If you started skiing in ‘Sankt Anton am Arlberg’ ten years ago you might have expected to hear about it in the future. The construction of Galzigbahn in 2006 completely diversified the skiing mecca. Much has changed since then, making it one of the most accessible, alluring resorts in Austria, if not the whole of the Arlberg region. There is an incredible free-willing nature of choice when it comes to the Alps, with over a thousand skiable locations, providing copious recourse for haphazard terrain, accommodation and culture.
But the beauty of St Anton stretches far and wide; further than the eye can see from most spots, unless you’re intrepid or inquisitive enough to venture up the Vallugabahn, spanning a scope for one of the most handsome mountain vistas in Europe. This region of Austria has become one of the biggest interconnected ski areas in the world, with key new lifts being introduced in the last couple of years, which have connected the endmost remaining rifts which tether the obtainable summits together.
350km of slopes and 87 lifts serve up a wonderland for alpine lovers; ability and age alike. With the highest skiable point being 2,811 metres, the medley of on and off-piste routes is vast. If you’re wondering whether this sizable, skiable surface area sees a lot of snow during the winter, you are in for a treat. An average of 11 metres fall every winter, ensuring that is one of the most snow-reliable spots in the Alps. Little negates from the ski trails, which require proficient ability and skill to navigate them. There are several competent guiding companies who will safeguard your wellbeing and transform your understanding of the backcountry paragons, that St Anton and the wider Arlberg immortalize.
One can leisurely ski “der weisse Rausch;” a ski route where an annual race sees the climatic energy of the winter season rise to perpetual heights; or glide up Shindlergrat-bahn, to imbibe the views and gambol in the couloirs atop. The available pit stops which compromise the workings of a perfect day, assemble in St Anton, in a very novel way. Whether it’s been a strenuous day or otherwise, the resort offers a plethora of après ski opportunities.
If you’ve missed the long black on which Rodelalm sits, and don’t find yourself in one of the charming traditional chalets atop the slopes, you can amble down to St Christoph or Stuben, where restaurants such as Hospiz Alm and Mondschein provide a faultless milieu. I have found myself feeling so congenial, that there is much contemplation of a taxi ride home. On more resilient days, you might find yourself heading back up, to ski to the Krazy Kanguruh or, if you’ve missed the turn and still fancy an atmospheric drink on the snow, the Mooserwirt. I can highly recommend popping in here for at least one drink.
If you “shussed” down, you can still make a swift swerve to the right and find the likes of the cosy Underground, for some intimate live music sessions and warm beverages. It’s only a hundred metre walk across the Piste to Das Basecamp where, a welcoming, new atmosphere hosts a similar, vibrant, easy going social hub. A convenient ski rental, located just by Galzigbahn, is the place to ditch your gear and take an easy stroll into town, where Postkeller or Piccadilly give off a proper feel for Austrian après, with plenty of modern bars around as well. There are spots to find pool tables, curling rinks, ice climbing walls, fitness and wellness centres and swimming spots. There really are manifold places to explore here and further that have not been mentioned.
If food is a passion of yours, there are several notable establishments which offer a range of cuisine and fine dining. The steak is incredibly tasty at Hazienda; the Bodega Bar serves up wonderfully prepared tapas; the Museum restaurant delivers traditional, Austrian delicacies with such rigour; and Floriani does one of the best pizzas in town. The cosy, approachable size of St Anton means that everything is within walking distance, the setting of which, is companioned by the winsome locals, who are forthcoming and considerate.
The lovely lay and feel of town turns into a transient, clamorous scene as folks come out to joggle their legs and mingle. All one needs to do, is ask what bar is busiest, and the night is made accessible to anyone. For all of the things which St Anton has been reputed for, an amateurish party is not one of them. For those of you who gravitate towards the playful scene of après ski and the tempestuous repercussions, I’ll let you explore these hidden grottos for yourself.
This modern-historic town is comprised of simple flats and rooms, through to traditional hotels and grandiose chalets. If it cannot provide what you are looking for, Nasserein, Lech and Oberlech are typically exchangeable destinations, which encompass the same skiing with a slightly different ambience. I am one for taking gambles on travel, but sometimes there’s no point risking it when there is a ski location such as this one; eternal in its promise of all the key elements, which make for the perfect ski trip.