Sankt Anton am Arlberg, or St Anton as it is better known, is a Tyrolean village and ski centre which lies 100km west of Innsbruck in Austria. It is highly regarded on the world stage as a ski resort and is a former host of the Alpine World Ski Championships. As well as serving as a mecca for winter sports it is also a popular destination for summer activities thanks to the hiking and mountaineering possibilities available in the region.
St Anton is the capital of the Arlberg ski area which is recognised as the birthplace of modern ski techniques thanks to the work of local ski instructor Hannes Schneider. Schneider developed what is known as the ‘Arlberg technique’, a system for learning to ski which has stood the test of time and to this day is the most recognised system of ski instruction. A legacy of his work is the legendary ‘Ski Club Arlberg’ which has enjoyed outstanding success in winning a long list of Olympic and world championship medals since its inauguration in 1901.
Schneider was briefly imprisoned by the Nazis when Germany invaded Austria before he moved to the USA where he played a key role in teaching skiing to a mountain division of the US Army. He was one of numerous ski instructors from St Anton who emigrated to the States ultimately being partly responsible for helping make the sport popular on a world level. Schneider’s son would later become inaugurated in the USA’s Ski Hall of Fame.
Skiing in Sankt Anton am Arlberg
The Arlberg ski region is made up of five typically Tyrolean villages with access to 340km of ski slopes as well as 200km of deep-snow runs. A single lift pass with access to 94 cable cars and ski lifts provides access to this vast skiing landscape. Skiers of all ability levels are very well catered for including off-piste enthusiasts who can can enjoy a vast range of routes provided they hire the services of an expert local guide.
The season typically runs from November to April with excellent powder runs. AprÃ¨s-ski enthusiasts will be delighted by the existence of bars at the side of ski slopes on the Steissbachtal trail. In fact St Anton is not only the birthplace of modern skiing but also the place where the concept of aprÃ¨s-ski came from. Today it is highly regarded for its extensive nightlife and exceptional range of top class restaurants.
For a unique gastronomic experience be sure to pay a visit to the Verwallstube Restaurant at the top of the Galzig ski lift. This place serves superb cuisine at an altitude of 2,085 metres attracting skiers to its panoramic terrace who remain fully kitted out in their ski gear to keep out the cold. One evening per week the lift operates in the evening exclusively to transport diners to the restaurant. Down in the town you should check out the gourmet cuisine served at the historic Museum Restaurant (Rudi-Matt-Weg 10) which has been one of St Anton’s gastronomic gems since 1912.
A novelty for skiers is the Funitel gondola on the western edge of St Anton. This remarkable piece of technology includes a ferris wheel which allows skiers to enter the gondola at ground level before being gently rotated up to the cable cars on the slopes of the Galzig mountain.
Getting to St Anton
In terms of transport, Sankt Anton am Arlberg is in a great location when choosing which airport to fly to to get there. In order of distance, the closest airports are as follows:
- Innsbruck – 95km
- Friedrichshafen – 130km
- ZÃ¼rich – 200km
- Munich – 300km
Of course flight availability from your local airport will determine your choice of destination but for many visitors to St Anton it is Munich Airport which is their chosen gateway to the Austrian Tyrol thanks to the large number of airlines serving the airport. In spite of the distance involved the journey time is around 3 hours on excellent roads through some stunning scenery.
Specialist ski transfer operator Shuttledirect provide transport from all these listed airports directly to your accommodation in Sankt Anton am Arlberg. You can check their current rates from Munich at the website.
Where to Stay in St Anton
Hotel Himmlhof (Im Gries 9): This stylish 4-star property is perfectly located for easy access to the ski lifts. It is run by a lovely Austrian family who really know how to look after their guests. It offers large, modern rooms which are spotlessly clean and an excellent spa area. A true home away from home.
Der Waldhof Hotel (Stadleweg 40): A luxurious, family-run 4-star hotel where you are made to feel welcome from the moment you set foot in the door. Superb rooms and public areas throughout, together with an exceptional outdoor swimming pool. Its excellent restaurant is the icing on the cake.
Hotel Alte Post (Dorfstrasse 11): For a taste of history take a look at this 4-star property which is housed in a 17th century building. Located right in the centre of St. Anton am Arlberg, this is the hotel where Hannes Schneider worked as a ski instructor before heading to the USA. It is a friendly, family-run establishment with ready access to the ski lifts, a nice spa area and an excellent restaurant.