St Anton

Austria

With a dynamic combination of excellent pistes and awesome bars, St Anton is the place to come if you want to ski hard and party harder. 

Scout Loves

  • Some fantastic challenging terrain makes it great for experienced skiers.
  • St Anton is the home of après. If you want to party you’ve come to the right place.
  • A pleasant car-free main street lined with shops, restaurants and bars.
  • The unique and charming ski show every Wednesday night featuring ski displays and fireworks.
  • Anyone can ski the route of the famous “White Thrill” downhill race.
  • Getting to St Anton is super easy.

Scout Tips

  • The ski area is extensive and spread out. Some of the runs can get crowded.
  • Many of the more difficult runs are unpatrolled.
  • Beginners and lower intermediates may struggle on a lot of the runs.
  • Some hotels in the town center can suffer from rowdy après enthusiasts late at night.
  • The town is spread out – some hotels have quite a walk to the center of town.

Scout Review

Most skiers have heard of St Anton. Its reputation as a steep and challenging resort that’s a haven for experienced skiers, and home to some of the wildest, craziest bars is 100 per cent earned. It’s not surprising then that this resort is the Holy Grail for young, energetic skiers. Yet there are many other less-famous facts that also make St Anton great.

Number one is the snowfall, which is usually pretty reliable. We’ll admit that during our visit in early February 2014 the quality of snow was disappointing. But much of Europe was suffering the same problem so we won’t hold that against St Anton. Usually it has plenty of snow and with so much off-piste terrain it’s a powderhound’s paradise.

Number two is its breathtaking scenery, particularly from the top of the Valluga. We found it to be a serious diversion from the slopes (and the bars) since we kept having to stop to take photos of the never-ending peaks and (sadly for us) the bluest of blue skies. If you have never skied in the European Alps before you will truly be blown away by the views.

Number three is its traditional atmosphere. The main center feels more like a busy town than a village, but thanks to a car-free main street and the fairy lights at night it can be as quaint as any traditional European village. Some parts of the town aren’t as attractive, and the bus depot area can feel quite hectic, but dotted around are plenty of traditional homes and chalets to add to the ambience.

Number four is the bonus that it’s just a short bus ride to other major Arlberg ski resorts, namely Lech-Zürs and Klösterle, which are included on the pass. Thus adding variety if you’re here for a week.

And finally, if you want to escape from the rowdy party atmosphere you can always stay in the more peaceful and family friendly St Christoph where there’s easy access to the slopes.

St Anton Skiing

But back to the main event at St Anton – the skiing. St Anton has a variety of runs for every level of skier, though it’s the steeps, cliffs, bowls and couloirs that have made St Anton so famous.  The more challenging terrain is found in the huge bowls off the Valluga and Schindlergrat mountains. Strong intermediate skiers will enjoy the terrain in the Rendle area – accessed by an impressive new gondola, as well as at St Christoph. Mind you, Rendle has some excellent, challenging off-piste runs for advanced skiers too.

Many of the off-piste runs are labeled red or black “ski routes” (black ones being extreme). While they are signposted and do receive avalanche control they aren’t patrolled so are best skied with a guide. If you’re experienced, have the right equipment and a guide the possibilities in and out of bounds at St Anton are endless.

Less confident intermediates may be a bit daunted by many of St Anton’s blue runs, some of which become serious mogul hills by the end of the day and those back to the village can be steep and crowded. There are some nice, cruisy runs in the Galzig area – which also has a new six-seater chairlift.

Best for learners are the slopes at the Nasserein end of the town. However, since there aren’t a great deal of easy beginner slopes throughout the resort, it is not the best choice for beginners who are ready to progress to intermediate level.

St Anton For Families

Given the generally challenging terrain and lively party atmosphere, St Anton is not the first choice for many families travelling to Austria for skiing. That said, there are of course plenty of ski schools and other facilities that cater well to kids. If you are looking for a quieter area with easy access to the slopes St Christoph is an excellent option.

St Anton Accommodation

The most convenient accommodation is on or near the main street, Dorfstrasse. These hotels are never far from the action, be it the base stations of the lifts or the restaurants and bars. The rest of the town is quite spread out and much of the accommodation at the western end (Oberdorf and Gastig) is up a long hill. Many of these hotels will be best accessed via bus (particularly when coming home from town). Stadle, Dengert and Moos are further away and will require a bus for getting into the center.

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Resort Activities

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It would be fair to say the main side activity to skiing in St Anton is drinking and partying. From about 3pm the onslope bars, most notably Mooserwirt and Krazy Kanguruh, start to heave with skiers from around the world enjoying steins of bier, schnapps and live music. It’s an awesome atmosphere and serious fun. Somehow the revelers make it back down to town where they continue to party – it’s not uncommon to see people still in ski gear, struggling to walk (let alone carry their skis) well into the night.

However, if you’re keen on more than just après you’re in luck as there’s plenty more to do in St Anton. There are the usual side activities of snowshoeing, walking trails, cross-country skiing, tobogganing and ice-skating. But there’s also an excellent “wellness” center in Pettneu that has a 350sq m pool, saunas, steam baths, ice caves and massages, indoor climbing, museums, art galleries and some good shops.

And remember the Ski Show every Wednesday night. We won’t ruin the surprise, except to say it’s truly sweet and typically Austrian.

Getting There and Around

St Anton is really easy to get to – particularly thanks to the fact it is home to the highest international express train station in Europe! At 1304m above sea level, around 30 trains stop there daily. Innsbruck is the closest major airport, just 100km away and the quickest and easiest way to transfer to the resort is by shuttle. Catching the train is also easy although it takes a bit longer and requires a change in the city. Zurich is about a two-hour transfer and Munich about three, and each can be accessed by shuttle bus or train.

Getting to St Anton by car is also easy (being motorway most of the way), and will also give you the flexibility to drive to Lech-Zürs and other resorts.

When To Go

The whole Arlberg region opens for the season in early December and operates until the end of April. 

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