8 December 2013 (7 nights)
Flights from London
Flights from London
7 nights | Based on 2 adults sharing
Friedrichshafen airport, though small, is fantastically efficient, helped by the use of a scheduled flight. 35 people, all with bags, and in under an hour from touchdown. Sunday transfers are also a very good idea. The Hotel Montjola is newly re-furbished and still has some minor teething troubles to get over. However, they are doing an overall good job. St Anton is a strong mountain, certainly not for beginners or low intermediates. There were many people on the mountain all funnelling into one narrow run at end of day which was essentially man-made snow. It would be far safer and less tiring to go down by gondola at end of day.
Located above the two main lifts and the centre of town, the Hotel Montjola sits in an enviable location. Just 5 minutes walk to the main lift, piste and night lift, it is close enough to be in the action but maintains just the right distance to remain peaceful, with a spectacular view. Recently refurbished, this property combines traditional Austrian charm with the contemporary comfort of flat screen TVs, sound docks and signature hot tubs. The hotel also has a lounge and bar with separate games room/library and an impressive relaxation suite with outdoor hot tub, sauna, steam room, solarium and massage/treatment room. With additional touches such as a courtesy chauffeur service 8am to 8pm and ski hosting, this is a great new addition to the St Anton programme.
As the Montjola is set on the mountain, just above the village centre, most of the 33 rooms in this hotel have balconies with excellent views of St Anton and the surrounding area. All bedrooms have en suite bathrooms with flatscreen TVs, WiFi and hairdryers. Choose from double or Austrian twin rooms.
Room 101: Austrian twin with double sofa bed, en suite bath, separate WC and balcony
Room 102: Austrian twin with double sofa bed, en suite bath, separate WC and balcony
Room 103: Austrian twin with child single bed & pull out bed, en suite bath, separate WC & balcony
Room 104: Double with child single bed and pull out bed, en suite bath, separate WC and balcony
Room 105: Double with double sofa bed, en suite bath, separate WC and balcony
Room 106: Double with en suite shower and WC
St Anton is one of the oldest and finest resorts in the Alps, featuring a newly developed village centre.
One of the oldest ski centres in the world, St Anton lies in the Arlberg region at the western end of Austria, just before the Arlberg Pass, which has been an important European trade route for many centuries. A main East-West railway line has long given the resort excellent communications with most of Europe, but it used also to divide the resort in two, separating the village from its main ski area.
But thanks to a major redevelopment scheme, a new railway station was built on the edge of the town and in the process a huge area of land in the centre was freed up.
A new village centre was built directly on the edge of the slopes below Gampen and Galzig. The main feature of this development was the impressive Arlberg-well.com centre that features a large and funky indoor/outdoor swimming pool and an ice rink. The building can also serve as a conference centre for up to 3,000.
Otherwise, happily, a lot of empty ground was provided, giving a very spacious feel to the centre of St Anton. The old station building was sold to the Hotel Post, which is now running the old restaurant there. The new scheme did not quite create the ski-back-to-the door access to the village centre hotels that some of us had imagined, but most of them are an easy stroll of less than five minutes from the foot of the slopes.
Another crucial development has been the construction of a new cable car from the suburb of Nasserein to the top of Gampen. Previously Nasserein had always been regarded as a less desirable place to stay because of difficulties of getting quick access to the main ski area. But thanks to this new installation the chalets and hotels located in Nasserein are nowadays much more in demand. (Although the new lift does not make Nasserein any closer to the après-ski hotspots, the well-lit footpath, lined with wooden sculptures of famous ski racers, that runs along the route of the old railway line makes for an agreeable stroll to and from the village centre.)
But for all its recent modernisations, St Anton’s appeal as a ski resort is still largely based on its sense of history and its connections with the origins of the activity of skiing as we know it today. The Pastor at neighbouring Lech — also covered by the Arlberg lift pass — is recorded as visiting his parishioners on skis as early as 1895, so it can be seen that the region has a long skiing tradition. Hannes Schneider opened the Arlberg Ski School, which became a model for ski schools the world over, in St Anton in 1921. The early Arlberg skiers were responsible for developing a ski technique, named after their region, which was a standard to which skiers the world over aspired for almost half a century. It involved the skis being clamped tightly together in the parallel position and the upper body facing resolutely down the valley. Although the great French champion Emile Allais challenged the Austrian technique just before the war, it was only recently as the 1960s that French instructors really started to question the Arlberg orthodoxies.
