- Highest Point: 2,800m
- Descent: 1,496m
- No. lifts: 107
- Lift Pass: 1 Day - €53 / 6 Days - €275
St Anton has a well-deserved reputation as a play hard, party harder kind of place. There’s plenty of amazing steep faces and powder to hunt out and plenty of après ski bars to quench your thirst at. It’s an attractive, typically alpine town, requiring a suitably large wallet if you’re looking to really make the most of it.
St Anton, St Christoph, Stuben combine with Lech and Zürs to create the Arlberg ski area, totalling 305km of pistes with a mouth-watering 200km of off-piste trails. The relatively new Flexenbahn connects Stuben to Zürs, eliminating the need to get a bus, and it's well worth the trip over as it can be almost deserted during the week.
A few years ago the Audenfeldjet, a project that had been on the drawing board for more than 40 years, was finally realised. A 2km long lift system, boasting 10 cable cars, connects Lech and Zürs to nearby Warth-Schrocken, giving you even more bang for your (admittedly considerable) buck.
The Parks - 3/5
There is a lot more effort going into the park up on Rendl these days. It is now maintained by the experienced QParks crew, and head shaper René Friedl manages to cram a lot of features into what is still a relatively small space.
"Riders who know what they’re doing should worm their way up to Kapall, where they’ll find loads of great freeride terrain"
Located just below the top station of the main gondola, it’s served by its very own tow-lift. When it’s fully set up, you can expect a pro, medium and easy kicker and rail line totalling around 20 features. It's well-shaped, and never too busy. There is a further terrain park in Lech, but it’s not really up to much these days.
The Powder - 4/5
The word is out on the great freeriding to be had here, so you’ll need to be up early to be making – rather than following – tracks. Riders who know what they’re doing should worm their way up to Kapall, where they’ll find loads of great freeride terrain. You can also head to the mid station of Valluga Grat via the Galzig cable car to reach some major off-piste, with long runs back down to St Anton and St Christoph.
There are routes off the summit of Valluga into Zürs, but these are only do-able with an official guide. Rendl is great fun after a fresh dump, and you can expect to find the locals and ski-bums cramming into Rendlbahn for first tracks. They don’t call it rocky Rendl for nothing though, so take your knackered old rock hopper board early season. This area is amazing for full-on freeriding terrain with tight and open trees, and relatively crowd-free slopes.
Make sure you head over to Lech for a day at least; the off –piste trails from the top of Rüfi kopf are excellent, and they even have a T-bar in the middle of nowhere just for these off – piste runs. From this peak you can also head over to Zürs for some super-quiet freeriding. Back in Lech there is more fine stuff off the Kriegerhorn and Zuger Hochlicht peaks.
If you're looking for a guide to show you around, the guys at Black Sheep Snowboarding can help you out.
The Pistes - 3/5
The whole Arlberg area boasts a fine 280km of pistes, and a visit over to the quieter Lech and Zürs should be essential.
In St Anton the variety of pistes is fantastic; from the steep and fast runs down from the Valluga to the gentle runs off the Gampen and Galzig. Beginners are not as well catered for, but the slopes in Nasserein and Runs 4 & 5 from the Galzig are good places to get started.
By the end of the day the top section of Run 1 gets incredibly busy, as well as a bit flat and icy, so it can be a bit of a confidence knocker.
How To Get There
St Anton is less than three hours' from Zurich Airport via easy public transport links.
The Parties - 5/5
St Anton is an attractive town, and most of the action is located on or just off the main pedestrianised street. There are plenty of fancy hotels and lots of money floating around, but it still manages to retain a good balance without becoming too poncey. The Ibex Lodge is a good base from which to check out the town.
Après ski in St Anton is the thing of legend – as long as you like it Austrian style and starting halfway up the mountain. Descending on Run 1, just before it meets with Run 21, take a look at the Senn Hütte where a nutter called Didi Diesel will be on the mic.
"Most of the action is located on or just off the main pedestrianised street"
Next stop is the Heustadl for some more traditional live music après ski. From here traverse left onto the Red 21 and head to the Krazy Kanguruh or the (slightly more chilled) Taps bar next door. Descend and get back onto the piste to find the almighty Mooserwirt. Lock your board up or drop it in the cloakroom and squeeze yourself into the ensuing mayhem – chances are it’ll be dark by the time you need to ride down that last bit of the piste. Best of luck!
At the bottom of the Galzigbahn, the Anton Bar is a nice respite from the après ski and has snowboard movies playing on the big screens. On the main street the Piccadilly has a covers singer every evening until 8pm and then re-opens as a nightclub later. The Kandahar does good food and has a nightclub open until 4am, Bobo's is the place for a taco and tequila, and Bar Cuba is popular hangout among seasonnaires. Scotty's Bar is an old classic, and tend to run a few drink specials.