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TR: St Anton 1/4-8/4 2023

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
TO: Crystal Ski

We'd originally booked Fieberbrunn through Crystal which got Covidded off and have rolled over to St Anton in a slightly swankier hotel. During this time, one of our party broke his leg so cancelled which was a fair bit of faff but tbf we did get a refund from Crystal without much argument. Making a single booking as a party of 6 coming from three different airports was a pain in the back bottom and I would have all parties book separately in future. Lift pass was £255 with Crystal while in resort it was 307 euro so we got a decent deal.


Flight was at early o'clock from Edinburgh so we had a 3.30am alarm and were grateful when the pre-booked taxi to the airport actually turned up. Kudos to EDI as from leaving the taxi to sitting with a coffee past security was just under 30 mins. Easy peasy. No questions were asked about our Ski bag which had two pairs in (Crystal policy says one pair per bag but this I suspect is more for insurance purposes as they promise to provide hire skis if they lose your kit)

Flight was late due to boarding steps not arriving and baggage handlers loading extra bags onto our plane. Pilot was not amused and was pretty free with his opinions of EDI groundstaff! Very Happy

No bother at the other end, plenty of Crystal reps pointing out where to go and we were put onto another coach which left within 20 minutes of us loading bags onto it. We were the last stop but were dropped right at the door. Same again for the return journey, picked up exactly when they said we would be, 1hr 15 transfer time and zero issues with the flight. All in all, one of the smoother travel experiences I've had.

Sporthotel St Anton

Fantastic location, couldn't be more central. 1 minute walk to Galzig/Gampen and another 30 seconds to Rendl. Close by to all bars etc and can walk to St Jakob for extra bars/restaurants in 10-15 mins.

Rooms were small but comfortable enough. Pillows were a bit poo-poo and I had to ask for a second one. Bathrooms are too small unfortunately and I couldn't have a shower without getting entangled in the shower curtain. A minor annoyance but an annoyance nonetheless.

We faced out onto the main road and could hear folk coming and going from the bars until about 2am which necessitated shutting the windows which was a shame as the rooms were roasting! We figured out how to turn off the radiators and left the windows open all day while we were out but I was still sweating at night.

Breakfast was fantastic - various cereals, milk, yoghurt etc. Toast with a selection of different loaves, three kinds of sausage, bacon, fried spam which was a novelty, big tureens of scrambled eggs and boiled eggs and a large selection of pastries. Unlimited coffee on demand. Perfect stuff to set you up for a day skiing. As a large-ish group we were able to reserve the same table each day which was great.

Dinner wasn't quite as good but nothing to complain about. A hearty self-service salad bar and 4 course dinner (starter, soup, main, dessert). It wasn't super traditional Austrian fare and I think the chef fancied himself something of a gastronome without necessarily being able to pull it off. It was mostly fine to good (as long as you like veal...) with a few definite misses. Portions were fine without being particularly generous.

Wine and beer was unfortunately VERY expensive (cheapest bottle was 39euro) which meant we didn't use the bar facilities or drink with dinner much if at all. Perhaps their usual clientele is a better class of person than us!


We arrived to rain at village level but the snow line looked to only be another 1/200m up. Weather was a little cloudy the next day before being bluebird the rest of the week. There was a little boot deep stuff for the first day or two but no new snow after that. Could've done with more fresh snow but I was happy enough.

Day 1 - We decided on Rendl as we thought it would be a bit quieter for a first day and it had been recommended as a good first day spot. Great advice and we had a cracking day. Quick warm-up down Blue 11 all the way to Maass then up Gampberg where we snagged some fresh tracks in the side-piste between Black 5 and Red 6. So good we did it twice. More fresh tracks next to Red 8 and somewhere in the jumble where Blue 11, 13 and 14 meet. Lovely stuff.

We then headed skiers right off Riffel 1 to lap some of the off-piste round there which was tracked and choppy but still soft enough to have fun. I had the week's best fall with an over-the-handlebars double eject after hitting a steeper-than-anticipated lip at the wrong angle giving me some decent airtime!

