For those who followed Austria’s first skier, Viktor Sohm and his famous student Hannes Schneider, St. Anton was the cradle for these founding fathers of modern skiing. Today it is still a small town filled with skiers in the winter months, speaking many languages, mixing the old with the new. At a mountain café in late afternoon, a ‘tea dance’ at the Post or one of the many clubs going until the wee hours, you, too, can meet the greats, near-greats and the wannabes in this true skiers’ resort.
Hannes Schneider started the ski school in 1912 before coming to the States. Today its 250 instructors still teach his world-famous Arlberg method, now adapted to our technologically modified skis. Try it on any of the more than 215 miles of trails or 125 miles of off-piste powder. To enjoy the full extent of the Arlberg, take the new amazing interconnecting Flexenbahn from just above Alpe Rauz and zip over the peaks to Zürs for a quick lunch on Oberlech’s sunny plateau. There are more than 87 lifts encircling nine resorts: Zürs, Lech, Zug, Stuben, Warth, Schröcken, St. Christoph, and Klösterle with St. Anton. Gampen/Kapall in St. Anton is great for novice skiers and Grand-Kreuz/Gampen for intermediates. Preceding the Flexenbahn upgrade, in ‘06 the landmark 1937 Valluga cable car was replaced with high speed gondolas tripling capacity, the rail station was moved, and the new Rendl lift complex was moved to the edge of the pedestrian town center.
For thousands of years, man trudged over the Arlberg Pass to St Christoph stopping to gain shelter in the tiny hospice. Back then they were traders and pilgrims on foot, struggling against the storms of Nature. Today, they are powder pilgrims going over the pass with horses named Mercedes and Beamer. In 632 years, St Christoph’s original tiny chapel hospice has grown to a hand-sized hamlet catering to men and women of winter questing for the perfect run.