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Zurs or Lech Austria

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just watched a show on Ski Television about Zurs and Lech Austria. I didn't realize how different skiing is in Austria and am intrigued by how you can ski from one village to another. I am interested in planning a ski trip there for 2004 and am wondering if anyone can give any pointers or information. Can anyone recommend hotels or condos? Is one mountain better then another? What airport? Is there transportation from the airport or is a car a must?
post #2 of 15

There's a train from Innsbruck to St Anton (approx 1 hour 15 mins) and a ski bus from St Anton to Lech/Zurs (approx 30mins). I'm sure there are coach services too. Save car hire costs (and parking costs), spend the money on a train/coach and local taxi's instead. Lech Zurs, St Christoph, Stuben and St Anton are all in the same area (connected by ski buses and ski routes).

Zurs is rather small, St Anton is much larger; more spread out but every other shop is a sports shop, Lech has much more Austrian charm.

The ski routes between some villages are only for expert offpiste skiers.

Ski, Apres Ski, Taxi back to hotel, shower etc, eat, drink a few more schnaps, sleep (repeat cycle)

Just let me know if you need any more info ....

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Lech does appear to be more "traditional" in Austrian Culture, but after reading some more, it looks like St. Anton may provide us with better skiing. Is this true? Lech appears to be mostly intermediate terrain, where St. Anton offers a bit more in advanced terrain. It's tough to choose, although it appears most of the mtns and villages are all within reach of each other either vie skis or bus/taxi.

Also, when is the best time to go for good weather and still have good snow? We'd like to avoid the extreme cold/windy/stormy periods if there are such times. Thanks for the help.
post #4 of 15
Yes, St Anton has the larger and generally more demanding ski terrain but most areas have moderate to difficult off-piste. Lech/Zurs alone have enough to keep anyone happy for a week, St Anton is the main ski and social area - it depends what you are looking for. Getting from St Anton to Lech/Zurs takes around 30 to 45 mins by bus (A taxi would be around 40 Euros) travelling between these resorts is not something you would want to do everyday.

I was at St Anton last week and picked up a book at one of the local sport shops called "All Around the Arlberg" by Andy Thurner with over 60 off piste routes. St Anton is popular and the main routes get tracked out very quickly (ca 2 hours). For your own safety and to find those hidden powder stashes, it's best to go with a guide. I took a course with these people last week and was really impressed ....


Edit - Even I can't predict the weather but later March is probably best, warmer more sunshine, normally good snow and away from the Feb holidays.

Fat skis, Fat smiles .


[ February 02, 2003, 01:01 PM: Message edited by: DangerousBrian ]
post #5 of 15
I got back a week ago from a holiday in St Anton - had an absolutely brilliant time. Great piste skiing, massive off-piste (helped by the fresh snow [img]smile.gif[/img] ), good nightlife, amazingly friendly people. It's difficult to find fault with anything.

We spent a day skiing in Lech/Zurs and had a great time - we would have gone back for another day but the heavy snow kept us in St Anton (I'm not complaining!).

So...I'd recommend staying in St Anton. As DB says it's 30 mins by bus to Lech/Zurs - or you can hire a guide and ski from the top of the Valluga. You can also ski in Rendl and Stuben - smaller but tend to be quieter. I can't recommend the area highly enough - you won't be disappointed.


Edit: just missed DB's latest post. I'll second the recommendation for the guiding. Spent a day skiing with Graham from 'Piste to Powder' - superb.

[ February 02, 2003, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: alan empty ]
post #6 of 15
The skiing in the Arlberg is different to the rest of Austria, most Austrian hills are just that, in the Arlberg the terrain is much more rugged and more like Switzerland. This has to be one of the best ski areas anywhere in the world, the amount of off-piste is awesome and snow conditions are invariably good. In fact the problem in St Anton is the risk of avalanche. If you're looking for good value accomdation try some of the English holiday companys, Ski Total have a good selection of chalets in and around St Anton. One of the problems you'll find is that Hotels and chalets are often listed as St Anton but are in fact in Nasserien or St Jacob. The main hotels in St Anton are excellent, the Hotel Post and Alte Post are both prestigous 4* establishments, I know Inghams used to carry these hotels in their programmes at lower costs than booking direct. Most of the UK travel companies use Zurich - 2 hours away, as their airport for St Anton. So you could perhaps look at linking a flight form the US to Zurich and linking with a UK tour operator. Alternatively the St Anton tourist office is very helpful and can book rooms for you directly. Look at www.stantonamarlberg.com for more information. If you really want to experience skking in the Arlberg take the final Valluga cable car, you can only do this with aguide and ski down the north face of the Valluga into Zurs. The rest of the area is directly accessible, you can ski from St Anton to St Cristoph and Stuben. Stuben is a good value location but its very small and enclosed so its always cold in the AM. The ski bus service works very well from St Anton, the village centre is pedestrianised but its easy to establish which buses go where. The apres ski in St Anton is great, you've got two of the best bars in the Alps pight opposite each, the Mosserwurt and the Krazy Kangaroo, the party usually starts about lunchtime and continues. :
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
You guys have supplied GREAT info, thanks. Anyone else have anything to share?
post #8 of 15
As dultimo says the Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh are two of the best and very well known. For live music and room to move try the Griabli, Unterer Mooserweg 7 (directly opposite the Mooserwirt).

post #9 of 15
I've been to the Arlberg 3 times. I'd recommend staying in Lech. Every time I';ve gone, St. Anton was abit lacking in snow and coverage was much better in Lech and Zurs. The skiing there is awesome no matter what level you are. I got the Andy Thurner book also, and it helped out. I'd also suggest getting a guide.

