Last winter we've managed to visit over 5 different ski resorts in 3 different countries. Yet there was one specific ski resort that amazed us the most - St. Anton am Arlberg.
With 305km of slopes and 88 lifts, it's the largest ski resort in Austria and one of the largest in the world connecting multiple different villages.
The elevation also varies from 1300 m - 2806 m so you can enjoy winter skiing up until April 23.
The coolest thing is that you can ski from St Anton in the Arlberg to Warth-Schoecken in the Voralberg at the northern end of the lift system, and it feels like you’ve explored half the Alps.
If you decide to do so you’ll witness an ever-changing panorama of mighty peaks unwinding in front of you, and find every type of piste, from gentle blues to tricky black ones, as well as off-piste terrains that range from gentle powder fields to steep extreme cliffs.
Given its size, this resort would suit nearly anyone's needs. Families with kids, couples, solo, beginners, and experts. There's a huge snow park, easy slopes to learn, countless bars and restaurants, as well as one of the oldest ski schools in Europe with amazing ski instructors.
We were really lucky to have one of the guides from the ski school to show us around and help us navigate through the maze of slopes.
Turns out it's really popular to have a guide so you don't have to spend time navigating and instead enjoy the slopes. Also, it's quite useful to know the off-piste routes if you want something more extreme.
Of course, in the end, you become really good friends and already planning next year's visit.
The Arlberg-Hospiz-Alm - a rustically wooded mountain eatery above the village of St Christoph, near St Anton.
It's a cozy restaurant serving simple food like Gulaschsuppe and frankfurters on wooden tables both indoors and outside on the terrace.
But beneath it is located 20 000 - a bottle wine cellar, which has a vast collection of Nebuchadnezzars of vintage Bordeaux. If you purchase wine here you must drink it right away in the restaurant. Not possible to take it with you.
The price starts at around 75Eur per bottle and can go up to 50 000 Eur.
The White Thrill
When the lifts close in the afternoon of 22nd April, things heat up on the slopes of St. Anton am Arlberg. This is the day of the „White Thrill“ – the cult ski race which drives its participants to their absolute physical limits every year. The atmosphere is electric, even during the day - a large proportion of skiers are already dressed in racing attire and try to conceal their mounting nervousness with jokes in the gondola or by looking uber-casual about the approaching event. Things then start getting serious at 17 hrs, when 555 skiers, snowboarders, or telemark skiers assemble on the Valluga Ridge for the mass start.
Unfortunately, we weren't around to witness it but it's on our list and something you want to see.
At the end of every day, countless parties are going on all over the place with great music and people just having a blast.
Of course, if you're too tired you can relax in a spa. We stayed in the amazing Alpine Resorts hotel which offered a beautiful spa area - just what you need after a day in the mountains.
A beautiful accommodation with a magical view of the mountains.
Another benefit of the resort is the location. It was the first time in 10 years that we decided to skip the car and go for the train. We started our journey in Munich and were surprised that it's so easy and cheap to get to St Anton am Arlberg. We just made one connection in Innsbruck and found ourselves at the destination in no time. It just couldn't be easier given that we traveled from another country.
Also, it's super easy to come from Switzerland since the train that brought us headed straight to Zurich. In fact, after St. Anton, we headed to the Dolomites in Italy and had no problems with the train as well.
Over the last few years, we've visited over 30 different ski resorts all over Europe and we rarely return to the same ones. With St. Anton, it's different this time. We're definitely coming back to catch this magical spirit that's too hard to explain. You just have to experience it for yourself.