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Endless Powder – Discover the Cradle of Alpine Skiing

1st October 2019 | OnTheSnow (Sponsored Content)

News Regions: Arlberg

Resorts in this article: Lech Zürs am Arlberg, St. Anton am Arlberg, Warth - Schröcken, Stuben am Arlberg

Copyright: ©Arlberg Marketing GmbH_Photo Josef Maillaun

Uniqueness is both a key objective and central factor for success. Arlberg was blessed with this uniqueness, as it were, in the cradle. It is no coincidence that the mountain massif with its five villages bears the name, "The cradle of alpine skiing". As if that was not enough, 305 kilometres of slopes and 200 kilometres of freeriding terrain make it Austria’s largest interconnected ski area.

St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs and Lech also combine the superlative with historical splendour. Every village has its own special character, but all share a deep passion for winter sports. No matter where you go, history is all pervading alongside the modern infrastructure and enchanting panorama. For many years now, skiing has literally meant the world to the Arlberg.


Run of Fame


The sheer magnitude and special characteristics of the ski resort are impressively reflected in the "Run of Fame". This route is dedicated to well-known personages such as Hannes Scheider and Karl Schranz, who were formative in creating the Arlberg’s reputation as “cradle of alpine skiing.” Early morning, when the sun creeps over the first mountain peaks and transforms the slopes into a sparkling sea of snow crystals, the ascent for this tour is made with the Rendlbahn cable car. Rifflbahn II is the starting point for this immense skiing experience. 85 kilometres, 18,000 metres of altitude difference and five Arlberg villages are waiting to be surmounted in just one day. The first downhill runs lead to St. Anton am Arlberg. The sporty village of St. Anton is home to legends of ski sport and venue of the legendary Kandahar Race since 1928. The village is a wonderful blend of Tyrolean tradition and cosmopolitanism, contemporary architecture and first class infrastructure. St. Anton am Arlberg also hosted the 2001 Alpine Ski World Championships and the World Cup circuit is a frequent visitor. It is not just the downhill races with the ski elite, however, that unleash a storm of enthusiasm. Every year, 555 winter sports fans hurtle down from the Valluga Ridge into the valley in a breathtaking race. “Der weisse Rausch“ (The White Thrill) is reminiscent of the eponymous film by Arnold Fanck, featuring ski pioneer Hannes Schneider. Even then, audiences were fascinated by the images of ski jumping, thrilling downhill runs, powder snow and the beautiful landscape.



undefined - © ©Arlberg Marketing GmbH_Photo Josef Maillaun
undefined - © ©Lech Zuers Tourism_Josef Mallaun
undefined - © ©Tourist Association St. Anton am Arlberg_Josef Mallaun
undefined - © ©Stuben Tourismus_Photo Wilfried Graf

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Giant Ferris wheel gondola


We continue on the Run of Fame to the Galzigbahn cable car. In 1937, it was the first cable car in the world designed for winter operations and laid the foundations for the subsequent world fame of St. Anton am Arlberg. Another world first in ropeway technology was accomplished again in 2006. The old lift was replaced by a modern Funitel cable car, with cutting edge Ferris wheel technology. Innovative construction by the Doppelmayr Company facilitated ground level boarding and took the world by storm with its impressive design. The Galzigbahn was even awarded the Architecture Prize by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design.

The tour leads up Schindlergrat and then past Ulmerhütte with a view of St. Christoph to Alpe Rauz. The highest town on the Arlberg, St. Christoph, provides yet another historical highlight. Herdsman, Heinrich Findelkind, built a refuge here on the border between the Austrian provinces of Tyrol and Vorarlberg in the 14th Century for hikers seeking shelter from adverse weather, thereby laying the foundation stone for the charitable Brotherhood of St. Christoph. 1901 saw another milestone in the area's worldwide reputation, with the founding of Arlberg Ski Club. As one of the first ski clubs in the world, the Arlberg Ski Club has more than 9000 members, including great names such as Trude Jochum-Beiser, Karl Schranz, Gertrud Gabl, Patrick Ortlieb and Mario Matt.

Once at Alpe Rauz, a few downhill runs on the Albona, or a detour to Stuben can enhance the tour. The idyllically dreamy village on the west side of the Arlberg exudes quiet comfort. It is also the hometown of ski pioneer Hannes Schneider. He revolutionised skiing with his “stem turn” technique and even shared his findings on lecture tours as far as Japan.


Flexenbahn gondola with maximum comfort


Passengers have been pleasantly surprised with the comfort offered by the Flexenbahn cable car on Alpe Rauz since the winter season of 2016/17. Heated benches in the gondolas seat ten people, who can savour the impressive panorama whilst gliding upwards. The "Hall of Fame" attracts visitors arriving at the top cable car station. The modern museum on the mountain is dedicated to the Arlberg greats and invites you to linger with audio samples, films and video games. Skiers still have quite a long way to go, however, before arriving at Warth. By now you will have become aware of the gigantic proportions of the ski area, which offers infinite possibilities to explore the snow-covered slopes. Next stop on the tour is the small and exclusive village of Zürs. Here you will find wide treeless powder snow slopes for variant skiing and a proverbial treasure trove for heli-skiing fans. The international jet set have appreciated this ski resort for decades as a discrete winter domicile.

Lech Zürs  - © ©Lech Zürs Tourism_Daniel Zangerl

Lech Zürs

Copyright: ©Lech Zürs Tourism_Daniel Zangerl

Award-winning cuisine in the midst of the mountains


The Seekopf- and Madlochbahn lifts whisk you to Zug, from where the Balmalpe is accessible. Those already feeling a little weary can ski from Oberlech back to Lech. Ambitious “runners” however, won’t want to miss the ride with the Auenfeldjet lift to Saloberkopf. The 10-passenger cable car has linked the ski areas of Lech Zürs with Warth-Schröcken ever since 2013. Warth is the northernmost point of the "Run of Fame", from where the route heads back to Saloberkopf and then down to Lech.  This elegant village has always impressed visitors with its very special charm, well-kept village centre, high positioned church, numerous sun terraces, especially in Oberlech, exquisite hotels and countless gastronomic highlights. Numerous 4- and 5-star establishments have been awarded a veritable plethora of Gault Millau toques. As with St. Anton am Arlberg, a special race forms an annual highlight in Lech. The White Ring – The Race, attracts over 1,000 participants to compete in a fierce pursuit along this eponymous ski route.


Badge as reward


The ski day is slowly coming to an end, but we still have an ascent with the Rüfikopfbahn lift in order to get back to St. Anton from Zürs via Alpe Rauz. An ambitious circuit that many complete easily in a mere 2 days.  Those who collect the checkpoints with the Ski Arlberg APP (without time limit) will be rewarded with a Run of Fame badge for their ski pole in the Hall of Fame. A new star is added to the badge every year.

The Arlberg attracts with an outstanding combination of intoxicating skiing culture, sophisticated infrastructure, gigantic amounts of snow and a magnificent ski area. The Alpine region has made a name for itself far beyond the borders of Europe and attracts millions of ski fans from over 50 nations every year. So when are you going to pick up your badge from the Arlberg?





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