Off-piste paradise St Anton am Arlberg and luxurious Lech-Zürs have always been tantalizingly close - but the Flexenbahn now provides the (previously) missing link
The Ski Club’s Tirol correspondent, confirmed Austrophile and last-lift chaser Chris Taine revisits an old favourite – St Anton am Arlberg – which, thanks to the new Flexenbahn gondola, now anchors Austria’s largest interlinked ski area.
The Arlberg region, which lies towards the far (western) end of Austria’s mountainous panhandle, is widely regarded as the cradle of alpine skiing. Hannes Schneider, who founded the first ski school here and revolutionised skiing with his ‘Arlberg technique’ is the first of many local legends. In recent years, it’s been the legendary off-piste terrain – especially around the 2,811m Valluga – that has drawn visitors, along with the raucous après-ski action that unfolds each afternoon at the Mooserwirt, Krazy Kanguruh, and other piste-side watering holes. And now, the high-tech link-up between St Anton and neighbouring Lech-Zürs via the Flexenbahn gondola has created Austria’s largest connected ski area, further boosting the Arlberg’s enviable credentials.
However, while the lift connection is undeniably a game-changer, visitors shouldn’t overlook what put St Anton am Arlberg on the map in the first place. So mixing a bit of the old with a bit of the new, here are my own top five reasons why the Arlberg is (and always was) one of the best ski regions on the planet.