The Austrian Vorarlberg offers skiers 1,950 ski instructors, heated chairlifts and a history of winter sport dating back to the beginning of the 1900's. The region lies in the westernmost province between the world famous Arlberg and Bregenz on Lake Constance. Winter sports enthusiasts have 355 mountain railways and lifts, together with 1,200km of groomed pistes to enjoy.
The winter season usually begins at the end of November and continues through until late April where skiers can enjoy breathtaking scenery as well as breathtaking runs! Those familiar with the various ski resorts in the Vorarlberg will know there is a continuing programme of investment in new mountain railways and lifts, as well as "fine-tuning" existing facilities.
Not only is the Vorarlberg region known for its pioneering, innovative and bold planning of winter sports with the first ski course for visitors held in 1906 at Zurs, to be followed the following year with the construction of the first ski lift near Dornbirn, but the location of the internationally-famed Doppelmayr lift company near Bregenz ensures the Vorarlberg region benefits from the latest innovations in cutting-edge technology such as heatable chairlifts.
With mountains up to 3000m, perfectly groomed pistes and the latest ski lifts, winter sports enthusiasts will find resorts to suit all tastes. From the famous Arlberg region with resorts such as Lech and Zurs, to the Montafon Valley and resorts such as Gargellen and ski areas including Hochjoch-Schruns, Silvretta-Nova and Golm-Tschagguns/Vandans, across to Bregenzerwald or the Kleinwalsertal, there are more than 350 varying forms of uphill transport, many hundre3ds of kms of pistes and slopes for beginners through to the black run expert.
The Brand/Burserberg ski resort in the Brandnertal Valley, south of Bludenz, is allegedly a well kept secret. However, an increasing number of skiers are finding this delightful valley which is especially good for families with children. There is a special ski pass for kids under the age of eight years and for parents purchasing a pass, the second and additional children are free!
From snow-shoe walking to Nordic Walking and to winter golf. Yes, golf in the Kleinwalsertal where you use a coloured (pink) golf ball and can play eight holes. If you are into tobogganing, the ski arena of Grabs near Tschagguns is the place to head for - but for hardened ski addicts who are seeking thrills and excitment, how about a 12-km-long downhill run. You can find this at Hochjoch to Schruns in the Montafon where you descend 1,500m in altitude down to Vandans!
You can reach the Vorarlberg regioon by plane with airports at Friedrichshafen (Germany); St. Gallen-Altenrhein; Zurch (Switzerland); or by train to Bregenz or Dornbirn.
The journey by road from Calais will take you around 10 hours using FREE motorway routes through Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany (see ROUTES) but do remember that once you enter Austria, you will need to purchase a Vignette to allow you to use the Austrian motorway system. The cost is comparatively cheap at around 12.00 for 10-days.