Ski hire : St. Anton

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St. Anton - New development planned for Austrian Alps

In recent years, ski resorts across the Alps have been seeing some pretty dramatic improvements, such as new lifts and gondolas, mountain huts and gorgeous accommodation. 

One village that has seen significant growth has been Warth am Arlberg. Considered one of the snowiest villages in the Alps, this hamlet in the Tyrol region has a population of just 180 people. At an altitude of 1,495 metres above sea level, it sees around 10.5m of snow every year and neighbours include Lech and St Anton am Arlberg.

A 2km-long gondola has linked Warth to Lech since 2013, but the 4km road will also now be kept clear of snow throughout the winter (in the past, this has been blocked by Lech to protect exclusivity). This means that Warth could prove to be a new favourite destination for skiers and snowboarders in Austria.

Developers are already taking advantage of the improved access to the village. New accommodation is being built - the PURE apart-hotel, for example, includes 29 ski-in, ski-out apartments and communal areas that are furnished in a boutique hotel style. This year, the village celebrated the opening of ski season with international DJs, a disco-gondola, art installations and a wine festival.

For those looking to invest in ski accommodation, one benefit of Warth (at least for the time being) is its price tag. Mark Smits, a partner at developer Mountain Residences, told the Times that new properties in Warth offer great value.

"New properties in Lech cost €20,000 to €25,000 [£17,000 to £21,000] a square metre, putting it on the same level as Kitzbuhel, the most expensive resort in Austria, but Warth is €6,000 to €8,000 a square metre," he explained.

The apartments will be located on an elevated spot at the top of the village, and there will also be a few more exclusive properties - the largest penthouse, for instance, sold for more than €2 million. The development is expected to be completed in 2018.

Joanna Leverett, head of international residential markets at Cluttons, the agency marketing the project, added: "It's perfect for families who like the Arlberg - they can ski to Lech for lunch yet stay in a peaceful village."


St. Anton - Advent in St Anton

The winter months are a great time for a holiday in the snow. Skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports are a wonderful opportunity to find discount ski hire get out and enjoy the fresh air, while also experience a bit of an adrenaline rush on the slopes.

Of course, November, December and January are also times when we celebrate the holiday season - and cities, towns and villages across Europe are lit up with sparkling lights and covered in beautiful decorations during this time of year. Christmas markets are a popular attraction for visitors and locals, especially in places like Germany and Austria, and there are various festivals across the continent.

For those visiting St Anton am Arlberg in December, one thing to be sure to add to your itinerary is Advent Magic in the Park. This Christmas-themed event is suitable for all age groups and takes place in the run-up to December 25th. The event provides a calmer alternative to markets and shopping events and allows for an opportunity to reflect on what this time of year means for you, your friends and family.

Advent Magic in the Park features open fireplaces and themed areas where you relax and enjoy the ambience. There's a Christmas trail, which takes visitors past large silhouettes illuminated by a sea of glimmering candles and at the Christmas Photo Corner you can design your own personal greeting card.

Activities for kids will include crafting sessions at the Elves' Workshop, or you can head to a rustic log cabin to hear festive stories and poems from the region and recited in the local dialect. Of course, the holiday season wouldn't be complete without some Christmas cookies, so head to the museum at coffee time when a local baker offers an opportunity to taste his creations.

Other highlights include a life-size nativity scene at the Muhltobel Gorge, while the music of brass bands will add to the atmosphere. There will also carolling and guests are invited to add their voices to the festive tunes.


St. Anton - Explore the historical museum in St Anton am Arlberg

While you may come to St Anton am Arlberg for the skiing and other outdoor activities, it's important to remember that there's more to the area than sports, and the towns and villages in the region have long histories and fascinating traditions.

Tourism in St Anton am Arlberg dates back to the 19th century, but it wasn't until Alpine skiing became popular in the region that it became a major destination. The Arlberg Ski Club was founded in 1901 and the region saw its first ski race in 1904. The first ski school was established in 1921 and the Arlberg-Kandahar Race started in 1928.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of St Anton am Arlberg, why not pay a visit to the museum in the Arlberg-Kandahar House? This interesting museum is situated in a beautiful building, covered in detailed woodwork, and was established in 1978. It has recently been renovated to ensure the best experience for visitors.

