St Anton these days is known for its crazy apres ski partying and large ski terrain and this reputation is well founded. What is less well known is that St Anton was one of the first locations for downhill skiing, with the first ski club in the Alps founded in St Anton in 1901, and the first ski race at St Anton in 1904.
What to do
St Anton is quite hard for beginner skiers – there is a red/black on the way down called Kandahar which can get tough. For easier runs down the mountain, the east side of the mountain (Nasserein) has a number of blue runs down the mountain (run 24 and 23) that are good for beginners. The ‘Rendl’ side is great for sunshine in the afternoon, and when there is powder it has a great bowl at the top to make the most of untracked powder.
There is also a much larger skiing area beyond the main ‘Terminal West’ and ‘Terminal Ost’ bus stations (which leads to the Nasserein, Galzig, and Rendl gondalas). Other options include Lech and Zurs. You can either get a taxi (10-20 euros each if you have a decent group) or get the bus from Stuben. We had a car so drove across to Lech and it was definitely worth it! You can get off the bus/taxi in Zurs and ski all the way round to Lech and then back around to Zurs – its called the ‘White ring’ – excellent skiing!
Food on the slopes is generally good, but more expensive than in town. If you are really on a budget then you can go into the supermarkets in town where they have deli counters that make sandwiches and burgers (check out the schnitzel burger – really good!) for 3 or 4 euros. Whack them in your backpack and eat them on the slopes. If the weather is bad go into a restaurant and buy a portion of chips or just a drink – most of them don’t care if you bring your own stuff in if you do that.
In town there is a good cheap pizza place called ‘Scotty’s with a great bar attached. On the main drag in St Anton, there are many restaurants that cater for a higher budget, but for one that was well worth it for the price was Restaurant Maximillian – the weiner schitznel and the spare ribs were amazing!
It is also well worth trying the local Austrian cuisine. Some recommendations include Grostl (like a fried potato hash with an egg on top is great and really cheap), Gulashsuppe (usually really good and cheap) and the Knodel (dumplings are cheap too!). Also try ‘Kaiserschmarren’, an awesome desert made up of chopped pancakes with jam, cream and sugar.
Mooserwirt and Krazy Kangurah are the best two après ski bars. These two are institutions in St Anton, with some claiming Mooserwirt sells the most beer per year in all of Europe per square foot of bar! Mooserwirt’s DJ Gerhard, as claimed by the Moosewirt website, has incredibly only missed 12 days of DJing in the last two decades at the bar – now that is commitment to the party cause!
It is definitely worth experiencing this place for at least one night of your trip (some go every night!) – and make sure you go inside Mooserwirt too, it is busy but well worth it after a hard days skiing. To get there can be quite tough if you are skiing on the other side of the mountain. One way if you want to drop your skis off is to take a taxi from the town – its safer and easier than walking up the mountain!
Krazy Kanguruh is run by an ex professional skiier and has been on the mountain since 1989, on a slightly higher position than Mooserwirt but the same general area. Again people party hard here but my preference is Mooserwirt – it just had a bit more of a fun vibe. You can also get a car close to here if you end up stuck at another part of the mountain at apres time!
I definitely recommend doing après hard until 8pmish and then just going for food and then home, as this saves your hangover in the morning. If you want to keep partying, in town there are some decent clubs like Kandahar and the Keller – can be quite expensive but decent. Particularly on Saturday night there are people who come for the day/weekend and will stay until a late train.
Getting to St Anton
St Anton is located in Austria, with the nearest airport being Innsbruck, about an hour away. Flights are cheap to there from London, but there are limited flights and times. Zurich is the easiest airport to fly into, and it is about a 2 hour drive, or you can get a train to both Innsbruck or Zurich, and also Munich if you are coming from Germany.
I recommend hiring a car if there is a group of you, as this can maximise your skiing days. We flew after work on Friday, picked up our cars, drove half way to a town called Bregenz, parked up there for a cheaper night stay and then were up in the morning early, making it to St Anton by 10.30am and up the mountain before lunchtime!
We stayed in Pettneu Am Arlberg, just down the road, in two amazing places, House diel Rose and Apartment Fellinger both highly recommended (the Booking.com reviews say it all). There are free buses during the day that go every 15 minutes up to 11am, and the night bus costs 5 euros later if you stick around St Anton for some apres action.
There are also the chalet options, but as we did not have a week of annual leave left this did not suit us. There are some really good late deals too if you are prepared to be very flexible – I signed up to alpine elements and was getting some last minute deals that were almost half price! But to do this you would have to have a very understanding boss, or have a job that doesn’t really do 9-5 (my dream!).