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St Anton sparkles - James Cove, St Anton
Wednesday January 23, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

The Austrian resort would make most people's top 10 list of favourite resorts. For some it is No 1. PlanetSKI hasn't been in the resort for 18 years and we have just been back to see how it has changed.

It is the so-called cradle of modern skiing.

The resort where it all started.

The Arlberg Ski Club was founded in the resort in 1901 and it pioneered ski teaching, it championed equipment changes, embraced racing and supported the newer snowsports that have emerged.

The resort lays claim to a special place in the history and development of skiing.

However other resorts can lay claim to history and influence.

The resorts of the Bernese Oberland spring to mind (Wengen, Grindelwald and Murren).  St Moritz pioneered the winter holiday and Zermatt is steeped in Alpine history. Chamonix held the first Winter Olympics in 1924 and has been at the forefront of freeriding, off piste skiing and touring.

More recently St Anton has developed a reputation for offering some of the best après ski in the Alps, but surely I am now too old to partake. Maybe.

So, what makes St Anton so special?

Arriving in the town it looks like many others with a sprawling selection of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants.

As I arrived at 5 O'clock or so the bars were pumping out music at various degrees of decibels.  The first song I could recognise was YMCA. No change there then in 18 years.

As I collected my skis from the Intersport hire shop an hour later the volume seemed to have risen and there were the usual people staggering back in their ski boots.

There were others coming down in the dark from the après ski bars on the slopes.

Again no change in almost 2 decades.

As I headed to the slopes the following morning it all looked pretty much the same. The slopes rise steeply from the centre of town in both directions.  To one side is Galzig and on the other is the smaller area of Rendl.

In harmony at St AntonThe steeps of St Anton













Rendl was an eye opener.

I had no recollection of skiing there 18 years ago and if I had been there then I am sure I would have remembered it.  It is a seriously impressive ski area.

Sadly we could ski the Valluga as the top of the resort was shrouded in cloud for my visit but we found some challenging terrain.

St Anton is a magnet for good skiers and they were there in abundance even in the so-called January low-season.

Frank and bearSt Anton













One lunch was in the re-known Arlberg Hospiz Hotel.

I had a tour of the wine cellar and felt like Gulliver as many of the bottles are large 12-litre ones.

St ChristophSt Christoph













Overall I am pleased to say there were very few changes in 18 years. It is still as good as it always was and its spirit and soul is intact.

There have of course been a numbers of physical changes. The railway station had moved for a start.

Then there was a modern lift at the base of the main slope. A conference centre had been built, a new wellness cenre and the hotels have been re-furbished. 

I stayed with VIP-SKI that has opened in St Anton for the first time.  It has taken over the hotel Montjola that was built in the 1930's.  It used to be run by one of the large UK operators and was in need of a facelift.

It had it last summer and is now a modern, comfortable and contemporary hotel.

Best of all for me is it has free, high-speed WiFi that works.

Overall I am pleased to say there have been very few changes in St Anton over the past 18 years. For me it is still as good as it always was and its spirit and soul is intact.

For a look at the PlanetSKI snow report from the time with a few more of James' reflections then see the video below.

No visit to St Anton is apparently complete without a sampling of its famous après ski. 18 years ago I would have been up on the tables on the slopeside bars.

But that was almost 2 decades ago.

I skied past the signs to the Krazy Kangaruh.

Krazy KangarooKrazy Kanguruh













Then looked down on the crowds at the Mooserwirt.

Apres ski in St AntonMooserwirt












Once in town I though I decided to have a quick beer at the Kandahar bar.

I had the quick beer. Then another, then the shots came out. More than once.

Like the town itself, some things never change.














St Anton, TirolSt Anton, Tirol













St Anton Factbox

St Anton am Arlberg is a new resort for VIP SKI. Prices for seven nights start from £949 per person based on 2 sharing.  Included are return flights from Gatwick, coach transfers, accommodation and VIP's distinguished chalet catering. 

Ski pack items can be pre-booked with lift passes for the Arlberg ski area costing £195 for an adult skiing for 6 days with concessions for early, low and late season as well as teenagers, children (£119 for 8-15 year olds) and over 65s.

Ski hire starts at £144 for adult skis and boots, £66 for children under-10 and £102 for 11-14 year olds. Child rates include helmet hire.

For more information call VIP SKI on 0844 557 3119 or book online at

For more information on the St Anton am Arlberg visit

For more information on the Austrian Tirol

For the spirit of the mountains

Many thanks to our main PlanetSKI sponsors below - without them we wouldn't be here.













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