The museum tells the story of skiing in the Arlberg area, which is also referred to as the "cradle of Alpine skiing". Curators have carefully designed the exhibits to each cover different stages in history, with old maps and wooden fold-outs with photos comparing the past to the present.

Other items on display include skis used to win competitions and portraits of downhill racers and personalities from the region, all presented in an interactive way. Ther are also films, three-dimensional photos and a display of St Anton am Arlberg through the ages.

While it would be easy to fill a museum solely with information about skiing in St Anton, the museum isn't just about the popular sport. Be sure to check out the displays that cover the culture and customs of the region, as well as the development of tourism.

If you're feeling hungry once you're done exploring the museum, head to the restaurant to enjoy a snack, a drink or a full meal. Items on the menu range from homemade cake, fresh ice cream, smoked trout and Styrian apple juice, through to wine and gourmet dinners.


St. Anton - St Anton Film Festival

For many people, the lure of places like St Anton am Arlberg is the opportunity for an adrenaline rush. Cruising down the mountain on a pair of skis and catching some air on a snowboard are two of the most popular options during the winter and they're sure to get our heart racing. Meanwhile in the summer months, visitors can swap their snow sports for activities like mountain biking and climbing to leave them breathless. But have you ever wondered what it's like to experience these activities from somebody else's perspective or in another place? If so, then you may want to head to the town's annual film festival.

For the 22nd time, St Anton will be the meeting point of the mountain community, bringing together cinematic excitement from a number of international filmmakers. This year, the event's theme is "Berge, Menschen, Abenteuer", which translates to: "Mountains, People, Adventure" and it will include around 20 films featuring athletes doing their adventure sports all over the globe. More than a third of the films to be shown will be premieres and central to the festival are the sports of rock climbing and freeriding and the films will provide fresh insight about these sports.

Many of the athletes featured in these films are among the leaders in their activities and they have helped to shape and develop their sports over the years. Climbers like Jorg Verhoeven, Bernd Zangerl, Kilian Fischhuber, Barbara Zangerl and Katharina Saurwein will be taking part. There's also mountaineer Tamara Lunger, freeriders Matthias Haunholder and Stefan Hausl, and bikers Axel Kreuter and Sylvia Leimgruber. What's more, some of these icons will also be on-hand at the festival to present talks, give interviews and answer questions.

The St Anton am Arlberg Film Festival runs from August 24th to 27th. Films will be shown at the centre for wellness and communication. Screenings begin at 8pm each night and there will be a prize presentation on the final evening.


St. Anton - Arlberger Jakobilauf run

This is one of the most beautiful places to go for a holiday in Austria at any time of year, but it's really at its best during the peak seasons of summer and winter. What better way to enjoy some guaranteed sunshine than by running a half marathon, which starts at the St. Jakob church square? You'll be travelling on foot along a journey of 21.125 km, which will see an increase of 203 m of altitude throughout the course. For this reason, you need to make sure you do plenty of training in hilly areas or through other mountains to make sure that your head gets used to coping with the change in atmosphere. Although it might not be that noticeable when you're walking, it's a different story when you're running and likely to be dehydrated. 

Although this is a popular activity for many, it isn't a standalone event, as it's part of the Arlberg Adler trophy, which is otherwise known as the Arlberg Eagle. One of the other sections of the event is concerned with winter sports - which of course St Anton am Arlberg is extremely famous for. This Der Weisse Rausch section took place earlier this year on 16th April. The next section is this half marathon, which will be on 23rd July, and finally an MTB Marathon will finish the event on 20th August. Teams take part in this activity and are formed of one man and one woman with both participants taking part in all three competitions. Rules are pretty strict on this one because the people named in the registration have to be the ones to take part: no substitutions, no changes!

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