Lech is one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world (once claiming kings were guests and guests were kings) with a determination to give its customers the best at all times.
Lech, in the Austrian Arlberg region, is probably the most exclusive resort in the Alps - in every sense of the word. Once 14,000 lift tickets have been sold for any given day (or significantly more at peak times), the tills are closed and illuminated signs are switched on, on the motorways warning day-trip skiers not to bother coming. Lech is so confident of its own success and is prepared to put the skiing comfort of its valued hotel guests ahead of a little extra revenue from day visitors. The policy obviously works, since Lech has an extraordinarily high proportion of guests who return faithfully year after year.
Lech gained another claim to fame as the resort where the ski scenes in the movie Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason were filmed. Although it's possible to watch the film without noticing exactly where the ski scenes are set, the resort's marketing department nevertheless made much of the association.
The Ski Area
A key reason for Lech’s astounding popularity is its snow record. It has its own micro-climate which means it gets more snow than almost anywhere else in Austria and can boast one of the best snow reliability records in the Alps. The season here runs from the beginning of December to the end of April.
The local Lech-Zürs ski area on its own has some fantastic skiing with plenty of interesting runs to entertain you. However, a recent investment in new ski infrastructure means the whole of the Arlberg area (including St.Anton, Zürs, Warth and Schröcken) is now connected via a series of fast gondolas. Until recently the only way to get to St. Anton from Lech was via a bus, so this has dramatically changed the area and increased the skiing potential. The Arlberg ski area now has 305km of runs making it the biggest ski region in Austria and roughly the same size as the vast Espace Killy (Tignes and Val D’Isere) area in France.
Situated in, what in winter is usually a dead-end valley, Lech is a pretty and compact village where development has been carefully planned and monitored over the years. Although there are lots of hotels, some of them quite large, they have all been built in the chalet style and are therefore usually attractive and quite unobtrusive. Most of the action takes place around the main street which runs alongside the river Lech and is crossed by several bridges, one of them a quaint wooden covered construction and another modern one which improved access from the centre of the village to the start of the Schlegelkopf lifts.
Two hundred metres above Lech itself is the satellite of Oberlech. This is a car-free area which comprises a cluster of large four-star hotels. It is reached by a cable car from Lech, which runs till 1am, and luggage delivery and so on is done via a series of tunnels that connect the cable car station with the hotels. Some of the hotels can also be reached by road and there a bus service until the early hours. Oberlech is an ideal choice for families with young children as it has its own ski kindergarten
At the beginning of the season Lech has a tradition of hosting big Season Opening parties on the first weekend of each winter. These include various concerts and parties as well as a spectacular firework display. Later in the season, highlights from the nearby Summer Bregenz Opera Festival are staged at the foot of the slopes.