The British have a long association with St Anton dating right back to the early days of the Arlberg Ski School. British ski pioneers helped start the Kandahar downhill race here in 1928 and still today it remains one of the key fixtures on the World Cup circuit. This and many other interesting associations are commemorated in St Anton’s ski museum — one of the best of its kind in the Alps. It is well worth a visit on a snowy day, or you can look around it after having dinner in the excellent restaurant with which it shares its building. The museum was used as the façade for the main chalet in the 2011 film Chalet Girl.
Most chalet holidays and hotel holidays packaged by operators other than ourselves include in the price return charter flights and coach transfers to the resort. Many regional departure airports are also available. Please enquire for details. Additionally, many tour operators offer the option of rail travel to French resorts either by daytime or overnight Eurostar or overnight Snowtrain.
For clients travelling on tailor-made holidays with Ski Solutions A La Carte we are able to offer a wide range of scheduled flights from a variety of UK airports to suit personal preferences with such carriers as:
Swiss for Geneva or Zurich British Airways for Lyons, Geneva, Zurich, Salzburg, Turin or Venice There are several low-cost carriers which have widened the choice of departure points and destinations in particular from Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh which we are happy to book on your behalf as well as other scheduled airlines.
Easyjet for Geneva, Basle, Zurich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Lyons, Grenoble, Turin, Milan or Venice Ryanair for Salzburg, Friedrichschafen, Basle, Grenoble or Turin as well as Globespan , flybmi and Flybe.
Onward transfers to resorts are by hire car, taxi, train (Switzerland and Austria) or scheduled bus service as appropriate. For French resorts we are able to offer the popular daytime Eurostar service which runs weekly on Saturdays.
|Lower Depth:||20 cm||Piste Conditions:||Improving conditions thanks to the new snow|
|Upper Depth:||60 cm||Runs to Resort:||Fresh|
|Fresh snow depth:||10 cm||Off-Piste:||Fresh|
|Best Snowfall week||23-Jan-2012||03-Dec-2012||02-Dec-2013 (14%)|
|Best Base week||09-Jan-2012||04-Feb-2013||03-Feb-2014 (14%)|
Austrias most iconic ski area offers a range of awesome challenges, especially off-piste.
St Anton has a huge variety of different runs, but the most famous skiing is in the Valluga region and it is truly world-renowned. From the Valluga Grat (2,660m) at the top of the first stage of the Valluga cable car, or from the top of the Schindlergrat high-speed chairlift you ski into a huge bowl that provides some of the most glorious off-piste skiing in the world. Technically speaking there are three off-piste itinerary routes leading down to the Steissbachtal valley, from where you can ski on down to St Anton itself. But in practice skiers ski all over this wide area. This area is especially magical in fresh powder although you need to be up there early to make your own fresh tracks: there are a lot of keen expert skiers in St Anton. But because these slopes get a lot of sun, several days after a snowfall you could be faced with a long 30-degree run covered in icy moguls a challenge for any expert.
From Gampen you can ski down to the high-speed Zammermoos chairlift which takes you up to Galzig (2,185m). From here there is a huge variety of runs in different directions. You can cruise back to the bottom of the Zammermoos lift via the beautiful, broad Steissbachtal run, known to some as Happy Valley, or you can take the much steeper but normally well-groomed Kandahar run to the same place. You can also take either a blue or a black down to the hamlet of St Christoph.
St Anton's lift system has been gradually upgraded over the past few years, with plenty of high-speed quad chair lifts being installed.The new gondola from Nasserein to Gampen revolutionised access to the main ski area for those staying in that area of the resort. Generally speaking bad queues are nowadays a rarity here. This is not a resort thats ideal for beginners, but early intermediates upwards will find plenty to enjoy on the slopes of Gampen and Kapall (2,326m), which rise up from the centre of the village and comprise mainly a mixture of red and blue pistes. A new, very high-tech new Galzig jumbo gondola opened in winter 2006/2007. The design of the lift station is particularly striking. A giant ferris-wheel-style structure lifts the cabins from the ground entry level on to the transport cable. The lift has dramatically increased capacity as well.
