Christmas is usually not as popular a skiing week as February half-term, New Year or an early Easter. This means that prices can be better value and the pistes significantly less busy – particularly around Christmas Day itself when most of the locals tend to stay at home with family or friends. The slopes start to fill up from around the 27th/28th December.
With some brilliant Christmas skiing holidays behind us there was no hesitation to head back to Austria again for the 2018 festive season. Snow conditions can occasionally cause concern at Christmas so be plumped for a safe option by choosing ‘the snowiest village in the Alps’ Warth in eastern Austria – it really does have an excellent record despite being only at 1500m. Part of the Voralberg province a series of brilliant new lifts, opening in the last few years, have connected it to the Arlberg ski region so you have fast modern links to Lech, Zurs and St Anton beyond – 305km and 88 lifts. A lovely, traditional small village, tons of snow and great skiing – what more could we ask for?
As it turned out the snow was excellent when we arrived and remained throughout our stay. After we left the region got totally inundated, breaking all records, and shut down for much of early January.
There’s plenty in the immediate Warth-Shrocken area to keep you busy for couple of days which was handy as conditions weren’t great and the fast Auenfeld Jet to Lech was closed. Once this opened up we skied in glorious conditions in both Lech and Zurs too with magnificent snow, stunning scenery and some gloriously empty slopes. With a few exceptions the lift system is excellent include the brand new short gondola which takes you right out of the main village square in Warth and a swift ski-bus system between Zurs and Lech. The 85km Run of Fame, visiting all sections of the Arlberg system, eluded us although some of the party made it to St Anton.
But it wasn’t all about the hard yards on the slopes and the joys were the empty pistes, views of the undeveloped Lech Valley and smaller tucked away mountain restaurants and huts. A favourite was the Gasthaus at the Korbersee – the frozen lake hidden away in the woods – and also the difficult to find Auenfelder Hutte close to the main link to Lech. Both seemed a world away from some of the busy spots in and around Lech itself. Dumplings, sausages or grostl (a bacon, onion and potato fry up) were the most popular.
The village of Warth itself was very small a friendly and in truth pretty quiet. The only time we saw lots of people was at Midnight Mass when the queues into the small onion-domed village church were out the door. Our base was the lovely Hotel Walserberg – we were using their apartments – so enjoyed the spa, their gorgeous home-made bread, their excellent friendly advice and also the cosy bar.
Once again we had a great fun, family Christmas ski holiday – the snow, lifts and pistes superb. The relaxed Austrian approach was a joy so we’ve booked again for 2019. This time for busy St Anton to experience the other end of the Aarlberg region.
Not everyone fancies going away at Christmas but don’t think you will miss out in resort – while it is business as usual for the visitors it is a joyful and festive time for the locals too.
Now’s the time to book your Christmas skiing so please get in touch if you would like us help sort it out.