Lech ski resort
One of the best-known names in skiing, Lech has a long history as a snow holiday destination and a reputation for being one of the world's most exclusive resorts.
The resort is part of the large Arlberg ski area, Austria's largest lift-linked ski area, which it shares with equally famous St Anton. Both legitimately claim to be vitally important in the history of downhill skiing, which was invented in the area a little over a century ago by Hannes Schneider, before being exported across the continent and to North America and Japan.
Today, Lech is one of the world's leading resorts, with both exceptionally good skiing and excellent resort infrastructure. It has an unrivalled 60 plus 4-star hotels as well as six 5-star options. These luxury hotels greatly outnumber the lower-rated hotels in the resort, underlying Lech's upmarket nature.
If that's still not exclusive enough, the smaller neighbouring village of Zürs could be the answer, where several of Europe's royal families return to holiday year after year; who said caviar and carving don't mix?
Lech is located in the Arlberg region of the Alps in northwest Austria's Vorarlberg province, close to the Swiss border.
LechResort Elevation: 1450m
Top Elevation: 2811m
Base Elevation: 1300m
On the slopes
The giant Arlberg ski area is one of the world's best-known ski areas and, ahead of winter 2016-17, became the largest lift-linked area in Austria when the construction of four new gondolas connected the formerly separate St Anton and the Lech-Zurs resorts.
Another sector, around Schrocken and Warth, is connected via the Arlberg Jet gondola lift, meaning that altogether there's now 305km (190 miles) of groomed pistes and a further 200km (125 miles) of marked off-piste routes for skiers to explore.
Beginners and intermediates should be spoilt for choice on the slopes, as 90% of the terrain in Lech itself is graded blue (easy) or red (intermediate) – with a relatively even division of the two. Beginners can also benefit from great nursery slopes and the resort's century-old ski school's long-established reputation for excellence. Meanwhile, intermediates have trails up to 5.7km (3.5 miles) in length to explore, both north and south facing.
Along with the 32km (20 miles) of black-graded pistes, good skiers can make use of that 200km (125 miles) of marked off-piste ski routes. And with heli-skiing another thrilling activity available locally, it's no surprise that the area has a reputation as one of the world's powder meccas.
The ski season runs from late November to early May and at the very start and end of the season 'Snow Crystal' weeks allow lift passes to be sold at half the regular rate. Unlike on the St Anton side, Lech limits the number of lift tickets sold at busy times to prevent overcrowding on the slopes.
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