Ski resort features
Lech ski area – where old meets new
Long runs, pristine powder and stunning mountain scenery – this is Lech Zürs am Arlberg. Combined with Ski Arlberg, it offers 305 kilometres of runs at an altitude of 1,300 to 2,811 metres. Skiing in Lech has a long history, as this is where Austria’s very first drag lift was opened back in the 1930s. Since then, Lech has always kept up with the times, and today it boasts the latest in lift technology. The lifts and pistes in Lech are normally open from December to the end of April.
Lech has the perfect run for everyone. Beginners can choose from 131 kilometres of easy slopes, while more experienced skiers can wedel and carve their way down 123 kilometres of red slopes. Expert skiers can test themselves over 51 kilometres of black runs. Freeriders have 200 kilometres of marked, ungroomed runs to explore around Lech. Thanks to this vast choice of runs, Lech ranks among Austria’s three largest ski areas.
Lech’s Kinderland is the ideal place for children learn to ski. And once they’ve mastered their first turns, the whole family can head out on one of the easy blue runs, such as the Berger Rindalpe. More experienced skiers can’t get enough of the White Ring in Lech Zürs. This spectacular circuit covers 22 kilometres with an altitude difference of 5,500 metres. Starting in Lech, you head up the Rüfikopf, where you can pause to enjoy the amazing views before skiing or boarding over Schüttboden to Hexenboden and finally down to Zürs. Then it’s back up the mountain, over the Zürsersee and on to the highest point in the whole ski area at the Madloch-Joch. From here you ski down to Zug, ride up the Kriegerhorn, and then enjoy the final descent of this impressive circuit. If you prefer to take things a little easier but still enjoy long descents, check out the two long valley runs. The longest starts at Zuger Hochlicht-Lech and drops 927 metres during the 6-kilometre run down to the valley. The 5.5-kilometre valley run from Madloch is also a real treat. Expert skiers who like a challenge shouldn’t miss the Langer Zug run. It drops 373 metres in the space of 800 metres – a gradient of 46%. If you’d like to know exactly how fast you can ski or board, head for the race areas at the Hinterwieslieft and Babylift Zürs or try the speed check at the Weibermahdlift. Freeskiers and snowboarders like to gather at the Schlegelkopf. Here, at 1,600 metres, the 4-hectare Snowpark provides plenty of scope for thrills and spills. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, it’s a great place to practise your jumps and tricks on the vast array of obstacles, rails, jibs and kickers. Lech also has a unique offer for skiers and snowboarders – an opportunity to try heli-skiing. Daring freeriders can leap out of the helicopter and plunge into the deep powder around the Mehlsack or Schneetal-Orgelscharte. The off-piste runs feel like paradise for freeriders. But full avalanche equipment and a sound knowledge of current conditions is a must, as they are in uncontrolled areas away from the main slopes.
In Lech, the food is as good as the skiing. Stop to relax and refuel at one of the rustic mountain huts or inviting sun terraces. Perched high up at 2,350 metres, the Panorama Restaurant Rüfikopf serves delicious Austrian dishes accompanied by stunning views. At the Balmalp, hungry skiers can tuck into delicious Asian dishes fresh from the wok, along with a choice of pastas and pizzas. Der Wolf is a ski hut that serves traditional Austrian fare, while the Schneggarei has something for everyone, from crispy pizzas to tasty fondues, or a welcome drink when you come off the slopes. Lech has no shortage of après-ski venues, such as the popular Kriegeralpe and Rud Alpe. Skiers and boarders also flock to the Frozen Icebar at the Schlegelkopf. Down in the valley, the Archiv Bar is often jumping well into the small hours. Lech has a unique selection of top-class restaurants. The Griggeler Stuba, the Brunnehof and the Post all come highly recommended and the Arlberg restaurant serves a delicious fondue.
In Lech there’s plenty to do away from the slopes. Many of its hotels open up their wellness areas so that non-guests can use them as day spas and pamper themselves with massages and other treatments. Sport Park Lech is a great place to let off steam with a little tennis, bowling, climbing or slacklining. Then head for the sauna to relax those tired muscles. It can also be fun to test your skills at the indoor golf facility. You can learn everything you need to know about skiing at the Kästle Mountain Museum at the top station of the Rüfikopf lift.
The Arlberg region generally gets plenty of snow, with an average of 1.60 metres on the mountain and around a metre in the valley during the season. The snow is deepest in March, when there is often at least two metres on the mountain. April in the Arlberg is the best month for sun-worshippers, with an average of 22 sunny days. But Lech Zürs enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the whole season, with just less than 70 sunny days. During the skiing season, temperatures normally fall below freezing at night but climb above zero during the day.
Walking is also a great way to explore Lech and its surroundings. A 40-kilometre network of 16 winter hiking trails allow you to discover the area and enjoy its beautiful scenery. A hot tip on cold winter days is the Gaisbühl high-altitude hiking trail, which is 4 kilometres long. Fans of tobogganing should head for the 1.2-km toboggan run from Oberlech to Lech, and it is even floodlit after dark. Ice skaters flock to the natural ice rink in Zürs and the indoor ice rink in Lech. Cross-country skiers are also well catered-for with 27 kilometres of trails. Art-lovers should make a beeline for Skyspace, where the fascinating interplay of light and the night sky provides a whole new perception of light and space.