12 February 2015 from Nikki in 'Live from the slopes''

St anton

The Snowplaza Ski Safari would not be complete without a couple of days in St Anton in Austria. According to the locals, this popular ski resort is the cradle of modern skiing and they are certainly very proud of the fact. Today St Anton is a modern, world-class ski resort with an international clientele searching for the perfect ski holidays. Everything positive you read about this ski resort is true but our Ski Safari team would just like to add a few minor caveats in their honest report after their recent visit.

St Anton – packed with mountain charm

This was obviously not Snowplaza’s first visit to St Anton but during the Ski Safari our reporters looked more in detail at the ski resorts and ski areas visited. They were a little more critical and honest. However, they were immediately captivated by this beautiful ski resort in the Arlberg region. In St Anton you will find the best shops, finest restaurants and lively apres-ski bars. A stroll through the main street in St Anton is a real pleasure at any time of the day, except after 10pm when there are rather too many drunk holiday-makers on the prowl.

St Anton

St Anton’s skiing is great for the experts

In terms of snow conditions in and around St Anton in the Ski Arlberg area, generally there is little reason to complain. The Ski Safari team therefore felt really spoilt when they checked into the hotel and it began to snow! The next morning there was a nice fresh layer of snow on the slopes and they started their visit through the Ski Alberg ski area. The Galzigbahn gondola dropped the team off in a complete white-out, with really bad visibility! The team were immediately struck by the fact that they were surrounded by excellent skiers. Although they couldn’t see much, they could hear the unmistakable sound of technically good skiers dashing past. Up at this level there are mainly steep and challenging slopes so for beginners there is not much choice. While there are a few blue runs, the vast majority of the skiing is more suitable for experienced skiers. For kids there is a special children's area in the valley and it is recommended that they don’t venture too far into the ski area until they have gained a lot of confidence.

St Anton

Powder stress in St Anton

The next morning the Ski Safari team were treated to almost perfect conditions in St Anton. It had snowed all night and the morning looked bright and promised sunshine. They immediately witnessed the so-called "powder stress" that reigns in St Anton after heavy snowfalls: riders rushing to get up the mountain to leave the first tracks in the fresh powder. Just to add to the stress, the Galzigbahn gondala lift opened nearly an hour later than usual due to safety issues after such heavy snowfalls. Once the lift opened, the pushing and shoving started as everyone wanted to get to the top as quickly as possible to enjoy the fresh snow. The Ski Safari team decided not to take any risks and simply enjoy the perfect snow on the slopes and this is when they really started to enjoy St Anton. What a great ski area that completely lives up to its reputation! Lots of choice with great views and beautiful pistes although the team noticed that the ski area got pretty busy during the day.

St anton

The quiet side of St Anton

Crossing to the other side of St Anton’s ski area, Rendl, is an absolute must according to our Ski Safari reporters. It seemed a lot quieter and the snow in the afternoon was still perfect. On this side you will also find the Stanton snow park, where freestylers of all levels can show off their skills. There is bar with a sunny terrace above the snow park – the Rendl Beach Bar – which is apparently a superb spot to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, good music and great views.

St Anton snow park

Photo: www.stanton-park.com

A taste of St Anton’s legendary apres-ski

St Anton is not only known for its amazing skiing but also has a great reputation when it comes to apres-ski. The best known apres-ski bar in St Anton is the MooserWirt where the beer taps work overtime every day. The MooserWirt is slightly above the ski resort, so you still need to remember how to put on your skis or snowboard and safely get down the mountain after a bit of dancing and a few refreshing drinks. This activity ensures both comical and sometimes painful experiences which we do not endorse of course! There are also the Heustadl and the Krazy Kanguruh, located in the ski area, which offer live music and very cozy apres-ski. Once you’ve made it safely back to St Anton itself, you can continue the party in one of the bars at the lower station or at the Picadilly. Although very lively and fun, the apres-ski in St Anton is nowhere near as crazy as in Ischgl.

St Anton the Moosewirt

St Anton – the conclusion!

Well the conclusion is that St Anton has a super ski area, a great atmosphere but with a price tag! This is indeed a world-class destination, but this kind of quality comes at a price. Prices in St Anton, over all aspects, are above the Austrian ski resort average. This resort is perfect for experienced skiers and apres-ski enthusiasts. So for beginners and families with kids? Yes, there are certainly plenty of opportunities and good infrastructures, but they will only be able to enjoy a fraction of this super ski area and will not necessarily appreciate the apres-ski activities.

Being lucky enough to have parents who were crazy about skiing, my love for the mountains started when I was 4 years old on our first family ski holiday to Austrian ski resort of Obergurl. One ski holiday a year was never enough and tears rolled down my face as I looked out the back window of the car on the drive down the valley on the way home!