Our complete guide to
With its formidable expert terrain, impressive snow record and legendary après-ski, St Anton-am-Arlberg is one of the true heavyweights of alpine skiing.
But while the steep and deep remains St Anton's big draw, it also has a lot to offer more leisurely skiers, particularly with its recent links to the ski area of neighbouring Lech-Zürs.
Where is St Anton?
Innsbruck - 1hr30, Zurich - 2hr
St Anton-am-Arlberg is located in the Tirol province of the western Austrian Alps. St Anton is often described as being in the “Arlberg” region - not an official region per se, but rather an umbrella term used for the collective marketing of the resorts of St Anton, Lech-Zürs and Warth-Schröcken.
St Anton - the resort
St Anton is an attractive, traditional Tirolean village set towards the head of the long Inn valley, surrounded on all sides by impressive high mountain scenery.
While it may have a reputation as one of Austria’s top party towns, St Anton is also steeped in mountain tradition which, combined with its animated pedestrianised centre, gives it plenty of alpine charm.
St Anton - the ski area
127km (340km - Arlberg region)
Skiing in St Anton takes place on both sides of the valley. To the south, Rendl is a small and uncrowded area of skiing ideal for all levels of skier, which sits both above and below the treeline on mostly north-facing slopes.
The bulk of St Anton’s slopes are on its north side, however, which is split into three areas (Gampen, Valluga and Galzig). These mostly south-facing slopes are accessed by several different lifts both close to the village centre and further down the valley. This side is also home to most of the resort’s legendary off-piste. From Galzig, you can also ski over to Stuben, which then provides an onwards link to Lech-Zürs.
St Anton's snow record
Our snow rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton generally has a very good snow record, although it does have some drawbacks. Natural snowfall is abundant here – the long-term average is around 8m at 2000m – making the ski area a good bet for powder. However, many of the runs in the main ski area face south, meaning that you do have to time your runs more carefully later in the season.
Where to find the best snow in St Anton
In sunny conditions, especially later in the season, the best snow is often found on the shady Albona run above Stuben. Many of the runs on the Rendl side also face north and retain decent snow quality in warmer weather.
Where to ski in bad weather
St Anton’s ski area may not have a huge number of trees in which to find shelter in bad weather, but there are some areas of woodland scattered across its lower slopes, the most extensive of which can be found below the mid-station on Rendl.
St Anton for experts
Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton is one of the best ski resorts in the world for advanced and expert skiers, with numerous black runs dotted around, the steepest of which is the Fang piste below Gampen. However, the resort’s expert reputation is largely built on its off-piste possibilities.
St Anton’s off-piste includes ski routes which are both marked and avalanche controlled, but not prepared or patrolled. These can be found all over the ski area, marked as red or black depending on their steepness, with some of the best and most famous routes located in the Valluga/Schindler Spitzer sector.
More serious off-piste possibilities also abound well away from the main ski area, including routes from the top Valluga cable-car station down to Zürs, which are only suitable for true experts accompanied by a guide.
St Anton for intermediates
Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton is a good resort for confident intermediates, but less good for timid ones. There are some easy blue runs, but they tend to be quite isolated and getting to them can involve considerable planning in order to avoid trickier sections.
Among the better options for early intermediates are the blues on Rendl above the mid-station, and the long 64 blue run back down to St Christoph. Beware the Steissbachtal run though, the main blue back to St Anton from Galzig, which is notorious for bumps and crowds at the end of the day.
Stronger intermediates have lots of options in all sectors of St Anton’s ski area. Among our favourite intermediate runs are the long piste down to Alpe Rauz from Schindler Spitzer, and the shady reds on the front side of the Stuben area.
St Anton for beginners
Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton has several beginner slopes at valley level. These are included in a special beginners’ lift pass which also allows access up the Fang chair, from where you can follow an easy blue run back to the village.
Further beginners’ slopes can be found up the mountain at both Gampen and Rendl, but to access these you will need a standard ski pass. Gampen also has an easy run back to the village, but otherwise St Anton offers very little in the way of easy intermediate terrain for beginners to progress to.
St Anton for cross country skiers
Together with St Cristoph, St Anton offers 40km of cross-country trails both in the valley and up the mountain, which have reasonable snow reliability. There are better resorts for cross country skiers though.
Mountain restaurants in St Anton
St Anton has several good mountain restaurants dotted around its ski area.
For refined lunchtime dining, you should try the Verwallstube on Galzig, which has 2 toques Gault-Millau. Another high-end favourite is the Hospiz Alm in St Christoph which, although not strictly a ‘mountain’ restaurant, is directly accessible on skis.
Other less formal recommendations include the Rodelalm on Gampen and the Bifang Alm towards the bottom of Rendl.
St Anton for non-skiers
Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton is a good resort for non-skiers with plenty to do besides strolling down the main pedestrian street and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.
There are plenty of marked winter walks, a 4km toboggan run from Gampen to Nasserein, and a state-of-the-art sports centre with a swimming pool, climbing wall and tennis courts.
St Anton's après-ski
Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
St Anton is widely known to have some of the liveliest après-ski and nightlife in the Alps. The action starts mid-afternoon when a number of slope-side bar/restaurants spring into life just above town, most famous of these being the Krazy Kanguruh and the MooseWirt.
If you are still standing, the action continues in the bars close to the base of the lifts and on the main street, notably at the long-standing Piccadilly pub which stays busy until late.
Other popular and busy options include Bar Cuba and Alibi. For a slightly quieter drink, you could try the more upmarket Bodega Bar in the village centre.
Eating out in St Anton
St Anton has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. If you’re looking for something upmarket, The Museum Restaurant is highly rated, as is dining in the Hotel Schwarzer Adler.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, however, the effortlessly cool Hazienda in the M3 Hotel also comes highly recommended.
Snow-wise's top tip
If you're not a fan of crowded pistes, be sure to avoid the notoriously busy Steissbachtal run back into town from Galzig at the end of the day!
Considering a luxury ski holiday or short break in St Anton?
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