St Anton Ski Holiday Guide
One of the world’s best-known resorts, this classic Tyrolean village attracts serious skiers from all over the globe. It has hosted the Alpine Skiing World Championships numerous times, and is home to one of the best après ski scene in the Alps.
Plus, with access to the wider Arlberg ski area (one of the six biggest in the world) the skiing is pretty good too. It can also lay a serious claim to be the place where modern downhill skiing began.
In recent years St Anton has undergone some big developments, but it has still managed to maintain its attractive and authentic Tyrolean mountain village vibe. The pedestrianised area running through the heart of the village, known as Dorfstrasse, is lined with bars, restaurants, shops and more. And many of the original timber frame constructions are still on show.
Accommodation options are good and getting better, with spa facilities adding a dimension of glamour. The Arlberg-Well centre is well worth a visit to rejuvenate aching muscles in the steam room, sauna or yoga classes.
Nightlife in St Anton is also a big deal. The Krazy Kanguruh is perhaps the quintessential après ski bar and has a global reputation. Expect dancing on the tables and free-flowing shots. But it can get extremely busy and very difficult to get in between the hours of 4pm and 7pm. And you do have to ski part of the way home afterwards so don’t party too hard.
Mooserwirt is running the Krazy Kanguruh close for the title of most fun destination. It’s rumoured to sell more beer than any other bar in Austria and is similarly jam-packed from around 3pm onwards.
If you want to load up on quality food after a few drinks, there is a superb choice of restaurants. The Arlberg Hospiz serves gourmet cuisine, and legend has it, is the place where modern downhill skiing was invented. Other highlights include the Hazienda and Museum Restaurant.
St Anton has something of a fearsome reputation for challenging skiing. First timers should begin in the nursery slopes at the base of the main ski area. From there beginners can progress onto the blue pistes which make up half of the ski area, although some of the blues would be red in other ski areas.
Intermediate skiers who are keen to progress will love St Anton. The more technical blue runs offer a great chance to perfect technique. And then there are plenty of red slopes to progress onto.
St Anton skiing is divided into three main areas. Galzig-Valluga is probably the most famous, reached by a stunning gondola from the heart of the village. From the top you’ll have access to long, winding red runs. Gampen-Kapall and Rendle complete the trio of skiing areas. Rendle is slightly separate from the other two and little harder to get to, but a good bet when the slopes at Galzig-Valluga are busy. Some of the red slopes here top-out at 40%.
St Anton is known for tough and technical skiing, which is a big part of its appeal. But there are relatively few black runs considering its reputation. However, that is largely because the steepest terrain has been given ‘off-piste’ status, and as such is not groomed and only partially patrolled.
St Anton is also lift-linked to the Lech Zürs side of Arlberg via the impressive Flexenbahn Gondola. This gives you access to vast amounts of terrain all the way to Lech, Zürs, Zug, Schröcken and Warth. You can also take on the famous White Ring circuit.
The main park and pipe options are located in Rendl, which has come into its own in recent years with the addition of a new lift. At St Anton Park you’ll find plenty of kickers, ramps, boxes and more. And it caters for all ability levels, so everyone can have a go.
With 200km of marked but unpisted ski routes St Anton is renowned for off-piste. The Valluga 2 cable car which climbs up to 2811 metres, the region’s highest point, is a freeride highlight.
However, you’re not allowed on the cable car unless you are with a qualified guide. From the top the only way is down, and it’s tough in all directions, before opening into big powder fields to Stuben, Lech or Zürs.
If dangerous skiing is not your thing, then Valluga 1 and Vallugagrat provide access to plenty of great terrain. This area is exposed to rich snowfall, so if conditions are right you can find excellent powder in the open bowls, chutes and gullies. There is so much off-piste available in the Arlberg ski area that to make the most of it you really should hire a guide.