Regarded as the cradle of modern Alpine skiing, Sankt Anton is established as one of Austria’s big-name ski resorts. And for a good reason: it combines proper skiing with a bustling apres-ski. Sitting in a narrow valley at the foot of the Arlberg pass Sankt Anton is a long, sprawling place, with some traditional character. Bustling with activity throughout the day and late into the night. The vast Ski Arlberg ski area is serviced by several modern cable cars, all of them within walking distance. The cable cars will bring you into the heart of the vast Sankt Anton ski area.
Lot’s of variety in slopes
Sankt Anton’s slopes fall into three main sectors, two of them linked: the south facing Galzig / Valluga area pistes accessed mainly by the modern Galzig bahn, and the Kapall area accessed by the Gampen chairlift or the Nasserein bahn. Rendl is a separate mountain, reached by a gondola from the centre of town.
Sankt Anton has 2 lift linked ski sectors: St Christoph and Stuben, and the up-market skiresorts Lech – Zürs and Schrocken Warth.
Sankt Anton is especially attractive for advanced skiers, although there are very few black runs on-piste. Most of the expert terrain is off-piste. With most of the resort above the tree line, there’s a nice range of off-piste areas to be consumed by experts at Sankt Anton. The runs in the huge bowls below the Valluga are justifiably world-famous. Lower down, there are some moderate challenging runs in many directions from both Galzig and Kapall-Gampen. In general, under good snow conditions the off-piste skiing is quite good, but unfortunately due to the south-facing aspect, these quickly become sun affected. For some serious off-piste skiing and better snow quality head over to neighboring Zürs.
For intermediates there is great skiing in any conditions due to good grooming and snowmaking facilities, and there’s a huge range of runs to choose from. You could easily master them in a week. Intermediates will find plenty of friendly runs across Gampen, Rendl and Sankt Christoph. The run from Schindler Spitze to Rauz is long, varied and ideal for good intermediates. Alternatively, turn off from this part-way down and take the Steissbachtal to the lifts back to Galzig or Gampen. The Kapall-Gampen section is also interesting, with sporty bumps among trees on the lower half. Good intermediates may enjoy the men’s downhill run from the top of this sector to the town.
There are few easy cruising pistes; most blue runs here would be red in most other European skiresorts. The beginners runs are relatively challenging, and as Sankt Anton has a tendency to be crowded, these green runs can quickly become mogulled making them even more difficult. Beginners will most likely head up Galzig chairlift towards St Christoph where the gentler blue slopes are more prominent and make up roughly a quarter of all the slopes in the resort. The gentlest cruisers are the short blues on Galzig and the Steissbachtal, but they get extremely crowded. The blue from Kapall to Gampen is wide and easy to cruise. The best bet for beginners is to start at Nasserein, where the nursery slope is less steep than the one close to the main lifts. There are further slopes up at Gampen and a short, gentle blue run at Rendl, served by an easy draglift. But there are no other easy, uncrowded runs for beginners to progress to.
The Sankt Anton has one a good snow depth track record. Unfortunately, this can’t be said of the town itself; it is shielded by from most serious weather systems. If the weather is coming from the west or north-west (as it often is), the Ski Arlberg region gets a full load, and as a result the Sankt Anton ski area receives over 7m of snow – neighbouring Lech and Zürs and Schrocken Warth get even a staggering 10m! These resorts often have much better conditions than other resorts of a similar height, and we see great fresh powder here as late as mid-April. But many slopes face south or south-east, causing icy or heavy conditions at times.
Legendary après ski
The apres ski in St Anton is legendary and centres around several piste side mountain restaurants until the early evening. All the après ski takes place above the Galzig, starting with the Heustadl which you will encounter as you head down Blue 1. This bar is more family friendly and tame compared to a lot of the other bars. The Krazy Kanguruh is one of the oldest après ski bars on the mountain and used to be the wildest. However in more recent times the Mooserwirt, on the other side of the piste, has become more popular. This plays traditional German folk music mainly and is pumping by mid afternoon. Be warned it will be absolutely rammed. The ski back to town (they both close at 8pm) is a snow cannon slalom, short but often performed imperfectly.
For more information on Sankt Anton am Arlberg please visit the website of the tourist office: www.stantonamarlberg.com