Ski holidays are a special sort of trip. The energy in ski towns is unlike the vibe you’ll find most places, and St. Anton is no exception. St. Anton am Arlberg has just about everything you’d want for the ultimate ski holiday.
and check out my upcoming post tomorrow with what to
Getting to St. Anton
Our alpine experience began before our plane even landed. The pilot had made a few announcements during the flight that struck me as strange. It was something about turning right once we hit Italy, then we’d descend into Innsbruck. It sounded odd and I wondered if the pilot was okay… but once we approached, I understood.
To fly into Innsbruck, the plane first has to descend into the valley, between the Alps, then swing around through the valley between the mountains to where the airport is located. It is remarkable! You are flying with mountain peaks just outside both windows, with incredible views of the seemingly endless mountains beyond. The plane follows the valley’s twists and turns, staying between the mountains, and you can look down at the colorful villages and church steeples as you lower to the ground. It is a grand entrance, to say the least! I wish I had been able to get a picture, but I’m #teamaisleseat.
From Innsbruck, St. Anton is just an hour or so by train. The F bus runs from the airport to the city center, and will take you right to the train station. This is not on Google Maps and our bus driver did not speak English, but we made it!
The train ride to St. Anton from Innsbruck weaves through the valleys and it is a beautiful ride. The trains are nice, too.
Our mountain adventure had begun and we weren’t even there yet!
The train station is located in the heart of St. Anton. It was lightly snowing and dusk was falling when we arrived. We could still make out the nearest mountain tops and the golden lights of the town had just started to come on. It was beyond charming!
The adorable village of St. Anton is filled with ski chalets and hotels, layered up the hillside. Wooden shutters and brightly lit signs invite you into hotel garnis of all shapes and sizes. There are many right in the city center and some close by to the Nassereinbahn, but the advantage of staying just a little further out is getting a beautiful view over the whole village and saving a couple bucks to do so. We went with the latter.
We picked up our rental skis at Jennewein and headed up the hill to our hotel!
We stayed in the quaint and lovely Hotel Garni Ernst Falch. I highly, highly recommend it. This family run hotel is adorable, comfortable and offers such beautiful views over St. Anton! The rooms are all lined in pine and have a rustic-chic, retro ski holiday vibe. Perfection.
The breakfast is not to be missed and they even provided gluten-free bread for me! By the end of our stay, the staff remembered our coffee orders and brought out my special bread without me even needing to ask!
There is a reliable and free bus service offered throughout the St. Anton area which makes staying outside the city center a breeze, as long as you’re near bus stop. Hotel Garni Ernst Falch was close enough to walk when we wanted and also right next to a bus stop where buses ran every 30 minutes. The network extends out to Sankt Jakob, so you could stay further out there and still be just a quick bus ride away from the ski action!
Of course, the thing to do in St. Anton is ski! The mountain is huge and the level of skiing is quite impressive. It seems like everyone you pass has either an avalanche airbag or some body armor on. The level of skiing at St. Anton is definitely higher than what I’m used to – everyone knew what they were doing. The runs themselves weren’t terribly difficult, though there were a few mogul runs that psyched me out. I grew up skiing at a tiny mountain, so the incredible sprawl of St. Anton and the Arlberg was unbelievable to me. I missed the recovery time frequent chairlift rides provide!
Our first day was snowy, foggy, and misty with next to no visibility at points. We could have been skiing anywhere, as the views were completely concealed by the fresh powder falling from the skies.
The snow was fantastic but coming down hard enough at points that I had to rely on gravity to dictate what direction to go because I couldn’t see! That was a little scary, but definitely thrilling.
Our second day was beautiful and the conditions were excellent. I wrote about our great day of skiing in this post.
St. Anton and the Arlberg have more than just skiing – there is plenty to do in this beautiful ski town! From spas to snow shoeing and more, St. Anton has so much to offer.
On our last day in town, we went for a hike along one of the many hiking trails in the valley, outlined on St. Anton’s website. We decided on the Jakobusweg, since it was close to our hotel, showed up on Googlemaps and didn’t seem too challenging in the lingering snow.
The hike provided beautiful views over Sankt Jakob and gave us an opportunity to experience the Alps in a new way, by foot. This trail was not for the faint of heart in the snow – there were very thin, slippery parts of the trail.
We were able to catch the bus back to town from the trail’s end after a couple hours exploring in the woods.
Now, it wouldn’t be St. Anton without mentioning apres ski! There is a huge party scene in this small ski town. The best of it is definitely the on-mountain apres hot spots, which I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s post!
It was an amazing ski holiday, and I am so glad we picked St. Anton for our first Alps experience. This little ski village has it all and we had a blast during a extended weekend stay. Great skiing, great views, a wonderful hotel and great food – we hope to return!