Alternatively you can decide to go higher and ski to either the Galzig cable car station and (in high season) get a timed reservation on the next available cable car to the Valluga Grat (2,650m), or to the Schindlergrat high speed chair lift and access the off-piste skiing there. An easier option from the Valluga Grat is the red run down to the Ulmerhutte, from where you can either also head for the Steissbachtal or, alternatively, to the bottom of the Valfagehr chair lift at Rauz.
From Rauz you can, if the mood takes you, head on towards Stuben and the three Albona chair lifts that take you up to the Albona Grat (2,400m). This area usually has some of the best quality snow in the region, as well as a huge variety of off-piste descents.
St Anton has another, completely separate, ski area at Rendl, on the opposite side of the valley. This is accessed by a new eight-seat gondola much closer to the town centre than the old Rendl lift it replaced. There are four lifts serving lots of pleasant, intermediate skiing up here, as well as a good long run through the forest right down to resort level. Rendl gets plenty of sunshine and the area outside the mountain restaurant at the top of the gondola is often described as Rendl Beach.
Most visitors to St Anton will probably want to spend a day skiing in neighbouring Lech, which is covered by the same lift pass. Convenient shuttle bus services link the two resorts. Alternatively, if you are an expert skier and hire a qualified guide, you will be allowed to board the second stage of the Valluga cable car and go right up to the Valluga summit (2,811m). From here there is a testing off-piste route down into the Lech area.
Incidentally, St Antons cable television channel has a much better than average information service that gives details about which lifts are open, queuing problems, piste grooming and so on. It also features a number of live panorama cameras.
A respectable selection catering for most budgets.
The most popular lunching spot in the whole region is the sunny, snow-sure hamlet of St Christoph (1,800m) where the Hospiz-Alm is the best place to eat. In good weather the terrace is frantically busy, however, so try to secure a quieter table on the first floor balcony. In bad weather, on the other hand, the best place to install oneself is the downstairs corner bar by the fireplace, where the long-serving expert barman Karl-Heinz will certainly keep you entertained. Sit in the corner table and your drinks, which should include at least one Testa Rossa (Sekt with raspberry puree), will be served from the bar on a vast wooden spatula.
The food at the Hospiz-Alm is fairly straightforward at lunchtime compared to the more elaborate dinner menu. However. the upstairs menu has lately been significantly upgraded and included a first-rate steak tartare. However the awesome wine list, with over 150 clarets dating back to 1921, many of them in magnums, is available at any time of day. Instead of clomping down the steps to the lavatories in your ski boots you can simply sit on a slide down. (The bad news is that you do have to walk back up again.)
At the mid-station of the Galzig-Valluga cable car the Ferwall Stube is a very high quality service restaurant with a changing menu. It does an excellent Bouillabaise, not to mention a benchmark Wienerschnitzel. Alas, it has only a very small outdoor terrace for sunny days. Advance booking here is often essential. If you are a pedestrian, ask the lift ticket office for a free ticket - only valid with a table reservation.
For more traditional Tyrolean fare, such as Tiroler Grostl (a mixture of potatoes, bacon and other meats served together with lots of herbs in individual copper frying pans), the best places are the newly expanded Rodelalm, towards Nasserein, and the Sennhutte, just off the piste from the bottom of the Zammermoos back to St Anton. Irritatingly the piste map does not mark all the mountain restaurants.
As well as these restaurants there are plenty of self-service establishments and some very good outdoor ice-bars, notably at St Christoph, Galzig and Gampen.
Click here for details of mountain restaurants in Lech.
Old respected school - and new off-piste option.
The St Anton Ski School, has now merged with the Arlberg Ski School, so there is only one option for those wanting group lessons. For off-piste enthusiasts however, Piste to Powder Mountain Guides offer guiding/tuition for British Clients and is an increasingly popular service.
