A favourite with our staff and directors, St Anton has it all: a lively, charming village, fabulous skiing with one of the best snow records in the Alps, and unrivalled après-ski, all served up with renowned Austrian hospitality.
St Anton has always been a great skiing resort, not to mention home to the best après-ski in the Alps. The ski area itself, known as Ski Arlberg, incorporates the neighbouring resorts of St Christoph, Zurs and Lech and is now linked with a modern, efficient lift system meaning that it now possible to ski to all these areas.
The quality of the accommodation is on the rise, with the addition of more luxury properties as St Anton adapts to appeal to a more upmarket clientele. The combination of fabulous and varied skiing, an enviable snow record, hearty Austrian and Tyrolean food and service combined with good value for money makes it our staff and directors’ favourite resort – more of them ski here than in any of our other resorts.
For anyone for whom skiing is not an obsession, you could happily spend most of your holiday at Well.com – St Anton’s superb Wellness centre before joining the skiers at the Mooserwirt or the Krazy Kanguruh for après ski.
Resort altitude: 1340m
Highest point: 2811m
Vertical drop: 1507m
Ski areas: The Arlberg ski pass covers St Anton, St Christoph, Lech and Zurs
Pistes: 305km of which 33% beginner/intermediate, 31% advanced, 36% expert
Best for: Good and advanced skiers and those looking for some good off-piste. Beginner areas are found on the lower slopes. The Rendl side is a great area for intermediates and advanced skiers.
The village may be relatively low but don’t let this put you off. Many skiers think that altitude is everything and that ski life begins at 1800m but this is a misconception for a number of reasons:
St Anton is a charismatic village full of Alpine charm. There are no ugly apartment blocks here and the surrounding scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The village itself is full of atmosphere and is big enough to keep you occupied if skiing is not the be all and end all. It gets plenty of sun and at the bottom of the ski lifts, there are plenty of sun soaked terraces where you can enjoy a coffee or a gluhwein while observing the antics on the slopes.
There are lots of great restaurants and bars and, because the village centre is largely pedestrianised, it is a great place to go for a wander round the shops. If you are more used to skiing in France and Switzerland’s premier resorts, St Anton hits you like a breath of fresh air. The locals are friendly and seem genuinely pleased to see you and the restaurants and bars offer good value of a kind that was lost years ago elsewhere (mentioning no names!). Whether this will last remains to be seen so don’t miss out.
While plenty of resorts may claim to be the home of Alpine skiing, there is little doubt that St Anton is the home of après-ski. The home nation led the way with dancing in ski boots, copious helpings of Schnapps, pitchers of beer and a great line in Eighties music. If St Anton is the Mecca of après-ski, the Mooserwirt is the sacred shrine and you will not want to miss this. Bathed in sun on the side of the last run home, you will hear it before you see it. It is also accessible by car so you won’t miss out if you are a non-skier or if the short ski home looks a little daunting. Once you have experienced the Mooserwirt, you won’t want to go anywhere else. Mixing it up is important though, as St Anton has plenty more to offer.
There are a multitude of other villages in the Arlberg ski area, which can be visited on skis or by train or bus. Lech is the Arlberg’s glitzy answer to Courchevel or St Moritz and is a great place to go for lunch. Sonnenkopf, Stuben, Zurs and the wonderfully named Zug are small villages, which offer a really authentic Alpine experience away from the crowds.
For anyone who breaks into a cold sweat at the idea of a 2 or more hour coach transfer, St Anton is ideal - only one hour’s drive from Innsbruck airport which is served by British Airways and easyJet. There is also a train station in the village with direct mainline services from Innsbruck, Zurich and Munich.
The run from Valluga to Alpe Rauz is fabulous – Red 14 into Blue 17 is a non stop carving thriller!
For non skiers (and weary skiers!), the St Anton Wellness centre, the Well.com, is fantastic and beats the facilities in most other resorts hands down. It boasts an indoor swimming pool, paddling pool, outdoor pool, indoor and outdoor tennis, an ice rink, a superbly equipped gym as well as saunas, steam and massage rooms and tanning facilities.
The British-owned New Generation Ski School is a welcome addition to the ski school offering in St Anton and offers private and group lessons for both adults and children.
Eating out and drinking in St Anton is great value compared to many other premier Alpine resorts and we think Austrian service and hospitality is the best in the Alps.
Do not miss out on St Anton’s legendary après-ski. Book one of our nannies for babysitting if needs be and finish a great day on the slopes with drinks at the Mooserwirt – arguably the best après-ski venue in the world!
The wine and champagne tasting at Hospiz Alm in their cellar is fantastic and the slide down to the loos in the basement avoids the precarious walk down the stairs in ski boots.
Be sure to try the local Goulash soup, which is served in probably every restaurant. It is the perfect rich, hearty remedy to warm you up and rejuvenate your legs after a cold morning’s skiing.
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