In the afternoon we went over the other side of the valley and went for Skiroute 40 off Kappall which was a bit of an error. Higher up it was heavy but fine - even found some untracked. Lower down it was proper leg-breaking porridge where you need a rest every three turns. A few of our group weren't super experienced off-piste skiers and we all found it a bit of an ordeal. Deciding we'd had a good first day and with tired legs we skied down Blue 50 to Taps for a bit of apres including mediocre burgers, crap pizza but surprisingly great chili nachos!

Day 2 - Woke up to some cloud and mizzle in town and riding up Galzig we were still on clag. Wanting to get to the highest point to hopefully get above it, we headed up Valluga which was absolutely NOT an error! Stunning views in fantastic sunshine and fresh tracks in delightful spring snow to the sides of red 92. Hopped on the drag lift and then traversed out to the
side of Skiroute 86 to find some pockets of fresh (along with every other man and his dog). This was fantastic, really nice soft chop and we lapped this three times using the Schindler Spitze. In the afternoon the mist had cleared so we noodled around on piste in the Galzig area to find our bearings which wasn't easy given the congested nature of the area and the piste map deviating from reality fairly frequently! (although I don't want to start another argument with the Arlberg locals like in the weather thread! Very Happy)

Day 3 - Planned to go to Lech but the 8.41am bus only stopped at Zurs as we found when we got to the bus stop. A happy accident as it turns out as Zurs is great! The first run was red 34 off Trittkopf which wasn't pleasant - in the shade, rock hard and plenty of skidding. We thought about the skiroutes/off piste around there but two of our party had switched from boards to skis and weren't as confident off-piste.

Over the other side was a different story; skied over and got Madloch (largely by accident) before skiing really good spring snow to the sides of red 165. Too short lived unfortunately as you need to come back onto the piste to get some speed for the weirdly frequent uphills around the area. Not great for boarders I would think! We then lapped Muggengrat several times for the great off-piste as you skiers left from the lift. Was pretty tracked/chopped by this point but worth it for the views alone! A great lift and one I imagine locals flock to on a powder day.

Day 3 had the best lunch of the week at Seekopf restaurant where most of the Zurs lifts converge. 5.70e a large beer which was by far the cheapest we found in the area and 15e for a plate of Goulash and Spaetzle which was absolutely delicious. Fabulous views of Muggengrat (the mountain, not the lift) and Flexenspitze. Highly recommended.

Afternoon was pistey noodling again on some fairly unplesant icy pistes tbh. The best skiing was definitely off piste, although the big top to bottom from Muggengrat on red 144 was fun!

Day 4 - a slightly later wake-up time meant we got on the bus to Lech as planned. This was mostly a piste day as most of the off-piste (that we could see anyway, definitely should've got a guide!) was pretty boned. An Austrian ski instructor chetting up a couple of our female pals on a lift told them that the better snow was to be found in Warth so we headed over there. A fun day lapping the good number of black runs in the area. Gave up navigation again with a number of the runs branching off from each other and crossing each other so generally just pointed at a lift and said "see you there!". Headed down into Warth town just for the sake of saying we'd gone to the other end of the map before heading back over the Lech to hit some of the various reds off Steimahder.

Down into town to pick up some journey juice for the bus home!

Day 5 - headed over to Stuben to check out some of the runs off Albona and Albonagrat which was a great decision! Great lifts that give a real sense of being away from the rest of the resort and much quieter than the main areas. Really nice long runs too on pleasant snow, especially on the north side. I'd say this is another area locals come to on a power day as the off-piste under Albona 2 looked epic and there's a huge amount of it too!. Unfortunately, it wasn't always obvious how to get to it or get back so we didn't check out as much as I'd have liked.

Day 6 - Cloud had returned to vis wasn't brilliant. Given the off-piste was crap by this point, there were some tired legs and we felt like we'd at least seen if not "ticked" most of the areas, we stayed local with another Rendl morning/Gampen afternoon. Interestingly, the cloud cleared by midday and with the slightly warmer temperatures the pistes softened earlier. This meant we actually had the best on-piste conditions of the whole week between 11.30-2pm. We lapped red 44 and black 42 in great, grippy snow then did a couple of top-to-bottoms down black 42/30 and black 42/34. All very slushy lower down of course but that's what Rocker is for eh! Didn't find it too bad, other than blue 50 to get home which is a sh*tshow just like pretty much all home runs everywhere. You can spend an entertaining hour or two at Krazy Kanguruh watching folk ski down (or get the blood wagon...) after apres.

