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. The buildings, ancient and new, are painted in the colorful Tyrolean style. Elegant restaurants and clubs mix with 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 124 years! Today the Arlberg ski area is world renown, and got more so. Last winter they created the largest ski area in Austria. The new Flexenbahn, with four interconnecting stations, four miles in length stretching from Zürs/Lech to just above Stuben/St. Anton at Alpe Rauz. The 45 million Euros ($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 ’13 cable car connecting Warth and Schröcken. That opened up a third ski valley, a dream 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.
Today with their Flexenbahn, one really can’t separate Lech, St. Anton, St. Christoph and all their neighboring villages. All are one: ‘The Arlberg’ and named 2017’s world’s best ski resort by SnowOnline Magazine.