The cradle of Alpine skiing
It is a legend in itself, a byword for passion, the crowning pinnacle of its sport! The Arlberg region – the cradle of Alpine skiing and the home of choice for all those who have succumbed to the fascination of the Alpine winter. When, in late autumn, the first snow showers sweep across the high pass between Austria’s most westerly federal province, a longing seizes hold of people all around the world. Visit the Arlberg once, and its magic spell over you will never again be broken. It lies in the unique character of this landscape, enhanced by every facet of the pleasures of the winter season. It lies in the warm hospitality of the locals, who have preserved their identity and traditions. And it lies in the wonderful experiences of something chic, tasteful and of the highest quality which are gifted by a holiday in the Arlberg.
For nowhere else will you find such an exquisite and wellmatched pairing of unspoilt trueness to self with a lived openness to the world, of idyllic modesty with pulsating living, sporting adventure and luxurious comforts. Here, nature has accomplished great things, and winter sports have found their true destiny. Once you have stood in the crystal-clear air of a winter morning on one of the commanding heights of the Arlberg, you will never again want to miss out on this majestic experience. In the north the steep peaks and fine-edged ridges of the Limestone Alps, in the south the ice-covered giant mountains formed from prehistoric rock, with the mountain ranges being linked together into a single, breath taking backdrop. There is hardly any other landscape in the Alps which is simultaneously so richly varied, so challenging and so inviting. From the plunging thrill of the steep slope to gently-sloping upland pastures, and
from dizzying mountain climbs on via ferrata to Alpine meadows ideal for walking, the Arlberg attracts true perfectionists of their chosen (winter or summer) sport alongside nature-lovers seeking relaxation. Names like Valluga, Rüfikopf and Albona stand for the ultimate experience and evoke enthusiasm, even passion, amongst those familiar with the Arlberg region. It is no surprise that the Arlberg has been the destination of choice for more discerning winter visitors from every country for over a century. From Scandinavia to New Zealand and from Japan to Canada, the Arlberg enjoys the reputation of being one of the Alpine regions with the best guarantee of snow, and one of the most richly-varied ski areas in the world. For centuries, it was a region of mountain passes considered
difficult to reach and feared for its snow-storms and threat of avalanches; the opening of the Arlbergbahn railway in 1884 (a triumph of 19th-century engineering) and the impressive panoramic roads over the Arlberg Pass and Flexenpass facilitated access to a veritable eldorado.
Using the nearby airports at Innsbruck, Zurich, Friedrichshafen and Munich or the motorways feeding into the region from the east and west, today it requires very little time to reach the ultimate source of Alpine winter sports. On over 280 kilometres of the best-prepared slopes, the visitor enjoys a carefree skiing experience which is unparalleled in its variety and offers something special at every level of difficulty. From the youngest family member to the highly-experienced multi-discipline skier, the region offers unforgettable winter thrills for all.
In the Arlberg region, you can wedel in the historic tracks of the ski pioneers, whilst at the same time trusting to the high-tech infrastructure of the mountain railways, with their own longstanding traditions. When it comes to the development of Alpine skiing or opening up access to the higher regions of the Alps, the locals of the Arlberg region have always proven themselves to be pioneers. As early as the end of the 19th century, the courageous citizens of the Arlberg were gripped by the fever of a new kind of adventure, known as “snowshoe running”.
There have been many personalities throughout the later history who have helped in getting people onto their skis and establishing winter sports; here we pay tribute to just one of them, the legendary Hannes Schneider. Born in Stuben, from 1907 he worked as the first ski instructor in St. Anton and revolutionised the technique for skiing with his “Arlberg School”, taking the name of his home region all around the world. Since then, generations of his colleagues have upheld his “white art”.
7 ski schools –— 1,030 snow sports instructors –— 7 m average annual snowfall –— 60 % mechanically snow-covered pistes
Anyone working as one of the hundred, best-trained ski instructors in the Arlberg region can feel suitably honoured, because there is practically nowhere else on earth where skiing perfection is honoured in such as way.
