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Snowboading Arlberg, Austria


by Marco Toniolo

The Arlberg is a small region nestled between the Tyrol and Voralberg, seemingly made for skiing. The slopes are steep but never excessively so, every year there is plenty of snow, and the hospitality is memorable. Two villages, Lech and Zürs. are situated close to famous St. Anton and offer fabulous freeriding itineraries that will make you want to return to this corner of Austria. Often. One liftpass covers the entire area and the two villages are connected by ski lifts, unlike St. Anton which is reached by bus.


"...not many people visit this area at this time of year ... resulting in many of the slopes remaining virgin."


ITINERARY GRADE BEAUTY
Hasenfluh Medium
Omeshorn Very difficult
Trittkopf Very difficult


The best time of year for skiing and snowboarding is definitely from the start of December to late January, when temperatures are low, guaranteeing fresh powder snow for many days. In addition, not many people visit this area at this time of year (apart from the Christmas period) resulting in many of the slopes remaining virgin.

Given the altitude (never beneath 1500m) it is possible to ski here until late April. Lift passes are cheaper in mid-April. Don't miss out on the "firn" . This forms when snow freezes early in the morning and then transforms. True experts time their descents perfectly for that moment when the hardpack transforms into soft snow, before eventually transforming into slush.

The following itineraries are for advanced skiers and only to be undertaken in stable snow conditions. Do not be fooled by the ski lifts nearby: all itineraries require experience and knowledge of how to move on steep, avalanche prone terrain.

Always take a rescue beacon, shovel and probe. If you are unsure about your avalanche awareness hire a Mountain Guide. At this point, there's nothing stopping you enjoying the fantastic off-piste.

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Difficulty
The itineraries can only be skied in good, stable snow conditions by advanced riders.
Highly recommended is a rescue beacon and shovel.
Getting there
By car: thanks to its central position Zürs can be easily reached from Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Train: The Eurocity trains stop at St. Anton. Continue by bus to Zürs

Villages nearby: Klösterle (ideal for cheap accommodation), St. Anton

Click map to enlarge
Best time of year
December to April. Consult the snow forecast on the Voralberg website or telephone:
+43-5522-1588
Maps and books
Books:
"Abseits der Piste rund um den Arlberg (Arlberg off-piste)" by
Andy Thurner (also in English)
Map:
Kompass nr. 33 Arlberg-Nördliche Verwallgruppe
Links and useful information
Train timetable
: www.bahn.de

Tourist websites
www.vorarlberg-tourism.at
www.lach.at

Author of the article
Text and photos by Marco Toniolo

marcotoniolo@bike-board.de
www.bike-board.de


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