Austrian Ski resort St Anton is renowned for its raucous apres ski scene with slopeside bars pumping out oompah music while revellers. Abigail Healy reports.
Yet just up the slopes in St Christoph, a quaint satellite village, apres takes a very different tack.
Here at the arlberg1800 Resort, post-slope action involves classical concerts and marvelling at art works. It is coined “apres 2.0” by resort owner Florian Werner.
Recently developed, as an addition to the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel that has been in the Werner family for 62 years, are the luxurious arlberg1800 Chalet Suites and the Contemporary Art & Concert Hall.
I was lucky enough to experience this new take on apres ski on a recent visit when I was treated to a piano and violin recital in the concert hall and found myself awed by both the acoustics and talent on show.
Of course, I couldn’t visit the mountains without hitting the slopes and it was a timely moment to explore the Arlberg ski area, which St Christoph links into.
A number of new lifts that opened at the start of this winter season have not only increased the size of the ski area to 305 kilometres of marked pistes – making it a valid contender against the likes of France’s Espace Killy – but have also made getting around swifter and simpler.
Andy Butterworth, co-owner of Kaluma Travel, a specialist tour operator that features arlberg1800 Resort, told me that guests can now access the top of Stuben, another of the area’s resorts, via one comfortable gondola in about 7 minutes compared with a 20-or-sominute ride on two two-man chairlifts, which often involved a queue and a chilly journey.
What’s more, the new Flexenbahn lift means that skiers no longer have to take a bus between the St Anton ski area and that of Lech-Zurs – instead the whole area can be accessed via ski lifts and slopes. Butterworth says: “It’s a great thing for tourists and those who regularly visit St Anton will really notice the benefits.”
After exploring the ski area myself I would agree that there is a huge amount to keep skiers of all levels entertained and challenged.
And once the lifts had closed for the day I could see how St Christoph’s latest apres offering makes a popular alternative to the table dancing hilarity in St Anton.
My legs certainly thanked me for it.