Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Austria, probably the mecca for skiing, Lech, the St Moritz of Austria shouts elegance and everything you look for in a ski resort. Unlimited connecting runs, Michelin restaurants, bars, shopping, cafes, and for the not so glitzy, SPAR grocery store too.
The village of Lech is set at a modest altitude of 1,450m, but each year the resort receives up to twice as much snow as some of its French rivals. Picturesque Lech is a farming village origin and they have many fine aged steak restaurants, make your reservations early!
The resorts belong to one of three ski areas, St Anton-St Christoph-Stuben (122km), Lech-Oberlech-Zurs (121km) and Warth-Schrocken (63km), and each has its own lift pass. Linked together, they form the wider Arlberg region, covered by the Ski Arlberg pass. This is Austria’s biggest linked ski area and the fifth biggest ski area in the world. In numbers, 88 lifts, 305km of pistes, 200km of powder runs and an average of 9 metres of annual snowfall.
We were there from late March till first week of April. We were very lucky to get some heavy spring dump on the first week we got there and it was plenty for the week or two.
It was good quality powder but towards the end week the rays from the sun reduced it to slosh especially on the lower slopes. As the altitude is not too high I reckon it is best not to come here beyond April.
All being said, I found the piste here really groomed. If groomed and neat piste rocks your boat, you will really love Lech. However, I think the piste here is more suited for skiers instead of snowboarders. The terrain is gather gentle and smooth and some parts even flat. It best suited for cross country skiing or elegant skier. It would be best to hire a ski guide to bring you off piste for some challenging runs if you are not sure about the area!
Do the White Ring Circuit. Many winter sports enthusiasts make their pilgrimage to this ski circuit every day - the White Ring is a spectacular 22km panoramic trip amidst impressive Alpine peaks. The ride is truly spectacular and you could break at one of those mountain top restaurants for lunch. However I thought it is more suitable for skiers rather than snowboarders.
Getting to Lech
Connecting either from Innsburg or Zurich, catch a train, rent a car of hire a taxi, you will be here in one hour plus.
Where to stay in Alberg
I guess it totally depends on your budget. The prices varies according to half board, full board, pension, 5 stars!
Lech is a rather quiet and cozy village as compare to St. Anton. The Arlberg ski area which covers Lech, St. Anton, Zurs, Stuben, St. Christoph and Sonnenkopf are all covered on the ski pass although many of them are not linked by lift. To get to St. Anton from Lech either involves a paid bus service (the easier of the two options) or catching the free ski bus to Alp Rauris or St. Christophe and ski from there. I found this rather time consuming too to get from one village to the other! It is a lot about time management! Please do be aware that these bus services cannot be compared to places like Val d’Isere and Meribel. They do not run very late and I STRONGLY recommend making your way back to wherever you are staying a while before the lifts close. However, there is a Free Shuttle service bus that provides service in every village.
Skiing, snowboarding is a lot about the confidence, perhaps 75% confidence and 25% technique. When you are unfamiliar with the slopes you never know what might come after the cliff, the secret gully with the natural right or left shoulder where you can pretend you a surfing a wave, the icy patch to avoid or the flat patch that might give you a faceplate or a scorpion!!
And a lot of confidence comes from familiarity of every bump, rock, degree of steepest, natural halfpipes, tree trunk, protruding tree brunch that you know oh so well in that area. With that knowledge you use to grow confidence that makes you take that daring line, that curve right at the edge, that little jump, and feel so stoked at the end of it all!
I am thinking more roughed, rocky, ungroomed slopes of the French Alps.
Date of Visit: March-April 2014