I always hated skiing as a kid.
Ski trips have a reputation for being luxurious getaways with booze, snow, and spas in the Alps – but most ski trips as a six year old ended with cold nights, damp clothes, and sore feet.
Not to mention Im really clumsy, I dont exercise, and I hate the cold – so the winter sport was never exactly my favourite activity.
Its been six years since Ive gone back to the mountains. Id much rather spend a week laying in the sun on a hot beach.
But Im always open to having my mind changed – so I headed to Arlberg, one of the worlds oldest ski regions, for a weekend of food and snow… and a ski race.
Thats right – after six years of no skiing, and a lifetime of minimal exercise and maximum couch potato-ing, I competed in a ski race that I was heavily under-prepared for, and I loved it.
Getting to Lech
Apart from the 4:30am wake-up to catch an early morning flight, getting to Lech was easy enough.
We flew into Innsbrück, a journey that takes roughly two hours and which I slept through most of. I woke up and looked out the window as we landed on a small runway in the middle of the Alps, surrounded by staggering mountains and beautiful Austrian cottages.
Once we were through security, it was just over an hours drive until we were on the slopes. If youd rather take public transport, you can take a train to Langen am Arlberg train station, which is a short bus ride away from the resort.
Hotel Gasthof Post
We stayed at the Post, an intimate 5 star hotel in central Lech. Owned by the Moosbrugger family since 1937, the lodge is the height of Alpine chic.
Paintings of mountain scenes and deer antlers lined the walls, making the whole place feel like a cozy cabin while retaining a feeling of luxury.
Before settling in, we stopped for lunch in one of the hotels four main restaurants, the Kutscherstube, which serves traditional Austrian cuisine. Id highly recommend the apfelstrudel here.
In the evenings we enjoyed dinner at the Postblick, the main food hall at the Post, or at the Jägerstube, a private, cozy, gourmet restaurant showcasing the hotels best dishes.
I stayed in a Hunters Lodge room, which came fully fitted with a stereo system, a very comfortable double bed – a welcome upgrade from the cheap springy mattress in my London flat – and a snowed-down balcony with full view of the slopes.
The bathroom came with heated floors and a standing tub, where I spent most of my evenings soaking in a relaxing bubble bath and watching Netflix.
We also had the chance to try out the Posts spa, featuring saunas, an outdoor heated pool, and several wellness treatments including massages, facials and healing baths. A 50 minute aroma oil massage costs €105 and will really do the trick for aching legs after a long day of skiing.
Stay at the Gasthof Post Lech from €180 a night. The Jägerzimmer, or Hunters Room, runs from €390 a night.
One of the worst parts of ski trips is always the uncomfortable plastic ski boots clamping down on your feet all day. But when we stopped by Strölz, a family-owned ski company thats been around since 1921, we were measured and fitted for boots that were the perfect size, width, and shape. I kid you not, these boots were so comfortable it was like skiing with pillows on your feet. Game changer.
As for the skis, they had several different models available to fit your skiing level and style.
Once we we had our ski gear, we headed onto the slopes.
Arlberg is one of the five largest ski resorts in the world and is home to one of the oldest ski clubs. Der Weisse Ring, or the White Ring, is a 22 kilometre ski route that runs through the entire Arlberg region. The route is full of culture and history, giving some insight into the birth of Alpine skiing as we know it, and is a popular sightseeing tour.
If you need to stop for a break, there are several cafes and restaurants dotted around the place where you can enjoy some goulash in the sun. But if you get the chance, dont miss out on the Trittkopf BBQ Station, a barbecue joint in an old converted ski lift station. They make their rubs in house and slow cook their meat over smoke for 16 hours – its delicious.
It really feels as big a circuit as it is. You can ski in a completely different area and near a different town every day for a week, surrounded by staggering mountains, all on the same ski-pass.
The slopes are huge and the views absolutely stunning – I was blown away.
An adult ski pass will cost you €158,00 for three days, or €249,00 for five days. More options are available on the regions website.
The White Race
As if I wasnt already scared enough to run a ski race, nobody told me the start line was uphill. Uphill. In skis!
But as scary as it was, I would go back and do it all over again. After that first hurdle, it was smooth sailing down empty slopes in the early morning sun. I could feel my fringe freezing as my skis fleeted between the flags that marked the way, fresh snow crunching under my weight.
Yes, it was a race, but it didnt feel like it. The White Ring Race is open to people of all ages and skill levels, making it quite doable even if you arent a professional skier – which I can assure you, Im definitely not.
The faster skRead More – Source