St Anton ski resort
About St Anton
Few ski resorts can match St Anton’s pedigree, with skiing having been founded here over a century ago when the Arlberg Ski Club was formed. Millions of skiers were taught the Arlberg technique, struggling to turn with knees and ankles locked together. Modern carving skis demand the opposite; but while ski design has been revolutionised, so has St Anton.
The resort lies in the Arlberg region of north western Austria and shares a large ski region with neighbouring Lech and Zurs, which were themselves further connected by a new gondola link to the skiing above the villages of Schrocken and Warth. Altogether this adds up to over 300km (190 miles) of marked trails, although there’s no lift connection between each sector – you need to take the shuttle bus.
Like Chamonix, Jackson Hole and Verbier, St Anton draws the world’s best skiers. The size of the area means that there’s still plenty for beginners and intermediates, but this is advanced skier heaven.
Despite recent developments to transport and lift systems, the resort’s soul remains unchanged. Each evening, its pedestrianised main street bustles with skiers and boarders euphoric after a hard day on some of Europe’s most invigorating slopes.
The Austrian resort of St Anton am Arlberg is in western Tyrol, at the eastern end of the Arlberg Tunnel, not too far from the border with Switzerland. Its highest peak is the Valluga at 2,811m (9,222ft).
On the slopes
St Anton has a reputation for rough, tough terrain; and there is certainly no shortage of challenges for experts, but also plenty of options for determined intermediates.
The skiing is split into two areas on each side of the valley and the resort, both accessed directly from the village. The main area is beneath Valluga, while the second smaller and quieter area is on Rendl, which is also home to a good terrain park.
For advanced skiers, there are exciting descents served by the Valluga and Kapall lifts. Some are left unmarked, such as the wide Mattun run, which is magnificent in fresh snow and not so steep that it cannot be tackled by intermediates. Please note however that many of the resort’s red and blue runs are steeper than average and are often mogulled.
Off-piste opportunities are extensive and varied, with a relatively low fear factor on Rendl to serious frighteners reached from Valluga – this area also opens up the wider Arlberg ski region, which includes skiing at neighbouring Lech, Zurs, Warth and Schröcken areas with 340km (211 miles) of slopes included in the Arlberg Pass.
There are several ski schools for beginners: the biggest are Skischule Arlberg (tel: +43 54 463 411; www.skischool-arlberg.com) and Skischule St Anton (tel: +43 54 463 563; www.skistanton.com), which were jointly opened but are separately operated.
The ski season in St Anton runs from the beginning of December to late April.