Lech and linked Zürs - in Vorarlberg, but sharing a lift pass with St Anton over the Arlberg pass in Tirol - are the most fashionable resorts in Austria, each able to pull in Porsche-borne Germans by the thousand. Beside their 5-star hotels, though, they don't feel particularly exclusive when compared to some Swiss resorts however. Lech has always been the more attractive base (to compete, Zürs needs a tunnel bypass, followed by an imaginative makeover) but the gondola link between Lech and Warth built in 2014 means there is now no contest. Unless you are counting the pennies, Lech's combination of charm, varied slopes and good snow is difficult to beat. A wider choice of good mountain restaurants would be one minor element where the resort could be improved.

Lech is an old farming village set in a high valley that spent long periods of winter cut off from the outside world until the Flexen Pass road linked Zürs to Stuben at the end of the 19th century. Seriously heavy snow can close the road for days on end, marooning visitors in Lech and Zürs. Not far from the centre is the cable car up to Oberlech: a small, traffic-free area of 4-star hotels set on the piste. Zug is a hamlet 3km from Lech, with a lift into the Lech slopes. It's not ideal for sampling Lech's nightlife, but there is an evening bus service.

Lech is linked by lifts and runs to higher Zürs to the south, and now by gondola (but not by piste) to Warth to the north. St Anton, is covered by the lift pass. Since 2016 the Arlberg area finally ‘closed the gap’, with the new Flexenbahn. Four new lifts will link Stuben on the St Anton side, to Zürs on the Lech side – all of which are high-tech 10-seat gondolas. This means that the Ski Arlberg area won’t only be the largest interconnected ski area in Austria, with 305km of slopes and 87 lifts, but it will also enter the top 10 largest in the world. The new lifts will make all points of the snowy Arlberg region quick and easy to access, and will also cut the number of buses running between the resorts.

There are free and regular ski-buses linking Lech, Zürs and Alpe Rauz for the St Anton lifts. However, all get seriously crowded at busy times, leaving people at the roadside at the mercy of the waiting taxi drivers. The Sonnenkopf area at Klösterle, reached by free ski-bus from Stuben, is also covered by the Arlberg pass.

Pros

Lech is a traditional village in a picturesque riverside setting

Excellent snow record

Sizeable area of slopes shared by Lech and Zürs - now enlarged by a link from Lech to humble Warth

Access by bus to the slopes of St Anton and Stuben, on the lift pass

Cons

Pricey, by Austrian standards

Surprisingly limited shopping

Few non-hotel bars or restaurants

Intrusive traffic on main streets

Guide to Lech Zurs am Arlberg | Vorarlberg 3 in 3

  

Getting there

  • Friedrichshafen airport: 1.5 hours
  • Innsbruck airport: 1.5 hours
  • Zurich airport: 2 hours

Good For

Ability
  • Advanced
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
In Resort
  • Family Friendly
  • Off The Slopes
  • Ski To Door
  • Village Charm
On Slope
  • Boarder
  • Fast Lifts
  • No Queues
  • Snow Reliability
  • Terrain Parks

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