It is not by chance that the “Ski Club Arlberg”, founded as long ago as 1901 and numbering World Champions and Olympic gold medallists amongst its members, is amongst the most well-known internationally. The fact that Zürs was home to Austria’s first drag-lift and St. Anton’s Galzigbahn was the first cable car in operation which was designed to be run in winter is similar testi mony to the power to innovate which lies behind the “made am Arlberg” logo. In winter 2006/07, the new Funitel Galzigbahn came into service, as a world first.
Today, over 80 mountain railways and lifts carry visitors to the deep snows covering the high areas of a mountain paradise at altitudes between 1,300 and 2,800 metres, offering everything from captivating slopes of deep snow on the sides of the mighty peaks to gentle inclines – all right on your doorstep. Gliding utterly weightlessly through the widely-renowned powder snow of the Arlberg is the definitive embodiment of winter pleasures, and in addition to the “kings of wedeling” it has long attracted the world’s elite snowboarders and free-riders.
Over 80 mountain railways and lifts –— Funitel Gondola with giant wheel –— Chair-lifts with heated seats –— Contact-free lift access using the Arlberg-Card
Anyone seeing the elegant tracks on the countless deep snow and firn slopes or cutting the tracks for themselves cannot help but be captivated by this white splendour. The Arlberg is the pinnacle of winter sport – a diadem of nature, bedecked with snow crystals, in which five localities are set like jewels, each exhibiting their own charm and their own wholly special character.
Jumps –— Rails –— Slides
180 km deep snow and alternative runs –— 280 km pistes –— 66 km cross-country ski runs –— Numerous winter walking routes –— Illuminated toboggan runs –— Fun-parks
St. Anton, home to the first Alpine Skiing World Championship of the new millennium and venue for the renowned Kandahar-race, has always been a magical place of attraction for winter sports enthusiasts from all over the world. With an extensively wide range of attractions, from the wellness centre of arlberg-well.com to its inviting pedestrianised shopping area to its pulsating night life, St. Anton has a dynamic feel to it.
This comes combined with an incredible experience of nature, ranging from the 2,811 metre high Valluga (the “Queen of the Arlberg”) in the north to the sun-trap of Rendl in the south and leaving no desire unsatisfied. Satisfaction is similarly guaranteed from the area’s hotels and restaurants.
Covered and open-air swimming pool –— Fitness centre –— Massage –— Solarium –— Ice-skating –— Curling
A cosmopolitan village with Tyrolean charm and a meeting-point for winter sports enthusiasts of all ages and nations, St. Anton delights in its particular flair. From the cool free-rider on a flying visit to the family who have come for a relaxing holiday, to lovers of fine gastronomy and the luxuries which only a fivestar hotel can offer, here everyone
The “White Thrill” –— 500 starters –— 9 km track –— Starting groups: Alpine Ski, Snowboard, Telemark, Short Ski
can find their own personal “Stanton”, as the town is often referred to both by regular visitors and anglophile residents. The wide range of offers in terms of dining and accommodation is equally matched by the variety of skiing pleasures to be had in this impressive mountain world. Names like Galzig and Kapall, along with Valluga which presides over them all, enjoy a worldwide reputation, and the area offers everything a skier’s or snowboarder’s heart could desire, from gentle slopes to challenging mogul runs to freeriding.
1,304 – 2,811 m –— 2,500 residents –— 8,900 visitor beds –— 2 ski schools
Numerous other sports facilities, an ultra-modern wellness centre in the heart of the town, and events like the “Tennis trophy”, deep snow championships, “Spring Festival” or the legendary “The White Thrill” demonstrate the dynamic and openhearted spirit of St. Anton – not the least of which is its colourful night life, which is one of the greatlyappreciated facets of this pulsating, but equally romantic town in the foot of the Arlberg.
Tennis trophy –— New Year’s concert –— Deep snow championships –— Spring Festival –— “The White Thrill”
The best in fine dining is on offer in the widely-known destination of St. Christoph. Here, where some 600 years ago a compassionate shepherd laid the foundation for tourists to discover the Arlberg region by establishing a shelter for weather-battered travellers, ancient traditions combine with the nobility of a modern winter sports resort. The fact that the village is home to a training centre
for top skiers underlines the opportunities for enjoying the sport in the surrounding area. With its snow often piled up to roof level, St. Christoph (situated at the highest point of the Arlberg pass) seems like somewhere from a winter fairy-tale.
