Sponsored post: Matt Clark on why he can’t get enough of the powder-filled bowls and raging après-ski that make up the Arlberg, Austria’s premier freeride area
Stepping off the train in St Anton am Arlberg I’m filled with a familiar frisson of excitement. After spending my first season here in 2008 I try to come back at least once a winter, and every time I do it feels like some sort of mini homecoming. Strolling along the main street to the futuristic Galzigbahn cable car, every sound strangely muted by the globules of snow falling from the sky like marshmallows, I’m reminded that St Anton is good times central and it’s almost impossible not to have fun here.
The area is an absolute snow magnet, sitting right in that northwest pocket of Austria that racks up the highest snowfall in the Alps year after year (with a whopping 10.5m seasonal average, Warth-Schröcken holds the coveted prize of the snowiest resort in the Alps). Add the snow record to a massive ski area with endless quality freeride terrain, then throw the wildest après-ski known to man into the mix, and you get one intoxicatingly good ski resort.A freeride haven |PHOTO TVB ST ANTON AM ARLBERG/JOSEF MALLAUN
St Anton is the biggest and best known of the six villages that collectively make up the Arlberg ski area, and its wide range of restaurants and bars are the key to a buzzing social scene that caters to all tastes and wallets. The legendary Mooserwirt is rumoured to sell more beer per hour than any other bar in Austria and is (in)famous for Jägermeister-fuelled, dancing in your ski boots fun, but there are no shortage of upscale bars and eateries. Be sure to visit the world-renowned Hospiz Alm restaurant in St Christoph for a taste of the high life.
Up on the mountain, skiers are genuinely spoilt for choice, with dreamy terrain as far as the eye can see. St Anton itself is rightly famed for its tough skiing and moguls, like the infamous Kandahar black run, and the intimidating Valluga North Face, from where you can see the mountain tops of five countries. But it’s not all gnarly: beginners and timid skiers will love the mellow pistes and lack of crowds at Rendl. And this season it’s even better, with the brand new Flexenbahn lift connecting the St Anton half of the ski area with Lech and Zürs. That makes the Arlberg the largest fully linked ski area in Austria with 305km of pistes and endless powder runs in between. I’m already stoked for my next visit!