Some of the choicest downhill skiing in the world can be found in the western reaches of the Austrian Alps. Wonderfully picturesque Arlberg ensures ample amounts of powder even other encompasses Lech, its most charming village resort, as well as Zuni, St. Anton, St. Christoph, and Stuben. In the sister hamlets of Lech-Zurs alone there are 35 lifts and cable cars serving a 65-mile ski circuit of groomed pistes and 75 miles of open, ungroomed runs, including the magnificent 12-mile Madloch tour. The ski technique named for Arlberg is practiced around the globe, and the area’s schools and instructor’s arc among the best.
Lech’s smallest and best five-star hotel, the Gasthof Post, has been run by the gracious Moosbrugger clan for three generations, and is known for its homey ambience and excellent restaurant. For apres-ski fun and food, Skihutte Sehneggarei is popular with the young and beautiful. In St. Anton, apres-ski central, the Lux Alpinae is a cutting-edge hotel with a modem facade of glass, metal, and wood that opens into an unexpectedly cozy lobby. For the lap of luxury in quaint little St. Christoph, stay at the. Arlberg Hospiz, a winter-only inn and restaurant that exudes warmth and top-notch hospitality.
While the Arlberg resorts are sought out for their unspoiled character, Kitzbuhel—equidistant from Innsbruck and Salzburg—is beloved for its fashionable, glamorous atmosphere. The town’s historic center of cobbled streets and pastel-painted medieval houses brims with trendy boutiques, lively casinos, and sophisticated clubs for off-mountain fun. Visitors can relax with hot chocolate and pastries at the well-known Café Praxmair. Set high on the sunny side of the Kitzbuheler Horn is the romantic and friendly Tennerhof Hotel, a quaint, converted 17th-century farm-house. The eating is some of the best in town, so dine here even if you’re lodging elsewhere. The smooth, mighty crags behind the medieval walled town are ideal for finding your ski legs—except, perhaps, on Kitzbuhels difficult, world-famous Hahnenkanun downhill run. Heart-stopping cable car rides and 120 miles of awesome summertime hiking possibilities set it apart from other Alpine resorts.
WHERE : 125 miles/201 km east of Zurich Switzerland.
BEST TIME : Dec-March for skiing; Jan for the Hahnenkamm races; Jul-Aug for hiking and biking.
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