Arlberg: –— Over 20 award-winning chefs –— 157 bars & restaurants –— 19 mountain restaurants –— Largest magnum Bordeaux wine cellar in Europe
Lying just below the highest point of the Arlberg pass at 1,800 metres, St. Christoph is known to be a veritable snow-trap. Ringed on all sides by deeply snow-covered slopes, in the village itself the snow can often be piled up to roof height. In the 14th century, the shepherd Heinrich Findelkind founded a hospice to offer shelter from the vagaries of the weather to travellers crossing the Arlberg region. To finance this project, he founded the “Fellowship of St. Christoph”, which today has many illustrious members.
1,800 – 2,811 m –— 30 residents –— 600 visitor beds
The hospice has meanwhile developed into one of the finest inns in the Alpine region, enjoying an outstanding reputation domestically and internationally for its award-winning kitchen and excellent wine cellar. The conversion of the old Wegmacherhaus (literally: “routemaker’s house”) into a ski centre – in the 1920s – marked the start of ski instructor training in Austria, something which has had a home in the village ever since. And it is not just the graduates of the Federal Ski Academy who delight in using their skiing abilities in the magnificent and exclusive setting of St. Christoph.
Pure romanticism, such as is to be found in Stuben, the idyllic village on the western side of the Arlberg region. Stuben is a popular destination for families and for winter sports enthusiasts looking for that extra-special something. Its local mountain, the Albona, offers one of the most stunning north-facing slopes in the Alps, and guaranteed snow into the late spring. As in the entire Arlberg region, countless alternative routes (both on- and off-piste) invite the enthusiast to enjoy extended cross-country skiing
and exhilarating downhill runs. Setting off expertly on your run right from your front door can be taken quite literally in Stuben. From here, you have an impressive view towards the galleries of the Flexenstrasse as it snakes its way along the walls of rock; forking off from the Arlbergpassstrasse at Alpe Rauz, it leads towards two further pearls of the Arlberg.
Starting from a simple heated refuge built well over 200 years ago, the very name of Stuben pays tribute to its origins (Stube = room). The village, situated at the western foot of the Arlberg, has retained its village character and radiates homeliness. It is especially popular with families and lovers of virgin deep snow slopes. Nestled right on the slope, in Stuben it is quite common to extend your downhill run right to your own front door.
1,409 – 2,400 m –— 110 residents –— 700 visitor beds –— 1 ski school –— Annual snowfall approx. 9 metres
Less worldly and more homely, its night life too is characterised by a hearty hospitality. Dining options range from the pizzeria to the award-winning restaurant, and when it comes to accommodation there is again something to suit every taste.
Zürs, which around a hundred years ago was still leading the precarious existence of a small Alpine village, is today the home of choice to visitors of international standing. In this renowned ski resort, top-quality hotel accommodation and mountain slopes running directly down into the village provide for an incomparable holiday experience. Here, once again, the Arlberg seduces visitors with its fields of deep snow, glittering in the sunlight, and its stunning
mountain backdrop, inviting them to an extensive exploration of the art of skiing. The Zürs ski school, like its fellow establishments in the four other districts in the Arlberg region, assists by providing highly-qualified and experienced ski instructors or cross-country ski guides for visitors.
Son et lumière fireworks –— Santa Claus is coming to Zürs –— Zürs Magic –— “Funken abbrennen” (bonfire festival)
1,720 – 2,450 m –— 150 residents –— 1,500 visitor beds –— 1 ski school –— Bars and nightclubs
The promise of a top-quality winter holiday in Zürs is given not only by its superior hotels, but also by its ski area, which for the most part lies above the tree-line. The white slopes extend upwards from 1,700 metres, gleaming seductively in the sun. Anyone looking for powder snow has discovered his eldorado here. The ski school, which has a long tradition, offers best-qualified instructors. Skiing enthusiasts can enjoy downhill runs on the prepared piste or in deep snow right down to the hotel door.
An isolated Alpine village only one hundred years ago, Zürs has developed into a small yet fashionable centre for Alpine ski sports. It delights in some illustrious regular visitors, including royalty, who come seeking a refuge in which to enjoy the pure pleasures of winter. In addition to its fine dining, the village’s stylish bars mean that there is no shortage of night life.
