St. Anton is undeniably one of Europe’s most popular ski resorts. With a good snow record, a huge ski area and a buzzing atmosphere in resort, it has pretty much everything you can want from a winter resort. However, there’s so much to do in St. Anton that it can be hard to know where to start! So, we’ve put together our ultimate St. Anton bucket list so that you don’t miss out on any of the best experiences on your next trip out to the Arlberg.
1. Make the Most of the Flexenbahn
Challenge Yourself With The White Ring / the Run of Fame
One thing we love about St. Anton is that there are predefined routes that you can take. This makes planning your days much easier as well as giving you that added sense of challenge, and achievement upon completing the route. ‘The White Ring’ is a 22km ski circuit that is one of the best and most beautiful ways to experience the area. A circular route that takes you to various viewing platforms across the Arlberg, you are sure to find that picture-perfect moment. The route centres around the areas of Lech and Zurs and offers you the ideal opportunity to explore these resorts.
Access to the White Ring became much easier with the addition of the Flexenbahn gondola connect Stuben to Zurs in 2016, meaning the entire Arlberg area is now interconnected. This also led the area to create an all-new 85km challenge, the ‘Run of Fame’.
Covering a whopping altitude difference of 18,000 metres, it takes you through the entire Arlberg ski area, from Rendl, in the south of St. Anton, through the famous areas of Lech and Zürs, to Shrocken and Warth, the Arlberg’s most southern area.
You can really challenge yourself to complete the route in one day, or you can take it easy and enjoy the trail over a few days. The ‘Run of Fame’ is dedicated to the Arlberg’s historical skiing stars and there is a museum celebrating these athletes at the Flexenbahn station at Zurs. Plus, you can track yourself on the Ski Arlberg app If you check in at all three checkpoints of the route, (from the start/finish points in Warth-Steffisalp and St. Anton-Rendl, to the Hall of Fame exhibition in Zurs). If you complete the route within two days, you will even receive a special gift!
2. Visit the Hospiz Alm – a Hit for All Ages
A short ski away from St. Anton, or a quick bus/taxi ride, the Hospiz Alm Restaurant over in St. Christoph is a must-visit. There are two real draws to this place, one for the adults and one for both the adults and the kids!
Firstly, the absolutely enormous wine cellar. Winner of a ‘Five Star Diamond Award’, this wine cellar stores a huge amount of bottles up to 18 litres in size. It’s one of the world’s biggest large-bottle wine collections, and a definite bucket list experience for anyone that is passionate about wine. Take a tour and learn about these magnificent wines, the regions in which they were produced and their unique flavours. You can even acquire large bottles of the younger vintage wines for yourself, advised on your selection by experienced sommeliers.
Secondly, should you need to visit the little boys/girls room after all this wine, you can do so in style. The Hospiz Alm is famous for having a slide down to the bathrooms, so that those in ski boots need not struggle with the stairs. It goes without saying that this is a huge hit with the kids, but also offers a lot of laughs for adults too. Don’t be surprised to find people making the journey back up the stairs in their ski boots just to have another go on the slide!
Up above all this excitement lies the large, traditional restaurant. Inside, it’s a cosy refuge that is a dream on a cold, snowy day. Meanwhile, when the sun comes out the large sun terrace is the perfect place to relax and watch the skiers go by. Unique culinary creations grace the menu, as well as traditional Alpine dishes, including the biggest, most satisfying plates of apple strudel you’ve ever seen.
3. Take in the Views from Valluga
It may sound clichè, but the 360 degree breathtaking views from the top of the Valluga peak really need to be seen to be believed. At 2811 metres altitude, you truly do feel on top of the world up here.
To get here is simple and non-skiers can also experience the spectacular view as the lifts are all connected. Catch the Galzig gondola from the main town. From here, it is simply a flight of steps up to the Valluga I cable car, which takes you across the … – not one for those with a fear of heights as this is a pretty intense ride! Once you reach the top of Valluga I, you can immediately get on the next lift up to Valluga II. If you are carrying skis, you will have to leave them here unless you are with a guide, as the descent down from the top of Valluga II is pretty treacherous and may only be attempted with a guide.
If you are desperate for some off piste action but aren’t travelling with a guide, never fear. You can go up and enjoy the views, before descending to the top of Valluga I and taking the hugely enjoyable Red 92 and 85 runs down. From here, you have a number of off piste options, from marked itinerary runs to broad powder fields.
4. Eat like an Austrian
The Tyrolean specialties are something we would highly recommend and there is no shortage of places to experience a proper Austrian meal in St. Anton. For a traditional lunch on the piste, head to Sennhutte, where you can enjoy food and music on the huge sun terrace. If the weather isn’t quite up to scratch, head indoors where a lovely cosy atmosphere and mulled wine are sure to warm you up while you feast on Austrian delights!
