Lech-Zurs ski area - seriously good skiing in the heart of the best ski region in Austria

Generally on the slopes the better intermediates would be the most satisfied in Lech – Zurs. It is possible to cover good distances in the Lech – Zurs ski area with the White Ring circuit being an obvious draw. The incredible snow deposits make the off-piste a really attractive prospect for better skiers and snowboarders. Beginners have resort based skiing facilities in both Lech and Zurs. Click through the different ski categories below to get specific recommendations:

Beginner skiing

beginner-skiing

Easy access to the beginner slopes in both Lech and Zurs

Both Lech and Zurs have beginner ski areas on the edge of the resorts with gentle slopes offering easy escape routes back to the comfort of the resorts.

Progressing to the higher slopes

Beginners don’t stay as such for too long and Lech in particular offers easy slopes to progress into on the lower slopes around the Flühen lift and the runs accessed by the Hinterwies on the opposite side of the valley. The area above Oberlech offers further terrain for progressing skiers and snowboarders and generally the Lech area in particular is a good option for beginners. The Lech – Zurs ski schools come with an enviable reputation for quality

 

Intermediate skiing

intermediate-skiing

Discovering intermediate skiing in Lech – Zurs

In the Lech – Zurs ski area the Zurs section offers more ‘better intermediate’ ski pistes, whilst Lech serves up more ‘lower intermediate’ ski pistes. As a whole the Lech – Zurs ski area offers fantastic intermediate ski opportunities. With a shared Arlberg ski pass offering a vast assortment of ski pistes over a huge area, the options for intermediate skiers and snowboarders based in Lech – Zurs are fantastic.

Lech am Arlberg – lower intermediate skiing not to miss

Blue piste 34 offers the chance to see a big portion of the Lech ski area from the comfort of a winding and gentle blue ski piste. Accessed by 2 chairs from the village of Lech, blue 34 winds down to Oberlech from the Kriegeralpe and offers a long run back to the resort. There are numerous mountain huts to stop off in, whilst the Oberlech cable car offers the chance for the weary to download if needed. The track in some sections is fairly narrow but very gentle with little of concern on the downhill side.

For those very new to the sport the 34A section above Lech am Arlberg offers some excellent easy terrain that can be access by surface or chairlift. The run is just on the edge of the resort and gives lower intermediates the chance to practice whilst evacuation back to the resort is always an option.

Zurs am Arlberg – harder intermediate skiing not to miss

For atmosphere, snow conditions and location then red piste 12 ‘Madloch-Zursersee’ offers ‘better intermediate’ skiers and snowboarders the chance to ride through undulating terrain which frequently offers fantastic snow quality. South west facing the run gets plenty of sunshine but the incredible snow accumulations ensure that conditions are very often near perfect. Get this slope on a good day and it is about as perfect a corduroy experience as can be found.

Red 10, the ‘Zurser Tali’ would be another pick of ours. Again the aspect of the run is good – catching plenty of sunshine but this run heads south far beyond the limits of Zurs am Arlberg and then cuts back to head north and return to the resort. A shortish lift provides a really great long run, whilst the scenery is incredible and atmospheric with no lift or building in sight for much of the descent.

The White Ring ski circuit

For better intermediate skiers and snowboarders the ‘White Ring’ ski circuit which forms a high altitude circuit around the resorts of Lech am Arlberg and Zurs am Arlberg is a great option. The circuit is given over to a famous race each winter with ex-racers and budding locals flying between the pistes and lifts to get back to Lech am Arlberg first. Away from race conditions the route offers the chance to cover great distances in varying terrain with the resorts almost always reassuring within eye shot far down in the valley. The red 33 ski route connecting the Zurs and Lech ski areas is the one section that can really challenge when conditions aren’t great, at other times it can be a dream to ski. The other sections in the ‘White Ring’ are generally pretty comfortable for most good intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

Advanced / expert skiing

expert-skiing

Experts can take advantage of the prodigious quantities of powder snow

The Lech – Zurs ski area certainly favours the on-piste intermediate skier or snowboarder. Off-piste the Lech – Zurs serves up great options for visitors with the fantastic snow accumulation that it receives annually. For those looking for on-piste advanced and expert skiing then there are a few options in Lech – Zurs. Locally in the Arlberg ski region there are some excellent advanced and expert options that better skiers and snowboarders should consider.

