Dairymen from around Zermatt originally settled the tiny villages of Lech and Zürs (about a half mile from Lech) around the 1200s. Neither has grown much in the ensuing 700 years; in fact, Zürs has only 65 inhabitants in summer! Lech, with its rushing river, full of old world charm, in 2004 was voted Europe’s prettiest village. While en route, with a blink, Zürs passes you by. Their buildings, ancient and new, are painted in the colorful Tyrolean style. In Lech elegant restaurants and clubs mix with clubs and cozy stüblis, while a small number of elite shops appeal to their sophisticated guests. Have lunch on the mountain or at one of the town’s popular ice bars. Then one evening go by horse drawn sleigh through star-lit pines for a romantic dinner in Zug.
In 1894 Lech’s locals first tried their luck with barrels stays. A lot’s changed in 122 years! Today the Arlberg ski area is world renown, and about to get more so. This winter they will create the largest ski area in Austria. The new Flexenbahn, with four interconnecting stations, will be four miles in length and stretch from Zürs/Lech to just above Stuben/ St. Anton at Alpe Rauz. The 45 million € ($50 million) investment allows skiers to go from one resort to the other in minutes while above some of 314 miles of terrain serviced by 87 lifts. This milestone follows the 2013 new cable car connecting Warth and Schröcken. That opened up a third ski valley, a dream that was 100 years in the making. Those just getting their ‘snow legs’ can start on Oberlech’s more gentle slopes graduating to some of the greatest variety of intermediate skiing anywhere. For off-piste enthusiasts, you are in the midst of Austria’s largest powder arena.