Some Recommended Ski Schools:
Arlberg Ski School
(+43) 0 5446 3411
(+43) 0 5446 2306
6 full days 241
Ages 5-14yrs 6 full days 241
6 hrs 1 pax 326
Piste to Powder Mountain Guides
(+43) 0 664 174 6282
(+43) 0 5447 20162
1 day 100
The resort runs two Childrens Centres at the base of Peak 8 and Peak 9 offering all-day childcare. The centre at Peak 8 takes children from 2 months and at Peak 9 from 3 years. Children aged from 3 years are offered a combined programme with the Ski School. The Kinderhut is an independent kindergarten located at Beaver Run taking children from 6 weeks to 6 years of age.
There are various pricing periods throughout the season and advance purchase is cheaper.
6 day lift passes: Under 13: $294 13 to 64: $552 Over 65: $492
Plenty to choose from, options ranging from traditional Austrian to Italian and Asian.
Although many of the hotels in St Anton have good restaurants, the very best ambience is to be found in the individual establishments, such as the the old inn in the forest at Ferwall which specialises in local game and is best reached by horse-drawn sleigh, ideally on a night with a full moon.
In town, the elegant 1912 villa that now serves as the Ski Museum also functions as a restaurant, with several separate dining rooms, at night. It is now run by an enthusiastic young couple, Sandra and Harry. The latter is a talented chef/patron. As well as specialising in local mountain trout cooked every which way he does excellent lamb dishes. For dessert, do not miss out on the creme brulee with the superb rosemary ice-cream. This restaurant also has a good list of fine Austrian wines try one of the red cuvees (blends) and you will not be disappointed. (You can stroll round the museum after dinner.)
Just down from the museum, the Underground on the Piste serves good value food ranging from fondues to grills and wok-fried dishes - but there is a rumour that it has been sold for development as a private chalet.
The Funky Chicken is a lively, inexpensive bar/pub serving roast chicken and Indian curry dishes in a young Margarita-fuelled ambiance.
Die Einkehr is a traditional,intimate rustic restaurant with a short menu of Tyrolean specialities.
Cafe Sailer is the place where all the locals and regular visitors hang out and it does a sound Wiener Schnitzel. In a similar category is Dorfstub'n on the main street above Bobo's. The menu offers many of its dishes in smaller sizes if you're not that hungry. The Montjola is the best restaurant in the area for fondues. The Pomodoro is an average pizza place, while Bobo is the place to head if you want a complete change of cuisine and fancy something Mexican. Hazienda remains popular for its modern surroundings and innovative and vaguely oriental cuisine. Many customers here consider themselves lucky to get seats at the bar. Bodega is a buzzing Spanish tapas bar just off the main street with good Spanish reds by the glass and a good variety of small snacks.
In the Arlberg-well.com building, ben.venuto, is a trendy new designer restaurant serving excellent food, much of it is Oriental in style, but there are also some Italian dishes. It is owned by the son of the owner of the renowned Hospiz hotel in St Christoph and has proved an instant hit. Meanwhile the former Bahnhof Buffet in the old railway station is being run by the management of the Hotel Post as sWirtshaus am alten Bahnhof, serving typical regional food.
Dolce Vita is a plush, up-market modern designer restaurant serving the full gamut of Italian cuisine.
A better than average choice.
Although St Anton is very much a winter sports town, non-skiers will not feel totally excluded here. The resort centre remains reasonably lively during the day and there are one or two shopping opportunities, especially if you like Tyrolean clothing and Loden cloth. It is not too hard for skiers to come down to the resort for lunch and non-skiers can access several of the mountain restaurants by cable car or foot. Day trips to Lech are a possibility, although the bus timetable is geared more towards skiers who want to go over there for the whole day, rather than those who just want to spend two or three hours there in the middle of the day. Day trips by rail to cities such as Innsbruck and even Zurich are another possibility.
Many of the leading hotels here, including the Alte Post, Post and the Schwarzer Adler, have lavish state-of-the-art swimming pool and spa facilities and the amazing Arlberg-well.com complex offers a fantastic indoor/outdoor swimming pool, sauna and ice rink complex open to all the resorts guests.