This article was originally published in Issue 3 of Ski+board 2016/17, read it in full here.
Colin Nicholson heads to Austria to check out the new lift linking two of the country’s largest ski areas.
Lifting myself from the heated seat, I took my skis out of the neat holder in front of me and stepped out of the gondola.
So what, you ask? Well, not only had the new Flexenbahn carried me on a Narnia-like trip from Lech and Zürs to St Anton, but the last time I made this journey it was a nightmare.
Three years before, we waited an hour for a bus – when it finally did arrive, there was the usual rush, with everyone trying to cram their skis in the tiny rack on the back. As I had a brand new skis - my first pair ever, I explained our plight to the driver, and asked if we couldn't take our skis into the bus, but he refused. I stuffed them in the rack and hoped for the best.
That time I was there to cover the new lift linking Lech to Warth and Schröcken.
And what a dream it was to step out of the lift, just a few minutes after I got in, skis unscratched. This time we were able to spend the day planning how we would explore the 305km of linked runs, rather than how we would board the bus to get back.
Despite the limited snow on offer in early December, more than half the pistes were open. Indeed, we had only got as far as the run into St Christoph when a delicious aroma wafted towards us. Having worked up an appetite, we entered the Thaja, where we tucked into a delicious lunch of half a grilled chicken and chips for just €13.50.
Aside from the extra pistes, the link to St Anton provides a way to find cheaper lunches than in upmarket Lech, although both are still far cheaper than ski areas of a similar size in France.