–— “The White Ring” –— Longest ski-race in the world –— 22 km –— 700 starters –— 5,500 metre altitude
The best standards and superior quality are applicable in every regard when it comes to the various characteristics of the region. This holds especially true for Lech, which lies only a few kilometres away from Zürs. In this supremely beautiful high valley, it is mainly regular visitors who for generations have made this the destination for realising their winter dreams.
Whether in the exclusive Lech itself, in the openlydesigned sun terrace of Oberlech or in dreamy Zug, here there is a jewel of the Alpine landscape to suit every holidaymaker’s taste.
Arlberg music festival –— Bregenz Festival in the snow –— Arlberg literary festival –— “The White Ring”, the longest ski-race in the world –— “Wein & Firn”, the WinterWineWeeks festival
Lying beyond the Flexenpass in a picturesque valley, Lech is outstanding for the high quality and comprehensive diversity of what it has to offer. Above the lively village there is car-free Oberlech, which is a magnificent sun terrace. The local districts of Zug and Stubenbach which are part of Lech offer idyllic charm and a sense of romance.
The wide-ranging ski area can cater to every taste, with Rüfikopf rising on one side of the valley and Kriegerhorn on the other. From family downhill runs to magnificent powder snow, there are countless options on offer. Sports enthusiasts looking for extra delights can enjoy the toboggan run and the crosscountry ski runs and winter walking routes, which criss-cross the partlyforested valley floor. And the shopping and fine dining which it has to offer are similarly something out of the ordinary. Hardly anywhere else will you find a similar concentration of award-winning restaurants.
Lech has always been conscious of the environment. This awareness of needing to work with nature led in 2004 to the international award as the “Prettiest village in Europe”. The village offers welcoming hospitality and a wonderful natural backdrop which holds countless surprises in store during the summer months too, from geological features of interest to the abundant Alpine flora and fauna: Lech fully lives up to its own slogan of “more time – more space”.
1,450 – 2,450 m –— 1,300 residents –— 7,000 visitor beds –— 3 ski schools –— 4 Olympic champions –— “Prettiest Village in Europe 2004”
In 1901, one of the oldest skiing clubs in the world was founded, in the old hospice in St. Christoph. As it has turned out, the “Ski Club Arlberg” is also one of the most wellknown and most successful too. Five years on from this, Hannes Schneider from Stuben won an sca race by some considerable margin, at the age of just sixteen. In 1907, he was appointed by the pioneering tourism promoter Carl Schuler in St. Anton as a ski instructor. In the period following the First World War, he developed a new skiing technique which spread around the world and was known as the “Arlberg school”. In 1922, the Wegmacherhaus (literally: “route-maker’s house”) in St. Christoph was converted to serve as a ski centre, and it became the focal point for Austrian ski instructor training – a status which it still enjoys today. In the other villages, too, ski pioneers (like Schneider’s brother) ensured the spread of the increasingly popular winter sport, first in Stuben and then in Zürs. It was still during the 1920s that skiing schools were established in the various districts of the Arlberg region. The legendary ski films shot by Dr. Arnold Fanck meant that this new winter sport achieved even greater popularity. The Arlberg further acquired its international reputation through the “Kandahar-Rennen” race, initiated in 1928 by Sir Arnold Lunn and Schneider on the Galzig mountain. During the 1930s, the sca produced World Champions in Rudi Matt and Pepi Jenewein. Internationally-renowned star skiers such as Gertrud Gabl, Karl Schranz, Patrick Ortlieb and Mario Matt have followed. Lech on its own can proudly boast four Olympic gold medallists. With numerous events, such as “The White Thrill” in St. Anton or “The White Ring” in Lech Zürs, the skiing tradition in the Arlberg region is being maintained. The staging of the 2001 Alpine Skiing World Championships in St. Anton was once again an acknowledgement of the importance of the cradle of Alpine skiing in the Arlberg.