From the US, you will probably want to fly into Zurich. Innsbruck is way too expensive, and an extra connection as well. Munich is cheaper, but unless you are renting a car I wouldn't go that route. It is quite a trip by bus or train, and even by car, the traffic can be ferocious. Zurich is about two hours by bus, train, or car. Once you get there, you will have little need for the car as the bus system gets the you around quite nicely.

I booked two of my trips through www.ski-europe.com. You may want to give them a call.
post #10 of 15
We've skiied Austria 4 times. It was arranged thru Ski-Europe (formally Austria Ski). We stayed in Innsbruck and skied local as well as St. Anton. We found much better prices at the smaller (but not necessarily inferior), resorts. At St. Anton, lift tickets can approach US prices. We got tickets near Innsbruck as low as $20 (but the dollar was strong, and the schilling had just been tied to the Euro).

As far as difficulty -- ski the area gingerly at first. There is almost NO beginner terrain, when you compare to the US level of skiing. The kids are born w/skis on, and tear down the hill w/o fear! Many of the beginner runs would be considered good intermediate runs here. My favorite "intermediate" run there, was easily a black here, and longer than any here. Run lengths are awesome.

Surprises -- if you want to ski the whole mountain, (at some resorts) better know how to ride a T bar (nearly non existant now in California). We got to the bottom of a run, and found the out of bounds sign. My husband was ready to ski thru the trees before riding the T bar. I refused to commit hari kari and got on the tbar!

2 years ago, few snowboarders, but I know it is increasing in popularity now.

One of my favorite resorts is Serfas, but it is not close to much. I believe it also links to one or two other resorts now. We also skiied Axamer Lizum and Stubai Glacier alot. Some in our group really love Schlick 2000 as well. (these are all closer to Innsbruck).And FYI -- if you need to ride the "litter basket", it isn't free. I learned that at the bottom of the hill, after I tore my ACL. It was 1000 Austrian schillings (around $75US). I wouldn't want to have the bill for the helicoptor rescue we saw off piste at St. Anton (so steep, the ski patrol couldn't rescue the guy!)

It is an awesome place to ski. We will probably do it again next year (if we don't do the Academy w/y'all).

post #11 of 15
Originally posted by Taylormatt:
I just watched a show on Ski Television about Zurs and Lech Austria. I didn't realize how different skiing is in Austria and am intrigued by how you can ski from one village to another. I am interested in planning a ski trip there for 2004 and am wondering if anyone can give any pointers or information. Can anyone recommend hotels or condos? Is one mountain better then another? What airport? Is there transportation from the airport or is a car a must?
post #12 of 15
Casey wrote about skiing in/around Innsbruck. Casey, I'm off to Innsbruck for a ski week soon. I've heard the comment about how Austrian beginner slopes are like North American intermediate slopes, etc. I am an advanced skier but my wife is a low-intermediate (by North American standards) snowboarder. Can you comment on which of the Innsbruck-area resorts (Axamer Lizum, Stubai Glacier, Schlick) you would recommend for someone of my wife's ability: basically someone comfy on our Greens, or easier blues...?


post #13 of 15
Ahhhh, call me jealous.

You can probably find some of that terrain at all of those places. Personally, I found Schlick to have a harder average of terrain -- not the hardest runs, but I felt the average run was harder (if that makes sense). Of the three, Axamer was my favorite. When snow is scarce, I found that Stubai has the best snow (as it is "the glacier", and thereby the highest elevation.) She would probably find the most to do at Axamer (but it has been 2 years since I last went). BUT, the ski bus goes everywhere (and is free). Feel free to check it all out. And as a snowboarder, she should be better able to handle it than a begining skier. Snowboarders are far fewer than here. I think Stubai is the farthest out of town.

Of course, you'll have a great time. The Austrian people are wonderful and gracious. Avoid the weekends as they can be a zoo (to quote a local -- that's when all the Germans come to ski). It is a different experience from the states. They start later, and are in no hurry to groom the snow and open the resort (unlike Mammoth, where the groomers start as soom as it is safe).

And . . . stop at Kaiser Stube and tell Alex, Klaus and Joe that Casey (from Father Tim's group) sent you. Awesome food, great prices and they have menu printed in English.

Let me know how you like it.
post #14 of 15
I got back on 9th Feb from a week in St Anton and had a great time there despite the weather which was 5 days out of 6 heavy snow. I'm now much better at skiing by feel! Everything the others have said is right on the mark. We too spent a day at Lech/Zurs (heavy snow all day) and I got the impression that they are slightly more groomed and upmarket than St Anton, a bit like Courcheval 1850 is to Meribel. One of our party managed to lose both skis in waist deep snow off piste above Zurs. Maybe it was all the fresh snow, but I did get the impression that there were a lot of moguls at St Anton, especially in the afternoons as the pistes cut up. The Rendl area was definitely much quieter and smoother. For info on European resorts, snow history, etc you could try the Ski Club of Great Britain site http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/home.asp . Have fun!

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Simon. Austria is a definite must do for us. We may do BC next year and take advantage of the exchange rate. This would also put us near the "free tix with AA Miles" category for a trip in March of 05. Which would really help with the price!

We may hold off a year and plan this out, but we will get there either next March or March 05, it just looks too cool there to not go.
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