For as long as I have been skiing, Austria has been well known as the home to barn stomping, ski boot grooving après ski. The sort of après ski that it famous across the world. Right at the heart of this reputation for wildness that Austria has gained through the years are the mammoth party resorts of St Anton and Ischgl. The two resorts have been nip and tuck in terms of partying hard for years, although St Anton carries slightly more weight when it comes to the slopes themselves. 
So without further ado, let’s see how they compare. 
On the Mountain
Ischgl’s got the reputation for being slightly more upmarket than St Anton, and the mountaintop après ski falls in with the reputation perfectly. It’s mostly centred around the Paznauner Taja, where lunch slides seamlessly into après ski and hundreds of skiers gather to drink, dance and meet new people. The bar has a service and a self service restaurant, and three snow bars, so whatever you might be looking for, it’s a pretty good bet that you’ll find it. 
Paznauner Taja photo credit Paznauner640px
Paznauner Taja photo credit Paznauner
St. Anton’s equivalent for this is somewhat on the obvious side. The Mooserwirt and the Krazy Kanguruh (referred to as the KK) are probably two of Europe’s most famous après ski joints, and the sheer numbers of skiers flooding over to dance on the tables in their ski boots is fantastic. The Mooser is the essence of Austrian après ski, with mounds of beer and jager with more cheesy Eurotrash music than you ever thought you wanted, while the KK is the cooler of the two venues, and filled with the seasonaires. 
Overall, for sheer legendary status, St. Anton has to take this one.
In Resort
This is where Ischgl really starts to shine; it’s the location of the only Pacha in the mountains, and a host of other bars and nightclubs open until the wee hours. Ischgl has more nightspots to choose from than a small English city. We’d recommend Freeride for a laid back feel, with ski videos, live music and theme nights. The Golden Eagle is good if you want some great music in an old fashioned pub venue, while the Kuhstall is the place to go to carry on dancing the night away in your ski boots right from the moment you get off the slopes until the early hours. 
Kandahar Bar photo credit barwhiz640px
Kandahar Bar photo credit barwhiz
St. Anton, as with practically everything else, is no slouch when it comes to in resort fun either. The English tend to head for Bar Cuba, where they have pool tables and play live sports. The Piccadilly Bar is famously home to the best live music in St. Anton, and Scotty’s Bar is good for pizza and reasonably priced drinks. If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, Kandahar is open from après to late, with a happy hour between 11pm and 12pm for skiers more about the party than the piste. 
For the outrageous volume and variety of bars, this one has to go to Ischgl. 
So there you have it, St Anton might be the reigning king of the après ski, but Ischgl’s reputation as of the Ibiza of the slopes is not unfounded. Frankly, you’re bound to have a fantastic time in either resort, and if you’re looking to spend all night bopping to Eurotrash in your ski boots, you’ll find plenty of atmosphere in both.