Exploring Austria's Premier Ski Resort
Lech am Arlberg in the far West of the Austrian Alps is the jewel in the crown of the region's pistes. A long time favourite with the Dutch royalty and equally well healed patrons it offers an extensive number of runs to suit all levels of skier. Lech also has also produced a number of Olympic champions over the years. These include; Trudi Beiser. Patrick Ortlieb, Egon Zimmermann and Othmar Schneider. All of them were Olympic Champions and World skiing Champions with the exception of Othmar between the 1940's and 1990's. Lech is considered the home of modern Alpine skiing. What makes Lech one of the premier skiing hot-spots is its connectivity. Just like Les 3 Vallées in France and the Sella Ronda in the Italian Dolomite's, Lech has extensive, lift, pistes and bus services between Zuers, the lively St Anton, Stuben and St Christof. The region is also well served by artificial snow canons which greatly extend the season should Mother Nature fail to deliver enough of the white stuff. There is also a circular ski route called "Der Weisse Ring" that covers Lech, Zuers and Stuben. It takes a number of hours to complete and is a favourite with novices and professionals alike. Because of its wealth Lech town has many exclusive shops and jewellers. Luxury cars and people whizzing around on Segway's are de rigueur. The resort is a favourite with (TM) Cruise, formerly Princess Diana and other European Royals. The exclusivity was touched upon in Bridget Jones' Diary 2 when the resort was used as a location in the film. While primarily known for its on piste action and off piste partying Lech is equally known for its summer activities. In 2010 British sculptor Anthony Gormley used the resort as a location for his 'Horizon Field' installation; Cast iron statues made in his likeness and dotted about high in the mountains for all to see and interact with. He has previously placed similar installations off the North West Coast of England, and amongst the urban landscapes of New York and London. Other summer activities in Lech include paragliding, hiking and mountain-biking. Getting to Lech am Arlberg is also a breeze. There is excellent road and rail access all year round and it is very rare that the Arlberg tunnel is closed. The tunnel is used when the pass is snowed under which does occur on a regular basis. Switzerland & Lichtenstein border the ski area and access from Germany is also very good. The Nearest Austrian airports to service Lech would be Bregenz and Innsbruck. You owe it to yourself to experience some of the best powder and après-ski activity in the world. Yanni Johnston is an advocate of ski holidays and also artificial snow and regular writes for www.creativeleisure.co.uk.