It is not just in its intoxicating winter finery, but also in summer, that the Arlberg region proves itself a source of Alpine joie de vivre. Around the 1802 metre high pass which marks the watershed between the North Sea and the Black Sea, there is plenty on offer to satisfy the experienced climber and the keen walker. In the area to the north lies proud Valluga, with the wildly-rising peaks of the Lechtal mountain chain coming together with
2 via ferrata –— 1 climbing training area –— 1 high-rope training area –— 13 Alpine huts –— 6 Alpine pastures with inns /cafés
the jagged ridges of the Erzbergspitze, which the area to the south is presided over by the stunning Patteriol and other glacier-covered three-thousand metre peaks. Geological treasures like the Steinerne Meer (“Sea of stone”) or the Rote Wand (“Red Wall”) near Lech contribute to the attractiveness of the Alpine high mountain landscape. Experienced mountain-climbers can pit themselves against steep chimneys, exposed edges and sharp ridges. In addition to this, a network of 350 kilometres of signed routes runs through picturesque
350 km signed walking routes –— 200 km cycling routes –— 2 walking and mountain sports schools –— 45 km jogging routes –— 50 km Nordic Walking trails –— 3 trails with 26 activity stations –— 3 open-air pools –— 2 indoor tennis centres –— 1 leisure complex with climbing wall –— arlberg-well.com
mountain forests, verdant green Alpine pastures and mountain meadows teeming with flowers. Enthusiastic mountain-bikers can similarly enjoy their sport to the max, and with every metre gained in height comes the prospect of an even more fabulous panorama. The delights of an unspoiled and unrivalled natural landscape are reflected in the azure blue of the mountain lakes. The wealth of colour of the Arlberg fauna is announced with the earliest of its spring messengers, like the “Schneerose” or the “Alpenglöcklein”. Some things are rarities, but there is always plenty to discover.
2 triathlon competitions –— 1 high-altitude half-marathon –— 1 high-altitude marathon –— Mountain finish for a variety of cycle races
It is also well worth looking out for the animals indigenous to the area: you might catch a glimpse of a proud golden eagle, a shy marmot, or ibexes as they swiftly leap between the rocks. Alongside scrambling your way up to airy heights, the area offers everything to encourage summer fitness and satisfy that lust for adventure: from the idyllically-situated forest swimming pool to the golf course, sensitively integrated into the contours of the landscape, and from paragliding to canyoning.
Wellness and Welltain ®, the unique mountain fitness regime (a coached programme of hiking and Nordic Walking) have long been part of the standard offer in the Arlberg region. The crystal-clear mountain air and the best spring water on their own are enough to promote health and a feeling of wellbeing. And just as the area pays attention to maintaining its traditions, there is a similar focus on the highest ecological standards and on the principles of soft tourism.
1 Golf academy (driving range, putting green, 3 holes) –— 6-hole golf course –— Paragliding
Last but not least, the Arlberg region delights in an exceptional concentration of four- and five-star hotels and award-winning restaurants. Despite the rich diversity of the five communities which comprise the Arlberg region, the thing which they all have in common is an uncompromising commitment to exclusivity, which makes the cradle of Alpine skiing a legend even in our times.
Over 20 varieties of orchid –— 10 different types of gentian –— Fossils up to 200 million years old –— 600 ibex –— 1000 dolines (special geological feature)
Fishing lakes –— Varieties of fish –— Source area for the Lech river –— Rosanna river
www.arlberg.net St. Anton am Arlberg
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St. Christoph am Arlberg
T + 43.(0) 54 46.22 69-0
T + 43.(0) 55 82.39 90
T + 43.(0) 55 83. 22 45
T + 43.(0) 55 83. 21 61-0
Munich Friedrichshafen, 130 km Altenrhein, 100 km
Zurich 200 km
Innsbruck, 110 km Milan
Vienna 600 km
Publishing details Publisher: Arlberg Marketing GmbH Design: Bohatsch Visual Communication www.bohatsch.at Editorial: Olaf Sailer, Echo Verlag Tirol Printing: Hecht Druck Hard
Photos: Georg Alfare, Wolfgang Ehn, Kurt Flunger, Georg Gindl, Wilfried Graf, Alex Kaiser, Josef Mallaun, Peter Mathis, Georg Schnell, Scott DW Smith, Hans Wiesenhofer, Lech Zürs Tourismus, Skischule Lech, Tourismusbüro Stuben, Tourismusverband St. Anton