Red 33 ski route | Madloch-Zug

Linking the ski areas of Zurs am Arlberg and Lech am Arlberg, the red 33 ski route offers some grat steep skiing. Conditions vary greatly, sometimes this route can be a dream, other times it can be a real challenge – it is a reasonable length, there are no easy exits points and when chopped up the slope can be tough going. In fresh snow the markers can guide skiers and snowboarders down through a wonderful powder route. This would be our choice for marked advanced / expert routes.

St Anton am Arlberg beckons

For those looking for some steep skiing then St Anton on the shared ski pass can be accessed Alpe Rauz, just along the Flexen Pass from Zurs am Arlberg. St Anton is revered around the world for its tough skiing and on-piste there are some excellent challenging pistes on the Kappl side of the ski area. In terms of ski routes then the Rendl section of the St Anton ski area, as well as the area beneath the Schindler Spitze offer some great ski routes. Then of course there is the off-piste for which St Anton is famed – on powder days, in every direction there are skiers and snowboarders hiking or traversing into steep powder. The Arlberg ski pass covers Lech – Zurs as well as St Anton am Arlberg.

Off-piste skiing

off-piste-lech

Arlberg powder

The term ‘Arlberg powder’ is a commonly known expression in the ski and snowboard world. Over one ridge from Lech am Arlberg is the ski area of Warth, officially the snowiest ski area in the Alps, in the other direction is Zurs am Arlberg, officially the second snowiest ski area in the Alps. Suffice it to say, in between the glorious cold and sunny days in Lech – Zurs, the skies open and the place drowns in endless metres of snow. Going off-piste in Lech – Zurs – take local avalanche safety tips seriously and take a local guide to get you to the very best locations.

Lift accessed powder

Within the Lech – Zurs ski area there are too many off-piste ski opportunities to mention. Many are lift accessed and require a slight deviation off the slopes in order to access the famous Arlberg powder. Within both the Lech and Zurs ski areas there are off-piste sections that are easily accessed and can be pretty gentle tasters of the world of powder. For serious powder action away from the lifts and the crowds, there are a number of access points.

Flying to the powder

A certified guide, the ability to ski off-piste to a required standard and a reserved seat on a helicopter are all that is needed to sample what must surely be the pinnacle of any ski or snowboard experience. Lech – Zurs is the only location in Austria to offer heli-skiing and for those visitors who tick the requisite boxes heli-skiing to the Mehlsack and Schneetäli peaks to the west of Lech am Arlberg are a must.

Albona

Debate rages about what is the best off-piste area in the Alps. For snow accumulation size and pitch and accessibility the argument rests – the Albona above Stuben am Arlberg is without equal in the Alps. Its ridge that drops down to the valley offers km’s of obvious routes that are a short pole of more adventurous ski tour out of the Arlberg ski area. However the Albona is accessed it represents the most complete off-piste package in the Alps. From the Lech – Zurs ski area buses run down to Alpe Rauz where the piste into the Stuben am Arlberg ski area begin. There is a seriously un-recommended and highly illegal route from Zurs into Stuben over the top of Flexen Pass tunnel (yes we did it with a local guide) down into Stuben but take the bus to ensure that you see the Albona.

The Valluga – Zurs classic

Mere mortals can take the 2nd stage of the Valluga gondola to the highest point in the Arlberg ski region at 2810m without skis or snowboard. Those wanting to venture down from the top-station require a certified local guide and a distinctly solid control over their nerves  - the top station sits on an exposed ridge with a no-fall, north-facing section that leads to one of the classic off-piste routes in the Alps – the Valluga to Zurs off-piste route. For those who haven’t fallen and get to exit the precipitously steep opening section there are endless banks of powder on offer on the long route down into Zurs am Arlberg.

 

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