St Anton is one of the world's best resorts for competent skiers and riders, particularly those with the energy to après-ski as hard as they ski. If you want to, you can party from 3pm to 3am. Good luck! But the place doesn't suit everyone. If you are thinking of trying an Austrian change from a major French resort, or of going up a gear from Kitzbühel or Söll, be sure that you are not going to get thrown by blues that get heavily mogulled and reds that might be black, or by runs that can be dangerously crowded. As we've been saying for years, the resort needs to create an alternative to the busy blue run down from its main mountain. St Anton is the western extremity of the Tirol, at the foot of the road up to the Arlberg pass. It is at one end of a lift network that spreads across to St Christoph and over the pass to Stuben. These two tiny villages are described at the end of the chapter. However, the Arlberg is finally ‘closing the gap’, with the new Flexenbahn now on its way to completion in time for winter 2016/2017. 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 will mean 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 – a significant environmental benefit. St Anton is a long, sprawling place, almost a town rather than a village, squeezed into a narrow valley. As it spreads east down the valley, it thins out before broadening again to form the suburb of Nasserein, and then the nominally distinct St Jakob. Development spreads west up the hill towards the Arlberg pass - first to Oberdorf, then Gastig, 10 minutes' walk from the centre. The ski pass covers Lech, Zürs and Warth - now linked to Lech - and the Sonnenkopf area above Klösterle. The nearby resorts can be reached by bus, but the service is rubbish. There are free and regular ski-buses linking Alpe Rauz (on the edge of St Anton's slopes) with Zürs and Lech. And there are post buses from St Anton to Lech via St Christoph and Zürs. But all get seriously crowded at busy times, leaving people at the roadside to use the waiting taxis. And the post buses are neither free nor frequent. It's not good enough. Klösterle can be reached by free ski-buses from Stuben. Serfaus, Ischgl and Sölden are feasible outings by car.
Pros

Varied terrain for experts and adventurous intermediates

Heavy snowfalls, lots of snow-guns

Car-free village centre retains solid traditional charm

Very lively après-ski and nightlife

Cons

Some pistes dangerously crowded

Slopes can be tough for near-beginners and timid intermediates

Most tough runs are unpatrolled

Snow quality can suffer from sun

Getting there

  • Friedrichshafen airport: 1.5 hours
  • Innsbruck airport: 1 hours

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