Arlberg is Austria’s largest ski area

5th October 2016, by Dave Watts

The ridge where three of the four new gondolas will meet

The ridge where three of the four new gondolas will meet

A huge investment of over €45 million on four new 10-person gondolas means that the Arlberg, covering the resorts of St Anton, Stuben, Zürs, Lech, Warth and Schröcken, will be the largest lift-linked ski area in Austria for the 2016/17 season. It also means that it will no longer be necessary to catch buses between the St Anton and Lech-Zürs ski areas, helping not only skiers but also the environment.

The linking gondolas will be the 1.8km long Flexenbahn from Rauz in the St Anton ski area and the Trittkopfbahn 1 from Zürs, which meet on the ridge between these resorts. From there, existing pistes lead down to Zürs but the only option for getting to St Anton is to ride the Flexenbahn down.

Of the other two new lifts, the Trittkopfbahn 2 from the top of the Trittkopfbahn 1 goes to the Trittkopf summit above Zürs; together these lifts replace a tiny cable car from Zürs. And the Albonabahn goes from Rauz to near the top of the Stuben ski area; this replaces two successive ancient double chairlifts starting from Stuben which were slow and bitterly cold rides in mid-winter as they were in the shade.

The resorts have invented a ‘Run of Fame’ between the Rendl sector of St Anton at one end and Warth at the other; there will be special piste maps and on-mountains signs to direct you. You’ll have to go pretty quickly to ski the 65km of runs and 18,000 vertical metres from one end to the other and back in day. Mere mortals may settle on a more modest part-circuit.

The whole Arlberg ski area now has 87 lifts and 305km of marked runs making it by far the biggest linked area in Austria and much the same as Val d’Isère-Tignes in France. Plus there is a huge amount of off-piste.

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