Skiing in Lech & Oberlech, Austria

Lech, Austria

Lech, Austria 2011

An Ocean of Snow

An Ocean of Snow
Lech 2012

Our family loves to ski. This year marked our 10th year anniversary of our annual family ski trip tradition. Our son had just turned five and our daughter was 3 ½ when we started them in ski school. We skied the northeast the early years and then we discovered the Rockies and we never looked back.

Our Daughter's 1st Time on Skis

Our Daughter’s 1st Time on Skis – 2004
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Our Son's 1st time on skis

Our Son’s 1st time on skis – 2004
Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

When we moved to London we researched European resorts. I had skied St. Moritz in 1986 and my husband and I had skied Cortina (the Italian Alps) in 2001. Our travel agent initially pointed us to Corchevel 1650 located in France. But after we did more research we decided to try the Arlberg region of Austria. The Arlberg region is comprised of five villages: Lech, Oberlech, Zurs, St. Anton, St. Christoph, and Stuben. We loved Lech so much in 2011 that we decided to return this year.

Gondola between Lech and Oberlech, Austria

Gondola between Lech and Oberlech, Austria 2012

To get to Lech and Oberlech, you fly either into Zürich or Innsbruck airports. From Zürich airport you can rent a car, hire private car service, or take a bus to Lech, which is 2½ hours from Zürich airport. Innsbruck airport is about 1½ hour to Lech however it is a smaller airport with less flight choices and mainly serviced by chartered flights.

Oberlech, Austria

Views from Oberlech, Austria

There are many choices of places to stay. Many of the hotels offer half-board, breakfast and dinner included. In 2011, we chose to stay at the Brunnenhof Hotel in Lech. The Brunnenhof is a 4-star hotel with 1 Michelin-Star and 2 Toques. Although, it was not ski-in/ski-out hotel, the free shuttle stopped right in front of the hotel and took us to the lift in 5 minutes. Our ski equipment was rented at Strolz located at the base near the main Lech lift. Strolz stored our equipment at the end of the day. This meant we could walk back to the Brunnenhof or hop on the shuttle free of all the ski equipment. We really enjoyed staying at the Brunnenhof. The food and service were excellent.

Brunnenhof, Gourmet HotelLech, Austria

Brunnenhof, Gourmet Hotel
Lech, Austria

This year we chose to stay in the village of Oberlech that sits above Lech, is only reachable by gondola in the winter months, and sits right on the ski slopes. The picturesque villages of the Arlberg region are right out of a fairy tale book. The Austrian chalets are charming against the spectacular Austrian Alps backdrop. Just this past weekend, I met a French gentleman who commented to me, that although there is excellent skiing in his native France, none of the resorts are as quaint as those of Austria.

The View From the Brunnenhof Hotel

The View From the Brunnenhof Hotel

We had researched hotels in Oberlech during our 2011 visit and were keen on staying in one of three hotels located at or above the Petersboden Lift, a mid-mountain lift. What this meant was that we could ski down from our hotel to the Petersboden lift and begin skiing without ever having to go all the way down to the base lift which can generally get more crowded. This year we stayed at the Burgwald Hotel, a 4-star hotel. The facility, rooms, service, and restaurant were outstanding. The food was very imaginative and delicious. The staff was friendly and polite and upon our checkout they handed us a goodbye gift of a small bag filled with delicious bread and cheese for our trip back home. We absolutely loved the Burgwald and if we go back to Lech/Oberlech we will choose to stay there again.

The Burgwald Hotel

The Burgwald Hotel

Other places where families from our children’s school stayed included the Sonnenburg, Hotel Montana, and the Panorama Hotel.

The Montana Hotel

The Montana Hotel

Hotels print out the lift tickets for you so no additional lines need to be made. One ski pass allows you to ski all of five resorts. The various mountain resorts are interconnected by: ski trails, lifts, or gondolas. Others can be reached by taking the ski bus. Rental equipment stores are available in all the villages of the area.

Arlberg Region

Arlberg Region

The Arlberg region differs from the US ski resorts in that there are is no main lodge or lodges dotted throughout the mountain. There are several privately owned restaurants that serve food and drink. It’s mostly sit-down service vs. cafeteria style. In addition to these restaurants, most of the hotels on the mountain offer delicious lunches and drinks. Reservations are highly recommended in the restaurants that take them. There are also restrooms located at the lifts themselves.

Zurs, Austria

Zurs, Austria

Views from Oberlech

Views from the Burgwald Hotel

The infrastructure of the region is excellent. There are many 6 – 8 person lifts. Many of the bigger lifts have bubble covers and even heated seats. There are a couple of 2-4 person lifts, towrope, and T-bar lifts throughout the mountain as well.

Schlegelkopf I and Schlegelkopf II Lifts

Schlegelkopf I and Schlegelkopf II Lifts

The region offers all levels of skiing from beginner to advanced skiing to plenty of off-piste skiing. The trails are generally well marked. Heli-skiing, where a helicopter drops you off at the tops of mountains to do the ultimate in off-piste skiing, is also available. There are plenty of ski schools and it is recommended to book these in advance.

Oberlech Ski School

Oberlech Ski School

There is a plethora of après-ski activities in Lech and Oberlech. There is live entertainment and music playing in many of the hotels. There are numerous bars and restaurants offering both indoor and outdoor seating. The children have a wonderful time taking the toboggan run from Oberlech down to Lech.

Children Tobaggoning

Children Tobogganing

There is a lot of shopping available in Lech, from designer clothes, jewelry, ski equipment, to supermarkets for food, snacks, and souvenirs. Most of the hotels offer wonderful spa facilities and some even have indoor pools. And if what you like is to take in the sun, you’ll find plenty of sun decks with comfortable seats awaiting you.

Lech Ski School

Lech Ski School

Gasthof Post Hotel in Lech

Gasthof Post Hotel in Lech

The Family in Lech

The Family in Lech – 2012

For Further reading:

http://www.skiarlberg.at/arl/east/en/winter

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/austria/lech/6727110/Ski-Lech-resort-guide.html

http://www.wucher-helicopter.at/EN/applications/heliskiing-arlberg/

http://www.pistetopowder.com/5-day-off-piste-course-stanton-austria.html

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4 thoughts on “Skiing in Lech & Oberlech, Austria

  1. Pingback: The Longboard Classic at Stuben, Austria | Sykose

  2. Hi Ariadne

    Great comments
    We are traveling for our first time to Lech for 14 days and deciding where to stay, all other resorts we go to so far have apartment that are self catering with “Laundry’s” essential for a family.
    As your aware location in the Village is always important traveling with a family.
    So far we have some choices i.e. Cresta in Oberlech the Panorama and Filamena apartments and waiting to hear from the Berghof in Lech, There is 4 of us in our family Marie I and 2 girls 19 and 15, no doubt if in a hotel will will need 2 rooms.
    Ariadne is there an further intel you can share to assist with this decision.

    Regards Joseph
    Australia

    • We have stayed in both Lech and Oberlech. We preferred being in Oberlech. Find out from the hotels you are contacting if they have suites or adjoining rooms. Good luck.

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