Where the partying is hard and the skiing more so, St. Anton am Arlberg is not a winter resort for those seeking temperate early nights and gentle, undulating pistes.
Between late-November and mid-April sleep is often an optional extra for travellers carousing until almost the lifts once more crank into operation, and for those frequently disturbed by the antics of imbibers who show no compunction in mixing the grape and grain with any number of local spirits.
It is ironic that such behaviour occurs in a town where the terrain is extremely challenging but pleasantly so for those with at least intermediate abilities. I often wonder as to the opinion of the local mountain rescue and emergency services who must come to the aid of the injured and sadly the occasional fatality, who may well have refreshed themselves too heartily the night before in one or many of the bewildering array of options to do so.
I am not though styling St. Anton am Arlberg as a wintertime no go zone; those who venture to this western extreme of Austria’a Tirol will be under few illusions as to its respective on and off piste reputation, and will presumably embrace everything the town and wider region has to offer.
The brief but quieter summer season is though more my cup of tea. There was a time in life when getting back to my accommodation at 4 am before hitting the slopes perhaps only a few hours later was achievable, but nowadays I need my sleep – albeit after hopefully being challenged by a range of runs labelled blue to black, and all points between. It is what a comparatively sleepy summertime St. Anton offers in the way of challenging hikes and numerous refreshment stops that ticks my middle-aged boxes, albeit with a strange air of the town almost opening up only on a token basis that amounts to many hotels and lifts being geschlossen between May and November.
The following is a representative selection of my favourite personal photographs taken a few years ago. My accommodation was initially the Hotel Post, then the Hotel Arlberg, both comfortable boltholes offering exemplary service without the pretensions often found in 4 star of above facilities.
St. Anton am Arlberg Tourismus: http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/en/summer
Hotel Post – St. Anton: http://www.hotel-post.co.at/en.html
Hotel Arlberg – St. Anton: http://www.hotelarlberg.com/en/hotel-arlberg/
Inghams Lakes & Mountains: http://www.inghams.co.uk/destinations/austria/austrian-tyrol/st-anton
TUI Lakes & Mountains: http://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/europe/austria/st-anton/holidays-st-anton-am-arlberg.html