Sunday, 27 March 2011

Snowboarding in Sankt Anton (Tyrol, Austria)

Spring is back to the city of Vienna & it's probably high time to somehow give credit for a beautiful, albeit brief, winter season. My snowboarding experience this year included only two escapades: a one-day trip to Stuhleck (in ski region Semmering) & a week in Tyrolean Sankt Anton am Arlberg.
Well, Stuhleck is a nice place for a short getaway with 1-day ski-passes ranging between 15-18€ (depending on how early you arrive), but St.Anton without doubt is a much more spectacular place & probably deserves a bit more credit in the story.
So let's begin: well, after lengthy e-mail communication with various hotels the base for this year's trip was chosen - a 3* pension with a sunny address "Sonnenwiese 2Haus Battisti:
A couple of  noteworthy things about a winter holiday in Sankt Anton:
  1. book LONG in advance (at least 2 weeks, otherwise: stressful limbo of not knowing, whether or not you have a roof over your head);
  2. 'St.Antonian' prices "bite": costs of food & accomodation are generally higher (even if compared with other Tyrolean resorts, for instance Sölden);
  3. check the weather forecast before booking :-) The challenges of a winter holiday can be extremely nice (like discovering new pistes or hidden detours), they don't necessarily have to involve fighting hurricane wind with rain in complete absence of a single ray of sun & getting lost because one can't see further than 2 meters from the tip of one's nose :-( 
High-season "grown-up" ski-pass for 5 days costs 185€ & includes access to the whole Ski Arlberg area (Lech, Zürs, Stuben, St. Anton & St. Christoph), which means approx. 280 km of marked pistes & ca. 180 km of  free-ride areas!!! So, although a bit pricey, St.Anton is still a snowboarder's paradise:)
Some stuff I've en passant learned about the equipment this season:) If you're going to the 'serious'Tyrolean  mountains, you will most probably need: 
1. a facemask (à la that) to protect you from the wind while smoothly flitting down the hill / to save you from the cold if despite all your weather-research efforts you still get caught in bad weather up on a mountain.
2. scraper snowboard mat (à la this) in order to stabilze the 'free' leg on the T-bar lift or during short-distance rides when you don't want to lock the bindings.
3. snowboard web leash (à la that) in order not to loose your board on a steep slope. 
Well, all in all the holiday turned out to be awesome & I hope you enjoyed browsing a bit through pictures & tips :-) 
Ahja, maybe the last concluding piece of advice for your visit to Tyrol: Aqua Dome in Längenfeld! Last year we 'accidentally' discovered it & ... one does not easily forget floating outside in a thermal bath while listening to underwater music & watching snowy peaks of the Alps (additional tip: try it out at night).  
View from the 'Raststation' near Mondsee, Salzkammergut.
Panorama of Mondsee, Salzkammergut.