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Winter's glory in Vorarlberg

In the far west of Austria, bordering Germany, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, is a region with one of the best snow records not only in the country but much of the Alps. Yet, with one world-famous exception, the winter resorts of Vorarlberg are largely overlooked by the British market in favour of neighbouring Tirol. A visit to three of its ski areas, Lech Zürs am Arlberg, Brandnertal and Bregenzerwald, proves that the overused cliché "something for everyone" is justified here. Read below to find out what distinguishes each of these ski destinations as per journalist and broadcaster Jane Peel.
Lech am Arlberg © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun Lech am Arlberg © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun

Lech Zürs am Arlberg

Lech Zürs am Arlberg is the best known and most exclusive resort in the region. Sitting on the eastern edge of Vorarlberg, it shares its vast ski area with neighbouring Tirol, and now offers more continuous skiing on one lift pass than anywhere else in Austria. The Ski Arlberg pass includes the slopes of Lech, Zürs, Stuben, St. Christoph, St. Anton, Warth, Schröcken and more.

Lech Zürs am Arlberg is a paradise for energetic intermediates keen to spend a day completing the 22km Lech Zürs circuit, known as the White Ring. For advanced skiers and snowboarders, the off-piste is the big attraction. The region is also a gourmet's delight. There are 18 restaurants in Lech Zürs that have coveted Gault Millau toques. These are awarded by food critics along similar lines to Michelin stars. 

Lech Zürs and the satellite villages are attractive places to stay, and the area is appealing for its excellent snow record. Little wonder that it is a favourite of European royalty, celebrities and sports stars.

Family skiing in the Brandnertal © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH  / Michael Marte Family skiing in the Brandnertal © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH / Michael Marte

Brandnertal

Brandnertal prides itself on being family friendly, with activities to entertain and occupy everyone from budding ski racers to babies in prams and the adults with them. There are children's slalom races, play areas on the slopes and in mountain restaurants. In Brand village, there is an animal trail suitable for pushchairs, where youngsters can get close up to goats, sheep, pigs and birds. 

Brand and Bürserberg together have 55km of linked pistes. It is extremely easy to find your way around. Most of the terrain consists of easy cruising blue and red runs, from the top to the bottom of the Palüdbahn gondola in Brand. For more of a challenge, Black 18 on the Bürserberg side of the mountain is largely in shade, so snow conditions stay favourable, even in the warmth of a mid-March afternoon.  

Adventurous skiers who want more than Brand-Bürserberg can offer are now able to take advantage of the Skipass Montafon-Brandnertal, which gives access to 230km of slopes at Montafon, a bus ride away.

Damüls-Mellau ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Ludwig  Berchtold Damüls-Mellau ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Ludwig Berchtold

Bregenzerwald

Bregenzerwald is a place where skiing, farming and craftsmanship go hand in hand. This is not the featureless ski area common in much of the Alps. It is unspoiled, its buildings ooze class, it offers quality for money and visitors return year after year.

Bregenzerwald counts among its resorts Warth-Schröcken, part of the vast Arlberg ski area (Lech, St. Anton etc) which now offers 305km of pistes directly linked by lifts.

Damüls-Mellau has over 100km of pistes, mostly blues and reds. The Gipfelbahn gondola and a series of fast chairlifts make it easy and quick to chase the best conditions, moving between the shadier north-facing slopes and the sunny south-facing ones. The Mellau cable car has been offering increased comfort in the Damüls-Mellau skiing area since last winter. There is also accessible off-piste for experts and a snowpark in one of the snowiest regions in the Alps. What is not to like?

“Expect unrivalled hospitality in all of Vorarlberg’s winter regions.”

Facts and figures

Brandnertal

  • 64.4km of slopes (incl. ski routes) between 890 – 2,000m
  • Around 70% of the ski area has artificial snow coverage when needed
  • 14 lifts incl. 1 gondola
  • 2 ski schools
www.brandnertal.at/en
tourismus@brandnertal.at

Lech Zürs am Arlberg

  • 305km of slopes
  • 200km of high Alpine deep powder snow runs
  • 87 cable cars and lifts
  • New: the Flexenbahn cableway link between Zürs and Stuben/Rauz
www.lechzuers.com
info@lech-zuers.at

Bregenzerwald

  • 9 skiing areas with 268km of pistes: 107km blue, 128km red, 33km black
  • 91 cable cars, lifts, ski tows and practice lifts
  • 3-valley ski pass: valid for all skiing areas in the Bregenzerwald & discounted Arlberg ski pass for the holders of the 3-valley ski pass
www.bregenzerwald.at
info@bregenzerwald.at

Winter's glory in Vorarlberg

  • Culinary delights in a Brandnertal hut © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH  / Michael Marte Culinary delights in a Brandnertal hut © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH / Michael Marte
  • Skiing Palüd © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH  / Michael Marte Skiing Palüd © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH / Michael Marte
  • Family skiing in the Brandnertal © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH  / Michael Marte Family skiing in the Brandnertal © Bergbahnen Brandnertal GesmbH / Michael Marte
  • Off-piste in Lech Zürs © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun Off-piste in Lech Zürs © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun
  • Offpiste Zürs © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun Offpiste Zürs © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun
  • Lech am Arlberg © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun Lech am Arlberg © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Josef Mallaun
  • Damüls-Mellau ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Ludwig  Berchtold Damüls-Mellau ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Ludwig Berchtold
  • Enjoying the views from the top of the mountain © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Christoph Schöch Enjoying the views from the top of the mountain © Lech Zürs Tourismus GmbH / Christoph Schöch
  • Arlberg ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Josef Mallaun Arlberg ski area © Vorarlberg Tourismus / Josef Mallaun

Further information

Vorarlberg State Tourist Board

Ski resorts at a glance

Austria 360°

Lech Zürs am Arlberg: Snow-sure slopes in Vorarlberg © Österreich Werbung Lech Zürs am Arlberg: Snow-sure slopes in Vorarlberg © Österreich Werbung

360-degree video

Lech Zürs am Arlberg: Snow-sure slopes in Vorarlberg

Explore a stretch of Austria’s largest interconnected ski area, a region with some of the best snow records in the Alps, on your virtual skis. Tilt and drag to get a 360-degree taste of this winter wonderland.

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* Package prices calculated against exchange rate of 31st August 2016. Packages valid only for specific dates, please see offer details for further information.

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