Skiing in Austria: St Anton hits peak condition


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Today it is a pocket dynamo, transforming with the times but in close touch with its traditional Tyrolean roots.

Set on the pinnacle-packed Arlberg massif, peaks tower to over 9,000ft and more than 300 miles of sweeping pistes and fierce powder fields are a 70-minute drive or scenic train ride away from Innsbruck.

Here the super-modern, in the shape of classy hotels and cable cars – their futuristic structures beautiful enough to earn a Grand Designs slot – carves an elegant counterpoint to candlelit restaurants, stylish boutiques, galleries and skating and curling rinks.

St Anton is a heady brew like nowhere else, a local told me as she boarded her toboggan one morning for her commute to work, reflecting, “Sometimes when you are a small place and when you get bigger you surrender your soul, but we’ve not done that.”


AlamySt Anton in Austria has 300 miles of sweeping pistes

You can almost touch the slopes from the chalet-style Hotel Post.

Just six minutes from the ski lifts in the heart of the village, the Post’s beguiling mix of old-style elegance and up-to-date comforts has been drawing travellers since 1896.

Bedrooms, with wi-fi, music hub and TV, have ample space for bulky kit and the bath’s generous dimensions seem made for wallowing to soothe aching limbs.

Pillows are specially stuffed; the stone pine shavings and spelt will certainly give your sinuses something to remember.

A surprisingly big and pretty pool, complete with neck massager, is the centrepiece of a wellness spa with Finnish and bio saunas, steam baths and water beds.


The Krazy Kanguruh ski hut is a popular stop off point

An hour relaxing there makes a fine prelude to a Post dinner. Our Gala Night menu included courses of cognac-infused courgettes and slices of smoked salmon terrine, truffle ravioli and a jolly session mingling with other guests while listening to the Post’s resident pianist in its snug lounge bar.

For a gentle warm-up catch the sun and head up Rendl gondola on St Anton’s quieter southern side, enjoy a sunny blue run before heading down the long, tougher red slope to the village centre.

Then take a moment to admire the huge Ferris wheel technology of the Galzig gondola before setting your sights on the Valluga, at 9,222ft the highest accessible peak in the area.

From its stunning sightseeing platform you can take in a 360-degree view of some of the eastern Alps’ highest mountains.


You can almost touch the slopes from the chalet-style Hotel Post

Take the cable car back to the first station and ski the powdery red runs down to the bottom.

Alternatively jump on the Gampen chairlift and then the Kapall right to the top and sweep down some leisurely blues dropping off at the infamous MooserWirt bar.

Stay too long and you risk joining the ranks of the over-refreshed taking a rest on the slopes before completing the short run back to the village.

The new Flexenbahn lift system, which opened last winter, links St Anton and its neighbouring villages of Stuben, Lech and Zurs into a giant network that makes the Arlberg the biggest connected ski area in Austria, saving 120-odd bus journeys as well as being the fifth biggest in the world.

Bravehearts chasing bragging points will relish its 40-mile downhill stamina fest, the Run of Fame, that takes skiers on an enormous circuit with rises and falls the equivalent of 59,000ft.

Don’t miss skiers whirling and leaping down a floodlit slope to the town in a blizzard of acrobatics.

Some pirouette on vintage wooden planks while others blast a course in fancy dress, trailed by glowing balloons or fountains of fireworks.

This free night-time spectacular, a joyous snapshot of Alpine winter games past and present, has become a regular hot date.

Dubbed “the mother of all après ski bars” the MooserWirt and its neighbour the Krazy Kanguruh (KK) high on the hill overlooking the village are still top stop-offs where foaming rounds of weiss (malted wheat) beer and cheesy pop get the customers (Euro dentists and doctors) at Mooser or ski bums at KK, dancing – more often than not on the tables.

Down in the village make some noise – everyone else does – at Basecamp, a partly alfresco bar just steps away from the main lift station. or call 01483 791 114.    

For information about St. Anton am Arlberg see

For information about Tirol see