For dinner, the cosy refuge that is Fuhrmannstube is a real delight, or if you’re after something a bit more special, the St. Anton Museum Restaurant offers a truly unqiue experience. Just up the slope from the Galzig gondola, this building featured as the chalet in the movie ‘Chalet Girl’ (fun fact) and is a really really beautiful place to visit, even if you are not eating here. If you are lucky enough to get a table, you can expect a more modern, inventive take on traditional Alpine dishes. Here, you will be dining surrounded by Arlberg history. A refurbished mansion that doubles as both a restaurant and the St. Anton Ski and Local Heritage Museum, this is definitely somewhere that should be on your St. Anton to-do list.
If you’re travelling as a family, Restaurant Maximillian offers a range of fantastic Austrian specialties and caters very well for those with little ones, with a very popular children’s menu.
Or, if it’s Alpine fondue that takes your fancy, you have many options in St. Anton. Underground on the Piste is our top pick for fondue, but due to their renowned food and friendly atmosphere, they’re often quite busy so be sure to book ahead! Elsewhere, Trödlerstube (aka The Train) is also a great choice, with both meat and cheese fondue and raclette that are simply delicious, all within a unique train-themed setting. For fondue that’s a bit more innovative, Sticky Fingers at Raffl’s Hotel have practically reinvented the traditional fondue with innovative ingredients and flavours served up in a highly stylish modern Alpine restaurant.
5. Watch ‘The White Thrill’ Race
If you’re around in St. Anton at the end of the season, this is one event you really don’t want to miss. A race like no other, hundreds of contestants begin at the top of the Valluga Cable Car and race the entire way to the bottom of the Galzig gondola. It’s truly carnage as skiers and snowboarders alike take off, with the serious contestants really going for it.
Anyone can enter, but be warned that it is a very tough task, with a 150 metre ascent at one point, which some attempt on skis, while others opt to take their skis off and carry them up the hill. As it’s so late in the season and the route covers such an altitude difference, the snow conditions are very varied, making it quite tricky. To watch, crowds gather around the finish line at the Galzigbahn, where live presenting, music and a huge screen allow you to view the entire race and really enjoy the experience.
6. Take a Trip to Sonnenkopf
Sonnenkopf is a real hidden treasure when it comes to skiing in St. Anton. With wide, open slopes, a vast amount of off piste potential and an unbeatably picturesque run back down through the trees, Sonnenkopf really is postcard stuff.
If there’s been a decent amount of snow and you’ve got a powder day ahead, Sonnenkopf is a place you definitely want to be. Between the pistes, there are many powder areas you can enjoy whilst knowing you are close enough to the pistes to feel safe and confident. For more experienced off piste skiers, there are a few serious freeride routes,
To get there, ski down to Stuben and then catch the free ski bus, which drops you off near to the base gondola at Sonnenkopf. This gondola whisks you up to the main station, where there’s a huge restaurant with a big sun terrace looking out over the area. From here, there are a decent amount of runs, mostly blues and reds that make for very enjoyable cruising. There are also a couple of cosy mountain huts for that mid-morning coffee stop.
This area tends to enjoy the sun more than St. Anton and has a very reliable snow record thanks to it’s altitude and location. The real draw of the area though, is how quiet it is. Though it is covered under the Arlberg lift pass, many people either don’t know that this area exists, or are put off by the fact that you have to catch a bus to get there. However, the journey isn’t all that long (around 20 minutes on the bus) and it’s well worth it for deserted slopes and fresh tracks all day long. Where the fresh powder in St. Anton, Lech or Zurs can get tracked out within an hour or two on a morning after a good snowfall, Sonnenkopf does not, allowing you to enjoy that fresh tracks feeling from first lifts until last.
7. Eat Your Way Around The World
While you could eat like an Austrian every day of the week in St. Anton, they’ve also got a large variety of global restaurants that serve up some incredible dishes.
Thai restaurant Skiing Buddha, located in the Arl-Rock activity centre, is one of our favourites, serving up amazing authentic curries and noodle dishes at very decent prices. Bodega tapas restaurant is also a must-visit. They don’t accept reservations, so you may have to wait to get a table, but the food here is 100% worth the wait. Plus, this means it has a lovely, enjoyable, bustling atmosphere at all times, making you feel right at home. Tapas here is surprisingly affordable for a resort restaurant, meaning you won’t feel guilty ordering a pitcher or two of their famous sangria – not to be missed!
