Overview of St Anton, Austria
Written by Greg and Heather Burke
St Anton am Arlberg is at the heart of the Arlberg ski region and is the most famed and historic ski area in Austria. With a summit elevation of 9,222', 41 ski lifts and 116 kilometers of prepared (groomed) skiing including interconnected St Christoph and Stuben, plus thousands of acres of off-piste terrain. St Anton's longest run covers 6 miles with a vertical drop of 4,944' from the spectacularly scenic Valuga summit down to the charming alpine village.
The ski village of St Anton is a classic, brimming with Austrian chalet hotels, ski shops and dozens of après ski bars and cafes. Skiers board the modern Ferris Wheel-like Galzigbahn lift, a one of a kind 24 passenger $24 million gondola that rivals an amusement park attraction. Many of St Anton’s ski lifts are extremely modern, serving century old ski terrain. Combined with the marvelous ski village it is a pleasant blend of old meets new. From the summit of the 6,555’ Galzig, skiers have dozens of groomed and prepared ski slopes to choose from. Or board the Valluga Tram to the summit for steep, long and super scenic skiing. From the Valluga summit, the highest point at 9,222', if you have a guide you can ski the backside to Zurs and connect to Lech.
The unique Schindler Spitze also offers more fabulous scenery and superb on and off piste skiing. From Valluga, Galzig or Spitze you can also ski all the way to the neighboring town of Stuben - all part of the Ski Arlberg pass, or to the delightful ski town of St Christoph. In St Christoph, we found a delightful traditional Austrian ski lunch at the Hospiz Alm complete with lederhosen waiters, beer, brat, cheese, apple strudel and traditional Austrian music in an amiable historic alpine setting (don't miss the slide to the toilets and the wine cellar).
St Anton’s Gampen area provides more great skiing with views of St Anton village, this is where ski racing, children’s ski lessons, and the toboggan run, Rodelbahn, take place. A short walk across the village with your skis brings you to Rendl, the North facing aspect of St Anton with more trail and off piste skiing and a great sun terrace at the top of the gondola called Rendl Beach.
Apres ski at St Anton is legendary, with many bars at or near the base of the ski slopes. Stop at the world famous Mooserwirt or Krazy Kanguruh on your last run offering the liveliest apres scene we have ever encountered. The Moosewirt, despite their sarcastic claim as “the worst ski bar in the Alps,” was filled with hundreds of happy skiers dancing in ski boots to the DJs tunes, drinking shots, beer, and partying inside and out on the sun deck.
St Anton is called "The Cradle of Alpine Skiing," home to the legendary ski instructor Hannes Schneider whose trademark "Arlberg ski technique" (later known as the Stem Christie) revolutionized skiing in Europe and in the US when he brought ski instruction to Cranmore in the 1930s. St Anton was featured in the movie "Downhill Racer" starring Robert Redford.
St Anton village has many beautiful ski hotels. We loved the Hotel Bergschlössl - right next to the Galzigbahn lift with authentic Austrian architecture, delightful innkeepers, tastefully decorated rooms, all the modern amenities, free WiFi and an extensive buffet breakfast served with a view of the slopes.