Conclusion - the Arlberg is a cracking ski area with enough skiing for just about anyone. As advanced(ish) skiers we didn't touch a lot of the blues and reds and I'd happily go back with my mum who's never skied or Candide Thovex for company. We ummed and aahed about getting a guide but we were too late for a shared group and a private guide was too rich for our blood but I wish we'd planned better. If I were to return I'd 100% get a guide for a day or two to get the best out of the area. Loads of touring too but only two of us out of 6 had touring kit so we didn't go for it. I'd happily come back to the Arlberg as I think there's plenty I haven't seen (especially with better snow conditions).

The town/apres

More kit shops and hire shops than you can shake a stick at. They're everywhere to so no problems there. My other half hired some narrower skis halfway through the week given the sub-optimal snow conditions and was very happy with the offering from Jennewein under the Galzigbahn. Our friends who board and ski hired some skis and got Black Crows Camox freebird as the middle of the road offering (Gold, in the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum scale) which I thought was pretty good.

Given St Anton's reputation as a party town I didn't think there were all that many pubs to be honest - maybe some have shut?. We went into Murrmel on arrival as it was near our hotel but didn't think much of it. Maybe better when busy but nothing to write home about and the dude with the guitar was pretty ropey!

Of the three apres bars in a row down Blue 50 (Taps, Krazy Kanguruh and Mooserwirt) we went to Taps most often and found the best atmosphere on the upper terrace. Given the reputations of KK and Mooserwirt I thought they'd be bigger tbh but they just seemed like decent enough, standard bars as you'd get across the alps. Mooserwirt is relying on its reputation a little IMO as it was by far the most expensive and there was none of the dancing on tables to oompah style Austrian apres I was hoping for. Loads of Lairy Swedes though.

I know the Crystal manager from when I worked for them and he confirmed that the seasonnaires mostly use Taps so make of that what you will. KKs was decent too, and the ladies in our group were happy with the party music!

Down in St Jakob at the bottom of Nasserein there's Fanghouse which I quite liked and there seemed a lot of locals/seasonnaires in there. The only one with live music and the guy with the guitar was much better than the one in Murrmel. I'd happily stay in St Jakob next time actually as the apres was decent, you can use the Nasserein to access the area and I imagine its much cheaper.

Bar Cuba was the quintessential grotty seasonnaire bar found in all ski resorts and we quite enjoyed it. As ex-Chamoniards my GF and I exclaimed to each other "this is their Bard'Up". Our 1 allotted "big night out" was Wednesday and we spent most of it in here, drinking the house cocktail 'Love Juice' which was as ridiculous as you might imagine and effective at its job!

The only other bar of note we found was Pub 37 which is a tiny place, ostensibly an Irish bar I think? They actually had some reasonable local beers on draught which I quite liked but my companions found it a little dull so we never went back.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Meltus, a pretty good summary of the place, Schindlerkar often has the best snow but consequently the biggest crowds (usually skied out 30 minutes after the lift opens!), the "sunny" side of Zürs is definitely the best place first thing the Trittkopf side is often hard & icy until later, Muggengrat/Täli has great scenery and skiing both on the piste and along the sides. Conditions have not often been good this year (my visits seemed to coincide with sleet and high winds!) so you didnt see the place at its best. I suspect also that it was fairly quiet, one of the biggest complaints is overcrowding. Not sure I would bring my mum to the Arlberg for her first skiing experience though Toofy Grin .

Perhaps it was a quiet week as when I stopped for a couple of beers at the Moose (mid February?) there was plenty of dancing on the tables to the usual cheesy music. It is cheaper than Basecamp which has got crazy expensive. I agree about the paucity of choice with regard to bars (Bar 37 is closing at the end of the month), there are few places to simply go for a beer. Must admit I find Bar Cuba too grubby and "brit" orientated but maybe that is down to age Smile. There are lots of fans of Gunnar at the Murrmel around here, he has been a fixture in the village for many years perhaps he appeals to those of us with free bus passes!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Great report @Meltus, thanks for sharing
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Layne wrote:
Great report @Meltus, thanks for sharing
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