For a more meaty meal, head to the Happy Valley steakhouse, located underneath the Antony’s Hotel. A friendly American-style atmosphere and a mouth-watering menu, the steaks served here are really great and much appreciated after a hard day’s skiing! If steak is your thing, you will also love Al Fuego, a modern grill restaurant that put their own twist on classic meat and fish dishes.
Or in the centre of town you will find Hazienda, where a fusion of Asian and Mediterranean cooking styles combine to create some really sophisticated, contemporary dishes, accompanied by an extensive wine list.
8. Hit The Snow Without Your Skis
Try your hand at tobogganing with St. Anton’s thrilling 4.3km toboggan run with a 500 metre vertical descent. Taking you from the top of Gampen (accessible via the Nassereinbahn gondola) down into the Nasserein end of the valley, it’s an adrenaline-inducing track that is a huge amount of fun. It can be taken on throughout the day. if you’ve still got enough energy after a day on the slopes you can make an evening of it as on Tuesdays and Thursdays the run is open from 19:30 until 21:30.
Lying in the woods around halfway down is the cosy Rodel-Alm Alpine hut, which is definitely worth stopping at for a warming traditional Tyrolean meal or a gluwhein. Toboggans can be easily hired from many ski hire shops in the town.
9. Austrian Après
While there’s a huge amount to do in the area, a visit to St. Anton simply would not be complete without experiencing the world-famous Austrian après-ski.
On-slope, you’ve got a number of bars to choose from on the home run, Blue 50, back down to Galzig. The first you will come across is the Heustadl, a lively Tyrolean restaurant with live music on the spacious sun terrace every afternoon. Further on, you will find seasonnaire favourite Taps and the tried and tested St. Anton institution that is Krazy Kangaruh. A little down the slope, you will come across arguably one of the most famous après bars in Europe, the Mooserwirt. If you want traditional dancing on tables in ski boots après-ski, Mooserwirt will not fail to deliver, with DJ’s blaring out Europop classics to packed outdoor (and indoor) dancefloor from around 3pm each day.
Après-ski on the slopes doesn’t tend to wind down until around 8pm, with some confident skiers choosing to take on the slope back down to town (don’t worry you can also take a bus). Once back in the resort, there are many places to continue the après adventures, or start them up if you’d rather avoid the crowds on the slopes.
For more chilled out vibes, Underground on the Piste is one of our favourites in terms of friendly atmosphere and great food and drink and is located just a stone’s throw from the end of the home run. Anton Bar has a great indoor space for those days when the weather doesn’t quite hold out, while neighbouring Basecamp draws in the crowds day upon day with fun vibes and funky music accompanied by live artists. The saxophonist in particular is pretty cool.
Towards the centre of town, Piccadilly and Murrmel’s both offer fantastic live music of an evening, where you are sure to find your dancing feet. Or, if you’re based closer to the Nasserein end of town, Fanghouse is another of our favourite places for après. Located right at the end of the Nasserein home run and with a huge sun terrace, it’s the perfect place for a post-ski beer or three. They often have live music playing old classics – think more Bryan Adams than Belgian Europop.
Take a look at our definitive guide to Après-ski in St. Anton here.
10. Head Off Piste
Renowned as one of the best ski areas in the world for off piste skiing, in St. Anton you have a huge amount of freeride fun at your fingertips. With around 200km of ‘itinerary’ runs, which are marked off piste runs, the resort have made it easier than ever to find great off piste routes. Plus, with a very reliable snow record – just take a look at the snow depths from March this year!
Schneehöhe / Snow depths (total):❄Valluga: 505 cm❄Galzig: 375 cm❄St. Christoph: 320 cm❄Rendl: 230 cm❄Gampen: 200 cm#stantonamarlberg #skiarlberg #austria
There are also some lovely areas off the edge of the pistes and between pistes, which provide safe and accessible opportunities for those who are less experienced skiers to try their hand off piste. There are also many ski schools in the area offering expert guiding, in particular the highly recommended Skischule Arlberg. Local guides are often the best way to explore the area, as they will be able to share with you all the best spots and hidden gems that might not be on the map. They will be able to help you explore the area to the maximum and in the safest way, whilst also helping you to improve your skiing.
For the best snow in the area, head slightly further afield from the resort itself. Stuben for example, has a fantastic snow record and some really wonderful off piste runs. Further out, the areas of Warth and Shröcken are as far from St. Anton as you can get on skis, but if you fancy making the journey, you will likely be rewarded with some epic powder. The terrain here tends to be a bit more gentle, which makes it a great place for anyone looking to improve their skills off piste and grow their confidence.
As ever, when heading off piste, ensure that you have all the relevant safety equipment and always tell someone where you’re headed.
For more information on the area, head to: stantonamarlberg.com