by Marion Vicenta Payr – Photographer and travel blogger – @ladyvenom – www.thetravelblog.at
Skiing trips are like a way down memory lane. The sound of fresh snow under your feet, the smell of the alpine air, the red cheeks after a day on the pistes. Everything feels like a reminder of the glorious days as a kid. When the fries were the highlight of the day and the drag lift our personal enemy!
Skiing on a new level
But thankfully times are changing. While the alpine air has stayed the same, the lifts are modernised. Heated seats, roomy cabin cars, no waiting in lines. A lot has changed! We skip the fries and aim for other gourmet food and our carving technique has been professionalized. Yet: The red cheeks are a keeper! There’s no better feeling than those, when you come home and fall in your cozy bed after a day on the slopes.
The Arlberg – Austria’s cradle of skiing
But back to the start! Why St. Anton, why the Arlberg? Nowadays there’s so many options when it comes to skiing. But the Arlberg has some serious arguments. It’s not only the largest skiing arena in Austria (with over 80 lifts and 300 kilometres of pistes). No: It’s also where alpine skiing was introduced in Austria. Here’s where the first alpine skiing race has taken place and where heated lift seats were introduced. This tradition of alpine skiing is still there today.
Checking in with Family Tschol
And what’s the best base for a happy skiing trip? Yes: A cozy home, a hotel with flair and family appeal. This is where Family Tschol has a true asset – the Hotel Schwarzer Adler has been family run since 18 generations. You won’t be just any guest, you’ll be welcomed like a family member. They will gladly share their stories and tipps while sipping a welcome glas of fresh juice or wine at the bar. And they’ll spot the same red cheeks as you – because skiing, that’s their passion as well!
Klemens Tschol, the youngest generation member of the hotel family welcomes you with a broad smile and red cheeks. He just returned from an early morning skiing run. You immediately feel like your friends and family. While giving you the keys he’ll recommend where the snow is the best right now and which pistes you should avoid in the afternoon. His tips are gold, that’s what we’ll learn soon!
A perfect day in St. Anton am Arlberg
Let’s start the way a perfect day should start: With an early morning breakfast filled with everything one could wish for. We’re having pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup, cake, fried eggs, crispy bread. Powered by all this delicacies we’re ready to start our first day of skiing!
360 degree views to kick off the day
After packing our skiing gear we head to the “Galzigbahn”, which is just 5 minutes away from the hotel. The first ride brings us up the mountain at 8:45am. But we don’t stop just yet. There’s two more cabin cars up to the so called Valluga at 2.809 meters. Here’s what we call a view! 360 degrees all around the Arlberg arena – we get a first idea of the vastness of this region. While the valleys are still covered in fog here’s all the sunshine and clear sky.
Powder fun & alpine huts
After we enjoyed the views from Valluga we’re finally ready for our first day of skiing! After a few pistes from Valluga we warm up around the Galzigbahn. And we are not taking any lift or piste twice, the selection is just so big – there’s no need to take any route more than once. The snow is perfect and we enjoy a couple of hours of skiing, before the first lunch stop at the Arlberg Thaja. This recommendation by Klemens Tschol is a true gem – the newly built hut is stunning and serves some great dishes. We have some local baked cheese and then a Kaiserschmarrn. Because no skiing day is complete without this Austrian specialty! :)
Wellness, Hiking & Gourmet Experiences…
What completes the perfect skiing vacation? Yes, whatever comes after the last turn on the piste in the afternoon. We used the Northern face of the Rendl for our afternoon skiing. This is where the snow holds up nicely – even on nice warm spring days like in April. And then we return to our cozy room at the Hotel Schwarzer Adler and jump right into our robes. Why? We love to warm up in the Spa. The Saunas, pools and infrared cabins at the hotel are the perfect way to do just that and unwind.
But some of us can’t get enough of that alpine breeze! In this case we recommend a horse carriage tour through the Verwall valley. This experience makes you enjoy the landscape of the valley, without having to use any muscles, that are already tense from skiing ;) If you’re into more sports you can get off at the turning point of the valley – there’s a big lake. We decided to do a winter hike around the lake and then back through the valley. This conserves the red cheeks from skiing until dinner.
Dinner! We almost forgot to tell you all about the amazing half board at Hotel Schwarzer Adler. The delicious 5 course meals even have a vegetarian option with all sorts of creative items (think an
Austrian version of spring rolls or a hearty veggie cream soup). You can also eat at the à la carte restaurant, which we of course had to try as well. There’s no way we could leave Tyrol without having eaten “Käsespätzle” (cheese noodles). Turns out – we loved it so much, that we totally forgot to take photos of the food… we guess that’s a good sign! :)
A reunion in summer?
The days in St. Anton pass too quickly and we have to leave again. We’ll take the red cheeks as a souvenir of all the amazing skiing days we spent at the Arlberg. There’s rumours saying the Arlberg is worth a visit in summer as well. So our farewell sounds more like a “See you soon” in our ears!
What this panorama is like in summer? We’ll hopefully find out soon during our next visit at Hotel Schwarzer Adler :)