Lech am Arlberg Skiing
The popular image of Lech as a ski resort has more than a touch of winter fairytale to it.
It's almost like a wish-fulfilment daydream for the rich and well-connected...
... who mingle with European nobility at their four-star hotels which have been in the hands of village families for generations. The children toddle off to the bottom of the slopes for lessons with the same wise old ski instructor who taught their parents to ski...
And, to be fair, there is a certain amount of truth to that image. It is, assuming you can pay the bills and the part, entirely possible to stay in the same hotel as the crowned head of a European nation, while shopping for the trendy labels at the ski shops in the village or hiring your personal ski guide to find your own piece of powder heaven.
But that image also does a disservice to Lech and the nearby villages of Zug and Zürs.
For it's entirely possible for the keen amateur skier to take a reasonably-priced ski break in an area which is one of the best in Austria (and which was dramatically expanded with the extension to Warth).
Those who do will find a high-altitude area with a great snow record and more than enough to keep an athletic skier happy for a week in the snow. (The equally large area of St Anton is just down the road for those looking for even more thrills.)
There are small hotels, guesthouses, apartments and chalet accommodation all available either through the traditional package operators or as part of an individual holiday that visitors can put together themselves (see the Hotels and Travel tabs above for details about booking your own accommodation and making your own way to the resort).
Location: Lech is just inside the Vorarlberg, Austria's most western province.
Access: Lech can only be reached by one road in the winter. (The wealthy have their own helicopters!)
Lech Ski Positives
- a lovely alpine village with a charming atmosphere
- uncrowded slopes mainly above the treeline
- extensive ski area with great off-piste skiing in the right conditions
Lech Ski Negatives
- like most high areas, bad weather can mean that the slopes are inhospitable
- Lech is a fair way from most airports and, with only one road into the valley, there can be hold-ups if there is heavy snow
- the cost - if you want to stay at the ritzy hotels and frequent the trendy bars in high season, you are going to pay high prices
Lech Ski Information
Lech has long been a favourite destination for keen skiers.
The connection to the resort of Warth only increases that attraction, for that places Lech firmly in the front rank of Austrian ski resorts.
It has a high-altitude area with plenty of groomed runs but also with plenty of powder opportunities for those who know what they are doing.
The Weisse Ring circuit around the neighbouring slopes of Zürs and Zug gave day trippers an inkling of what the resort was about, but the new connections mean that it would be tough to get around all of the lifts in a day, let alone sample a small fraction of the skiing that they have to offer.
The Lech-Zürs-Warth-Schröcken ski area now has 47 lifts with 190km of ski runs. And anyone who buys the Ski Arlberg pass has access to the other massive ski area above St Anton, St Christoph and Stuben as well as the interesting day area at the Sonnenkopf above Klösterle.
Ski Pass Prices 2018/2019
A day pass will cost 54.50 Euros in the main season.
A six-day pass will cost 289 Euros in the main season.
Cheaper price dates are available for the pre-Christmas period and from the last week in March.
Ski Slope Verdict
- Beginner skiers and families will enjoy the slopes immediately above Lech in the Oberlech area and above which have plenty of confidence-boosting blue runs and trails within clear view of home.
- The resort could have been purpose-designed for intermediate skiers. Those who are looking to improve their style will find the slopes at Oberlech perfect for practicing their shorter turns while more confident recreational skiers will enjoy the scope of the circuits to Zürs and Warth.
- Advanced skiers will look to some of the tougher unpisted red routes for a challenge, as well as the more difficult routes off the Kriegerhorn chairlift or to either side of the village of Zug. Although a smaller area, the addition of Warth to the lift system adds some needed shorter expert runs. The extensive off-piste and powder skiing potential is best undertaken with a local guide.
How To Get To Lech
Distance to Innsbruck Airport (AT): 115km
Distance to Bodensee Airport (DE): 128km
Distance to Allgäu Airport (DE): 170km
Distance to Zurich Airport (CH): 196km
Distance to Munich Airport (DE): 248km
Distance to Salzburg Airport (AT): 294km
Nearest railway station to Lech: Langen am Arlberg - 15km, St Anton am Arlberg - 20km
Independent skiers have a good choice of routes to get up into the Arlberg.
There are airports within a reasonable distance from Lech in Austria, Germany or Switzerland with a good mix of scheduled destinations as well as airports used by the European low-cost carriers amongst that choice.
The main city airports all have rail connections through to St Anton or Langen on either side of the Arlberg Pass and there is a regular public transport service from both to Lech during daytime hours. Alternatively there are local taxi services who offer transfers back and forth between the resort and the stations.
For those who want to make the journey by road, there are a number of options for airport transfers from Zürich, Innsbruck and Munich. Arlberg Express, a local bus company offers reasonably-priced transfers between Zürich and Lech during the winter season, although these are infrequent outside the weekend.
Car hire is available from all airports - links to rental car availability in the different countries are listed below and open in a new window:
Those who are making their own way by car should ensure that they have proper winter equipment (winter tyres and snow-chains in the car) as the route will involve crossing one (from Vorarlberg) or two (from the Tyrol) mountain passes at nearly 1800m in altitude.
Drivers arriving from the Tyrol should aim for St Anton and then take the road up and over the Arlberg Pass just after the resort of St Christoph, before cutting through the ski area (in daytime, passengers will be able to get an idea of some of the runs between St Christoph and Stuben) and down to the junction for Lech.
Drivers coming from west will be arriving on the long climb up the motorway and then the express road from Vorarlberg. The turn-off is just before the start of the Arlberg Tunnel and leads through Langen am Arlberg to the Lech junction mentioned above.
From here there is another climb, this time to the Flexen Pass, and through the Zürs village and ski area before dropping down into Lech.
Village Altitude: 1440m
The ski season opens for winter 2018/2019 on 30 November and runs through to 28 April.
Lech Tourist Office : www.lech-zuers.at
Lech Weather Forecast: www.weatheraustria.net
Arlberg Ski Area: www.skiarlberg.at
Lech Ski School: www.skischule-lech.com
Oberlech Ski School: www.skischule-oberlech.at
Lech Kindergarten: www.kinderclub-lech.at
Googie's Babysitting Agency: www.babysitting-lech.at
Lech Taxi Company: www.taxi-lech.at
Austrian Railways (includes public bus services): www.oebb.at