I’d heard good reports about skiing in Lech and finally I was about to arrive. It had been years since I’d gone skiing and the excitement of arriving at a ski resort was palpable.
That sensation of the rush of crisp cold fresh air on your face when you leave the warmth and comfort of a 7 hour long train journey, the anticipation of seeing copious amounts of snow covered mountains, and feeling that crunch under your boots filled me with excitement and an energy that comes to me whenever I go somewhere new. I love nothing more than the adventure of discovering new locations.
The possibilities we have to explore and discover places, people and a different ways of life always makes me feel so alive, and it awakens all of my senses .
The train trip from Vienna had been a particularly long one. We were trying to find the cheapest trip, and in our rush we bought a ticket that stopped off at every little village along the way!
Thankfully we were fully prepared with good food and drink, so although it took longer, it was somehow fun, as we sat back in our seats and got to have a closer look at the lives and villages of Austria. The closest train station to Lech is at Langen am Arlberg, and from there you can either get a bus, taxi or pre-arranged transport from your accommodation. It was getting dark as we arrived, so we could only see glimpses of what the car lights revealed to us as we drove the twenty minutes through the mountains up to the little village of Lech.
It was early season when we arrived, but Lech was already covered with snow and the village was well lit up. Our first image of the small village of Lech is one road nestled in between two white mountain sides. The village winds alongside both sides of the Lech river, and as we approached the centre we were greeted by a horse drawn carriage, Christmas lights in the shops windows, and apres ski bars with the sounds of excited chatter. As we wandered along the road, the smell of Gluhwein and anticipation filled the air.
The little Christmas markets were being held up a steep incline beside the old St Nicholas church originally built in 1390, which towers over the village and people gathered in the freezing cold to catch up with friends new and old to enjoy a drink around the fire pits, strategically placed to give warmth.
To get to Oberlech you catch a gondola up the mountain where a number of luxury resorts and hotels offer a variety of gourmet restaurants and holiday experiences. This area in the Vorarlberg region of Austria was originally a farming district, and that earthy feel enhances it’s vibrant natural beauty and the solitude of the mountains magnetic energy makes it a favourite ski area to the rich and famous.
If you want to enjoy any ski resort, the cheapest time is at the beginning or end of the season when most resorts offer specials. If money is abundant, then going in the peak season usually guarantees you the best weather and snow . If you follow the snow, and love skiing or snowboarding, you already know how expensive it is, so being able to experience it for less allows you to stay longer.
About 1.5km away is the little village of Zuers. If you aren’t skiing, a walk between Lech and Zuers is a wonderful experience where you can enjoy a stroll through a thick pine forest along the river. Walking through the forest ignited all my senses. The tree branches were heavily laden and drooping towards the ground from the copious snow fall, while the rush of water over the icy rocks in the river washed away all cares or thoughts of the outside world.
The warm sunlight filled the cracks between the trees as you looked skywards and every now and again the squark of a bird would break the silence of the forest.
The Arlberg ski region includes Lech, Oberlech, Zuers, Warth, Schroecken, Stuben, St Christoph and St Anton and covers 305km of ski runs and a free ski bus makes it easy to get between resorts.
Needless to say the well groomed slopes, copious amounts of snow and short lift queues make this a paradise for intermediate skiers.
Lech targets the well heeled with a variety of ski shops with the latest ski’s and apparel. Some ski shops look and feel more like the entrance to a hotel than a ski shop, and luxury brands abound.
Although it targets the high end, it is extremely tasteful and has a very relaxed atmosphere which exudes traditional Austrian decor, cuisine and ambience with a modern twist. It is a true winter wonderland and tends to attract people in their 30’s and above who aren’t into nightclubs.
Rather they enjoy outdoor apres ski bars, an extensive list of gourmet restaurants, cafes, fine dining and cosy lounge bars with live piano music. Imagine coming inside after a great afternoon skiing and sitting in a luxury hotel lounge in Oberlech, the fireplace crackling, you sink into a comfy armchair.
The waiter brings you a glass of champagne, a handsome young man is playing the piano and every note resonates and relaxes your mind body and soul.
As you watch the flames in the fireplace dance to the music you find yourself smiling and being grateful for this wonderful feeling, and wish it’d last forever.
It’s the perfect place to ski for people who enjoy the finer things in life and are prepared to pay for it.