Over the past 30 years, a race has developed between ski areas, with as many consecutive kilometers as possible at stake. In France we have mega areas such as the Trois Vallées (Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Méribel, Courchevel and La Tania), Paradiski (La Plagne) and the Portes du Soleil ski area (Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz, Châtel and Champéry) particularly popular with British and Dutch.
In recent years we have seen a similar development in Austria, where connecting small ski areas with each other the number of continuous kilometers of piste was vastly increased. In this blog we look at the largest connected ski area in Austria: Ski Arlberg!
Until recently the popular Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser still held the crown as the largest continuous ski area in Austria. The new Flexenbahn connecting lift between the areas of St. Anton/St. Christoph and Lech/Zürs occupies overtook the highest position by the newly created Ski Arlberg with no less than 305 km of connected ski slopes and more than 200 km of unprepared ski routes!
The construction of the Flexenbahn ski lift started in the spring of 2016, at the same time as the renovation of 3 connected ski lifts in Zürs, with the lifts already being put into use in the 2016-2017 winter season. No expense has been spared in the construction of the 1.8 km long Flexenbahn and renovation of the other 3 lifts with a total investment of EUR 45 million! The economic importance of strong marketing as a result of the claim to the most kilometers of ski slopes has thus become clear.
This has created a true ski paradise for skiers. The fairytale surroundings of Lech/Zürs can easily be alternated with the impressive vertical meters that can be found in the area of St. Anton and St. Christoph. Are you considering discovering Ski Arlberg? Below we list the characteristics of the 4 villages: Lech, Zürs, St. Anton and its smaller brother St. Christoph.
Lech is without a doubt one of the most fairytale mountain villages in the entire Alps. At the same time, Lech is known as a mundane ski resort where the international jet set has been resident for decades. From the Dutch royals to movie stars and Russian oligarchs, if you drink a beer at the bar of Hotel Krone at the bottom of the Schlegelkopf lift, you run the risk of bumping into many celebrities.
The ski area of Lech is excellent for both beginners and advanced skiers. The ski area of Lech is the starting point of the “Weißer Ring”, a spectacular ski route that runs from the Rüfikopfbahn in Lech to Zürs and back to Lech via the Madloch and Kriegerhornbahn in the picturesque Zug. A must for any intermediate to advanced skier!
In addition to the many kilometers of slopes, Lech also offers a number of challenging ski routes. These are non-groomed slopes that lead you to the most beautiful spots in the area when there is enough snowfall. Examples are the Langer Zug with one of the steepest middle sections of the Austrian Alps to the very challenging Tannegg. Both can be reached with the Rüfikopfbahn.
Like Lech, Zürs has been a popular ski resort among the international jet set and royalty for decades. With the very first alpine drag lift, which was built in Zürs in 1937, Zürs is undoubtedly one of the few winter sports destinations that are the cradle of modern winter sports.
Thanks to its relatively high location at 1,700 meters above sea level, Zürs is one of the snowiest winter sports resorts in the Austrian Alps. As in Lech, the ski area is suitable for beginners, but especially for the advanced skier. The Trittkopf lift offers one of the most challenging black ski routes for experts. Towards the lower Stuben there are countless off-piste opportunities for the real die hards.
St. Anton / St. Christoph
The ski area of St. Anton offers the most kilometers within the Ski Arlberg area with something for every level. With its 2,811 meter high Valuga II lift, the ski area of St. Anton offers a vertical drop of more than 1,500 meters over a slope of more than 10 km! It is also possible to descend on the north side of the Valuga II lift towards Zürs. Please note that this is only possible with a ski or snowboard guide.
Five different ski lifts and a further 4 practice lifts leave from the village of St. Anton, optimizing the distribution of winter sports enthusiasts who want to go up in the morning.
In addition to the international reputation of the ski resort of St. Anton, St. Anton is also known for its lively après-ski! Many companies or bachelor parties will prefer St. Anton to any other winter sports village for its bustling Mooserwirt bar at the bottom of the descent to St. Anton.
Ski schools in Ski Arlberg
In the Arlberg area there is a wide range of ski schools available, ranging from the traditional large schools such as Skischule Arlberg and Skischule Lech to “Staatlich Prüfte” local freelancers who will take you on numerous off-piste runs.
The traditional ski schools are ideally suited for group ski lessons and group snowboard lessons. Just like the British ski school chain New Generation, they have decades of experience in giving group ski lessons. It is true that during the holiday periods ski classes can be quite full having sometimes up to 11 participants per group.
If you want to be sure of enough attention from your ski instructor for a steep learning curve, there are several ski schools available that are specialized in giving private ski lessons or private snowboard lessons.
In the Lech / Zürs area, local mountain guides and ski instructors under the name Skiguide Lech offer excellent opportunities for off-piste skiing as well as regular private ski lessons and snowboard lessons. They are also available for trips to St. Anton and let you discover all the secrets of Ski Arlberg.
Similarly, Skischule Tannberg offers excellent private lessons for all ages and levels in the areas of Lech and Zürs.
In the ski resort of St. Anton / St. Christoph has been offering Skischule A-Z for many years tailor-made ski lessons and snowboard lessons. Founder Anton Zangere is an international ski celebrity and has won many awards as a powder snow skier. Skischule A-Z is specialized in off-piste skiing in addition to regular ski lessons.
St. Anton Classic ski school with its British fingerprint, just Ski School A-Z offers numerous off-piste options, depending on the local conditions at the time.
In short, if you are a ski crack and you want to discover one of the most impressive ski areas in the world, Ski Arlberg is waiting for you! Book you skilessons in St. Anton with Ski-Pro.
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