years old, and because of this it boasts fantastic, modern facilities and a great high-speed lift system.